What A Tale To Tell

What A Tale To Tell. First it starts with a Hurricane named Irma. The week before the hurricane made landfall in Florida was one of worry and concern for my husband and I. Our home is only a mile from the ocean and the intercostal waterway and our community lies within an evacuation zone. That means we are supposed to  leave whenever a severe storm is approaching our area. With a fierce category 5 or 4 storm heading in our direction, our neighbors and friends as well as many thousands across south Florida were all making plans on where to go to escape the  approaching hurricane.

Weather Channel Hurricane Irma

We had a different dilemma on our hands. We had made plans months in advance for a fall trip to Europe leaving on Monday, September 11th. We were supposed to drive two and a half hours  south to the Miami airport for a flight on American Airlines to Prague…that being the day Irma was predicted to impact Miami. What were we to do?

I contacted American Airlines five days out but they wouldn’t consider changing our tickets until two days before Irma was supposed to hit. By then, we knew there would be no way of getting out of Miami as every flight would be sold out and future flights cancelled for days. We frantically searched for two days for a new way to get to Prague.

If you’ve ever had to buy last minute tickets on any airline, you know prices can be exorbitant. The cheapest one way tickets were going from $3,000 to over $10,000 a person. Norwegian Air had a few premium flex (totally refundable) seats available from Orlando to Oslo, Norway for $1700 each and we bought them instantly. We now had a way out if American didn’t come through for us.

Finally we received an email to contact American about our flight from Miami. Just as we suspected, American couldn’t accommodate us on any flights from anywhere on the east coast of the United States to Europe so we cancelled the outbound flights with them but kept the return. Of course we had to pay extra as our tickets were now considered one way fares. You have to do what you have to do, like it or not.

New tickets were finally bought that would involve four airlines. We would fly from Orlando on Norwegian to Oslo, on Air Berlin from Oslo to Berlin,  on Lufthansa from Berlin to Prague and then use the last half of our American Airlines reservations from Munich to Philadelphia then on to Miami.

Plans were now in place, we would be leaving five days earlier than our originally planned trip. We would evacuate but we were going further than others. We now had to get our house ready for a hurricane and then pack. We knew just what to do because last year we left for Europe a day before Hurricane Matthew hit Vero Beach. Uh oh, I hope I don’t see a pattern developing!

Not knowing what we would come back to when we returned home, we secured our house the best we could, rented a car on Thursday before the storm and drove to Orlando in the morning. We were on Norwegian’s last flight out of Orlando at 11 P.M to Oslo, Norway arriving about 2 P.M. the next afternoon. After a five hour layover in Oslo, we flew to Berlin, arriving at our hotel at 9 in the evening. It was an exhausting two days but we were happy to be in Europe. We spent four days in Berlin, then flew to Prague to begin our originally planned trip.

We are now in the middle of our European holiday. By the time we will return home, we will have flown four airlines, been in five countries and spent time in the European capitals of Berlin, Prague and Vienna with their world famous sights and museums. We will have also spent time in wonderful small villages in Austria, Germany and France. It will have been a memorable holiday but I think it will also be remembered as the year of hurricanes.

After seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Irma from news reports, my husband and I count our blessings that our lovely beach town of Vero Beach escaped the brunt of the storm. Some sections of our town had flooding, beach erosion caused damage and some homes suffered wind damage. Owning a two year old house built to the latest specs, the only damage our home sustained was to some landscaping so we count ourselves extremely lucky. More importantly, all of our children that live in south Florida made it through the storm safely so our minds were put to rest. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted by this year’s terrible hurricane season.


I want to thank all my readers who have sent notes of concern, they were much appreciated. I’ve had problems with my computer but it seems to be fixed now. Over the next weeks, I hope to share this year’s travels in Europe. See you soon.






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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

100 thoughts on “What A Tale To Tell

    1. Hi Gary, Just got my computer up and running again. What a way to start a holiday but as you say, everyone made it safely through the storm. Thank you for your nice comment.

  1. Oh wow – I was wondering when I heard about the hurricane whether you’d have to cancel your trip or whether you were already traveling. So glad to hear you and your house are well! Happy & safe travels!

    1. Hi Kiki, Just got my computer up and running again. Thank goodness we didn’t have to cancel the trip and our home was safe. We are in your wonderful country right now…Baiersbronn in the Black Forest.

