My most intimate experience with a bear was not in Alaska, it was in Albania. A man in our neighborhood had a pet bear that was also his source of income. He and the bear walked around Tirana, he gathered … Continue reading Smart Bears
Ramadan is a movable fast/feast. Back in 2008 it was in August and September. Here is a letter that I wrote to my extended family back then, before I started blogging. I did not think it was appropriate to blog … Continue reading Ramadan Mubarak.
Thirty years ago, this week my family was in Berlin. We had been there 10 months earlier and saw a wall that looked permanent. Three months later we saw it come down on TV. We went back in June 1990 … Continue reading 30 Years Ago This Week — Berlin.
June 6, 2020 Thirty years ago, this week we were in the Czechoslovakia. We were there because in 1989 we took our kids to Berlin to see the wall. Two and a half months later it came down. In 1990 … Continue reading 30 Years Ago This Week
The MS Prinsendam (Picture on top is Prinsendam in Skye Harbor) leaves Holland America Service on July 1, 2019. Before she left the fleet, we wanted to take one more cruise on her. We had planned to travel in July … Continue reading 2019 Celtic Explorer, MS Prinsendam.
“I’m not condemning cruise vacations.” Travel writer Rick Steves wrote in his book “Travel as a Political Act. “I’m simply saying that type of activity is not ‘travel’ it’s hedonism. (And I don’t say that in a judgmental way either. … Continue reading Two Cruise Coda
Two weeks ago, I was thinking how odd it was for everyone’s bags to be out in the hallway awaiting pickup while we were still settled into our stateroom. Sunday night was our turn to put out our bags. Each … Continue reading Ending in Amsterdam.
Denmark is not the best candidate for generating hydro power. And yet Denmark is committed to generating carbon free electricity. We have an hour and a half window to sail into Esbjerg because of the tides. Entering the port we … Continue reading Esbjerg Reunion
“It looks familiar and strange at the same time.” All through the cruise people ask me if Norway is like Alaska, how are they different? How are the same? In a way sailing through Norwegian Fjords is a disorienting experience. … Continue reading Fjord Thoughts
When we got off Prinsendam in Stavanger, I noticed some buses and trucks idling. A sign proclaimed Stavanger the sister of Houston. This is oil country. Stavanger is the city in Western Norway closest to the North Sea oil fields. … Continue reading Oil Town — Stavanger
The weather turned for the better as we left Bergen giving us a beautiful sail out. One of the picture is of a place where they train oil rig crews how to get into one of those lifeboats that eject … Continue reading Bergen Sailout
…but you wouldn’t want to visit here… …is a line Sitkans sometime use when referring to people coming off cruise ships. It rains a lot and your odds of getting Sitka on a rainy day are pretty high, but when … Continue reading It’s a Nice Place to Live…
When we got on the tender in Geiranger it was 30 degrees (minus 1 Celsius) and there were a few snow flurries, although no accumulation. There was snow not too far up the mountains and a local told us that … Continue reading Geiranger’s Dilemma
In 1904 the fishing city of Ålesund burned to the ground. There was only one fatality but the whole city was homeless. Around Europe people responded. In Paris there were benefit concerts, in Germany Keiser Wilhelm personally got involved in … Continue reading Art Nouveau Phoenix — Ålesund
Trondheim is a place of pilgrimage, for two types of pilgrim, religious and rock ‘n rollers. First St. Olaf (in the Norwegian brochures it is St Olav, in English, St. Olaf. St. Olaf is pretty engrained in my brain so … Continue reading Trondheim — St. Olaf and Rock and Roll.
These are more pictures, companions to the post Flåm Railway. The final picture is the electric ferry, “Future of the Fjords” it can travel 40 KM on a charge and takes 25 minutes to recharge. I will be talking about … Continue reading Flåm Valley
This is not the first time we have ridden the Flåm Railway. One of my most vivid memories of traveling with the kids was standing on the platform at a station on the line, after having gotten off at a … Continue reading Flåm Railway
Eidsfjord has to rethink itself. It is at the very end of the fjord after which it is named which is, in turn, at the end of the Hardanger Fjord, which is one of the longest in Norway. It has … Continue reading Small Town Jack of All Trades — Eidsfjord.
Outside our stateroom window fair haired young people in Norwegian sweaters and jeans were lining up along a path right next to Prinsendam. It looked like the 1965 St. Olaf ski club including one, and only one, black kid. When … Continue reading Um Ya Ya (Arendal)
This is a second photo page for the last post “Feeling So 20th Century in Oslo.” Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway has a huge sculpture garden dedicated to the work of Gustav Vigeland. It is a special place for Suzi … Continue reading Memories of Gustav Vigeland
The lecturer on the ship told us that in Oslo we would be tie up at Askershaus, a fortress fairly close to much of what I wanted to see in Oslo. He told us there would be a money exchange, … Continue reading Feeling So 20th Century in Oslo
It was strange seeing all luggage lining the halls on Sunday night and ours was not there. Others were wrapped up in packing, we were not but could enjoy the evening. On Monday Morning when we went to a fashionably … Continue reading Amsterdam Turnaround — “Flip a Ship.”
When we got on the ship several people asked “Why Zebrugge” and “Why Antwerp?” Especially “Why two days in Antwerp? This is the Celtic Explorer, the Celts left Belgium more than a thousand years ago.” Sailing down the Schelde River … Continue reading Antwerp Postcards.
St. Charles Borromeo Church is easy to miss if you are not on a tour. While it is “hidden” in a little square it is not small. It does not appear in my Lonely Planet book or on either of … Continue reading Confessions and Anguished Angels.