22 July 2018:
Brønnøysund, Norway:
Sweet Dreams

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Many Norwegians call Brønnøysund “the coastal town in the middle of Norway.”

But many tourists remember it this way: “the port near the mountain with a hole in the middle.”

Silver Wind at the dock today.

Brønnøysund is about 75 miles below the Arctic Circle, which means there is a short period of twilight between about 1 and 4 in the morning on the day of our visit.

The outer reaches of the region include the Vega Archipelago World Heritage Site, which consists of about 6,500 islands and islets, spread over more than 385 square miles or 1,000 square kilometers.

The islands are home to all sorts of birds including greylag and barnacle geese, cormorants, and many, many eider ducks.

You may well have slept upon a pillow, or under a duvet or comforter with a link here.

For a long time, the islands off Brønnøysund have been at the center of eiderdown trade.

There’s even the Museum of the Eider Ducks in Nes, if you’re looking for some bedtime stories.

Torghatten Mountain—Square Hat Mountain—rises like a colossal castle of sheer granite.

Torghatten from the nautical bridge of Silver Wind as we arrived in the morning

According to legend, the hole was made by the troll Hestmannen while he was chasing the beautiful girl Lekamøya.

When the troll realized he would not get the girl, he released an arrow to kill her, but the troll-king of Sømna threw his hat into the path of the arrow path to save her.

The hat turned into the mountain with a hole in the middle.

If you don’t buy the story about the murderous troll and the girl and the arrow, there’s this: scientists say the hole was formed during the Scandinavian ice age, about 11,000 B.C.E. Ice and water eroded looser rocks, while the harder ones in the mountain top resisted erosion.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

21 July 2018:
Ålesund, Norway:
From the Ashes

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

There’s more water than land in this part of Norway.

The municipality of Ålesund occupies seven of the outer islands in the county of Møre og Romsdal.

There is no doubt that there are many things terrible about a great fire. Lives, property, history lost.

But if you’re looking for something positive about the destruction of a city by fire, there is this: when a boomtown burns down and is rebuilt, the result is often a handsome showpiece of a particular style.

Ålesund was almost totally destroyed on January 23, 1904.

The oft-told story is that the fire began after a cow kicked over a torch and in the cold night a wind-driven fire raced through the wooden town, destroying about 850 homes, killing one person, and leaving more than 10,000 residents without shelter.

And then the town was rebuilt in stone, brick, and mortar in Jugendstil, the Germanic version of Art Nouveau style.

I have been here many times and always find myself in a reflective mood. Today I went out and rephotographed scenes that I have taken before. My goal was to see if I could find see if I could view familiar places in new ways.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

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20 July 2018:
Flåm, Norway:
All Aboard!

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Flåm is one of the biggest little places in all of Norway, especially for travelers who come in by cruise ship.

If you call it FLAM, they’ll know what you mean. But to be correct you have to pay attention to the little symbol above the third letter of its name.

The Norwegian and Danish letter Å, with the little diacritical overring above, is not “a” but more similar to “o” in most other languages. So, FLOM.

Check it out: doors in Norway are marked to tell you which one to open. The signs read, åpen.

The village of Flåm is at the end of the Aurlandsfjord, a small arm of the spectacular Sognefjord which reaches in from the Norwegian Sea. The 204-kilometer or 125-mile-long Sognefjord is said to be the longest and deepest fjord in the world.

Truth be told, though: the port is basically a train station, a ferry slip, a cruise dock, and a few gift shops.

About 500,000 visitors come each year by ship or train; about 175 cruise ships come each summer.

The 20-kilometer (12-mile) Flåmsbana railway rises from the town at sea level to the high village of Myrdal on the steepest standard gauge railway in Europe, which rises 863 meters or 2,831 feet through 20 tunnels and across one bridge.

The trip takes about an hour each way.

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

The idea for the train dates back to the 1890s, when tourism and other trade was beginning to grow in this part of Norway. But the technology was not yet ready, and construction only began in 1936.