  2. William Shakespeare wrote ‘All’s well that ends well’ and the Greater Powers be blessed that seems to be the case here. Thought of you so many times, thought this would be about the time of your departure, thought I better not enquire, thought you would be very busy – and you were ! As long as health did not suffer, all’s well indeed . . . and can’t wait to read of your journeys and discoveries . . .

    1. Hi Eha, Just got my computer up and running again. Thank you for your kind thoughts, we were indeed very lucky that our family and our home made it safely through the storm.

    1. Hi Kay, Happy to have my computer up and running again. We were indeed very lucky concerning the storm. Having a great time in Germany at the present time, thank you for your wish.

    1. Thank you Lea Ann. Sorry to take so long to answer, I’ve had computer problems. We were very lucky indeed that we didn’t have any damage to our home except for some landscaping issues. We were one of the lucky ones.

  3. maybe now you can relax and really enjoy your journey—it you are already gone from Prague—we ate at a divine Tower restaurant there in on of the old bell towers—also the Hotel Konig von Ungarn in Vienna is marvelous 🙂

    1. Hi Julie, After what we went through preparing for the storm, we definitely needed to relax and four days in Berlin did the trick. Prague and Vienna were wonderful…hope to get photos up once we are home and I can figure out this new OS on my computer. 😀

      1. I wish I could help you but my husband just pushed a button and it started downloading. It took almost three hours to do it but I was on a hotel’s Wifi. I now have the latest and greatest but I would be much happier with my old out of date system.

      2. I pushed the button and I dot some message that something wouldn’t accept it or work just right— it’s their way of luring this technological pleb into the store in order to buy anew 😏

      3. I’ve thought about getting a new one too but then not only would we have to learn a new operating system, we would have to learn how to use everything new on the computer. I know it is coming though and probably sooner rather than later.

  4. The other day, I was thinking of you and hoping you hadn’t been affected by the hurricane, as I hadn’t seen any updates on your blog. I’m glad to hear you and your family are safe, and that your house isn’t damaged. Have a wonderful time in Europe!

    1. So sorry it took so long to thank you for your kind words, Grace…they are much appreciated. I’ve had computer problems on our trip.

  5. I am relieved to hear you and your home are safe Karen! I was wondering if you had perhaps already left before the hurricane neared. What a story! But at least you had the bonus of seeing Berlin for a few days… I do hope the rest of your travels are relaxing and enjoyable and you can return home safe and sound! I look forward to hearing about your trip! 🙂

    1. Sorry to have taken so long to answer your lovely comment Cathy, thank you for your kind thoughts. I’ve had nothing but problems with my computer on this trip. We really enjoyed Berlin and then headed to a wonderful hotel very close to where you live, I believe. We did a big circle of Austria and are now back in Germany. Love your country.

    1. Hi Debbie, Sorry to have taken so long to answer, my computer wasn’t working. We were indeed very lucky to not have had damage from the storm. We are enjoying our trip and hopefully I’ll be sharing photos before long. 🙂

  6. I thought of you both many times Karen, and am so grateful that you both are safe and your family well. I have friends in Miami and Jupiter and all survived. Miami is apparently “a mess”, yet Jupiter friend OK as he remained in place. Look forward to your photos. Kudos on being able to rally with your airfare and flexibility. You are indeed a seasoned traveller. Hugs, Diane

    1. I appreciate your kind thoughts Diane, sorry it has taken so long to respond. Figuring out a way to get to Europe was a challenge but in the end we are having a great time.

    1. Sorry to have taken so son to respond Cynthia…I’ve had computer problems. It was indeed a frantic situation but in the end everything turned out well. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

  7. Oh my goodness! I knew you had a trip planned but not exactly when. Very happy to hear that your home and town was spared and that you are now enjoying your vacation. I’ll look forward to hearing about it.


    1. Hi Bonnie, I’m sorry it has taken so long to answer…I’ve had computer problems. We made it safely to Europe, our home and family weathered the hurricane and we are now enjoying our travels. Hopefully, I’ll be able to have photos up before long of this trip as it has been wonderful.

  8. Oh my word…what a stressful time. So glad you and your family and are safe and sound and that you were able to get away for your holiday. Norwegian Air fly between London and Malaga and are pretty good, hope your flight was OK, they’re advertising heavily now in Europe.

