I’m often asked when I travel, as one is, whether I’m married, though I suspect that it’s more from the perspective of who would marry me? The answer, all you smarty-pants, is yes, and, though even my kids claim they don’t understand why their mother married me, we’ve been at it for 23 glorious years.
I’m reminded of this because recently I had the opportunity to attend the annual German Travel Mart, which was held this year in Nuremberg – a mere stone’s throw from where Jodi and I were engaged.
Indeed, the story of our betrothal was long remembered in the hallowed halls of the German tourist office, for it was on the Romantic Road, no less, where I proposed to her and she agreed. Sort of.
We were travelling together on holiday after a few years of courtship and found ourselves making our way north from Munich along the famed Romantische Strasse, dallying in towns with dreamy-sounding names like Rottingen and Dinkelsbuhl. But it was in lovely Rothenburg ob der Tauber that I decided to make my move.
We were staying at the charming Romantik Hotel Markusturm (which is still there should you have any ideas), the former 11th-century tollhouse in the town, a pale-yellow gingerbread structure on an impossibly quaint cobblestone street beside the Roeder Arch and its ornate clock tower.
It’s true that I had planned the proposal beforehand, but the actual moment was unscripted. And whether I was inspired by Rothenburg’s notorious museum of medieval punishment or the ecstasy of the schneeballen pastries, a local delicacy, I can’t say, but I knew this town, this hotel, was the place.
Being an immensely practical individual, preparations for my life-altering query had included the consideration that I didn’t want to bring an engagement ring with me on the road. After all, I might lose it, have to declare it, or Jodi might have come across it. So instead, I cleverly purchased a copy of Brides magazine to present as a substitute, hiding it in a pocket of my suitcase. As we unpacked, I pulled out the publication and tossed it with a flourish to my expected future bride-to-be, only to watch in horror as it flipped in flight, landing with a thud on the floor in front of her, the upside-down back cover face up: Bridesmaid magazine!
“I’m going to be a bridesmaid?” she quipped with a twinkle.
I admit that I quickly knee-d the deed, redeeming myself and receiving the hoped-for reply.
It was a magical moment, made even more special by the setting, Germany’s Romantische Strasse, an indelible life memory on our long and winding road.
Fittingly, travel was equally involved, one might even say responsible, for Jodi and me meeting in the first place. It was 1989 at one of those “fun and friendly” (i.e. cheap) all-inclusives in the Dominican Republic. Jodi, a travel agent at the time, her sister and a couple of colleagues were on one of those great Sunquest junkets of the day; and I, not yet working in travel, knew somebody who knew somebody who worked for the tour operator who had some last-minute seats to unload at a price that was impossible for a buddy and I to refuse.
Ultimately, Jodi and I met over wine – my warning not to drink it, actually, as the domestic offering at the Embassy Beach Club certainly left something to be desired. And as we hailed from the same part of the planet (me Toronto, her Hamilton), our romance continued and blossomed when we returned home.
Eventually we married, honeymooned in St. Lucia, and returned there a couple of years ago for our 20th anniversary.
In between – notably before we had children – there was the purchase of the silk pyjamas for my wife in Hong Kong on a HKTB-Cathay Pacific Super Fam. To this day, a couple of travel agents from the trip whom I bump into occasionally at events like to remind me that they encouraged the purchase of the garments, thereby, by extension, taking credit for said children.
But generally, the rest, as they say, was history.
But it’s also the future. It’s a great life, a travel life, and I don’t think either one of us would change a minute of it.
(Note: this column appears in the September edition of CT/Canadian Traveller magazine; be sure to check it out for features on Making the most of agent incentives, Germany, and the inaugural Caribbean – Yours to Discover feature.)
• Collette’s Book Your Own Bonus agent incentive is back with a birthday twist in honor of the tour operator’s upcoming centennial celebration! Agents qualify for this promotion after their very first booking and can receive incentive earnings in addition to their commission. Following an initial booking, earnings increase to $50 for the second and $100 for the third and each booking after that (with no limits).
• Celebrity Cruises will expand its popular “All Included Caribbean Vacations” program to Thunder Bay, Ont. in 2018. The one-day only departure on March 31 features direct service on a Celebrity-branded planes operated by Canadian North to south Florida for a Western Caribbean cruise aboard the aboard Celebrity Silhouette to Cozumel, Puerto Costa Maya, Key West and Grand Cayman.
• Sunwing will begin new weekly flight service from Regina to Mazatlán, Mexico, on Dec. 21, operating on Thursdays through March 29. Sunwing will be the only airline to operate the route from Regina this coming season.
THIS AND THAT
• The global tourism industry continues to grow. In the first six months of this year more than 36 million visitors than in 2016 were reported by destinations around. It total 598 million international tourists resulted in 6% growth. The Middle East led the way with 9% growth; North America had 3%, led by strong results from Canada and Mexico, but offset by the U.S.
• The Dominican Republic has added more than 10,000 hotel rooms throughout the country in the past decade to accommodate for increasing tourism demand. The country now offers a total of 75,205 hotel rooms, according to Dominican Republic’s Technical Vice Minister of Tourism. More than 15,000 rooms are also under construction (mostly in Punta Cana), with the total number of rooms expected to hit 97,000 by 2019.
• Sensimar El Dorado Resort in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic, a new luxury resort from Karisma Hotels, will open its doors in 2018. This 462-room complex, located right next to Juanillo beach, will feature bars and restaurants, along with a spa and fitness centre, casino and sports courts.
WORDS OF THE WEEK
“As an island destination, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism."
- Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland's Manager Canada on Air Canada’s expanded service to the Emerald Isle starting in June, 2018.
What could be more romantic than proposing on the Romantic Road?