Packing For European River Cruise Brings Back Memories

I haven’t been this excited for an upcoming trip since packing for my 2009 circumnavigation cruise of Australia!  Two of the best trips I have ever taken were with Vantage Travel, on previous river cruises of the waterways of Belgium and Holland, and Central/ Eastern Europe.  So, I am EXCITED!

Packing for my trip also brings back memories of an item I brought on a previous trip that, uhhh, failed.  It was my Speedo training suit that I brought on a Caribbean cruise, last October, to wear in the ship’s pool.  Here is an excerpt from my travelogue of that trip explaining just what happened:

…So, this morning, when I went out on deck to check out the weather and view, what was the first thing I saw? A 50 meter competition swimming pool, just a few blocks away from the ship! This is a first, for sure, and a cruel temptation… Why “cruel”? Well, let me tell you…
A few mornings ago, I was praising the virtues of my Speedo Endurance suit (50% polyester/ 50% PBT) to my mom, going on and on about how much longer it has lasted than I had predicted. So, off I go to the pool for a one-hour “swim”, happy as can be. Why do I say “swim”? Because the pool is really more of a wading pool, considering the size. But, I had it all to myself, so I attempted to swim my “laps”. For my swimming friends, this is how it went: A light push off, no SDK, no DPS, and five shortened strokes gets me to the end; that is, if I stay in the middle and aim for the steps to the further wall. For breaststroke, it’s one good stroke after the turn, followed by a shortened stroke. Don’t even get me started on backstroke or fly… But, hey, I’ve gotten really good at egg beater kick with my hands up in the air! And, my sculling drills? Awesome! Such is the life of a swimmer aboard a cruise ship…
So, I get out of the pool, pop over to the bar to refill my water, swim more “laps”, get out, dry off, bend over to pick up my stuff, and happily trot back to my cabin for a shower. I wash out my suit, let it dry throughout the day, then grab it to throw back in my drawer. Ohhhhhhh noooooo! Burst seams- everywhere; especially a BIG one, right in the butt! Oh my!!! Who did I flash, back at the pool? Who did I moon? What were THEY thinking???
Now, before you start blaming weight gain and the great cruise ship food, I haven’t gained an ounce; my clothes fit great. I just believe my Speedo Endurance suit has chosen to endure no more… After a period of mourning the death of my ugly purple and white flowered suit (purchased for a steal on clearance) and secretly jumping for joy that I finally get to buy a new one; hopefully better looking, but at the same low $28 price, I went up on deck to perform a ceremonial burial at sea. My suit and I saw some great times, this year; even a National Qualifying Time for 50 yard breaststroke. But, it was time to say goodbye… At the conclusion of my well-wishes, I stopped short of tossing it overboard, though (of course!), because I didn’t want to pollute the ocean. Save the waves!
I am now suitless on this cruise. And, there is a 50 meter pool next to the ship. Cruel…
Edit:  So, what comes up next on my packing list?  A Speedo, in case I find a pool near our river boat dockings!  And, what shape is my current Speedo Endurance suit?  Well, the stitching is coming out of the neckline and the elastic is exposed…  The seams are looking quite worn…  Uh-oh; could this be deja vu all over again?  Stay tuned!

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