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What happened to a 75-year-old woman on a long hostelling trip

This trip report concerns a fairly lengthy European trip that you folks helped me strategize. (The thread is here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/long-trip-itinerary-suggestions-welcome).

I’m a 75-year-old woman who just returned from her second trip to Europe. The first was in 2017 (OK, the previous trip report is here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/trip-report-54-nights-of-hostelling-through-western-europe-at-69). My basic travel approach is fast-paced for many, and the itinerary emphasizes personal interests, including urban planning, art, classical music, greenways, and architecture. I’m a bit of a foodie too.

My method of affording this travel is to stay in hostels all or much of the time, choosing not to try to economize on sightseeing or restaurants. Hostels offer the additional benefit of allowing the solo traveler to meet and talk with (usually younger) people from all over the world, although see comments below.

Taking into consideration all of your feedback about my original itinerary, I settled on this one, with number of nights in parentheses: Athens (6), Thessaloniki (1), Sofia (3), Belgrade (3), Zagreb (2), Ljubljana (2), Vienna (8), Prague (3), Dresden (2), Berlin (6), Copenhagen (5), Hamburg (1), Amsterdam (3), Rotterdam (4), Antwerp (2), Paris (6), Nice (6), Lyon (2), Geneva (2), London (6), Edinburgh (4), Glasgow (2), Liverpool (2), Dublin (4), Belfast (2), back to Dublin (2).

(The 2017 itinerary had included Madrid, Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Lucerne, Munich, Berlin, Strasbourg, Paris, and London for 54 nights.)

Eight days before departure, I was weeding in my front yard, slipped and bruised a knee. The doctor said there was no structural damage but likely a bone contusion in addition to the colorful bruise. He opined that I could travel as soon as the pain and swelling subsided.

I decided that rather than try to reschedule the entire complex trip, I would lop off the first two and a half weeks and simply pick up my itinerary in Vienna. That happened to be a Friday, but United said they could get me on a Wednesday flight for $1250 less. I decided that was a fair swap, so Vienna ended up being 10 nights.

All was well for the first 15 days, but then in Dresden, I was walking a very short distance to the train station and the other, not-injured knee, started to buckle. Eventually I hobbled back to the hostel and spent the day people-watching. The next day I almost missed a train because it took me about 14 minutes to get from the end of the platform to my car. I laid low in Berlin upon arrival, moved very slowly to the smallest museum on my list the next day, and then did fine by walking much slower than usual and taking every opportunity to sit, take a lift, or skip intensive walking, standing, and stair-climbing.

However, the second day in Copenhagen, I had a recurrence and spent another day sitting in the hostel people-watching. The next morning I cautiously walked to a tiny nearby pharmacy and luckily, they had a cane to sell me. There were no more instances of knee buckling, but the cane complicated moving around greatly.

I came to dread the moves from city to city, and to resent the number of planned and sometimes paid-for activities I had to miss. I also found hostel life to be much less appealing than on the previous trip. Friends have asked why, and it boils down to this: (1) most now had curtains or partitions installed (Covid?) so that there was less incentive and opportunity for talking in the rooms, (2) everyone was glued to their phones so less reason to chat, and (3) the women were so preoccupied with their huge stashes of beauty products that they didn’t have time to trade world views. I had thought about going home several times due to the new difficulties of moving around and less fun, but decided against it.

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138 posts

Making this long story shorter, a bad subway breakdown experience in Paris the night before I left there made me seriously consider whether this was the time to come home. The next morning some messages from home made me decide yes, this is the best course. I extended Paris by a day to cancel as much as possible, and then flew from Orly to Dublin. I reasoned that since Dublin was my original last stop, it would be cheaper to change the flight date than to set up an entirely new one-way flight home. That proved correct; United did not charge a fee for changing my departure date. So everything after Paris up until Dublin was skipped.

I will write some comments about destinations, but lessons learned for us older travelers from this much were: (1) Be careful about having more than one piece of luggage. I had divided my stuff between the ultralight It brand 20” case for clothes (checked it on the plane as a nod to advancing age) and the actually heavier Rick Steves Civita day pack for essentials and technology. Dividing the weight was a goal because I wanted to be able to hoist the larger bag overhead when needed. However, when I added the cane, this two-item luggage deal became unwieldy. (2) Be cautious about undertaking a demanding itinerary when you are at less than your peak physically, regardless of how much you want to go and think that time is running out.

Destinations

Vienna. I loved this city, beautiful, elegant, friendly, and low-key for its size. Stay near transportation. If you love classical music, art, or pretty pastries, you will have a good time. Highlights were an awesome orchestra concert in the Musikverein (Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Jakub Hrůša), a visit to the good Freud Museum (great job of broadening a house museum into the history and current state of a movement) and then of course Schonbrun and St. Stephen’s. I also found the Upper Belevedere a can’t-miss for someone with my interests. I day tripped to Bratislava and Linz (intending to go to the Mauthausen concentration camp memorial, but it was too cold for me that day), both enjoyable. Melk and its abbey will be important for someone interested in printing, books, monasteries, or all three.

Prague. I didn’t like much about it and wouldn’t return. The Charles Bridge was best; granted I was there before 1 pm, but it wasn’t too crowded for me. Architecture in that area was layered and interesting.

Dresden. I loved the Historic Green Vault and appreciated their tendency to display only intact works in great condition. There were some exceptions, but if you like pretty to gaudy stuff, it’s a wonderful curated collection. I also valued the ongoing redevelopment.

Leipzig stopover on the way from Dresden to Berlin. I deeply appreciated my visit to Nikolai Church that hosted the peace prayer meetings that led in part to fall of the Berlin Wall.

Berlin. Highlights were getting to visit all five of the museums on Museum Island this time; I was quite ill in Berlin on the first trip. If someone says skip the Pergamon because the Pergamon pieces are not there, they probably don’t care about that type of art. It’s still a “wow.” The Berliner Dom may not be worth the price now; the historical tomb section is off limits. The Gemaldegalerie and the musical instruments museum also were especially exciting. The guided tour of the Reichstag was very informative, and the guide answered all questions honestly and knowledgably. I love the Berlin vibe.

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Copenhagen. Hands down the best thing was the short train ride to Humlebaek for the Louisiana Museum of Art; if weather is lovely, the world-class collection of outdoor and site-specific sculpture combined with the wonderful natural setting will grab you. I wish I’d planned to spend all day there. I also had a splendid time visiting the Nyhavn neighborhood and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. The Danish Museum of Design was just weird, so if that sounds appealing, be sure you research what it is. If you are seeing Copenhagen for the design shops, research what is currently open; almost all on a list I had compiled turned out to be clothing stores. I would skip Kronborg Slot the next time.

Hamburg. This was an afternoon/night stop to break up the long train ride from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. As a planner I enjoyed walking around the harbor, the Speicherstadt old warehouse district, and the nearby Hafen City redevelopment.

Amsterdam. I don’t have enough superlatives for the Rijksmuseum, and I didn’t even visit the Vermeer special exhibition. In better health I would have stayed all day. The Van Gogh museum also is wonderful. I could have spent all day also at the Stedeljik modern art museum—and should have planned it that way, although I didn’t see so much buzz about it beforehand. On the other hand, the Moco Museum for street/contemporary outsider art wasn’t as interesting as expected, even though I’m into Banksy, etc., but I wouldn’t spend money and time that way again. I stayed near Vondelpark and liked the area. Due to the knee I didn’t keep my reservation at the Anne Frank Huis or do a canal cruise.

Rotterdam. If you think this is a small town, rethink, but I liked its energy as a city. I took the waterbus to and from Kinderdijk, the 19 windmills in situ shortly outside of the city, and really enjoyed that; it would be a nice place to walk or bike even if not interested in water management. I took a day trip to Den Haag, where I thoroughly enjoyed Mauritshuis and walking around. I also did a part-day in Delft, but its “cute” quotient wasn’t any more than some places near me. I went to Leiden to see the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, putting on blinders to anything else about the city. If you are keenly interested in the Pilgrim experience, this is a good visit, but don’t expect to learn about your specific ancestors or to see an authentic Pilgrim house—it’s just the oldest house in Leiden.

