“Seeing Myself, Seeing the World:
A Widow’s Journey Around the World”
Photos from my trip to Eastern Europe:
Notes from my trip…
Where is the Sicily that I dreamed about as a child?
I took the panoramic Catania and Coastline tour on a very gloomy rainy day. I was not impressed with this part of Sicily. It was old, depressing, and dirty. The journey to the walled city of Taormina would have been interesting if we hadn’t been herded around in the rain.
SARA’S TIP: Skip the tour! This would be a great place if you were stationed here during WW 2. It has not changed since then. And it is not senior-friendly, especially if you end up there on a cruise, take a transfer to the walled in medieval city of Taormina, and spend the day by yourself or with a few friends! Please keep in mind that the streets are uneven, and the tour guides are on a tight schedule. They walk at a fast pace and will leave you behind. I found them to be very impatient with anyone who could not keep up.
SARA’S ADVICE: Hire your own car and driver. (Be sure to use a reputable service.) This way you can tour the area at your own pace. Be careful and watch the time! Make sure you leave as soon as the ship comes in. In fact, plan on gettiing back to the ship at least an hour before final boarding time.
And then your prince will come!
Arriving in enchanting medieval Malta is an experience you will never forget! This walled city of hills is senior-friendly for most people. Even if you cannot leave the ship, you have the most spectacular view of palaces and the city. If you want to buy a souvenir, when you walk off the ship there are numerous shops and restaurants to enjoy. And if you need a pharmacy, there is one in the terminal along with the shops. English is spoken here.
SARA’S TIP: If you can lift your leg up to a very narrow step and pull yourself up on to a buggy you will have an experience of a lifetime. Your driver will take you around the city and show you around Malta. Keepin in mind that you have to be able to get off of it, and it does bounce you around.
SARA’S ADVICE: Wear slacks. It is not a “pretty site” getting off and on a horse and buggy.
This is not the Greece I studied about in school.
A stroll through the old town takes you through a labyrinth of narrow streets, French-style homes, Byzantine churches, and Venetian buildings with their trademark arches. The Achilleion Palace offers spectacular panoramic vistas of the Ionian Sea. If you have the time, a visit to the countryside takes you through quaint villages, endless olive groves, and beautiful cypress trees.
SARA’S TIP: Consider taking a round trip shuttle ride to see the city. If you do not want to go on a walking excursion, you’ll be able to see a lot of the city this way. I have found that a lot of the tours can be very hard on seniors because of the walking, and the guides don’t give much consideration to the ones who cannot keep up.
SARA’S ADVICE: Go with a tour director. Most times, I can make sure the tours are a little more senior-friendly.
Admire Slovenia’s beauty
Ljubjana is the largest and busiest city in Slovenia, with a combination of romantic stories and medieval charm. If arriving by ship there is a long walk to the end of the dock where you have to show your passport once you are checked through customs. You can take a tour, or, if on your own, you can walk about 5 blocks and do some wine and olive oil tasting… buy souvenirs… perhaps go to the beach for a swim… and if you feel like climbing around 50 steps, you can reach the Old town’s main drag, called Cevljaska. This will lead you into Tito Square. From there, you can wonder through quaint streets admiring the Venetian Palazzi.
SARA’S TIP: Explore the seaside resort of Portoroz! You’ll enjoy the breathtaking views of the Adriatic sea.
SARA’S ADVICE: If you are not interested in taking a tour, just outside of the customs area is a horse and carriage ride by a very lovely young lady who will take you on a ride around the town. Unlike the buggy’s in Malta, her carriage is custom-made in Italy and is senior-friendly. English is spoken here.
This Unesco site is one that can not be missed!
You will fall in love with this charming medieval village. Kotor is a feast for the eyes! From limestone cliffs jutting out over the bay, to the walled-in world of stores, museum, charming Bistros, this is a hiking and biking paradise with beautiful mountains. This is one place you will not forget! You’ll want to spend several days here.
SARA’S TIP: Kotor is very senior-friendly, but there are no private motorized vehicles allowed in the walled city. You can, however, push a wheelchair around. Please keep in mind that these are old, well-worned streets made of smooth rocks.
SARA’S ADVICE (to all my fellow seniors): Traveling here is possible with a little pre-planning. Just keep in mind that you may not be able to do all the things you want to do, such as climbing 800 steps up to a church.
Sara’s Cruise tip:
Remember, whenever you take a cruise, keep a copy of your passport, port information, and insurance information with you at all times.
Now that I’ve shared my trip with you, let’s plan YOUR next trip!
Open the Calendar and get ready to “Travel with Sara!”
Make your retirement a glorious adventure that brings you sliding in sideways with champagne in one hand, and chocolate in the other, shouting, “WOW! WHAT A RIDE!”
Sara Raney, Senior Travel Advisor