How can I end a series of postings about a trip that I never really imagined I would ever take?
I actually pondered the above question during the trip and ended up with the following idea: Gratitude; I'll end these series of postings with gratitude. So with that in mind, I have a lot to be grateful for, and I'll do my best in the text that follows to try and express that gratitude. With exception of the last item in the list below, this isn't intended to be in any particular order.
Thank You - The crew of the Viking Star
"The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them." - Amelia Barr
(The Viking Sun, sister ship to the Viking Star)
Viking Cruise Lines must be a terrific company to work for because every single crew person I encountered on the Viking Star was positive, focused on the guests of the ship, and (most importantly) seemed to be having fun. Whatever they are doing from a Human Resources perspective is working; perhaps the folks that run WalMart need to pay them a visit.
I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND a Viking cruise to anyone interested in taking an unforgettable voyage.
Thank You - To the Tour Guides
I'm convinced that, once you leave the Russian military special forces, you become a western tour group guide in St. Petersburg. We had terrific tour guides at all of our stops, especially so in Russia. While Russia was a somewhat challenging place to visit, it's clear that our tour guides took their work...and the well-being of the groups they are leading...very seriously. Another reason to choose a Viking cruise.
Thank You - To my Brother Rich
For the pick-up service in Philadelphia. I don't want to imagine just how much it would stink to undertake a 2+ drive after 7+ hours of air travel, at night, when my body thinks that it's actually well into the wee hours of the morning.
( Steve & Rich in1981; I look like a q-tip)
Thank You - The Rivers Family
David, Elizabeth, Julie, Mark, Diana, Kyra, John, Fran...thank you for the honor of being part of your family, especially so over the past two weeks. Special thanks for tolerating my incessant photography (for the benefit of the curious, I took about 1,600 photographs during the trip).
Thank You - Most Especially - To My Wonderful Wife
I wouldn't have made this trip without my wife, Ms. Rivers. In fact, the absolute best part of this trip was being able to see so many different places with my best friend in the whole entire world, the person that I miraculously get to call my wife. There is a world of difference between being on a trip like this alone vs. making it with your partner in all things.
(Near Copenhagen, Denmark)
Along those lines, I can think of no better song to express how I feel than following...
Finally, I'll note that "...how can I end..." is something of a misnomer, in that I'm pretty sure I have one more posting in me about the trip. A kind of re-cap of places if you will. That one needs a bit more time, plus I have laundry to do.