Antwerp. Another “wow” moment was the newly reopened, rebranded Royal Museum of Fine Arts, now called KMSKA. They ignored many art museum conventions, and I for one liked the result. This isn’t at all crowded yet, but plan to go now—in a few years I predict this will be crowded. Or maybe not. Later I visited Plantin-Moretus, an important print house in the early years of printing, supposedly the only UNESCO site that is a museum. They don’t quite have it together, methinks, but if very interested in typography, seeing old machines, or the history of books or printing, go.

Brussels morning stop on the way to Paris. I set aside three hours to get to and tour the Parlamentarium, a big exhibit about the EU’s parliament. I learned a lot about the EU and had a good time watching the adults get into heated EU politics discussions and the kids going crazy trying out all the interactive features. It’s not a quick stop because the EU complex is large, but it’s big fun for us international relations geeks and appeared interesting to Europeans.

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Paris. I think I succeeded in not repeating anything from my first trip. Finally I got to the summit of the Eiffel Tower, which brings me so much joy. I would not repeat my visit to the Arc de Triomphe; I thought the exhibits were nothing. If interested in specific buildings, of course it’s easier to see details than from the Tour, but I thought Eiffel gave me a better overview of the entire city layout. Highlights were what I thought was the fantastic E.Dehillerin kitchenware/restaurant ware store (I didn’t really let myself absorb “attitude” despite what others have said about this and the other famous kitchenware stores), and going to the Les Puces de Saint Ouen flea market on Saturday. Although it often seems rated as minor on this forum, I thoroughly enjoyed the Cluny Museum too; it’s much more than just some discarded sculptures from Notre Dame and windows from St. Chappelle. I day tripped to Nancy (you might have observed that’s my name), which has some beautiful spaces.

Dublin. Best for me were the National Museum of Archaeology and the new MoLi (national museum of literature). The latter should be an all-day destination if you are interested in Irish writers, both the well-known and the contemporary and less famous. Otherwise, just the one-hour tour with a superb guide will do. I found the Book of Kells to be well worth the commotion to get a ticket and get in, but that would depend on your interest in medieval manuscripts, the Bible, or printing. I did not participate in the drinking culture, and because I changed my itinerary, I could not get Kilmainham Gaol tickets. Really worth the time for me, again only an hour on an entertaining and informative tour, was the Jeanie Johnston tall ship, an exact replica of one of the best-run of the potato famine boats bringing people to Canada and the U.S.

Hostels
Excellent: JO&JOE in Vienna, Steel House in Copenhagen, Meininger in Dresden, Stayokay Vondelpark in Amsterdam. Not recommended: Czech Inn in Prague, YUST in Antwerp lovely but inconvenient, Generator in Hamburg too much street noise even on the 7th floor, ROOM in Amsterdam had the nicest people of all but getting around is a pain. Iffy: Enjoy in Paris, Jacobs Inn in Dublin great in many respects but the “pods” lack ventilation.

Food
Restaurants were more expensive than I had been expecting on the basis of my previous trip plus adding an inflation factor; the one I saw must have been way too low. So I ate expediently. I took to eating a large breakfast, often paying the 10 euro price for a buffet breakfast at a hostel, and then eating a large meal at 3-4 pm when I was tired from sightseeing. In Paris, the Breizh Café in Marais did not disappoint, and I found Les Deux Magots surprisingly excellent for a late breakfast. I sought out the latter only for the Hemingway connection, but contrary to reports, the food and service were flawless. Disappointing: Leo Burdock’s chippery in Dublin. Very good: Skipperkroen for smorrebrod in Nyhavn, Copenhagen.

Technology
I decided to use my phone to take photos and not bring a camera. Looking at the results, I’m sorry I did; I needed zoom incredibly often. I used a phone lanyard this time, which proved to be another good decision for me, as I always knew where it was. I used the phone lots for navigation and photos. Using the phone that way meant I needed a power bank, and taking my Anker along was so wise. Most of the time it was cool enough I could put the power bank in a jacket pocket and even leave it there connected to the phone. I also took my old tablet, which I charged overnight using the plugged-in power bank. The tablet proved invaluable for entertainment when I had to spend so much time hanging around in hostels. I used Google Fi on my Moto 6 phone and had to call my son on wi-fi, but late in the trip, we found out he could call me from home.

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Packing
I pack pretty light, but this time took a good variety of OTC medications “just in case.” Five tops, three bottoms, no makeup, slow-to-smell socks and underwear, but hostel dwellers need a padlock and camping towel. Otherwise I took more little tiny odds and ends than last time (paper clips, twisty ties, post-it notes, carabiner and baggies for no specific use, etc.). I didn’t weigh my final result but it would have been a bit more than my 11.25 pounds including luggage weight last time. The Rick Steves Civita day pack is in great shape; the It probably will give out right away but is light and cheap, and I would take it again.

Overall
Would I do it again if I could get a do-over? I would go, but with a much less ambitious itinerary. While it was completely fine for me to do a multi-city long trek at age 69, by 75 I was too optimistic that nothing major would go wrong. If there is further international travel, it will be to and from one or two destinations I’d say.

At the same time, in hindsight I’m so grateful for these experiences I’ve related, and many more that I didn’t think of at the moment. I’m not looking back with regret, just learning.

Seniors, go, just go, and go solo if you have the inclination. You can do it; no one will be mean to you, and in fact, people will give up their seats for you and otherwise be helpful. Increasingly, it seemed to me, people are OK with your use of English. Just be wise and don’t think that as you age, you automatically can do as much as you could do six years ago. It may not be so. Simplify the planning and accept limitations.

Thanks again for all the help from forum participants. I’m happy to entertain your comments, questions, and critique.

Posted by
6277 posts

Wow, what a useful and informative report! Thank you.

We’ve found ourselves plagued the last few years with odd pains and weaknesses that caught us by surprise (we’re 75 and 77). We’ve managed to cope and continue traveling, but we’re now more likely to allow more “down time” during the day.

Posted by
1912 posts

Thank you many times over. I am 78 and I travel solo.

For reasons beyond my control, I was unable to travel until sometime in my mid 60's. I began by going to AARP conferences when they offered them in different cities in the United States. Eventually AARP quit the conferences.

I went to my high school reunion and also visited a few old friends other times .

Then I discovered cruises. I chose Norwegian because they offer studio cabins for the solo traveler.

In October I will be going on my 7th or 8th cruise as a solo. I will be sailing Southhampton to Lisbon, my second European cruise.

I have spinal stenosis and arthritis of my knees. Right knee is bad and I am stiff plus experience pain. I am going to get an injection before travel.

Happiness is pain free.

I wish that I could have traveled more when younger but I couldn't. Trying to travel as best as I can when old.

I chose to book hotels through booking using a credit card that gives me rewards. I am a severe chronic insomniac and need my own rooms. It is a must.

I eat simply and have to keep within a budget. I can not afford souvenirs or gifts. Have to watch my budget on excursions and admissions.

My budget includes taking public transportation or walking rather than taking ubers or shuttles. Taxis are OUT! It is sometimes difficult getting to and from airports to hotels or to and from my cruise port.

I travel very light, one rolling bag, one carry on and a purse. . However I just bought a back pack for my next cruise. I feel the weight of my purse and my carry on may be causing flare ups with my spinal stenosis and right knee. I am going to try traveling with a rolling bag, a backpack and a money belt or fanny pack.

We have to make choices.

My next cruise is paid for and I have. hefty non refundable deposit on the future one.

I would like to try a RS My Way trip which I just discovered. I am very independent and love solitude but also am very friendly and sociable. I would pay the extra for a single room.

I also have just discovered Gate 1 Travel for other trips to places like Yellowstone.

Posted by
4567 posts

Thank you for the indepth experience. I am sorry it turned out more challenging than anticipated, but good that you knew you could always come home....and did. Some still love hostels, but I can imagine it is hit and miss, as you found. I think for many of us 'oldsters', a hold on travel for some years has meant over estimating abilities as we measured it to past age and fitness.
I expect you will return to these notes when time to plan your next trip and reflect on how to change the logistics while still giving the buzz and interest you enjoy.

Posted by
312 posts

Wow....great trip report. Much more useful than the everything went great & no problems reports. I am 67 & my partner is 69 years old so this is very helpful & actionable info. You really saw a lot of your interests. We stayed in a hostel in Copenhagen for a couple nights...Cityhub. We enjoyed it but probably no more hostels for us. I think you are right about the culture of hostels changing.

