Sunday June 10, 2012

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times we do it – the countdown to a Big OE is always chaotic, shambolic and stressful. A month ago, it felt like we had forever. A week ago, it felt like we had a month. And here we are, with 19 things still unticked on our To-Do list … and stuff strewn from one end of the house to the other.

Right now, it feels like we’ll NEVER be ready on time – so, if we’re not at the airport on Tuesday, PLEASE START WITHOUT US!

We’ll make it, of course. We always do. And once we settle our bums into our Singapore Airlines seats … once we’re taxiing down that runway … once we up-up-up-and-away … it’ll all feel FAN-DIDDLY-TASTIC!

This Mad Midlife Adventure will start for-real in Singapore … then continue in Heathrow (where the Queen and her corgis are excitedly awaiting our arrival) … then pick up speed in Holland, where our elegant cruise-ship, the Rotterdam, will sound its horn, rev its engines, and move slowly away from the terminal.

Our destination? The Atlantic Coast, the North Sea, and the Baltic – YEEHAA!

These beautiful lands at the top of the world promise welcoming cities, fascinating histories, drop-dead-gorgeous scenery. And we Kiwis are gonna get amongst it all – from the decks of our floating hotel. We’ll be going ashore and packing in as much sightseeing as possible … with heaps of time in-between to kick back, relax and have fun.

As we’ve said all along, we’re gonna have a BALL!


It’s hard to know where to start – because they’ll just keep coming, day after day, night after night, highlight after highlight. But here’s a taste of our itinerary …

  • the pomp and pageantry of grand old London (England): “Oh, wouldn’t it be luverly …?”
  • wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen (Denmark), home of the world’s oldest monarchy
  • the charming, cultured, historical city of Hamburg – Germany’s Gateway to the World
  • ever-changing Berlin (Germany), visibly flourishing since the fall of the Wall
  • the most beautiful walled city in northern Europe – medieval Tallinn (Estonia)
  • St Petersburg (Russia), with its gleaming gold and marble, its glorious Tsarist palaces, its soaring cathedrals, its breathtaking Hermitage museum – just wait and see!
  • striking Helsinki (Finland) in the far north, with its sea-breezes and small-town feel
  • lovely, lively Stockholm (Sweden), one of the most stunning capitals anywhere, built on 14 islands with glorious waterfront scenes
  • The Hague (Holland) – capital of the Netherlands and home of Queen Beatrix
  • Delft (Holland), famous for Vermeer (the artist) and Blue Delft ‘porceleijne’
  • magical, old, scarred, soothing, picturesque Amsterdam (Holland) with its graceful canals, ancient windmills and gabled houses

PLUS … for those who are joining us for an extra seven days in the NORWEGIAN FJORDS:

  • Bergen (Norway) – an ancient Viking seaport, founded by King Olav the Peace Loving
  • Geirangerfjord, nestled in the shadow of Mount Dalsnibba, with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of teetering peaks, waterfalls, lakes, streams and farmlets
  • the Art Nouveau town of Alesund, known far’n’wide for its turrets and spires
  • scenic Hjelterfjord – and bustling Eidfjord, famous for its spiral tunnels, mountains and waterfalls … and voted “the most beautiful town among many in this part of Norway”.

Anyway, I’ve gotta go and help Robyn squeeze everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink into our two small suitcases.

Stay tuned, won’t you. I’ll add lots more words, pix and tall-stories as soon as I’ve got something to report.

Just make sure you look after New Zealand while we’re gone – okay?

Yours bloggedly – JOHN