17 June 2019:
Aalborg, Denmark:
Up Over Down Under

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Aalborg is in North Jyllland at the narrowest point of the Limfjord, a shallow sound that separates North Jutlandic Island from the rest of the Jutland Peninsula and connects Aalborg to the Kattegat about 35 kilometers or 22 miles to the east.

The earliest settlements date from about the year 700. Lindholm Høje is the largest Iron Age and Viking Age burial place in Scandinavia. More than 700 graves have been found.

The lower part of the burial site has been dated to the Viking Age of about 1000 to 1050. The upper section is centuries older, from the 5th century, the Iron Age.

Most of the graves are marked with rocks either in a triangle or as the traditional Viking stone ship.

The settlement was obviously a significant trading center, with glassware, gems, and Arab coins found at the site.

The settlement was abandoned about the year 1200, probably because of sand drifting from the western coast, a consequence of extensive deforestation.

Aalborg’s position at the narrowest point on the Limfjord made it an important harbor during the Middle Ages. Evidence of its importance can be seen in half-timbered mansions built for prosperous merchants.

Here are some photos from today:

By the middle of the 20th century, Aalborg had become known as the “city of smoking chimneys”, highly industrialized and with a population approaching 100,000. Many of the factories have now closed, replaced by knowledge and communication enterprises, and production of rotors for wind turbines.

In 2008, the Utzon Center was opened on the central harbor of Aalborg. Its design and art are credited to the noted architect Jørn Utzon, winner of the Pritzker Prize, born in Copenhagen but raised in Aalborg.

The Utzon Center on the waterfront.

You’ll find within designs and boats and usually a few examples of another Danish invention from nearby: Legos, from Billund in South Jutland.

Appropriately, Billund is a little place, population of about 6,300. But its factory is responsible for the majority of worldwide LEGO production.

Lego is derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”.

Lego produces something like 36 billion bricks per year, and if you will allow for a bit of poetic license, it is the world’s largest tiremaker.

Little tires.

But back to Utzon in Aalborg. He was a reasonably successful architect in Scandinavia, and he built a well-regarded home of his own north of Helsingor, near Kronborg Castle, as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

But he came to the world’s notice in 1957 when he won an international competition to design the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the unmistakable stack of shells along that harbor.

He said he went to Kronberg Castle often as he designed the building to be installed on Sydney’s Bennelong Point, realizing the Sydney Opera House would be like Kronborg, viewed from all sides.

His design was lauded, but there were problems in construction and cost overruns. Sounds pretty ordinary for advanced architecture.

He was effectively banished from Sydney in 1966 following a dispute with local government in New South Wales. Utzon was not invited to the opening ceremonies when the opera house was inaugurated in 1973, and his name was not mentioned during any of the speeches.

Things did change, though.

Utzon came back to Sydney in the late 1990s and was engaged in update projects at the opera house. And in 2003, Utzon was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize for his work.

In 2007, the opera house was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

16 June 2019:
Copenhagen, Denmark:
Mermaids, Princesses, and Kings

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and its most populous city, with a bit more than 2 million in its metropolitan area.

It is, today, a very modern city with advanced infrastructure, extraordinary culture, and an exuberant lifestyle—in a quirky Scandinavian sort of way.

Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of Zealand, islands stitched together by bridges, tunnels, and promenades.

Aside from Hamlet, not all that much is melancholy in Denmark.

It’s a place where almost anything goes, from the classic century-old amusement park of Tivoli Gardens in city center to Hans Christian Andersen and the Little Mermaid—whose statue is within walking distance from our usual docking space.

To a septugenarian queen who once consorted—in a proper princessly way—with Elvis, Dean Martin, and Shirley Maclaine.

Today was bright and sharp, much like the residents of Copenhagen:


The royal yacht

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

15 June 2019:
Travemünde, Germany:
On the Borderline

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Travemünde is a borough of Lübeck, Germany, at the mouth of the river Trave, with a population of about 13,500 residents and many thousands more summer tourists.

The settlement began as a fortress built in the 12th century by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, to guard the mouth of the Trave, which leads inland to the city of Lubeck.