Regardless you saw a lot of stuff which was your purpose. Congratulations & Keep on Traveling

Posted by
1817 posts

I really could appreciate your trip report. I am 77 and last year on my solo trip to England (with a Rick tour embedded in the middle) I injured my hamstring in the leg with the replacement. Ie, my good knee. Luckily the injection in my bad knee had kicked in by then and I had brought along a foldable cane. I did almost everything I wanted to, but with more rest stops and more taxi rides rather than walking. People were so kind to me. I remember hobbling as fast as I could to get to my train car, realizing I was never going to make it, getting on a car 4 back from my reservation. I sat next to a gentleman who asked if I was ok (I probably looked about to stroke). I explained I needed to get 4 more cars forward. He asked where I was going and told me the seat I was in was not reserved until his stop which was the one after mine. He took my bag and put it away for me and when we reached my destination he not only got my bag for me, but walked me off the train carrying it and then jumped back on. I think of his kindness often and wish I would have had time to thank him sufficiently. This year I am going to France solo (with a Rick tour embedded in the middle). I hope I don't injure myself this time, but will take my cane and my pain meds knowing that if something does happen there are really kind people everywhere who can magically appear to help you when you need it.

Posted by
4565 posts

Thank you for your notes about the museums you enjoyed. I've copied several of them into my OneNote notebook for "Future Trips" to France, Belgium and Denmark.

Posted by
180 posts

Thanks so much for your detailed trip report. Much appreciated prior to my first European trip in 4 years. Trying to be conscious that 71 is not 67. Some very useful advice. I have been trying to balance the need to book activities in advance with the need not to have too many non-refundable bookings.

Posted by
2690 posts

Nancy, thank you for a great trip report! I’m glad you included both the good and ugly. Something’s it takes a thick skin to make it through. If not, a meltdown now and then is not a bad thing. It’s all part of the adventure with good stories and memories (sometimes in hindsight).
So sorry you hurt and didn’t feel well. That makes travel uncomfortable and difficult.

I just got home Saturday from Germany, Czech Republic and Austria Saturday; solo independent travel plus RS tour I’ll write my trip report soon.

Instead of hostels, have you tried monastery stays? I did my first one in Salzburg. At €85/night including breakfast I’m sold on the experience. It was cool enough in the evening that no a/c was not an issue.
I learned last year on my trip to France not to schedule more than one thing per day. That helped ease my anxiety of getting lost. Museum passes, like the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna, where I didn’t need to book entry times for museums helped too.

Posted by
7202 posts

Nancy, your trip report was so enjoyable to read what you were still able to do, plus the wisdom to make decisions that were best for you.

Your details on specific locations were very helpful! Thank you for sharing!

Posted by
2415 posts

Thank you for the wonderful and honest trip report. You were able to adapt and adjust to your situation and were so brave to undertake this alone considering everything. From previous responses to your post, I can see that your report was so helpful to many of us in advancing years who are dealing with physical challenges. At 74, I am starting to realize my (and my husband’s) limitations and will factor those in to future travel plans. I am currently recovering from a torn meniscus and will be on an 18 day NatGeo/Lindblad cruise to the Arctic in 10 days. I am getting another cortisone shot a few days before travel but may have to rethink some or all of the hikes. We will see how that goes. Like you, we carry relevant meds and supplies (pain meds) that we didn’t need several years ago. In spite of my injury I have not canceled the trip. I am going to enjoy it to the best of my ability. Thanks again for taking the time to check in with all of us

Posted by
4010 posts

Well, you had a lot of setbacks and hard decisions, but what a lovely report. In spite of it all, you seem to have had some marvelous experiences. I admire how you experienced and saw what you could and knew the right time to end the trip. I am starting to travel more slowly and I know I have other changes in travel style ahead. I hope I do as well as you.

Posted by
8614 posts

Love the good, bad and the ugly. Thank you for sharing.

By choice I travel solo and as a 72 year old female I continue to focus on good health and comfort.

Alas, I have also discovered that airplane cabins are germ laden capsules.

Last July having spent a few weeks in London I masked the majority of the trip ( especially on the tube), tested 3 times for Covid with all results being negative.

