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Thursday, October 6, 2022
After The Pandemic: Taking that anniversary trip to Europe

Now that more and more people are getting vaccinated and there is finally a clear pathway out of this pandemic, we will periodically check in with different Niagara-on-the-Lake residents to see how COVID-19 has affected their lives – and what their hopes and dreams are for when things return to normal.



Hans and Mary Nerger, who recently moved to Virgil from Waterloo, had booked an extensive European trip for September 2020, in honour of their 35th wedding anniversary.

“There was a family crisis, so we were unable to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and we said when we get to our 35th (wedding anniversary) we’re going to do something really big,” says Mary.

But then, in March 2020, COVID-19 derailed their plans. “We were just looking at each other and going, ‘Let’s try to be hopeful,’ but then, of course, it just got worse.”

Since they had mapped out a travel schedule involving train tickets and hotels in multiple countries, cancelling everything wasn’t easy. “We managed after a year of bickering to finally get a refund for our Interrail (bookings),” says Mary, but the couple is still waiting on a refund for their hotel in Belgium.

Right now, their short-term hopes and dreams are of seeing their children again, both of whom live far away, and getting to know their new neighbours.

“We have an offer for a couple of neighbours to get together for a glass of wine as soon as it’s safe to do so,” says Hans. His wife notes that they’re also really looking forward to getting socially involved in community life through the Shaw Festival and the Rotary Club.

But the dream of their European trip is not dead yet. “It’s definitely not off the table,” says Hans, while Mary adds: “I’ve been dreaming of Paris for a very long time!”