Quick Before It Melts: A Cruise Blog

I was flying back from an assignment in Turkey in June 2016.  I follow the route of the plane on the monitor attached to the back of the seat in front of me as I read my book.  I saw we were approaching the East Coast of Greenland so opened my window shade, probably to the annoyance of the people around me watching movies, and … Continue reading Quick Before It Melts: A Cruise Blog

Cruise Coda

I listen into other’s conversations.  I can’t help it, it’s part of my reporter’s training, just like I scan the desk of anyone’s office I walk into, the walls as well, what types of pictures, awards, souvenirs or sports memorabilia are on the walls or shelves.  What books?  It tells me something about the person that may be useful to the story, add some color … Continue reading Cruise Coda

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,

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.

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.

Coda, Prinsendam Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage

  March 16, 2015, Sitka, Alaska How could this be my 75th post for a 68 day cruise?  OK, one post was anticipation and this one is a coda, written after we got home but still…  I averaged more than one post a day.  I’ve also posted more than 1700 pictures.  It’s reasonable to ask; did he do anything but blog?  Did he actually enjoy the … Continue reading Coda, Prinsendam Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage

A Pleasant Anachronism or Nintindo in the Jungle.

February 28, Manaus, Brazil It’s a pleasant anachronism.  The Manaus Opera House (Theater of the Amazon) was built by the Rubber Barons at the end of the 19th century.  The house is decadent; angels, theatrical masks, a painted curtain and a ceiling mural with a Murano glass chandelier hanging from its center.   It was designed for grand opera and grand drama.  Enrico Caruso was scheduled … Continue reading A Pleasant Anachronism or Nintindo in the Jungle.

Missed the Giant Cashew Tree, Got the Chocolate Pizza

February 22, 2015 Natal, Brazil Poor Natal.  This is the fifth port day in a row and we were low on energy.  Natal has huge sand dunes.  Some took dune buggy trips.  We watched the dunes as we sailed by on the ship.  Natal has a star shaped fort built by the Dutch. (Natal was New Amsterdam before New York was.)  Some went to visit … Continue reading Missed the Giant Cashew Tree, Got the Chocolate Pizza

Asparagus and the Birth of New York’s Jewish Community

February 21, 2015 Recife Brazil What you notice first in sailing into Recife (which means “reef’ in Portuguese, it’s surrounded by them) is what looks like a giant asparagus.  It sits there looking, I think, kind of silly.  When I asked about it a local told me it was a sculpture that represents humanity.  He paused, no he doesn’t get it either. We didn’t spend … Continue reading Asparagus and the Birth of New York’s Jewish Community

Oh Linda! It’s Not a Doo Wop Song

February 21, 2015 Olinda, Brazil Olinda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site six kilometers from Recife.  It was on high ground and so would be easier to defend than Reciefe, so the Portuguese thought.  They were wrong.   The Dutch took it and stripped the churches of their fine baroque fittings and made them into proper plain Dutch Reformed Churches.  Some two decades later the Portuguese … Continue reading Oh Linda! It’s Not a Doo Wop Song

Chocolate Colonels

February 18, 2015 Ilheus, Brazil Ash Wednesday, the churches are open and workers are taking down the bleachers and stages from Carnival and sweeping up the streamers and confetti.  The Prinsendam seems to be doing a little penance itself.  The shore crew told us that the port was walking distance from downtown.  The ship docked a little after 9, a little before 9:30 we got … Continue reading Chocolate Colonels

Carnival Just Keeps on Coming, Salvador, Bahia

February 19, 2015, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Carnival is over but in Salvador it ends later than in Rio, and Salvador claims it throws a bigger party than Rio, which bills its carnival as “The biggest party in the world.” In Salvador the carnival, according to the books I have read, revolves around blocos, or block parties, that have become movable feasts.  Bands played on stages, … Continue reading Carnival Just Keeps on Coming, Salvador, Bahia

What Would St. Francis Do?

February 19, 2015 Salvador, Bahia, Brazil St. Francis would be appalled but would probably recognize it.  I wonder what Pope Francis thinks.  In an ironic statement the Franciscan church and monastery in Salvador, Bahia is laden with gold. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures … Continue reading What Would St. Francis Do?

The Chrysler Building Gets Religion

February 16, 2015 Sailing out of Rio “The Chrysler Building Gets Religion.”  At least that what the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the top of Corcovado reminds me of, although I think this art deco “wonder of the modern world” predates the Chrysler Building. On Monday morning we wanted to sleep in after our evening at the Sambodormo.  Holland America had other ideas.  Some … Continue reading The Chrysler Building Gets Religion

The Girl in Ipanema

February 15, 2015 Rio Dear Friends, Anyone who has traveled in India, North Africa or the Middle East knows the ritual of a visit to Uncle Tonoose’s carpet shop.  In South America there is a VERY upscale version of that trip.  H. Stern Jewelers is based in Rio with stores internationally.  In Latin America a favorite of many tourists is the H Stern Shuttle.  It … Continue reading The Girl in Ipanema

Manha de Carnaval

February 15, 2015 Rio I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.  Therefore I was rewarded as we sailed past sugar loaf just before sunrise watching the pilot boat drop off the harbor pilot on Prinsendam.  We watched the sun behind us reflect on the water and mountains.  The statue of Christ the Redeemer’s lights went out when the light reached a certain level.  Then we … Continue reading Manha de Carnaval

The Planters down in Santos all say…

February 14, 2015 Santos Brazil I knew three things about Santos, Brazil, they have a beach, Santos FC was the home club of Pele, arguably the greatest football player, and they “got a lot of coffee.”  I know the last because Frank Sinatra, in a 1946 recording that he covered again and again sang; “No tea, or tomato juice, you’ll see no potato juice Cause … Continue reading The Planters down in Santos all say…

Just a Beach Day, With a Giant Hand and a Totem Pole

February 11, 2015 Punta del Este, Uruguay Dear Friends, It was going to be a beach day.  I had gone through my guide books and decided the highest and best use of this day would be sitting on the beach with a book and some swimming.  With us it’s not always that easy.  We got off the boat and there were some fishing boats.  Since … Continue reading Just a Beach Day, With a Giant Hand and a Totem Pole

Four Icons in Buenos Aires

February 9, 2015 Buenos Aires, Argentina Today seemed to be a battle of icons and it fought itself out in many different visual images and in discussions.  There are four icons in Buenos Aires, two are almost universally loved, and two are passionately loved and hated.  The four are Eva Peron, Che, Diego Maradona and Pope Francis.  Maradona and the Pope are loved, Eva and … Continue reading Four Icons in Buenos Aires