After Germany occupied Norway in 1940, the line was completed. Germany wanted the railway to support their military aims as well as export of raw materials.

Today, there are about ten trips each direction during the summer, fewer in the cold, snowy, and dark winter.

At the top, the train shares a station at Myrdal with long-distance trains to Bergen and elsewhere.

The Flåmsbana is the third-busiest tourist attraction in Norway.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

19 July 2018:
Haugesund, Norway:
Location, Location, Location

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Real estate agents are fond of reciting what they call the three most important elements of property value: location, location, and location.

The town of Haugesund in the south of Norway was a very early real estate agent’s dream come true.

It is located on a strategically important sound, the Karmsundet, which allows ships to pass without having to go out into the sometimes rough seas on the open ocean.

Even to this day, the Karmsundset is one of Norway’s busiest waterways.

The town’s name comes from the Old Norse word haugr meaning hill or mound, and sund meaning strait or sound.

Haugesund’s first industry was fishing abundant herring offshore.

The herring are long gone, and today the economy is oriented toward the offshore oil industry and the onshore tourism trade.

Scenes from the harbor and town, including the much-celebrated town hall, painted Pepto-Bismol pink. In a national poll it was selected to appear as a property on the Norwegian version of “Monopoly.”

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

16-17 July 2018:
London, England, UK:
Up the River

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

In the early, early morning we completed our progression up the River Thames and through the London Tower Bridge to our dock.

We entered the river in the dark and arrived at the bridge at dawn. The trip is glorious anytime but this arrival was spectacular.

We’ll rest here for two days and enjoy London before we head back down the river for a trip to Norway and back.

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

Safe travels to guests who leave us here, and welcome aboard to those joining us at our glorious parking space on the river.

Here’s our plan for the next cruise:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

14 July 2018:
Edinburgh, Scotland:
A Festive Place

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome to a famous city, the capital of Scotland, a place that is among the more commonly mispronounced locations in the world.

Resist the urge to call it Edin-BURG.

In Scotland and Northern England, starting from King David I in the 12th century, significant communities were awarded the status of a Royal Burgh, pronounced BURR-ah, never mind the spelling.

Someone should tell that to the residents of the steel town of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

By most appraisals, Edinburgh has the strongest economy of any city in the United Kingdom outside of London and the highest proportion of professionals in the UK with 43 percent of the population holding a degree-level or professional qualification.

The modern economy is based mainly on financial services, scientific research, higher education, and tourism.

Today, Edinburgh is the United Kingdom’s second most popular tourist destination.

Edinburgh is a festive place, whichever nickname you choose to apply. There is a gathering of some sort almost every month of the year, but in the summer, from July to September, they are almost continuous.

Among the most famous are the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

All together, the festivals attract about 4.4 million visitors, generating more than £100 million pounds for the local economy.

The longest established is the Edinburgh International Festival, first held in 1947, with a program of theater, classical music, and other performances.

This has since been overtaken both in size and popularity by the Edinburgh Fringe, which began as a program of comedy and marginal acts alongside the “official” Festival and has become the world’s largest performing arts festival.

And then there is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which occupies the Castle Esplanade every night during its run, with massed pipers and military bands drawn from around the world.

And as it happens, we will be in town on the second day of the Edinburgh Blues & Jazz festival, which generally (but not always) does not include bagpipes.

We enjoyed a day of bright sun, warm temperatures, and spirited political demonstrations.

Here is some of what we saw today:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

13 July 2018:
Aberdeen, Scotland, UK:
Taken for Granite

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Aberdeen—the Granite City, the Grey City, the Silver City with the Golden Sands—is Scotland’s third most populous city, after Glasgow and Edinburgh.

So why do we take Aberdeen for Granite?

From the mid-18th to the mid-20th centuries, most of Aberdeen’s buildings used locally quarried grey granite. And because of the large amount of mica in this particular strain of granite, many of the buildings can seem to sparkle like silver in the sunlight.