    1. Sorry to have taken so long to answer, I’ve been having computer problems. It was indeed a stressful time but happy that we were able to go ahead with our holiday. While I would have definitely enjoyed flying business class over (too bad that didn’t happen because of Irma), we were very pleased with Norwegian Air premium seats for the long flight. The food wasn’t good and they don’t have pillows but we would use them again for a flight to Europe as the fare was a good one.

  9. So glad you managed to get those flights organized, Karen. I’m happy that your home sustained no damage and that your family is safe after the hurricane. A very worrying time for everyone in the path of the storm.

    1. Hi Sylvia, I was thinking about you too and all my other Florida friends during Irma. Thank you for your kind thoughts. Sorry to have taken so long to answer but I’ve been having computer problems here in Europe.

    1. Hi Jo, Sorry to have taken so long to answer, thank you for your kind thoughts and wishes. I’ve been having computer problems while here in Europe but we are having a wonderful holiday.

    1. Hi Mad Dog, As you know I’ve been having computer problems…sorry it has taken so long to answer. I agree with you about less hurricanes in the future. So far I don’t like the pattern of them heading our way just when we have a trip to your side of the pond planned. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts Judy. I’m sorry it has taken so long to respond but I’ve been having computer problems while on our trip here in Europe. Hopefully I’ll have photos up soon.

  10. I’m so glad to hear that you and your family are safe and suffered only minimal damage from Irma’s visit. Hope you’re having a grand time on your vacation and look forward to reading all about it when you return!

    1. I appreciate your kind thoughts and wishes Peter. We are having a wonderful vacation. I’m having computer problems so my posts about this year’s trip will have to wait until I return home and can get some technical help.

    1. Hi Gloria, Thank you for your kind words. Irma was a terrible storm but we were very lucky. Sorry to have answered so late but I’ve had computer problems.

    1. Hi Kelli, Those photos are going to have to wait until I get back home and can get some technical help with my computer. I appreciate your kind thoughts, thank you.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, I hope that I don’t have a tale to tell like that one ever again and we were indeed lucky. As soon as I can get my photos uploaded to WordPress when we get home next week, I can’t wait to write about Berlin. We really enjoyed our time there. Thank you!

  11. o man..that would be too much for me. I admire your energy and patience…traveling is definitely not my thing.

    1. Hi Angie, The one thing I’ve learned when it comes to travel is that you must be flexible. Sorry to have taken so long to respond, I’ve been having problems with my computer here in Europe.

  12. You were lucky to dodge a bullet when so many have been affected by the devastation of the last month. We, too, were lucky as our house fared well in Houston. I am sure you will have much to tell about your trip.

    1. Hi Linda, I think we were both lucky to have dodged bullets as far as this year’s storms are concerned. It is hard to be away from your home when a hurricane is going to hit…you just have to hope for the best. Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you. 🙂

  13. Glad to hear you and family are safe. I did not remember which part of Florida you live so I am so glad to hear from you.

    Your flight plan sounds unusual, but sounds like you made the best of an adventure.

    1. Hi Madonna, It was a round about and much longer way to get to Europe and the start of this year’s trip but at least we didn’t have to cancel the whole thing and lose thousands of dollars. Thank you for your kind thoughts, we are having a wonderful time.

    1. I appreciate your kind thoughts Darlene, we were lucky that our home wasn’t damaged. Those photos will be coming as soon as I get some technical help with my computer…thanks!

    1. Thanks for your visit and sweet comment Caroline. I’m so sorry to be responding to it so late but I’ve had nothing but problems with my computer while here in Europe. Next week when I return home, I hope to get technical help and then I’ll be sharing posts about our five week adventure.

  14. ‘What a tale to tell indeed!’ You showed some determination there, Karen. And I’m glad you got your holiday as well as coming back to a house in one piece.

    1. Hi Helen, It was a tale I don’t wish to relive ever. 🙂 We had friends check on our home after the storm and were grateful we didn’t have any damage. I’m sorry to be responding late but I’ve had computer problems while we have been here in Europe.

      1. It must be more worrying in some ways if you are a long way from home! Good at least that you have friends who could check on it.

