We’ve just settled into our airport hotel.
Today son #2 drove us from our lovely rented condo (thanks Carm!) in Collingwood to our Mississauga hotel about 1 km from Pearson International Airport. En route, he had a quick chance to familiarize himself with the features of our car, which he’ll store for us and occasionally drive.
One last hug, and Ted and I are on our own.
The first leg of our trip involves flying from Toronto to the cruise ship port in Fort Lauderdale Florida. The United States would allow us to fly in with a negative antigen test, but Viking requires a PCR test for ship embarkation, so we opted for the Rapid Molecular PCR Testing (NAAT , which stands for Nucleic Acid Amplification Test) option – yes, that’s a swab up the nose – with our results ready in about 30 minutes.
Aside: Covid testing has become a growth industry in the past year, with labs dedicated to performing nothing but those tests popping up in pharmacies, medical centres, and even occasionally as actual “pop-up” mobile test centres, and yet the nearest centre to our Collingwood home base that could provide results in under 24 hours was an hour away in Barrie, in a different direction than the airport. The logistics of getting tests done and results valid for the required transit period were far too critical, and winter road conditions too unpredictable; we opted instead to book tests close to the airport tomorrow morning and stay relatively isolated in a hotel for a couple of nights.
Tomorrow, after going for our Covid tests, we had originally planned to meet son #1 and his family for a meal; after all, it’s going to be a LONG time before we see them again. Sadly, the ongoing pandemic has interfered with our plans one more time. As case counts spike here in Ontario, our son has decided they’d rather not meet in a restaurant, and it seemed selfish to ask them to drive all the way from the inner city just to sit in our hotel room with take-out food, so we’ll content ourselves with a nice long video chat. Thank goodness for technology. Hugs will be that much more precious in May.
Our king hotel room is about the size of our shipboard cabin, but without the option to walk out the door and socialize. In fact, there are security guards on each floor of the hotel – maybe because it is so close the the airport.
I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to keep ourselves occupied in the room by watching TV, playing on our iPads, waiting for our test results, accessing our boarding passes, re-checking our cruise status, and fretting about having correctly completed all of our pre-flight verifications (well, I’ll be re-checking and fretting – Ted is remaining at least outwardly much calmer about this stuff), as well as trying really hard to get some sleep.
I’ll also take time to read (I’ve uploaded Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, set at least partially in Constantinople, which will undoubtedly make me look forward even more to visiting Istanbul), and to FaceTime with my BFF one more time while I’m assured of a really good wifi connection.
Our travels over the next 16 months will hopefully see us rounding the globe, with this 141 day world cruise being just the beginning of an extended travel adventure after 21 months in a kind of suspended animation during the pandemic.
We can only hope that the inevitable new mutations of the Covid virus are gradually less and less potent, so that we can see all our plans through to fruition.
Since we no longer keep physical photo albums, or buy souvenirs, I’ll be blogging almost daily from this point forward. Time flies by and even now, when I look back at our blogs from Scotland and South America in 2019, there are so many things I’d have forgotten already without this written record of them. I’m really glad that our enforced travel hiatus in 2020 gave me the time to transpose many of the photos and memories from even earlier trips into blog entries.
Forewarning: This blog serves as my diary, which means that some/many of the entries may not be of much interest to anyone but me, so if at any time an entry makes you think of channeling climate activist Greta Thunberg’s famous exasperated “blah blah blah”, just skip that one and come back later.
I’ll try to keep the majority of posts full of photos and descriptions, since I know we’ll be seeing amazing new things, meeting amazing people, and making memories everywhere we go on this once-in-a-lifetime voyage.
We’re glad to have you following along!