However, caught something, where I stayed inside for 48 hours. Slept and watched to Catch a Smuggler on the National Geographic channel. Upped my intake of Orange juice. Felt better. Tested the morning of my return flight. Negative.

LHR to LAX Premium Economy on Virgin Airlines.
2 days later tested positive for Covid. Mild case. Ordered groceries delivered, slept and slept some more. By day 3 felt normal.

Be cautious. Take your vitamins. Stay hydrated and get your rest.

Posted by
141 posts

Thanks for the great report. I too, use hostels. Have stayed at them in Ireland with friends and solo. (I am early 70s.). I found them clean, safe, well located and friendly.

I appreciate your specific recommendations on things to do and see. I have made note of a couple which I will incorporate into next year’s travel.

Posted by
1506 posts

Thanks for your great report. I'm sorry you had your health issues but you smartly made the best use of your time and it seems you enjoyed most of your trip. I completely identified with your comment about the difference between 69 and 75. We are 76 and 80 years of age and in good health except for a couple of conditions. Injuring a knee or ankle is a real worry. I do the planning and for some reason continued to plan an itinerary that would be best for those in similar health but ten years younger. We feel young but really don't have the energy or stamina to do what we used to. In the last two years our trips have become a bit shorter, we spend more nights in each location, spend more time bench warming during the day, start our days later and end them earlier. I have an itinerary for each day but we cut sights if needed. It's truly a rude awakening to have to admit we can't do what we used to. That being said, we enjoy each trip as much as we used to but just more slowly.

I hope you recover from your knee issues and are able to venture out on an enjoyable trip again, hopefully with no issues!

Posted by
138 posts

Thanks to all of you for the comments and inspiration. It seems that many of you in my age range are dealing with the same issues.

To answer just a couple of specifics, this story does raise the issue of how much to pre-book, whether that be transportation, lodging, or sights and experiences. I had booked and paid for a number of things that now I wish I hadn't, of course, but that's another reason to keep our trips somewhat simpler going forward. I felt it was prudent to pre-book so that I wasn't using my credit card online to make reservations during the trip, but no doubt I could have waited on some things.

I haven't tried monastery stays in Europe, although I've done that here a couple of times. I'm not saying I won't stay in a hostel again at all; what I'm saying is that if I did so, it would be purely an economic decision and I wouldn't have the expectation that the hostels would be a great social outlet. That might mean joining more local tours and being chattier with people on buses or in restaurants.

Posted by
2438 posts

thanks for this report -- much to add to one's considerations when planning a lot of moving by foot!

Posted by
4286 posts

I'm sorry your trip didn't work as planned, but I really appreciate your sharing so much useful information.

Posted by
634 posts

Thank you for the great report. It’s given me a lot to think about as I plan daily activities for an October trip to France.

Posted by
13869 posts

"I felt it was prudent to pre-book so that I wasn't using my credit card online to make reservations during the trip, but no doubt I could have waited on some things."

Particularly for museums and trains, I've been using the specific apps for venues and transportation. I want to think that is a safer way to use my CC but I'm not sure if that is true or not. The last 2 trips I also used ApplePay a LOT and found that easy and safe. And yes, I even tried it out in the toilette in the Amsterdam Centraal train station, hahaha for .70 Euro cents (came across as 77 US cents).

Thank you so much for taking the time to post and give a thoughtful analysis of your plan and how it worked out.

As I age I keep wondering how long I will be able to travel. I'll be 74 in a few weeks and have signed up for 2 fairly active tours for 2025, lol. I enjoy tours although many do not so I want to stay fit and healthy for those!

I hope since you've been home your knees have recovered and you are feeling ready to travel again!

Posted by
7 posts

Nancy, As a 67-year-old solo female traveler, I always enjoy reading about the adventures and experiences of other solo female travelers. Thank you for sharing what you learned about yourself, specifically that adjusting expectations as we age can lead to more successful and enjoyable travel.

Posted by
2311 posts

Nancy I'm not in your age range but I learned a lot from your post, thank you for sharing! I'm super impressed with your thoughtful analysis of what worked and what didn't and your desire to keep learning from the good and bad. Thanks for the inspiration!

Posted by
233 posts

Agree with Trotter—you rock!
I thoroughly enjoyed your report and glad you reported good and bad. Hope all is well now that you’re home.

