So many changes, so much happening! George will retire in July, and having looked at our retirement funds only to find that California is going to be just too expensive for us in our “golden years”, we decided that it would be cheaper to live abroad! Even Europe is cheaper, especially now that the Euro/dollar exchange is near parity. We put the house on all the HomeAway/SabbaticalHomes/AirBnB kind of sites, to see if we could rent it out furnished–and, hopefully, with the cats. We are just not yet ready to sell, until we know where we will want to go for those final years–what a thought! And while we’re still ambulatory and in relatively good shape, we want to call in all our karma, and visit all those places where we have friends and lots of the places that we have always wanted to see.
We have now found the perfect person to rent our house from September to June of next year! (Alas, she has a blind dog that she must bring along, so we’re still looking for a place for the cats–sigh. Animals!) We are SO excited–everything is falling into place. Now we are formulating our itinerary: so far it looks something like this: we will drive our car to Max & Dottie, who will be newly settled in Denver (his new position starts in September!). Then we will fly either to New York or to Toronto (we have a bunch of friends there, enough to warrant a visit), stay a few days, then fly to London, where dear old friends from Manchester have an apartment that they visit monthly where we can stay for a week or so. Then fly to Berlin for two weeks, with possible side trips to other parts of Germany. Then we want to take the train to Vienna, via Prague, stopping in Prague for a few days. We will be in Vienna October-December, where we already have a lovely apartment to rent courtesy of another dear old friend. From Vienna, we hope to visit some of the old Austro-Hungarian towns of the Empire; at least get to Brno, Budapest, Bukovina (!) and Ljubljana. Now we’re a bit up in the air about winter: we had hoped to go to Greece for 2 months, but our friend Evy is trying to persuade us to visit in the spring instead. We might then either fly to Mumbai–another friend there–then back to Athens, or we might go to Barcelona or Italy instead. From Athens, I would love to drive through Albania back to Dubrovnik, where our friend Wolfi has a summer house where we can stay. George also wants to spend some time in Trieste, a place that fascinates us both. That would bring us back to Vienna in May or so, from whence we shall return to the States in June. Whew! Then we’ll decide where we’ll be and what to do with our lovely Pasadena home.
Our only dilemma now are our two 10-year-old, gentle, low-maintenance cats, Zuma and Kolo. They have never been anywhere but this block in Pasadena–Zuma was born in our back yard! If all else fails, we can take them to Max & Dottie, but they will just be settling in to their new lives, and I really would rather have the boys stay in Southern California, where they would at least have the familiarity of the weather. Here they are, Zuma and Kolo. Can you help? Please? I send this out to all my California cat loving friends! We’ll pay for food!
Once we’re on our way, I hope to write lots of blog entries about all our adventures.