    1. Hi Amy, Yes…we heard that there wasn’t as much damage as there was last year when Matthew hit Vero Beach. It would be nice to travel one year without worrying about hurricanes in our area. Unfortunately you don’t get much help from the airlines when they start cancelling flights but we were able to at least get to Europe. Thank you for your nice comment. 🙂

  15. So glad to hear you are well, and your family, too.

    That is a lot of flying. Even when I have to pay more, I fly non-stop. I am simply too inpatient to sit still over 4 hours.

    I want to hear all about your vacation-I’ve never been to Europe!


    1. Sorry to be replying late Jane, I’ve been having computer problems while we are in Europe. I’m with you about nonstop flights. Heading to Prague this year, a nonstop was impossible and then when American cancelled our flights we didn’t have much choice but to go in a long round about way. At least we are here in Europe and having a great time. As soon as I can get technical help, I’ll start posting about our five week holiday in Europe. I’m glad you are looking forward to them, thank you!

  16. Great to hear that you managed to get your flights sorted out and that your house in Florida has survived the hurricane, I have a friend in the BVI who tell me the place is a complete disaster! Thankfully they are OK and his house is solid concrete so that also survived.
    Have a great weekend and enjoy your holiday Diane

    1. I’m sorry to be responding late but I do appreciate your kind message Diane, thank you. I used to have a condo in St. Thomas, V.I. and we also used to have a home in Key Largo…I can’t help but wonder if they survived this year’s hurricane damage.

    1. Hi Penny, I’m sure you are having a wonderful time on your holiday in France, I’ll look forward to reading about it once you are home. We were lucky to get out before the storm and that our home didn’t receive any damage. As soon as I can get technical problems fix, I’ll start sharing photos of this year’s European trip. 🙂

  17. I, too, sweated out a worrisome week, when things looked dire for my native Florida—where I still have family and friends. Considering how bad it could’ve been, I feel like Florida dodged a really dangerous bullet. I’m happy for you that you and your‘s or unscathed. And I also sympathize with you for all the problems of obtaining your air ticket – – never fun.

    1. Hi Vicki, We really did dodge a bullet except those living in the Keys and certain parts of south Florida. Thankfully we found the Norwegian Air flight out of Orlando or our whole trip would have been completely messed up. I’ve had computer problems but should be sharing this year’s trip to Europe soon. Thank you for your nice comment…it is always good to hear from you.

    1. Thank you for your kind wishes Didi, we ended up being very lucky as far as Irma was concerned. We are having a wonderful trip and hopefully I can start sharing about our latest adventure soon. 😀

    1. Hi Liz, Sorry to have taken so long to respond to your comment but I’ve been having computer problems here in Europe. Yes, Berlin was a bonus this year as well as getting to spend extra days in Europe because of Irma. I guess that is one of the only good things she did for anyone. 🙂 One thing I’ve learned when traveling…you must be flexible. We have friends on the west coast of Florida and they came through without too much damage as well.

    1. Hi Laura, Yes we did get out of Florida in the nick of time and are grateful we didn’t have any damage to our home. I’m having computer problems here in Europe but hopefully when we get home next week I’ll get them all sorted out. Then I’ll start sharing this year’s adventure. I’m happy to know that you will be following along, thank you!

  18. Wow! What an ordeal! So glad it all turned other well for you and your family! I am sure you will now enjoy your trip in Europe with the knowledge that everything is fine. I look forward to reading about your adventures. Happy and safe travels. 👍

    1. Thank you for your kind words Fatima, they are much appreciated. I’m having problems with my computer here in Europe but hope to be posting about our holiday soon.

  19. It’s actually quite incredible that the Airlines see these tragedies as a way to gauge their customers even more! My dear friend’s daughter abandoned her airline tickets back to Canada and drove 35 hours non-stop with her girlfriends to safety, the airline refunded their entire trip!
    Hope you have a wonderful time in Europe.

    1. Sorry to be responding to you comment late Eva but I’m having computer problems while in Europe. Yes, I must say I agree with you about the airlines. If they would start letting customers change their flights earlier than just two days before a storm, I think it would benefit the customers as well as themselves. Even though we ended up spending more money, we were able to salvage our holiday and for that we are happy.

  20. Wow, that’s a pretty unique evacuation story. I’d have been furious with American but you really handled the situation with aplomb. Have a super vacation!