Posted by
552 posts

I thoroughly enjoyed your detailed trip report. I have stayed in only one hostel (in Bolzano) and it was a really nice private room, but the common and breakfast areas were sociable. Even just the people watching was fun.
Hope your future travels are awesome.

Posted by
2317 posts

I read both your trip reports and enjoyed them both. Thanks so much for sharing.

Posted by
138 posts

Thanks again for your comments and observations. I've learned so much from this forum and am glad to pass on some of my still-neophyte experiences.

One other change I noticed between 2017 and 2023 is that every hostel wanted to see my passport at check-in. Maybe that is true of hotels too. In 2017 only one hostel out of I think 11 did this. Eventually I gave up and kept my passport in my cross-body bag instead of the money belt.

Posted by
401 posts

Nancy I thank you for your trip report. I found it very enlightening and it made me think about how life and communication has changed in recent years. The ‘everybody is on their phones’ phenomena is so true and makes an impact on human interactions. There’s not near as much chatting with people in line with you as there used to be even in Texas. Sort of sad really….

I hope your knee has recovered? Don’t give up. I hope to do 3 trips in 2024, 2 of them solo and I have 1 solo trip this October. I feel the clock ticking because at 73 I know I’m one trip over my dog or something similar that would take a long time to recover from or worse.

Posted by
285 posts

Nancy, thanks for your interesting and honest trip report. I’m 70 and I sometimes travel solo so your experiences and insights are very useful.

Posted by
1368 posts

Nancy, I enjoyed your reports and copied your routes. I plan on retiring in March 2028 and want to spend a few months in Europe myself. I already try to go at least every other year. Thanks again,

Posted by
1991 posts

Nancy--I loved your report, thank you. I'm sorry about the knee issues. I can relate all too well, unfortunately. I am 20 years younger than you, and close to 15 years ago I fell at Versaille and was a mess. I had knee surgery once I got home. I can still vividly remember trying to get around for the rest of that trip and how slow I was ,etc. I am glad you were still able to do things, and you have a good attitude about it all as well:)

Posted by
42 posts

Sorry I don't know how to reply directly to a particular poster. Can the person that posted about the monastery in Salzburg tell me more about that? What is the name and how do you find out about these places? Thanks so much.

Posted by
6277 posts

regina, you can send that person, in this case horsewoofie, a private message. Go back up to her post, click on her name, and you'll be taken to her page. From there you can choose to send her a private message (PM.)

I'm posting this on the thread, but will also send it to you as a PM.

Posted by
1912 posts

Thank you, Nancy. We have a lot in common and I can relate to your story. I am old (78) and am lower income. I have to budget in order to travel.

I have previously posted on your discussion but before my cruise and now I have completed my cruise. And this cruise was my second trip to Europe.

I have an arthritic knee and need a knee replacement. My doctor gave me an injection before I left to mask the pain but it did not work.

Sitting was no problem but walking was often very difficult and I did take one fall but fortunately did not hurt myself, just was terribly embarrassed.

Still I have no regrets that i took this cruise.

I have already booked a Mediterranean cruise leaving from Barcelona for next October. It will be a simpler vacation than the one that I have just taken and i will be less ambitious.

I will not try to walk as much and will take the HoHo bus around Barcelona to get acquainted with it before choosing sites to spend more time with.

I will also take my topicals with me. which I left home last cruise because I was counting on the shot.

I have begun to use a cane which makes walking easier but more awkward.

Tuesday I am going to see my PCC and will be getting a referral to an orthopedic surgeon but I am also going to ask about physical therapy and a real knee brace, . I am not ready for surgery.

I have already written a trip report and it was about the good, the bad and in between. Like yourself, mine was not always glowing.

Glad that youn posted.

Posted by
242 posts

Very inspiring, i started travel when i was in my 20's....still shy of 50, but I remember when I was young older people told me to travel often as you can!

Posted by
3199 posts

I’m late to read this, but also wanted to say what an excellent report and I am bookmarking for future travel. I remember being in Paris and sitting at a cafe and watching this very elderly man shuffle, very, very slowly along. I remember thinking, good for you, still getting out there trying to go, do and see instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for himself!