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

Valkenburg Christmas Market, 2014

Valkenburg is perhaps the most unique, and possibly the most interesting, Christmas Market in Europe.  I have been back to this market in The Netherlands three times now.  The first two times with our friends Dave and Carol Lam.  (The last visit was 2007, to see my post from then click here.) We were here this year because we were in Brussels for Carol’s funeral.  … Continue reading Valkenburg Christmas Market, 2014

Soft Borders, Belgium and the Netherlands at Baarle.

Our friends Dave and Carol Lam took us to Baarle when we were working in the Balkans.   We wondered about the possibility of ever being able to draw borders that reflected ethnic realities.  Dave said he had something he wanted to show us, the municipality of Baarle in Belgium, or is it the Netherlands?  The map of Europe has many geographic anomalies. But one of the … Continue reading Soft Borders, Belgium and the Netherlands at Baarle.

When the Sea Goes Away, Marken and Volendam, Netherlands.

“God made the earth, the Dutch made Holland.” But they didn’t need an environmental impact statement.  During my day long layover in Amsterdam my friend Dave Lam drove up from Brussels and we went to visit two old (you could say former) Dutch fishing villages, Marken and Volendam.  Eighty years ago both towns sat on salt water, the Zuiderzee, a 60 mile long inlet from … Continue reading When the Sea Goes Away, Marken and Volendam, Netherlands.

Iron and Glass, Flowers and Trains

May 11, 2010 Dear Friends, On Friday afternoons I would go to my grandparents’ flat in Jersey City while my parents had their night out.  Grandpa Brew would tell me stories.  He was raised in Ireland, ran away to sea at 13 and developed a love of travel, ships, Ireland and America.    He introduced me to Democratic politics.  He also told a good story.  But … Continue reading Iron and Glass, Flowers and Trains