The Danes subsequently strengthened it. Those fortifications were taken down in 1807 as Travemunde became a popular seaside resort.

And so today, what had been a fishing port and then a Hansa trading port is mostly luring tourists.

A panoramic view of today’s waterfront taken from aboard ship.

Excluding the interruptions of the two world wars, that role continued even during the years of a divided Germany. It is not quite at the mega-yacht level of Saint-Tropez, and that is a good thing because the city has retained or restored its old-world appearance.

At the end of World War II, Germany was split into two quasi nations, the Federal Republic of Germany—known to the outside world as West Germany, and the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, a puppet state of the Soviet Union.

And Travemunde ended up right on the line.

Until 1989 the border between East and West German was behind the Priwall, the spit of beach across from the town. Most of Priwall was a military area and off-limits to the public.

Most of the world’s attention was focused on the concrete and barbed wire wall erected between the Russian and the other sectors of Berlin, the capital city that sat like an island inside of East Germany.

The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961.

Here at Travemunde, the border fencing and walls were erected much earlier, beginning in 1952. It was referred to as the Inner German Border, no less real than the Berlin Wall but not much noticed outside the region.

Nearly 50,000 East German guards were charged with watching – day and night – what East Berlin termed the “anti-fascist protection wall” (although all fortifications were directed against the east).

On the other side, another 20,000 West German border police and customs officials monitored the “zone border”, a name reflecting Bonn’s official position of refusing to recognize the division or the other German state to the east.

Before you could reach the metal fence that was the official line there were a number of other barriers.

Towns and roads from one to five kilometers away from the border, half a mile to three miles away, were considered restricted zones and free travel was difficult. People considered “politically unreliable” or likely to flee, were removed from the restricted zone in two waves of forcible resettlement, in 1952 and 1961.

Then came a control strip, a signal or trip wire fence, and then a 500-meter or 1,800-foot-wide protective strip monitored by armed guards in watchtowers equipped with high-intensity floodlights.

By one estimate, nearly a thousand people were killed trying to escape from East Germany across the inner border.

A LÜBECK ALBUM

Up the river Trave, about 15 miles away, is Lübeck in the Schleswig-Holstein region. It was the leading city of the Hanseatic League, and became a very wealthy place through trade. 

Mostly rebuilt after the war, it includes a large collection of Brick Gothic structures, and the entire city—population about 219,000—is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

I went today with guests for a revisit, and after enduring a rain storm of biblical proportions, we enjoyed a stroll through the wet streets and coffee and marzipan at the famed Niederegger cafe.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

14 June 2019:
The Kiel Canal, Germany:
The Inland Passage from the North Sea to the Baltic

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The Kiel Canal is, in terms of number of ships, the busiest artificial seaway in the world. About 35,000 commercial vessels make the transit per year, an average of about 100 per day.

That is about double the number going through the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal.

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. The Kiel Canal is not the most interesting canal in the world.

We do not rise up 85 feet from the Atlantic and sail across a once-deadly isthmus and then go down 80 feet to exit in the Pacific Ocean, as you would do in the Panama Canal.

And we do not cruise through the desert sands as you would do in the Suez Canal.

But the Kiel is a relaxing and pretty crossing of the north German countryside.

The canal connects the North Sea (via the Elbe River) to the Baltic.

Before the Kiel Canal–and for ships too wide or too long or too tall–the alternative is the much longer and more exposed trip around the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, passing through the Øresund Strait in front of Copenhagen.

Entering the canal today
All photos by Corey Sandler 2019, all rights reserved

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

11-12 June 2019:
Honfleur, France:
Impressions of Normandy and a Tapestry in Bayeux

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Honfleur is a medieval gem, hidden in plain sight, between the major French port of Le Havre across the Seine to the east and the D-Day beaches of Normandy to the west.

The town sits on the southern bank of the estuary of the River Seine, which winds its way inland past Rouen to Paris.

To the east is Normandy, the site of the D-day landings of June 6, 1944. We just missed the international commemoration of the 75th anniversary. Speaking for myself, I felt better about my visit–perhaps my tenth– without the distraction of bloviating politicians.

Here are some scenes from 11 June at Omaha Beach, the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, and at Arromanches.

THE D-DAY BEACHES AT NORMANDY

Omaha Beach. Photo by Corey Sandler
The American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. Photo by Corey Sandler
Remains of the Mulberry landing docks at Arromanches. Photo by Corey Sandler

BAYEUX

Also along the Normandy coast is the handsome city of Bayeux, home to one of the cultural treasures of humankind: The Bayeux Tapestry. It depicts  the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England culminating in the Battle of hastings in 1066, from the point of view of the Normans. 

A portion of the Bayeux Tapestry. Photo by Corey Sandler
Notre-dame-de-Bayeux. Photo by Corey Sandler

HONFLEUR

Honfleur was the birthplace of the artist Eugène Boudin and the composer and artist Erik Satie. And it was a favored place to visit for French painters Claude Monet and Gustave Courbet, English landscape artist William Turner, and writer and critic Charles Baudelaire.

While much of Le Havre on the other side of the river, and Normandy were pounded by the Allies in the lead-up to the D-Day landing or by the Germans in defending it, Honfleur survived the war relatively untouched.

During German occupation, authorities in Honfleur allowed the River Seine to silt up the harbor, making it of little military value. After the war, the harbor was dredged and was once again useful.

As a result, Honfleur is among the best preserved towns in Europe.

Honfleur dates back at least to the 11th century. From the start it was an important port for the transit of goods from Rouen to England. With the outbreak of the Hundred Years’ War, though, the tide ran the other way: Honfleur was occupied by the English in 1357 and again from 1419 to 1450.

Back under French control, it was used as the staging area for attacks on the English coast: Sandwich was assaulted and severely damaged in 1450s.

After the end of the Hundred Years War, the port was used for both trade and as the embarkation point for exploration: Local shipowner Binot Paulmier de Gonneville departed Honfleur in 1503 looking for a trade route to India. His ship “L’Espoir” (Hope) made it all the way to Brazil, the first French ship to touch its shores.

Three years later, native son Jean Denis went to Newfoundland island and the mouth of the Saint Lawrence in what is now Canada. That’s the course we’ll be following two months from now, when Silver Wind crosses over from London to Iceland and to the New World.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

9 June 2019:
London, United Kingdom:
Through the Tower Bridge to Scandinavia and Back

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived early this morning in London, one of the most spectacular waterborne approaches in the world.

It was a superb morning, with the extra added excitement of a hot air balloon regatta overhead near Greenwich.

Here is some of what we saw today:

The Tower Bridge spans were raised for us and we moved slowly and carefully to our dock across from the Tower of London alongside the retired light cruiser HMS Belfast, a ship that saw duty in some of the critical battles of northern Norway during World War II.

For guests leaving us here, safe travels. And to new friends, welcome aboard.

We’ll rest here for the day, backing out through the bridge early on Monday.

Silver Wind tied up to the floating dock alongside HMS Belfast in the River Thames.

The Tower of London reflected in a modern building near Millennium Pier on the River Thames. The Tower is off the starboard side of our ship as we are moored to HMS Belfast.

Our schedule calls for visits to Honfleur in Normandy, France and then through the Kiel Canal in Germany for visits to Copenhagen and Aalborg in Denmark, Gothenburg in Sweden, the capital city of Oslo in Norway, and then back one more time to London.

Here’s our plan:

I hope you’ll join me here in these pages.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

7 June 2019:
Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland:
The Athens of the North

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have sailed back across the North Sea to the glorious city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

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, never mind the spelling.

Elsewhere there are places that spell the word in the Scottish sense but pronounce it in the Germanic style. Like Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and Lansingburgh in upstate New York.

It is the equivalent of the word borough, which is in use in many places around the world, and the spelling of that word includes one of those magically invisible “O-U-G-H” vowel-like sounds.

Places like downstate New York, where New York City is made up of five boroughs, which is different from the remainder of the state which is divided into counties.

If you really want to sound as if you are either very, very knowledgeable—or extremely out of touch—you can try one of the old nicknames for Edinburgh:

“Auld Reekie”, meaning Old Smoky,

Or “Edina”, the source of the first part of the city’s name, before it became a burgh.

Or this one: “The Athens of the North”, s nod to the many classical designs for grand buildings.

We went for a long walk in the morning sun. Here is some of what we saw today:

The Castle on the hill
The memorials to the explorer David Lingstone (born about 35 miles west of Edinburgh, and celebrated throughout the United Kingdom), and in the background that of author Sir Walter Scott.
All photos by Corey Sandler, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

More Photos of Edinburgh from Previous Visits

The Castle

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

5 June 2019:
Vik and Flåm, Norway:
Fjords, Falls, and Rails

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our last calls in Norway are two small settlements in a spectacular fjord, in many ways an encapsulation of the history and legends of the country.

We began with an early morning visit to Vik, on the southern shore of the Sognefjorden. Like much of Norway, it is a tiny settlement in an outsized setting. The municipality spreads across 833 square kilometers or 322 square miles, with about 2,700 residents.

A thousand years ago or so, this fjord was a thoroughfare for the Vikings.

These days, cruise ships pass by pretty regularly in the summer. Most are headed directly for Flåm, but from time to time, one of them stops for a while in Vik.

I went with guests on a day-long trip from Vik, up into the mountains and then across the top by railroad and then down the hill to Flåm. Our first visit was to the very impressive Hopperstad Church, first erected about the year 1130. It is probably the oldest stave church in the world, and a living bridge between Viking mythology and Christian belief.

Here is some of what we saw there:

Hopperstad Church in Vik. Photos by Corey Sandler, copyight 2019, all rights reserved.

About lunchtime, our ship sailed around the corner to the even smaller settlement of Flåm, famous for its scenery and its railroad that ascends from the sea toward the sky.

The village of Flåm is at the end of the Aurlandsfjord, a small arm of the spectacular Sognefjord from the Norwegian Sea.

Flåm has been a tourist attraction since the late 19th century.

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. The maximum rise or gradient is about 5.6 percent; up 863 meters or 2,831 feet_(1:18) through 20 tunnels and across one bridge.

The trip takes about an hour each way, churning up the mountain at 40 kilometers or 25 miles per hour. Going down, they apply the brakes to keep the speed to 30 kilometers or 19 miles per hour.

There’s a spectacular waterfall about halfway down the mountain, which is high praise for a place like Norway. And, just for us, a huldra, a temptress of the forest emerged. I–and the other men in our group–barely escaped.

The temptress emerges. Photos by Corey Sandler

The idea for the train arose in the 1890s, when trade and tourism 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.

After the war, steam engines were replaced by electric locomotives. And the industrial and agricultural products were replaced by tourists.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

4 June 2019:
Ålesund, Norway:
Out of the Ashes

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

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.

Such was the case in the core of the City of London after the Great Fire of 1666. The Chicago Fire of 1871. Virginia City in Nevada in 1875 at the peak of the silver mining boom. San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906.

Ålesund was almost totally destroyed on January 23, 1904.

The familiar 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.

German Kaiser Wilhelm had been a frequent vacationer to Ålesund and coastal Norway. After the fire, Wilhelm sent four warships with materials to build temporary shelters.

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

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

3 June 2019:
Hellesylt and Geirangerfjord, Norway:
Up and Over

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We headed in from the Norwegian Sea on one of the most spectacular watery highways to the interior of coastal Norway, following a twisting and turning pathway along the big Storfjorden, then into the smaller Sunnylvsfjorden, and finally the even narrower Geirangerfjorden.

And just for fun, along the way, we sailed alongside an area of unstable mountainside that threatens the entire region if and when it finally lets loose. The thought of a tsunami in a narrow Norwegian fjord is enough to send the trolls into hiding.

In the morning, we made a stop in Hellesylt in the outer reaches. The local waterfall was in full force as the snows of winter melted.

Here is some of what we saw:

Silver Wind at the dock in Hellesylt
All photos copyright 2019, Corey Sandler

At noon we headed to Geiranger, at the dead end of the fjord.

A GEIRANGER ALBUM

At the end of the fjord in Geiranger

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

2 June 2019:
Bergen, Norway:
Fire and Ice

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Bergen is a modern city set in an ancient town, the one-time capital of Norway and a place with a broken link to England.

The beautiful horseshoe harbor, framed by a handsome bowl of seven hills, has a bustling commercial center, an active fishery with a great public fish market, and a laid-back Scandinavian culture that meets up with a lively university and student culture.

Across its history, thought, Bergen has had its tough times. Plague and war, fire and ice.

Skies today began gray and threatening, with no fire or ice expected. Sun broke through at midday…forestalling a return to gray.

All photos copyright 2019 Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Bergen is said to have been founded by Olav Kyrre, also known as Olaf III. Olaf, the King of Norway from 1067 to 1093, was present at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in England.

That battle is considered the end of the Viking Age, or at least the beginning of the end. It pitted an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada against an Anglo-Saxon army led by King Harold Godwinson.

King Hardrada and most of the other Norwegians were killed in a bloody battle. Olaf—the son of King Hardrada—survived and returned to Norway, where he founded the city of Bergen in 1070.

There are many intriguing alternate endings to that story:

London as a Viking capital?

Bergen as home of the occupiers of England?

Bangers and mash as the national dish of Norway?

Lutefisk in the pubs of Camden Town?

We’ll never know.

Bergen served as the capital of Norway in the 13th century, and late in that century it was a Kontor, a trading post, of the Hanseatic League. Some of the homes and warehouses of the traders, Bryggen, still stand along one side of the harbor.

In truth, what we see in Bryggen has been rebuilt numerous times. Many fires and a disastrous explosion in the harbor during German occupation of Bergen during World War II destroyed much of what was original. But the Norwegians mostly rebuilt, as built.

Dried fish at the market
A fresh monkfish…hoping to hide in plain sight. He may have seen a cousin on the menu aboard ship last night.
Inside Bryggen, the old Hansa merchant district

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR 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.

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

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

1 June 2019:
Stavanger, Norway:
Like Oil Above Water

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Stavanger is a little bit old, a little bit new, a little bit Norwegian, and a little bit New England.

Let me unpack that a little.

Stavanger is one of Norway’s oldest cities, the third-largest urban zone and metropolitan area of the country . . . and perhaps one of Norway’s least-known ports.

Its history, population, and relative wealth are all due to the real estate agent’s three most important words of advice: location, location, and location. It is, in relative terms, in a much more moderate clime than the settlements up north. And it is one of the more significant ports, along with Bergen, that lies in reasonable distance from Norway’s North Sea oil and gas fields offshore. A significant part of the economy is involved in supplying the platforms and repairing the equipment.

The old part of town grew when Stavanger was a flourishing fishing port, and one side of the harbor is pretty much unchanged going back to the 18th and 19th a century. And strangely, we find Gamle Stavanger, the old town, quite reminiscent of our part of the world, the fishing villages and islands of New England.

And then there is the really old section, outside of town. The first traces of settlement in the Stavanger region date from when the ice retreated after the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago.

Today was what Norwegians consider a pretty good day: neither raining nor snowing. Here are some of the photos I took today:

Silver Wind at the dock, reflected in an art piece.
All photos copyright 2019, by Corey Sandler. Ask rights reserved. Please contact me if you would like to purchase a copy

The region was an important economic and military center as far back as the 9th and 10th centuries.

The Battle of Hafrsfjord took place near present-day Stavanger about the year 872.

The battle, which mostly took place on the water, is considered perhaps the most important event leading to the unification of the various kingdoms of the region under a single monarch for the first time.

The victorious Viking chief Harald Fairhair proclaimed himself the first king of the Norwegians.

The title of this blog post, “Like Oil Above Water”, is derived from Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. It resonates with me in these wobbly times.

Cervantes writes: “Truth will rise above falsehood, as oil above water.” One can hope…

Old Stavanger
New Stavanger, a model of a drilling rig at the Oil Museum

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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