    1. Hi Inger, I apologize for being late in responding to your kind words…they are much appreciated. I’m having computer problems here in Europe but we are having a wonderful vacation, thank you!

  21. We were in Italy with Mark’s brother/wife starting September 8 – they are from Gainesville and had a harrowing “get out of Florida” day to get to Italy. Lucky for them, even though Irma went right over Gainesville, their home and friends were all fine. Whew! for both of you! Sorry about the airlines mess – they tried to do that to our family, too, but it ended up not being necessary. Glad you and your home are safe! Enjoy your trip! xo

    1. Hi David, I’m happy that Mark’s family was able to get out of Florida without a problem. We consider ourselves lucky that we could find a way to salvage a vacation even without American’s help. Hopefully there won’t be anymore hurricanes around when we head home on American next week. 😀

    1. Thank you Ksenia, for your kind thoughts and wishes. We are having a great European adventure and hopefully I’ll be able to start sharing it soon. 🙂

  22. My goodness, what a tale, you must have been worried sick not knowing what exactly was going to happen. My husband and I had discussed what we would do in a similar situation and securing the house and leaving seems to be the best. So glad you and your family are okay. Take care!

  23. I appreciate your lovely comment Cheri, thank you very much. When we packed up, they were forecasting category 5 force winds. Even though our home is built to the latest specs, we didn’t know what we would come home to once it cleared Florida. We lived through Hurricane Andrew when we lived in Key Largo and I always said I would never stay through a hurricane again if I could help it. We are blessed that we and our family were lucky this time round.

  24. What an ordeal! So glad to read that you did make it to Europe in spite of the extra expenses and changes in schedule, that you are enjoying yourself and that your home is safe. My sister had the opposite problem in that she was on vacation and could get home to Tampa, so she flew to her daughter’s home in Altanta. Now back home and everything is good.

    Have a great vacation and safe trip home!

    1. Hi MJ, Thank goodness we found a way to Europe before the storm. We are driving to Munich today for the last portion of our trip and will be heading home next week. Happy to hear that your sister made it home as well.

  25. What a story! How scary to leave your home not knowing what you would come back to! I hope you could still enjoy your vacation, just amazing how you figured it out! Right now we are riding out Nate, in Orange Beach Al, not fun!

    1. Hi Jenna, It really was a stressful situation but we have had a wonderful trip in Europe and will be heading home next week. Stay safe and I hope Nate doesn’t cause too much damage.

  26. It takes brave, seasoned travelers to navigate such stormy times, Karen! So glad that your home and family weathered the hurricane and that you were able to skillfully make so many changes in your travel plans. I’m looking forward to hearing all about your travels… in some of my very favorite places! Wishing you safe travels and wonderful memories of Autumn days in Europe! ♡

  27. It is a crazy world for sure – so much to learn and it changes constantly. Have a wonderful rest of your trip – and we have our fingers crossed we get to see tons of photos soon. We spent a couple of weeks in Australia last month and I can’t seem to get through the 1,500 photos I took – and my husband took at least that many too!

  28. What a mess! Glad you got things sorted out, but that was a major pain. And flying is such a pain to begin with. 😦 Glad your house came through OK — newer construction is a good thing in Florida, isn’t it?

  29. Hi Karen, sorry it’s taken me a while to get to you. The hurricanes are horrendous. I was in Cuba and evacuated to Montego Bay. We then couldn’t go back to the resort of Cayo Coco as it took the eye full on and has been trashed. They don’t when they’ll get the airport up and running. Our passengers were bussed out to Varadero, 8hours, which also took a hit, but the buildings are much stronger there. A few days later we got a plane full of people home.

    I’m so pleased you got away and your new home was literally untouched. Sadly there is nothing good about these hurricanes, just have to count yourself lucky despite the inconvenience.

    You should look up our flights. Thomas Cook Airlines. MIA-MAN-PRG. Gateway to Europe.

  30. I relate to your post in several ways. First, let me say, I am glad you were able to have your vacation and that your home was not damaged. I look forward to reading your posts. I enjoyed your trip to Berlin very much. My husband and I will be going on a Danube River Cruise in the spring and I wish we could visit Berlin but that will have to be at another time.
    Computer woes and keeping up with technology is a challenge. I spent three hours with Apple Support yesterday so I relate.

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