Today, I went with guests for a visit to Balmoral Castle, one of the private residences of the royal family, renovated and expanded by Queen Victoria and still in use by Queen Elizabeth II.

It is in a beautiful setting, and the grounds include a vegetable and flower garden that puts most of the rest of to shame. Of course, we don’t have a staff of dozens of gardeners.

BALMORAL

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved,

A local food specialty—guaranteed not to affect your health in any way whatsoever—is the Aberdeen buttery, also known as “rowie”.

It is something like a flat, round croissant with a buttery taste. Purists can eat one plain, but for the full experience it should have butter and jam.

If you really want to go whole hog, or to be more precise, whole sheep, you could start out with a serving of haggis, which is the national dish of Scotland,

Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck: the heart, liver, and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach although today it is often prepared in an artificial casing which makes it all seem so much more attractive.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

12 July 2018:
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland:
The Mainland (of Orkney)

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

One last small island before we reach the large island that is Britain.

Kirkwall is the capital and largest settlement of Orkney, between the Shetland Islands above and the top of Scotland below.

Our port of call is on the northern coast of the island of Mainland Orkney, with a population of about 10,000.

I went with guests on a tour that included a visit to Scapa Flow, one of the most important pieces of water in the 20th century: the gathering polace of the British fleet in World War I for the Battle of Jutland off Denmark, and later the place where what remained of the German High Fleet was sequestered at the end of the war while the terms of the Treaty of Versailles was worked out. It was here that a German officer ordered the scuttling of about 75 of the ships to prevent them being distributed to the Allies as trophies of war.

Scapa Flow. Photo by Corey Sandler

We also visited the quaint village of Stromness in time to see the arrival of the ferry from Scrabster on the mainland of Scotland.

Stromness. Photos by Corey Sandler

And then we visited the Ring of Brodgar, a 5,000-year-old henge or ring of stones. Its purpose is not fully known–perhaps religious, perhaps ceremonial, or perhaps a means of tracking the skies.

At the heart of the town of Kirkwall is Saint Magnus Cathedral, which was founded in memory of Saint Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney from 1108–1117.

Although the annexation of the earldom by Scotland took place more than five centuries ago in 1472, some locals will identify themselves as Orcadians first and Scots second.

The economy of Orkney is today based on agriculture and fishing, with a growing tourism sector. After a major investment, the town pier has become a lure for cruise ships, and about 85 calls per year are made.

There are about 70 Orkney islands, of which 20 are inhabited.

The largest island is called Mainland or, confusingly, “The Mainland”, while the country that lies below is referred to as “Scotland.”

Mainland is 523 square kilometers or 202 square miles, making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles.

All photos and text by Corey Sandler, Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

11 July 2018:
Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland:
Not Quite the Mainland

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We completed our passage eastward from Iceland across the North Atlantic, arriving at Lerwick, the main port of the Shetland Islands.

It is not quite the mainland of Europe, or to be more precise, not the mainland of the United Kingdom. Lerwick is a piece of Scotland roughly 200 kilometers or 123 miles off the north coast of the United Kingdom.

It is roughly equidistant between the Faroe Islands (228 miles or 367 kilometers) to the west, and about 222 miles or 357 kilometers east of Bergen, Norway.

In Shetland, we are as close to the North Pole as parts of Greenland or Alaska.

This place of ancient settlement was very much off the world’s mind until the North Sea Oil Boom of the 1970s when some industry and housing arrived from over the horizon.

Today, oil jobs are still there although on the decline. Now the locals seek to pump pounds from the pockets of tourists.

I went with a group of guests on a tour of the countryside, including a stop at the ancient archaeological site of Jarlshof, which includes prehistoric Mesolithic and Paleolithic structures as well as some of the oldest manors of the Scottish lairds.

Here is some of what we saw:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

10 July 2018:
Tórshavn, Faroe Islands:
Fish and Chips

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have moved east to a place of great reputation not often visited: the Faroe Islands and its capital and principal settlement, Tórshavn.

It would seem perfectly reasonable to pronounce the name of this place as if it were “Tor’s Haven”, which is what it essentially means.

But the Nordic-Faroese pronunciation is more like “Tor-shawn.”

Thor, as in the Norse god with the hammer. The god of thunder and lightning, also responsible for storms, oak trees, strength, fertility, and more.

The Faroe archipelago consists of 18 islands and islets of varying size about midway between Iceland and Norway. Ove the past 14 centuries or so, they have come under the influence of Irish and Scots, Nordic people including the Vikings, Denmark and Norway, and the Brits.

Not much grows here on these isolated rocks. There are not many people, and even fewer trees.

On our visit today, we sailed in through pea soup fog which as the day went on somehow became thicker. But it added a great deal of sense of place to this unusual set of islands.

Here’s some of what we saw through the mist:

I also went for a visit to the very impressive historical museum just outside of town and saw some ancient artifacts as well as some of the evidence of the whaling and fishing history of the islands.

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

As was the case with Iceland, the first settlers here were believed to be Irish monks who did not persist, or procreate. They were followed by Vikings about the year 800.

Again, like Iceland, the Faroe Islands were occupied by the British during World War II and did suffer the occasional attack by German aircraft although a full-scale assault was never attempted,

At Torshavn Cathedral you will find a plaque installed by British war veterans thanking the Faroese people for their kindness during the occupation, which began in 1940 and ended in 1945.

Apparently the kindness was pretty significant; about 170 marriages took place between British soldiers and women from the Faroes.

The last British soldiers left in September 1945, and the Faroese did not want to go back to their previous status as a colony of Denmark. A referendum on independence was held in 1946, and in 1948 autonomy was granted, within the Danish realm.

After all these years, though, the Faroese still love fish and chips as well as British chocolate such as Cadbury Dairy Milk.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

8 July 2018:
Seyðisfjörður, Iceland:
Feeling Trapped?

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have rounded the corner at the top of Iceland to Seyðisfjörður on the east coast, one of Iceland’s most picturesque towns with a collection of 19th century wooden homes, surrounded by beautiful nature.

Poet Matthías Johannessen called Seyðisfjörður a “pearl enclosed in a shell.”

It exists because of its protected harbor,

It’s a small town of about 665 people, spread across 82 square miles or 213 square kilometers although most near the harbor.

Silver Wind at the dock today.

Settlement here traces back to the early period of settlement in Iceland. The burned down ruin of a stave church nearby has been carbon-dated to the 10th century, with earlier graves from the 8th century.

The modern history of the town began in 1848, with settlement by Norwegian fisherman.

I went with guests on a tour of the highlands. It is almost impossible to point a camera anywhere in Iceland and not come away with a good photo. Here is some of what I saw:

Photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

MURDER, THEY WROTE

Every week the car ferry MS Norröna of the Smyril Line comes to Seyðisfjörður from Hirtshals in Denmark and Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands.

Which brings us to murder and mayhem, at least in fiction.

In 2015 the Icelandic television series “Trapped” was set in the town, and was partially filmed there.

“Trapped” is a very engaging, low-key murder mystery that focuses on a partial corpse found in the harbor as the ferry arrives. Across ten episodes we come to know the intense, tormented police chief and his small staff, and also what seems like almost every other resident of town.

The TV series stars Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, a hulking teddy bear of a man who has become Iceland’s unofficial and unlikely hunk. Olafur Darri was born in Connecticut in the United States, but moved to his family’s home country of Iceland and has become the nation’s best-known actor in films and on stage.

Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

7 July 2018:
Akureyri, Iceland:
The Second City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Akureyri would be a small town of little note almost anywhere else, but here in Iceland its population of about 18,191 makes it the second largest urban area in the country, behind only the capital district of Reykjavik.

They’ve got a golf course, a bowling alley, a ski hill, a shopping mall with 35 stores, and a police force of about five officers.

Most importantly, it has an ice-free harbor which has been the source of its economy back to ancient times for fishing and trade.

