Final Sailout

Sail out from the final port was a bitter sweet occasion, both because it was the leaving of our last port of call, and because of the head cold.  But sail out was a scenic occasion.  Not only did we pass under the three Forth bridges, but we went past the aircraft carrier “Prince of Wales” in the construction dock, under the Forth bridges, and … Continue reading Final Sailout

A Fortunate Alternate

Rosyth, Scotland, United Kingdom, September 6, 2017:  Rosyth is a former Royal Navy base, now a privatized port.  It’s just up the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.  While it’s no longer a military base a huge carrier “The Prince of Wales” is being built in her yards. I was feeling badly enough last night that we decided to not set an alarm and … Continue reading A Fortunate Alternate

Orkney Wireless Museum

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, September 4, 2017:  What do you do in Kirkwell, Orkney Islands on a wet and windy day? Visit the Orkney Wireless Museum, of course! It is one of those delightfully cluttered and chaotic museums that invite exploration. There are all sorts of radios, and other somewhat related things, like jukeboxes, phonographs, and, WWII memorabilia.    The World War II stuff is … Continue reading Orkney Wireless Museum

A Cathedral Sets its Viking Sails

  Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland, September 4, 2017:  According to our Norwegian Sea Captain, Dag, Kirkwall is from the old Norse meaning “Church Harbor.”  The town is best known for St. Magnus Cathedral but the town was named for the earlier St. Ofav’s Cathedral.  This year Kirkwall is commemorating the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Magnus, Jarl (Earl) of Orkney and the 880 … Continue reading A Cathedral Sets its Viking Sails

Unexpected Sea Day

Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland, Sept 3, 2017:  As Prinsendam pulled out of Reykjavik the PA chimes alerted us to a message.  It started normally for a sail out with the Captain on mic, “This is your disembodied voice from the Bridge, Captain Dag.”  But there was a tone in his voice that told us that we were in for some bad news, and he delivered it.  … Continue reading Unexpected Sea Day

Reykjavik

If you want to get to Iceland before it’s discovered, too late.  While we found the Eastern, Northern and Western fjords of Iceland pleasantly un-trampled Reykjavik, which is a tidy little city, is overrun.  While we were in port we saw 5 other ships, all of them larger than Prinsendam, come in and out.  And that is not to mention all the Icelandair stopover packages … Continue reading Reykjavik

Cold Mist, Hot Mist and the Mother of Parliaments

Reykjavik, Iceland, August 31:  The “Golden Circle” was an invention of, I am told, Icelandic Airlines. The original low-cost pioneer.  It was licensed to fly people to and from Iceland, however the flight from New York to Keflevik would renumber and become a flight from Keflevik to Luxembourg, or wherever.  It flew prop planes into the 1970s, sometimes having to stop to refuel not only … Continue reading Cold Mist, Hot Mist and the Mother of Parliaments

Waterfalls, Tunnels and Sustainable Fisheries.

According to Lonely Planet Isafjordur in the Westfjord country is best known for its folk museum and for a tunnel that has a “T” intersection in the middle.  One part of the T goes to the town of Sudureri and the other goes one fjord further to Tingeyri.  From Isafjordur to the T is two way, from the T toward Sudureri and Tingeyri it is … Continue reading Waterfalls, Tunnels and Sustainable Fisheries.

Where North America and Europe Drift Apart

We berthed in Akureuri, which styles itself “The Capital of the North.”  Akureuri, Iceland’s second city, sits at the head of the Eyjafjorur, a 60 mile long arm of water reaching into the interior of Iceland from the Arctic Ocean.  It gives Akureuri a transitional climate between maritime and interior.   We didn’t make more than a nodding acquaintance with Akureuri because we decided to take … Continue reading Where North America and Europe Drift Apart

Aluminium and Fish, Eskifjordur, Iceland,

You approach Eskifjordur by sailing down the Reydarfjord until you see a big aluminum smelter.  A small fjord, Eskifjord, branches off to the starboard.  At the end of that small fjord you see some gleaming white fuel tanks.  This is Eskifjordur.  The water is almost completely still and reflects the mountains.  As you approach the fuel tanks, where Prinsendam will dock, you see, stretched out … Continue reading Aluminium and Fish, Eskifjordur, Iceland,

Isolation depends on your point of view.

They call themselves isolated.  They sit in the Atlantic between Iceland, Norway and Scotland, somewhere around 50,000 people on 17 or 18 islands.  But to me they are fully connected.  They have weekly ferry service to Denmark, Scotland and Iceland and about 10 flights in and out each day, several a day to Denmark but also to Iceland, the UK, Norway and Spain.  To me … Continue reading Isolation depends on your point of view.

The King’s Farmer

Johannes Patursson is a “King’s Farmer.”  His family has been farming the same land at Kirkjubour in the Faroe Islands for 17 generations, since the Reformation.  Kirkjubour, on Steymoy Island, is a town of a little over 200.   It was founded near a beach where a lot of driftwood ended up, which made the land valuable because the Faroe Islands have no trees.  It is … Continue reading The King’s Farmer

Torshavn, Faroe Islands.

Torshavn, Faroe Islands,  August 21, 2017:  Holland America assured us that they loved whales but wanted to warn us.  “Holland America expressly disassociates itself from whaling.  We cannot control the cultural of the areas of the world to which we travel.”  The line told us that if anyone had booked a tour through Holland America and wanted to cancel it and not go ashore they … Continue reading Torshavn, Faroe Islands.

Shetland, No Ponies

Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland:  The Shetland islands, no ponies, but we did see a goat.  He was raising money to buy an infrared camera to be used by the Lerwick Lifeboat Society, the local search and rescue.  We met him in a shop that sells hand crafted soap made from goats’ milk packed in little Shetland wool pouches.  Since we arrived on a Sunday, one … Continue reading Shetland, No Ponies

Rising to Sea Level, the North Sea Canal.

We are onboard and underway, on our cruise to Iceland and Greenland.  But we weren’t sure that this would happen.  I had complications from surgery the week before we left for Amsterdam and I didn’t get clearance from the docs until Friday afternoon.  We flew to Amsterdam on Sunday.   While waiting I could not bring myself to do things that I normally do in preparation.  … Continue reading Rising to Sea Level, the North Sea Canal.

Amsterdam Thoughts

  Our Cruise to Iceland and Greenland leaves from Amsterdam.  Given the vagaries of Alaska weather and our desire to avoid jet lag on the cruise we arrived in Amsterdam with four nights and three days to acclimatize.  Amsterdam is a good city to do that because we already know it well, we can relax and not feel compelled to see everything.   We can visit … Continue reading Amsterdam Thoughts

Beltane Bash (Happy May Day!)

This is Beltane, Celtic May Day.  In 2002 we were in London walking down Great Russell Street and we  ran across the “Beltane Bash” held in conjunction with the “Pagan Pride March.” This is from a family letter written in May 2002. Wherever we travel we find things that interest us.  Saturday we walked into the fifth annual Pagan Pride Parade.  The parade was to … Continue reading Beltane Bash (Happy May Day!)

Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets came late to the UK.  It’s not that the UK didn’t celebrate Christmas.  Since Victoria’s Albert brought the Christmas tree to England the Brits have done it up in grand style.  Before Christmas markets, in the European fashion, came to the UK there was always Covent Garden with its stalls and decorations and Regent Street moving out from Piccadilly Circus. (Below are some … Continue reading Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets