Guest Column: Discussion over Fourth of July led to trip

Published 10:06 am Monday, January 9, 2017

Creative Connections by Sara Aeikens

Sara Aeikens is an Albert Lea resident.

Each time I am able to sign up to travel, I wonder if it will actually happen. Since I just turned three-quarters of a century old, now I even question if my next trip may be the last one of my three dozen-plus journeys to a foreign country.

Sara Aeikens

Sara Aeikens

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The main reason I think my husband and I ended up in Cuba in November 2016 could be traced back to the  most recent Albert Lea July Fourth celebration in the center of downtown, where lots of vintage cars were lined up on display.

After wandering around inspecting the prized selections, near the Fountain Lake Bandshell area, I spied my husband, Leo, conversing with the owner of Four Seasons Travel Agency, and I crept up to eavesdrop on their rather lengthy conversation, that included the fact Leo taught David three years of German in high school. Of course, David decided to tell his old teacher that he and his daughter planned on traveling together on his company’s next cruise trip to Cuba as a vacation. He then invited Leo to join the cruise, so they could speak German every time they met up with each other on the tour. I noticed Leo’s smile as I interrupted by saying I’d love to go along to practice my Spanish. 

After several discussions at home about my improved heart health and going on our first cruise, we signed up together. The very next month, I slipped on our kitchen floor and ended up with a broken right hip. After surgery and a three-week recovery in a rehab center I felt I walked well enough to take the Cuban cruise. A good friend trusted me enough to loan me a cane with a foldout circle seat, so we decided to go ahead with our plans.

A week before departure around the beginning of November, I was poised to pack for our trip, but kept putting it off since it didn’t seem like a reality yet. I finally pulled out my smallest roller suitcase, just to test myself to travel lightly. My full carry-on backpack looked almost as big as my suitcase. On the day before we left for our weeklong trip, I cheated by adding a second pair of walking shoes I shoved into Leo’s larger suitcase that he took so he’d have extra room!

To be continued in Cuba.