In the summer of 2014, my husband and I went on a Baltic Sea adventure. We were going to visit several countries, cruise the Baltic Sea, and generally have a lovely summer vacation.
It was the best worst trip ever.
What do I mean by the best worst? Let’s back up: it was the worst vacation ever.
I acquired my 14th (yes, 14th) head/chest cold of 2014 just the week before we left, while I was at BEA in New York City. I’d gone to the doctor, and was on three antibiotic meds: systemic capsules, eye drops and ear drops. I was feeling well, and no longer contagious, the day before we were set to leave for London, so I was pretty thrilled. (As an aside, this illness led directly to me having my tonsils removed that year, and I’ve only been sick twice since!)
On the flight, my husband’s ears clogged up, as ears sometimes do.
We spent three days in London, visit all the things you visit in London when you’ve been there a bunch, and only have a few days. We visited several lovely pubs, and the Tate Modern. At the Tate, I noticed I had a prickly red rash on my arms and neck. I thought I was sensitive to the hotel soap.
We took the train to Dover the next day, and boarded our ship. By then, Peter (the husband) was dizzy due to still-clogged ears, and feverish. He visited the ship’s doctor while we were still in port to treat this nascent ear infection. As a bonus, while I waited for him to be treated, the ship’s doc *also* diagnosed my Amoxicillin Rash, and I learned I was: 1) allergic to the amoxicillin, and 2) going to have this increasing irritating rash for 10 to 13 days. At that moment there were 14 more day on our vacation.
We visited Oslo, Norway; Bruges, Belgium; Tallin, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Copenhagen, Denmark. We were essentially sick and tired the whole time. The worst trip ever.
We had to sleep in shifts because I snored so loudly due to my cold, and he couldn’t wear ear plugs due to his ear thing. We hardly saw each other on board, honestly.
And yet? It was pretty fun. We didn’t see a lot of any of these cities, but we did laugh a lot at our terrible luck. We also marveled at the audacity of the crew to choose only shipwreck movies for the entirety of the cruise — All is Lost, Cast Away and Titanic. No, really. There was a bartender who thought I looked just like his sister, so poured us many very lovely drinks native to his Greek home. We delighted in rearranging pieces on the in-progress puzzles that people left abandoned each evening in the library.
We drank great beer in a dozen great pubs in those coastal cities, and I read nine books in 14 days, including Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops series which I love so much.
So, it was a terrible vacation. The worst I’ve ever had. And yet today I laughed and laughed and laughed thinking of the ludicrousness. So it is also good. Not the best vacation I’ve ever had, for sure, but the best worst one.
I’m sure life has more worst times in store for me. That’s the way of things. But I’m hoping to make the best of those too.
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