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
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.
Here are the promised pics from Amsterdam’s Canals on an absolutely beautiful day taken from the hop on/hop off cruise. Continue reading Amsterdam Canals
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
The Winnipeg Folk Festival is an annual compass point for our family, an annual highlight. This year was the 44th festival. We’ve been to 38. We go to connect with friends and introduce our grandkids to the joys of a multicultural festival, just as we did with our own kids. We also go to discover new acts, and sometimes get a nostalgic kick. There’s the … Continue reading A Joyful Noise in Winnipeg
Fifty years ago we weren’t sure. The Wild and Scenic Rivers act was before Congress and if it passed the St. Criox, the boundary river between Minnesota and Wisconsin, was to be one of the first 8 rivers included in the system. Landowners along the river would have restrictions on what they could build, especially if that building could be seen from the river. The … Continue reading Wild and Scenic, 50 years on.
Bases loaded, one out, a long shot to center right, fielded on one bounce. One run Sioux Falls Canary scores but with a great throw to third the St. Paul Saints turn a double play, third to second, inning over. Jake turns to me and says “THIS is why we’re American… baseball.” We are in the new 7,200 seat CHS stadium in Lower Town, downtown, … Continue reading “THIS is why we’re American… baseball.”
We were “stuck” in Seattle and were going to make the best of it. The planes were full in Southeast Alaska, at least full enough so that the two of us could not get on the same flight, something about a folk festival in Juneau and lobbyists going to the capital to fight over a smaller and smaller slice of the pie. Since planes to … Continue reading Victoria, BC
I was born in a magnificent Art Deco hospital in Jersey City, the Margaret Hague Maternity (named after Boss Frank, “I am the law,” Hague’s mother) Hospital. It was part of the Jersey City Medical Center. The Art Deco medical center provided virtually free health care for all Jersey City residents. Now it’s a condo called “The Beacon” and is not available to virtually all … Continue reading Art Deco Hospital
One of my favorite walks in Sitka is through Sitka National Historical Park, we call it “Totem Park.” I have been friends with many of the poles in the park since my first walk through in 1973. In the 44 years since then I have made the acquaintance of several new poles, carved for different occasions, commemorating the Park Service, or the Battle of Sitka. … Continue reading Victoria’s Totem Poles
The first time I entered the King Street Station in Seattle was when I stepped off the “Coast Daylight/Starlight in 1973.” A couple of days later Suzi and I got on the “Pacific International” to head to Vancouver. The impression the station left me was of a dark cave. The ceilings were too low, made of acoustic tile. It was a chintzy modern interior that … Continue reading King Street Station, Seattle
October 2, 2016 Post 0, Milepost 0. This is a series of blog posts on our trip to Cuba on the cruise ship Adonia run by Fathom Cruises. It is the first cruise ship licensed to travel directly from the US to Cuba in more than 50 years. There will be more ships, they are planning them now. We set off from Miami with … Continue reading Cuba 2016
October 3, 2016 As a kid I used to read Scholastic Magazines as part of my social studies program. They were a mix of history and current affairs laced with a lot of 50s Americanism. These magazines first interested me in Cuba. In the fall of 1958, when I was in 7thh grade, one of the Scholastic magazines did an article on Cuba. It had … Continue reading C.U. in CUBA
October 3, 2016 I normally do not like organized tours, and our Old Havana (Havana Vieja) walking tour reminds me why. While the guide is good, it is largely a standing tour, listening while the guide explains some aspect of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. I begin to wander off to find a book seller in the Plaza de Armas, or some musicians in a … Continue reading Havana Vieja
We got back to the ship, showered and went out into the cool of the evening. Our p2p obligations discharged for the day, we were ready to strike out on our own. I found a 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible, two toned red and white and flying the American Flag. We went for a ride with Ignacio and Alejandro (uncle and nephew.) Ignacio owns the … Continue reading Crusin’ the Malecon
I’ll take a break here and just sit back and enjoy the eye candy of old cars cruising through Cuba. After the revolution the state allowed people who owned cars before the revolution to keep them and even sell them. Cars from after the revolution were more difficult to get. The revolution took power on January 1, 1959 so owners of cars from the 1950s … Continue reading Cuban Eye Candy (Classic Cars)
We stopped back at the ship for a quick run to the buffet before heading out for the 9:30 show at the Café Taberna. The Café serves dinner but Lonely Planet warned us off the food there. But the mojitos were good, as was the beer and especially the music. The band was of mixed ages, races and musical styles. The trumpet player was blonde, … Continue reading Havana Night
October 4, 2016 Much of our trip to Cuba is defined by conditions set by the late Senator Jesse Helms in the Helms-Burton act. The act limits the conditions under which Americans can travel to Cuba. We are here on a Person to Person, p2p, program. Technically we cannot come as tourists but must come on an approved p2p itinerary. It used to be that … Continue reading Sustainable Propaganda (But Nice Pictures)
Our bus tour took us through different neighborhoods of Havana, through the Miramar and Vedado neighborhoods and we arrived at the pier in time to do a little shopping. At each place we stopped the seller said “See you Saturday.” We are not scheduled to return to Havana but Hurricane Matthew is headed toward Santiago in Eastern Cuba so it seems reasonable that we will … Continue reading Sailing into a Havana Sunset.
October 5, This is my first Sea Interlude, a sea day between Havana and Cienfuegos. I like to use Sea Interludes to process what I’ve seen but that isn’t happening today. There’s too much going on. The Cuban band is playing at midday and in the evening. We have lectures on Cienfuegos and Cuban history. Those who want dancing or Spanish lessons can have them. … Continue reading First Sea Interlude
October 6 In many ways Cuba is not the type of Communist country I am used to. I have traveled in the Soviet Union before the collapse and have visited various parts of the old Soviet empire both before and after the collapse. Cuba is not colorless gray world we encountered in, say, East Germany. It is colorful and vibrant. The customs and immigration people … Continue reading Cooperative Farm, Cowboys and Cheese
After the cooperative farm we are supposed to have lunch at a restaurant between the farm and town, about 20 km out of town. When we get there two other buses from our ship are at the restaurant. There is no room for us or the passengers off the bus that pulls in right after us. The guide tells us we will have to wait … Continue reading Waiting for Lunch in Cienfuegos, Communist Problem Solving
We had about 15 minutes in the Cienfuegos main square, time for a peak into the Thomas Terry Theatre lobby and a walk around Jose Marti Square. I had a good view of the Art Nouveau skyline from the deck of the ship as we sailed out. Continue reading Cienfuegos Art Nouveau
The sail out took us past a number of villages and past the old Spanish fortifications guarding the harbor. Normally the ship sails out of the harbor just after noon. Today it was at supper time and people in the villages lined the shore to wave at us, shout “Adios,” “See you later” or just “U.S.A.” I wonder how many cruise ships will come and … Continue reading Cienfuegos Sail Out