Here is a bit what we saw today in ever-amazing Iceland:

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

Akureyri’s architecture shows strong influence from Denmark.

If you are a fan of the Belgian-French book series, “The Adventures of Tintin” you will be thrilled to realize that in the tenth volume, “The Shooting Star”, the ship Aurora stops at Akureyri.

And now us.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

6 July 2018:
Ísafjörður, Iceland:
The Ring Road by Ship

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Every year, thousands of people arrive in Reykjavik to drive the Ring Road, the only route that circles the island. It is 1,332 kilometers or 830 miles, mostly paved…of mountain passes, coastal chicanes, barren deserts of lava, huge glaciers, spouting geysers, and volcanoes at almost every turn.

The road was only completed in 1974, tying together some bits and pieces built during World War 2, and other stretches that date back many centuries.

It’s not easily accomplished— conditions are not often anywhere near perfect. There are not all that many places to stay, and as far as I am aware, the dormitory-like hotels do not come with a butler and room service.

We are setting out on our own version of the Ring Road, by sea, in great luxury.

Our first port of call as we head clockwise is Ísafjörður, the Ice Fjord, which is the northernmost place we will visit on this cruise, at 66 degrees 4 minutes North, 23 degrees 7 minutes West.

That is just 55 kilometers or 34 miles below the Arctic Circle. We will cross the circle—while at sea—after we depart Ísafjörður, and then drop below it to Akureyri.

Ísafjörður is a pretty small town—most places in Iceland are—with a population of about 2,559 close friends and sisters, cousins, and aunts.

Here are some photos I took today, once again under a startlingly blue sky and relatively moderate temperatures for which we are all grateful and more than a little bit surprised.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

4-5 July 2018:
Reykjavik, Iceland:
A Hot Place with a Cold Name

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have made it to the always surprising city of Reykjavik, the capital of the island nation of Iceland.

Iceland is a hot place with what seems like a cold name.

To those guests leaving us here in the middle of the North Atlantic, I wish you safe travels until we meet again. To those joining us, welcome aboard.

We’re going to make a circle of the Ring Road, by ship, and then onward to the Shetland and Orkney islands, then eventually back to London.

Here’s our plan for the next voyage:

When we arrived, I went on a tour with guests on the Golden Circle, a tour that includes samples of much of the wonders of Iceland. The sun broke through as we arrived at Geysir, the source of the word geyser.

Here is some of what we saw:

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

Let’s get something out of the way right at the start: Iceland in the English sense is a misunderstanding of the Icelandic name of the country.

The proper name of the place is Ísland, which does not mean a land covered with ice. It simply means “Island.”

I said Iceland is hot. There are hot springs and geysers, many active volcanoes, and lava fields cover much of the land.

And when it does get cold, the majority of the nation’s heating comes from geothermal sources, piped hot water that directly or indirectly heats homes and buildings.

Why is Iceland hot?

In Geologic terms, it sits directly on the rift between the Eurasian and North American plates. Half the country is heading east and the other wants to go west.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge moves about 2.5 centimeters or 1 inch per year; that doesn’t sound like much but we’re talking about a huge amount of rock pushing and grinding almost constantly.

The hotspot in that plume funnels hot stuff from the interior of the planet, which formed the island about 16 to 18 million years ago.

Iceland has 30 active volcanic systems, of which 13 have erupted since the settlement of Iceland in 874.

The combination of the plume and the moving plates brings volcanos, hot springs, geysers…and tourists.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

3 July 2018:
Djupivogur, Iceland:
Arriving in Europe’s Wild West

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The nation of Iceland is a large island with a pretty small population: about 332,500 people spread over 40,000 square miles or 103,000 square kilometers.

The westernmost country of Europe, Iceland is also the most sparsely populated country of Europe.

Our first port of call is a fairly large town, with a tiny population: 437 square miles, or 1,133 square kilometers, with about 456 residents when everyone is home.

Silver Wind, our lovely small ship, will more than double the local population when our guests and crew arrive.

