Traveling internationally when you are over 70 isn’t without its risks. Although we consider ourselves seasoned and knowledgeable travelers, the unexpected still occurs and provides further insight into what should be considered when one leaves home. Our 6-week journey to Spain and Turkey began as normal, full of excitement, careful packing, and planning. Flights: check, hotels: check, travel insurance: check. Thank goodness for that last check. I’ll get to that a bit later.
Our first stop, Mallorca, Spain. This gem of an island sitting in the Mediterranean is a frequent stop of ours since we are fortunate to have family members living there. Its capital, Palma, is steeped in history dating from the time of the Moors right up to the 13th-century Christian conquest. The stunning 14th-century gothic cathedral, La Seu, is the historical heart of the city. The medieval streets lead you to the Arab quarter and many of Palma’s hidden treasures, including aristocratic houses, charming courtyards, and unique architecture. You won’t tire of the many opportunities for gallery visiting, shopping or just people watching at one of the abundant street side cafes, but be sure to get out of town to enjoy the full beauty of the island. There are beaches dotted around the island too numerous to mention and the lure of the crystal turquoise waters will be hard to ignore. A drive through the scenic Serra de Tramuntana mountain will take in some of the island’s prettiest villages. Valldemossa, Fornalutx, Deià, and Sóller are each worth the trip.
Our next stop the Aegean seaside town of Aliaga Turkey where we had easy access to the historic sites of Izmir starting with its open-air market, the Agora then on to the ancient UNESCO cities of Ephesus, Pergamon and Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The weather mid-June is still favorable to spend an entire day exploring these amazing treasures.
Weekends are free to take an easy ferry to the nearby Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios, only two we managed to visit. Our pre-planning didn’t include an international driver’s license, which is mandatory in Greece for international visitors wanting a car rental, so our exploration of these islands was a bit more costly due to the need for hiring a taxi for the entire day.
Things were going so well and we were excitedly looking forward to a few more weeks of travel in this region when the unexpected happened. My husband, an active, healthy 75-year old suddenly was suffering from an extremely high fever.
With advice from our hotel we made an appointment at a local international clinic where, suffering from a bladder infection, he was admitted for three days. The attention and medical experience we received was amazing.
So here is where planning for the unexpected reaped its rewards. Our travel insurance, Allianz, was accepted by the hospital and the staff took on the task of coordinating the payment.
We’ll never travel again without this safety net….nor an international driver’s license!
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