In late summer of 2014, we began conversing with Nan and George Laux about traveling together to do Viking’s Grand EuropeanTour, as they already had it on their radar for 2015, and we had added it to our second bucket list a couple years ago. We tentatively agreed to plan for October/Noveber 2015, but the more Kay and I thought about it, the more we wanted to escape Arkansas in either July or August because of the oppressive heat and humidity, and remain in Arkansas in the fall, as it is generally one of our favorite times with moderate temperatures and great fall colors. Also, the chance of rain in Europe is less then than in October/November. Consequently, we jumped the gun, and shortly after selling the Norfork house and traveling to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas for the winter, we looked over various dates and selected August 2015 as our preferred choice, and immediately booked the trip. Al and Sharon Crawford, and then Chuck and Sue Mercer opted to join us on the trip; regrettably, Al and Sharon had to cancel earlier this summer. The Grand European Tour begins in Amsterdam and “sails” to Budapest, Hungary. We added an extension of three days and two nights in Amsterdam, and later added a similar extension to Prague.
Pam Williams transported us to the airport in Little Rock to catch a early evening plane to Atlanta. From there, we flew directly to Amsterdam, arriving on Wednesday, August 12. Checking luggage at Little Rock, and going through TSA security was a breeze—we kept our shoes on, and computer, iPhones, and iPads remained in our carryon bags—a significant change since I last flew! he flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam was not pleasant as the plane’s cabin temperature was too warm, the kids behind us talked and caroused all night with lots of seat bumps, the seats were just plain uncomfortable, and neither of us slept more than a few minutes despite taking a couple of Tylenol PMs.