Vatnajökull

On this trip I went to the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest (by volume) glacier in Europe, covering about 10 percent of the nation of Iceland.

I wish I could tell you of grand views, but we were engulfed in fog all day. But the vastness of the glacier was all around us.

Here is some of what we saw:

All photos by Corey Sandler 2018, all rights reserved

The Norse and the Vikings get most of the publicity, but they were most likely not the first settlers of Iceland.

It is pretty clear that the first outsiders to set up habitation on this cold and bleak island were Irish monks, probably about the year 795, according to an Irish scribe named Dicuil.

The Irish came over from the Faroe islands.

But these monks don’t get the credit as first settlers, because they were, you know, monks. Celibate. Monastic. Monks.

No wives, no children, no offspring. That’s the story, and we know no more.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

1 July 2018:
Scrabster, Scotland, UK:
The Royal Fixer-Upper in the Far North

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Scrabster is very close to the top of the mainland of Scotland, at 58.6 degrees north latitude.

We docked under a spectacular sky, reminding us–at least in metaphor–that we were near the top.

The small settlement is still an important fishing port of Scotland. Population is only a few dozen, with more living in nearby Thurso.

Scrabster’s name is derived from Old Norse, meaning Skerry Town. A Skerry is a small rocky island, too small for habitation.

As the closest mainland port to the oil and gas activity west of Shetland and on the Atlantic Frontier, Scrabster is deeply involved in the logistics of the offshore oil industry in the North Sea.

Today I went with guests on a trip to visit the Castle of Mey, in Caithness, about 6 miles or 10 kilometers west of John o’ Groats.

THE CASTLE OF MEY

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

The lands of Mey belonged to the Bishops of Caithness. The Castle of Mey was built between 1566 and 1572.

In 1952, the place was in a semi-derelict state when it was purchased by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the widow of King George VI, who had died earlier in the year.

The Queen Mother had the castle restored as a holiday home, removing some of the 19th-century additions, and reinstating the Castle’s original name.

The Castle of Mey was the only residence directly owned by Queen Elizabeth. She regularly visited in August and October from 1955 until her death in March 2002.

In the Netflix television series, The Crown, which claims to be something close to historically accurate, and is in any case very entertaining, we see the widowed queen finding the castle and deciding the isolated, gloomy, falling-down place was perfect to lift her spirits.

The castle is now in a trust, and open to the public in the summer except for a period of ten days at the end of July and the beginning of August, when Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay—that would be Charles and Camilla—usually come for a stay.

On our way back to the ship we stopped at Dunnet Head, which is the northernmost point of the United Kingdom. It looks directly across the sound at the Orkney Islands with a view of the Old Man of Hoy.

We are due to visit the Orkney Islands in about 10 days on our way back from Iceland.

DUNNET HEAD

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

30 June 2018:
Ullapool, Scotland, UK:
Palm Trees?

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Ullapool has an attractive perch along the shores of Loch Broom, rows of whitewashed cottages backed by  dramatic hills.

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved

We are pretty far up north, at sea level at the foot of the Scottish Highlands, which may make it the least likely place you would expect to see palm trees.

Okay, so they are not palm trees, exactly. They are Cordyline australis, also known as the cabbage tree, common in New Zealand. They are also known locally as Torbay or Torquay palms.

They do well here in somewhat moderate Scotland as well as other parts of the British Isles that are tempered by warm ocean currents.

Cabbage trees can reach 20 meters or 66 feet in height, with sword-like leaves as long as a meter or 39 inches in length.

Back in New Zealand, the tree was the source of ropes made from the leaves for the construction of Morere swings used by Māori children.

The dramatic landscape of northern Scotland features craggy mountains with exposed stone, islands, lochs, and even a few meteor craters near Ullapool. For that reason, it makes sense that it was in this region that many of the early and important discoveries that led to the development of the modern science of geology and plate tectonics took place.

Among those who came to study here was James Hutton of Edinboro, considered the father of modern geology.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

29 June 2018:
Tobermory, Isle of Mull, UK:
The Inner Hebrides

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

As we head north along the west coast of Scotland, we make a call at the isolated port of Tobermory.

