I love to travel.
Sure, sometimes there are hiccups (like when I spent 38 hours in the Atlanta airport this year thanks to two inches of ice covering the city). And even though I’ve written about some tips to making traveling easier, sometimes travel brings a few bumpy roads.
And yet it connects me to the whole of humanity as I get to explore new cultures. It connects me with my past as I travel to places my ancestors walked. And it connects me to my passion as I capture the landscapes and sights of the places I go.
And for all of those reasons, I can’t imagine a life without travel.
After almost 11 years of marriage, my wife Jessica and I have found ourselves fortunate enough to travel to many countries. One of the things we’ve talked about doing in recent years is a river boat cruise.
I’ve never liked the idea of a taking a long cruise on the open ocean. I REALLY enjoy water (I joke I was born with gills) but I don’t think I’d care to watch it go by 10 decks below me. If I’m by an ocean, I’d rather be in it; surfing, snorkeling, tasting the salt.
Jessica and I are also people who love to really explore a city, not just be stuck in a huge tourist port for a few hours and then herded back onto a boat. We want to experience the culture and so often end up on driving trips, but that means constantly packing and unpacking every night in a new hotel room. Plus it means constantly trying to find good restaurants and have to pay for food (which makes budgeting harder).
Enter the river boat cruise. A luxurious all-needs-met hotel on the water which whisks you away nightly to new ports to experience the local culture and sites. We’ve had a few friends who have taken European river boat cruises and have been thinking about doing it for quite some time ourselves.
The ships are smaller, more intimate and often have been service and better food (because they aren’t catering to thousands of people like on the huge ocean-going ships).
The ports aren’t huge tourist zones that take in thousands of visitors, they are normal European towns and you can explore and get a real sense of life there.
The views from the boat you go down the rivers are part of the joy of what you see. Rather than just miles of endless ocean, you see Europe from the waterways that have brought trade and travel to the area for thousands of years.
Emerald Waterways looks to be an outstanding river cruise outfit. Their boats look pretty amazing; very modern and very spacious. I have to say that as foodies, we are pretty excited by the menus too (including the tasty European wine selection).
But which cruise to take?
There are so many that look great. The chance to return to beautiful Prague sounds amazing. But since I’ve yet to step a foot on Germany soil (my dad’s side of the family is from Southwestern Germany) I would have to say that I’d love to take the Jewels of Rhine cruise, a new cruise they are offering in 2015.
Not only would it be great to finally see the canals of Amsterdam (I was sad to not be able to a few years ago when I friend was living there) I would love to make my way through Deutschland and see the amazing sights of the Lorelei Valley and the Black Forest. I’m very excited just thinking about the possibility!
Besides the breathtaking sites of places like Triberg Falls we’d see, I’d love the opportunity to slow down and relax with Jessica. She’s been working so hard for her MBA the last year and a half and 2015 will be her final push. I’m so proud of her and would love to be able to provide her with such a rejuvenating experience.
For a photographer’s site it’s sad that there are no photos in this post, right? I agree. I hope that in 2015 I will be posting a whole slew of them after our Emerald Waterways cruise through Europe! I’ll even run a contest to give away a few canvas prints of work I do while on the cruise!
This wedding basically had everything: a unity cocktail, photobooth receiving line, the Bratwurst from the Milwaukee Brewers Racing Sausages, drinks at Buckley’s (where they had their first date), wonderful planning and execution (by not only the bride+groom but also by Janelle from Evenement Planning and Ann and her team at the Turner Hall Ballroom), beautiful family wedding dresses on display, lots of Ke$ha, friends and family from around the country…
And what it had most of all was an amazing couple who are constantly showing their love and appreciate for each other and for those around them. Megan+Oliver, here’s to you two!