It’s on the Isle of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides, which is, as its name suggests, a set of islands that a bit closer to the mainland of Scotland than are the Outer Hebrides.

The Hebrides, both inner and outer, have a long history of occupation dating back to Mesolithic times. Today, their Scottish Island culture is a mix of Celtic, Norse, and English-speaking peoples.

TODAY IN TOBERMORY

Over the centuries, the economy began with fishing and small-scale crofting, which was a form of tenant farming.

Today, the economy has added two lofty sources of income: tourism and the crafting of whisky. Okay, at least one of them is lofty.

If that’s enough to make you drink, they are quite willing to accommodate you.

The Tobermory Distillery is one of the oldest in Scotland, established in 1788.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

28 June 2018:
Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK:
The Titanic City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Belfast has had its ups and its downs, its launches and its sinkings.

In the late 19the and early 20th century it was a center for two major industries: linen (which is the source of one of the city’s nicknames, Linenopolis), and shipbuilding.

The main yard, Harland and Wolff, built a ship you may have heard of: the RMS Titanic.

But in the early 20th century, this was the biggest and most productive shipyard in the world, and Belfast was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution.

The Titanic Museum in Belfast

At the museum, the Nomadic, constructed as a tender for her big sister the Titanic. Photos by Corey Sandler

Harland and Wolff became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing as many as 35,000 workers.

The shipyard is now the location of the world’s largest dry dock, where the giant cranes Samson and Goliath stand out against Belfast’s skyline.

Most of its work now involves support for offshore wind and oil platforms.

And nearby is a very popular modern museum that tells the story of the design and construction of the Titanic.

TODAY IN BELFAST

On this visit, once again under an unexpected bright sun and blue sky, we returned to some of our favorite haunts in this monumental city, starting with the impressive City Hall which I photographed outside, inside, and in reflections of nearby buildings.

From there to the Grand Opera House, a place that truly deserves its superlative. The structure went into an ignominious decline to serve as a movie theater and then came perilously close to being converted to a bowling alley before being saved and restored in the late 1960s.

And finally, we paid a call to the Crown Saloon, an opulent watering hole and the only pub currently owned by the National Trust.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

27 June 2018:
Dublin, Ireland:
Cockles, Mussels, and Guinness

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, the independent nation that shares the 32,600 square mile (84,400 square kilometer) island of Ireland with Britain’s Northern Ireland.

On this visit we went to two of the cultural highlights of Dublin: Trinity College, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I as the mother church in Ireland for the Protestants (but now embraced by the predominantly Catholic population of Dublin) and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191 and now the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, which straddles Catholicism and Reformed sects.

Trinity College is the home of the 10th-century Book of Kells, but for me the treasure is the spectacular library of other books nearby. Indeed, Trinity is the repository of books for the Republic of Ireland.

TRINITY COLLEGE LIBRARY

SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

Dublin has a rich and diverse literary history, having produced many prominent literary figures, including Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. Other influential writers and playwrights include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and Bram Stoker, the creator of Dracula.

It is arguably most famous as the location of the greatest works of James Joyce, including Ulysses, which is set in Dublin.

Other renowned writers include Seán O’Casey, Brendan Behan, and Maeve Binchy.

Guinness tankers at the dock in Dublin. Photo by Corey Sandler

One of the more famous women of Dublin was Molly Malone, although she’s a symbol and not a real ancestor.

The folk song “Molly Malone,” also known as “Cockles and Mussels” or “In Dublin’s Fair City”) is set in Dublin, and it is an unofficial anthem of the city.

The song tells the tale of a beautiful fishmonger who plied her trade on the streets of Dublin, but who died young, of a fever. In some tellings she also worked nights, if you get my meaning.

However, there is no evidence that the song is based on a real woman, of the 17th century or any other time.

But the song persists, as does a commemorative statue on Grafton Street, unveiled during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS