14 October 2017:
Key West, Florida:
The Sun Also Sets

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Here in the Conch Republic, not everything is normal.

Let me rephrase that. In Key West, normal is not normal.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But this is a place where you could walk down the street dressed in a scarf and a sneeze. . .

and receive compliments on the scarf.

But in a sense, Key West has more or less gotten back to its version of normal, just a month after an unwelcome visit by Hurricane Irma which came ashore 20 miles north of Key West, over the Big Pine, Summerland and Cudjoe Keys.

Key West was partially submerged, and suffered some damage but the locals have been working non-stop to restore the place to greet visitors much more appreciated: tourists. Silver Muse is among the first cruise ships to return to the town.

It was a hot and almost impossibly humid day…and this is autumn.

Here’s our ship, making her maiden call:

And I was glad to see that the street art survived, including this giant homage to a famous photo taken at the end of World War II:

This evening we set sail for two days at sea, headed for Puerto Limon, and beyond that a transit of the Panama Canal.

Key West was a regular home to Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and President Harry S Truman and other notables.

They have a New Year’s Celebration that is out of this world, but that is just one of many fantastic fantasy festivals here at the very bottom of Florida.

In Key West, you can stand at the corner of South and Whitehead Streets and take a picture of a monument that marks the southernmost point of the United States.

Well, it’s close.

Here’s the fine print: the monument is in the general vicinity of the southernmost point of the continental United States.

Whitehead Spit, just west of the monument, is the true southernmost point, but that piece of land is U.S. Navy property, not ordinarily accessible to tourists.

The actual southernmost point of the United States is not on the continent.

It is at Ka Lae, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

But wait, if we broaden our definition to include U.S. possessions, the southernmost part of the United States is tiny Rose Atoll, in American Samoa, an unincorporated territory.

Actually, there’s an even more obscure spot: the Amundsen–Scott Station at the Geographic South Pole.

You can’t get any further south than that. But since Antarctica is by treaty an international zone, it is not a part of the United States.

Not that they quibble about true facts much around here.

This is, after all, a place where every night hundreds of tourists and many locals gather at Mallory Square to watch the same thing that happened roughly 24 hours ago: the setting of the sun.

Same sun as you’ll seen everywhere else on the planet. Except here, it’s different.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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

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————-

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

13 October 2017:
Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
Musings on a Grand Voyage

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome aboard for the start of the Grand Voyage of Silversea’s beautiful new flagship, Silver Muse.

We’re heading southwest from Fort Lauderdale, with a first stop at the quirky semi-independent somewhat incredible, and always enjoyable Key West, the southernmost point of the mainland of the United States. It will be our last touch of the U.S.  for more than two months.

Silver Muse

From there it will be westward to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, where we we will perform final weights and measures before Silver Muse makes her first transit of the Panama Canal, the pathway between the seas.

When we reach the Pacific, we’ll head south down the coast of South America with calls in Ecuador, Peru, and Chile on the first leg of our voyage.

Here’s our plan for the first segment of the Grand Voyage:

The second leg will go down to the bottom of the continent, with closeup encounters with the fjords and icefields of Laguna San Rafael and Garibaldi Glacier. After rounding the Strait of Magellan. we’ll start heading north with a scheduled call at the Falkland Islands on our way to Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

And the third part of the trip will take us to seven stops in Brazil, including some less-known places and one of the most famous places of the deep south, Rio de Janeiro. From there we make an arrival…and a departure…from the famous French prison island of Devil’s Island.

I hope you’ll join me here throughout.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 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 2017:
London, England:
Journey’s End, Through the Tower Bridge

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’ve completed our roundtrip from cosmopolitan London up the west coast of Norway to the cold top at the northernmost point of mainland Europe and back.

Early this morning, Silver Wind entered the estuary of the River Thames about 1:30 a.m.

Sunrise came at 5:47 a.m., in time for us to have a glorious approach to London, gleaming in the early sun.

Just as the morning rush hour got fully under way, the spans of the London Tower Bridge opened to let us through to come through to our mooring.

Here are some photos I took two weeks ago when Silver Wind went through the Tower Bridge at the end of our previous cruise.

Passing Through the London Flood Barrier

Under the Emirates Cable Car

\

Alongside the O2 Arena, With Adventurous Gawkers On the Rafters

Passing By Our Sister Ship Silver Cloud

Arrivederci to our guests heading home; some will take a taxi from the ship to Greater London, and others have longer journeys. Safe travels.

We, too, are going home for a while. We’ll be back aboard ship in the fall; I hope you’ll join me here in these pages.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

You can help support this site by making purchases from AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

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

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————-

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 2017:
Stavanger, Norway:
The Oil Capital

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

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 was established because of its fine harbor, in the relatively temperate south of the country. It prospered as a trading port.

Stavanger is in many ways a summation of all things Norwegian.

It is a dramatic port in a harbor framed by mountains, snow-capped most of the year.

It has a history of trade and war, war and trade.

It was and is used by fishermen.

And in recent years, the latest hordes of invaders are tourists, most of them coming in by cruise ship—more than 100 ship visits per year.

But the largest single driver of the economy—directly and indirectly—is the oil and gas industry.

TODAY IN STAVANGER

All photos by Corey Sandler, copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

Stavanger is called by some the Oil Capital of Norway, the headquarters of the government-owned Statoil company and the base for much of the support for the vast offshore fields in the wild and cold North Sea.

Other international establishments, and especially local branches of foreign oil and gas companies, contribute further to a significant foreign population in the city.

There are also domestic and international military installations in Stavanger, among them the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s Joint Warfare Center.

Stavanger also as another distinction, among the most expensive cities in the world.

It is featured in comparisons including the Big Mac index which compares the cost of a burger around the world, which may be one of the more accurate ways to gauge the cost of living.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

You can help support this site by making purchases from AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

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

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————-

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

26 June 2017:
Bergen, Norway:
Mood Swings

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Bergen is the last major port call on this cruise, a charming and sometimes moody place in the southern part of Norway.

Why moody? Well, the people here are almost always unfailingly pleasant and accommodating.

The weather: not so much.

Bergen is a place where you can experience all four seasons. All in one day, that is.

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4718

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4722

Moody weather in Bergen. Photos by Corey Sandler

In the morning I walked with Silversea chef David Bilsland and a group of guests from our ship to the Bergen Fish Market on an educational and shopping tour.

Below, Rudolph the Red-nosed Hot Dog

BRYGGEN

Bryggen, on the north side of the bay, was used as a dock and warehouse area by the Hansa between 1350 and 1750.

Here are some photos from today:

Photos by Corey Sandler

AN ANTIQUE MUSEUM

I am a big fan of the Natural History Museum at the University of Bergen. Alas, it is under renovation until 2019. I look forward to returning…but i hope they don’t overdo the renewal.

It was a very old-fashioned museum—think wooden cabinets with specimens pinned in place, stuffed animals of all sort, and huge whale and other skeletons hanging overhead.

Some of the creatures—and the design of the museum—are extinct.

Bergen6 Univ

Bergen5 Univ

Bergen Natural History Museum. Photos by Corey Sandler

ABOUT BERGEN

Bergen is home to about 268,000 people in the city itself and 394,000 in the surrounding area.

It is thus the second-largest city in Norway, behind only Oslo, although the capital city is much more populous: 1.4 million.

Oh, and a whole bunch of fish.

Bergen4

Bergen3

Bergen2

Bergen1

FISH MARKET

The great fish market occupies the center of the horseshoe-shaped harbor; in modern times the market has been extended from outdoor stalls to a handsome indoor building.

The fish is about as fresh and tasty as you’ll find anywhere, and all you need to do is look hungry to be offered a sample of smoked salmon or boiled crab or fish chowder.

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4701

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4714

King Crab at the Bergen Fish Market

Bergen Norway 21Jun2013-4706

This guy looks quite surprised at the situation he has found himself in. It’s an Ure fish, which means red fish, similar to red snapper.

MY GUILTY SNACK

One other point worth noting: Norway is one of the few countries that still hunts whales for meat. (The others include Iceland, Japan, and a few tiny island nations.)

Norway catches a few hundred Minke whales, mostly in waters at the northern end of the nation.

Minke whales are not considered an endangered species, although their numbers—like all other varieties of whales—are greatly reduced.

My wife and I live on Nantucket Island, which for a period of time in the 19th century was the whaling capital of the world. It was the Saudi Arabia of whale oil.

But the whalers who left from our island on voyages of as much as three or four years did not eat the whale meat. All they wanted was the oil as well as baleen and whale bone.

And today, although Nantucket celebrates its heritage as a whaling port (including the fine Nantucket Whaling Museum), it is at the forefront of a nearly-universal boycott against the harvesting of whale for meat today.

Although I have been to Norway, Iceland, Japan, and Arctic Canada many times, until a few years ago I had never tried whale meat.

Reason 1: Political correctness.

Reason 2: Have you ever seen whale meat? It is enough to make you seriously consider vegetarianism.

But on a tour of the fish market, we were offered samples of king crab and gravlax and codfish caviar and fish chowder.

And then, a platter of small pieces of smoked whale.

I hesitated…and then took a bite.

It tasted a bit like beef or caribou. Not bad.

But I felt guilty about it. And I promise never to do it again.

There are other foods to explore without the worry of losing my credentials in the upright citizens brigade.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

You can help support this site by making purchases from AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

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

25 June 2017:
Olden, Norway:
A Tiny Place in a Grand Setting

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Norway is a relatively small place, but Olden…well, it’s a tiny place in a grand setting.

Think of the Halls of the Mountain King and glaciers and trolls.

The village of Olden is at the mouth of the Oldeelva river on the southern shore of the Nordfjorden, the North Fjord.

It is less than half a square kilometer, or 140 acres in size, with a population of about 498.

Nordfjorden is one of the longest fjords in Norway, with its main arm extending eastward from the sea about 106 kilometers or 66 miles. The fjord starts as runoff from the Jostedalsbreen, Europe’s largest mainland glacier fed by the largest snowfield on the continent.

There was plenty of water below our keel. The fjord has a maximum depth of 565 meters or 1,854 feet.

The Jostedalsbreen glacier remains quite large, but like most cold places on the planet it has been affected by climate change.

Today I went with a group of guests on a road and boat trip to the base of the Kjenndalsbreen glacier, which is a minor finger of the huge Jostalsbreen.

We passed along emerald green silver green waters of Lake Loen and then proceeded on foot to the valley that holds what remains of the glacier.

The frozen river has receded to perhaps 30 percent of its fairly recent extension into the valley.

I focused my camera on the reflections and on the patterns in the water and ice and rock. Here’s some of what I saw.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

You can help support this site by making purchases from AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

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

24 June 2017:
Molde, Norway:
Cool

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

There is a Norwegian aphorism that goes like this:

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only poor choices of clothing.”

We have experienced very cold winds, moderate temperatures, rain, and even a bit of snow on this trip.

One of the weather forecasts for today predicted a 90 percent chance of rain. The day started out gray and threatening, but by 11 in the morning there was blue sky without a single cloud, which I suppose means we hit that 10 percent sweet spot.

The day is not yet over, though. The afternoon is back to shades of gray.

On our walk today I was in a reflective mood. Here’s what I saw.

REFLECTIONS ON MOLDE TODAY

All photos by Corey Sandler, copyright 2017.

Norway is, in general, not known as a hot place.

Molde is located about a third of the way up from the base of the country, pretty far north but still about 265 miles or 426 kilometers below the Arctic Circle.

But it benefits nicely from a nearby finger of the Gulf Stream, giving it a maritime, temperate climate, with cool-to-warm summers, and relatively mild winters.

However, in other ways, Molde is definitely a cool place.

Especially every July, near the peak of summer. This small place is home to the annual Moldejazz festival, one of the largest and oldest jazz festivals in Europe, and one of the most important.

As many as 100,000 visitors come to the city, quadrupling the local population of about 26,000.

The festival this year runs from 17 to 22 July, and something like 120 concerts are planned.

The famed Atlantic Road runs up the coast nearby to Molde. Photo by Corey Sandler

UP FROM THE ASHES

Like many Norwegian towns, Molde suffered greatly in World War II.

German air-raids in April and May 1940 destroyed about two thirds of the town.

Molde was in effect the capital of Norway for a week after King Haakon, Crown Prince Olav, and members of the government and parliament arrived at Molde on April 23, after a dramatic flight from Oslo. They arrived in time to experience the bombing raids personally.

The Norwegian gold reserve was also brought to Molde, and was hidden in a clothing factory.

Today the gold comes mostly from tourists.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

You can help support this site by making purchases from AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

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

22 June 2017:
Bodø, Norway:
You, Too?

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Located on a peninsula in the Norwegian Sea, Bodø is one of Norway’s windiest cities. And cold. And with two months of sunless days, and two months of nothing but sun.

We’re arriving close to the peak of the Midnight Sun season.

Silver Wind at the dock in Bødo, which is pronounced Boo-duh, more or less.

It’s a remote and relatively unknown place, although it had a few close brushes with history.

Six weeks after Norway was invaded by Germany, most of Bodø was destroyed by a Luftwaffe attack on May 27, 1940. Why? Because the Allies had begun work on an airfield there.

And then 20 years later, in May of 1960, an airplane departed an U.S. air station near Peshawar in Pakistan. It was due to land in Bodø, Norway.

That’s a rather unusual route, and this was not your basic airplane.

This was a U-2 spy plane, and its flight path was intended to be the first attempt to fly all the way across the Soviet Union, deeper into Russia than the Americans had ever gone.

The U-2 plane, a most unusual design, was capable of flying as high as 75,000 feet above the earth, nearly 15 miles up. That was higher than any Soviet plane of the time could fly, and thought to be out of reach of antiaircraft weaponry.

The U-2 was armed not with bombs or missiles but instead with many cameras capable of high-resolution photography.

The pilot was Francis Gary Powers.

And you may also remember that the Soviets somehow managed to shoot the U-2 out of the sky with a flurry of 14 surface-to-air missiles.

The airport at Bodø has been used for various secret and not-so-secret purposes in its history. Today, in addition to commercial flights, it is part of a NATO cold weather training center.

NEPAL IN NORWAY

On this visit I went with the guests a group of guests on a strenuous hike up Keiservarden, the tallest local mountain. The hill, about 600 meters or so but rather steep, was renamed in honor of Kaiser Wilhelm in the early 1900s. Wilhelm was a regular  visitor to Norway at the time.

The trail was challenging and I can only imagine what it was like before it was improved a few years ago by a set of Nepalese experts.

As always, I carried my pack of cameras and lenses. As I write these words my knees are reminding me of the morning stroll.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

You can help support this site by making purchases from AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

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

23 June 2017:
Trondheim, Norway:
Gothic Norway

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Trondheim is the third largest city of Norway, with about 188,000 residents in the metropolitan area. Bergen is the second-largest, with about 278,000 residents. The largest city in Norway, which we are not planning to visit on this cruise, is the capital at Oslo around the corner tucked in next to Sweden.

In Trondheim, Nidaros Cathedral, the Domkirke, was built over the burial site of Saint Olav, the king of Norway in the 11th century, who became the patron saint of the nation.

It is the traditional location for the consecration of the King of Norway.

The church was built from 1070 to 1300. After the Protestant Reformation, it was taken from the Roman Catholics by the Lutheran Church in 1537.

The last Catholic Archbishop had to flee from the city to the Netherlands, later dying in what is today Lier, Belgium.

Anyway, the Domkirke is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world.

Not the northernmost cathedral, and not the northernmost church. But the northernmost cathedral that dates from medieval times.

Norway’s current King Harald V and Queen Sonja were consecrated in the cathedral in 1991.

In 2002, their daughter Princess Märtha Louise married the writer Ari Behn in the cathedral.

The facade of the cathedral includes dozens of saints well known and obscure. Very close to the main entrance is a prominent remembrance of St Sigurd also known as St Sigfrid of Sweden depicted holding the three severed heads of his nephews. According to the story, the boys were murdered and recovered by Sigurd and were able to tell him the name of their killer.

The city of Trondheim is includes a major university and is a lively place to visit. Its old sector includes warehouses, some of them dating back many hundreds of years.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

You can help support this site by making purchases from AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

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

20 June 2017:
Honningsvåg, Norway:
The Northernmost* City of Europe

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Honningsvåg is the northernmost* city on the mainland of Norway.

*There are a few gotchas in that description. Mainland, not on an island. And city, not a town or village or settlement.

(And in case you are wondering, Murmansk in Russia just around the corner is slightly to the south and Reykjavik in Iceland is not on the mainland.)

That said, Honningsvag has only about 2,436 inhabitants which is below the Norwegian definition of a city as a place with at least 5,000 residents. But its status as a city wa s grandfathered in place.

COLD COMFORT TODAY

Tomorrow is midsummer’s day here in Norway but we arrived this morning to find wintry conditions: 4 degrees Celsius or a bit less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and drizzle.

But we spent the day walking around what is for us a familiar place in a very remote corner of the world.

Here is some of what we saw.

It’s a rather small place, too, especially in the wide open spaces up north. The city consists of 1.2 square kilometers or 300 acres, within a bay on the southeastern side of the large island of Magerøya.

The famous North Cape and its visitors center is on the northern side of the island.

Searching for a northeast passage to India in 1553, British navigator Richard Chancellor—among the early explorers of the far north—came upon a jut of rock 307 meters or 1,007 feet above the Barents Sea. Chancellor named the place North Cape.

It’s a dramatic place, a rite of passage for many visitors to the far north. There are a small number of Sami people who still live something close to a traditional life in the far north.

The tourist attraction at Nordkapp, which includes a metallic sculpture of the planet earth—plus a display of art and artifacts, plus a gift shop, is just across the bay from the actual northernmost piece of land in Europe.

Why is the visitors center not at the actual northernmost spot in Europe? Because the northernmost spot is at the end of a narrow and somewhat fragile cliff, and there’s no place to park tourist buses.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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19 June 2017:
Tromsø, Norway:
Northern Exposure

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Tromsø is the largest city in Northern Norway, 350 kilometers or 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

It is the second largest city within the Arctic Circle, behind only Murmansk.

Please don’t expect Paris. Even though at one time this small settlement did lay claim to the nickname of “The Paris of the North.” Everything is relative, I suppose.

Tromsø has a population of about 50,000, and the urban area spreads widely across about 973 square miles or 2,500 square kilometers.

Photos by Corey Sandler

It is home to the world’s northernmost university, botanical garden, cathedral, and most importantly, the northernmost brewery in the world.

Now someone out there is saying: what about Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland?

Well, Reykjavik is larger than Tromso, about twice the population. But it lies about 150 miles short of the Arctic Circle.

Arctic hunting, from Novaya Zemlya to Canada, started up around 1820.

On today’s visit I went in search of monuments to a diverse group of people who were born or spent time here.

Among the ones I found was a statue to the great explorer Roald Amundsen. After 35 years of circling the globe, in 1928 Amundsen sent out to find the crew of another Expedition that have been lost in the Arctic.

In June of 1928, Umberto Nobile, a friend and sometime companion of Amundsen was missing in the Arctic and the Norwegian explorer launched a rescue mission.

Amundsen’s seaplane crashed somewhere in the Barents Sea and he and five other members of his crew were never found.

The statue of Roald Amundsen, not far from his home in Tromso.

In the center of the city is a large statue of a tall man comma King Haakon VII, who was sovereign of Norway through World War II, including time in exile in London.

King Haakon VII

Adolph Thomsen was a renowned organist and composer born in Bergen. From 1879 to 1883 he served as the organist at the Cathedral here. One of his compositions, “Childhood Memory of Nordland” is considered an unofficial anthem of the north.

Adolf Thomsen

And then there is Peter Wessell Zappfe, born in Tromso in 1899. He was a physician, author, and mountaineer.

He is best known though for his writings which put forth a pessimistic and fatalistic view of human existence, in part inspired by the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.

Zapffe argued that humans are born with an overdeveloped skill of understanding and self-knowledge, which does not fit into nature’s design.

And so, why is Zappffe shown smiling on his plaque?

By 1850, Tromsø was the major center of Arctic hunting and the city was trading from Arkhangelsk to Bordeaux. The French connection led to the somewhat dubious Paris nickname.

By the end of the 19th century, Tromsø had become a major setting off place for Arctic expeditions. Explorers like Roald Amundsen, Umberto Nobile, and Fridtjof Nansen picked up supplies and often recruited their crew in the city.

In the heart of the city is the Church of Our Lady.

Like many other things in Tromso, it has a northernmost claim: the farthest north Catholic bishopric. The present church was completed in 1861.

Although the local Catholic population is only about 350, Pope John Paul II visited this small church and stayed as a guest of the bishop in 1989.

That makes it, of course, the northernmost Catholic church ever visited by a Pope.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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18 June 2017:
Svolvær, Norway:
Cold Fish

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’ve arrived in a tiny town, within the Arctic Circle, with a major history in the fishing industry of Norway.

All of Svolvær fits within just short of one square mile or 2.3 square kilometers, and has a population of about 4,500 hardy souls.

The residents, and visitors, often get to experience all four seasons…in one day. That was our experience today: early morning was cold and damp, midday bright and sunny and warm, and then gray rolling clouds moved back in.

TODAY IN SVOLVÆR

+

In the foreground, our ship against a background of a snow field.

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would to obtain a copy of any photos you see in my blog, please contact me at corey[at]sandlerbooks.com

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For a few months each year in the cold and sunless winter, millions of Atlantic cod migrate south from the Barents Sea to spawn among the reefs and shoals of Lofoten.

Fishermen have been flocking here to cash in on the bonanza for more than a thousand years.

From the start, the lure to the remote island was the Northern Atlantic Cod fishery. Just to make things worse, the prime season for that catch is in the cold, dark winter.

Offshore, this is also one of the prime places for the hunting of whales, principally minke whales.

Norway, along with Japan and Iceland are the only places that still engage in that practice in large numbers.

Norway resumed hunting whales in 1993, imposing its own limit of 1,000 minke whales. The current catch is about half that number.

There is also an industry in salmon farming.

The windswept Lofoten islands have a kind of magical pull, even within the mystical world of Norway.

Its fjords provided dramatic backdrops to some of the grandest of the Viking sagas.

The Norwegian novelist Johan Bojer described the Lofoten chain in his 1921 book, “The Last of the Vikings,” as “a land in the Arctic Ocean that all the boys along the coast dreamt of visiting some day, a land where exploits were performed, fortunes were made, and where fishermen sailed in a race with Death.”

In Norse folklore the long, cold spine of mountains that hugs Norway’s northwest coast was the home of scary or nasty trolls and valkyries.

Valkyries were said to be maidens who conducted slain warriors to Valhalla.

Actually, in some versions they were more than that: they were the spirits who chose those who will die in battle and those who may live.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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16 June 2017:
Ålesund, Norway:
Fire and Fish

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived in Ålesund, Norway on a gray and misty day, which suits the place very well. I accompanied a group of guests on a visit to two of the outlying islands, Giske and Godøy, passing through six or so of the 900 tunnels dug through mountains and under the seabeds of Norway.

I used the flat light and mist to paint a portrait:

ÅLESUND TODAY

We went out to Giske Island, home to a few hundred very hardy folk as well as the old Giske Church, built in Norman style as a Catholic place of worship in the 12th century as a family chapel for the Giskes. Today it is a Lutheran church, and it includes some spectacular carvings, restored in modern times.

Farmers in the region store their harvested hay and silage in rolls. The local nickname for them: “Troll Eggs.”

And then we stopped for a visit to a remote lighthouse, and to a café at its base. The café was promising Heimelaga brennsnut, which translates as Homemade Burnt Snout. Brennsnut is the name of a hearty vegetable and meat soup, served very hot, hot enough to scald your nose.

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

OUT OF THE ASHES

There is 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.

Virginia City in Nevada in 1875 at the peak of the silver mining boom. And San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906.

And in the place where I live now, Nantucket Island, which was devastated by a fire in 1846 that destroyed the old whaling town but not the fortunes of the whaleship captains.

Each of these places was rebuilt quickly, cleaner and more stylish than before the fire.

So too, Ålesund Norway, which 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.

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany 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.

ÅLESUND ON A SUNNY DAY

Today, Ålesund has the most important fishing harbor in Norway, amongst the most modern in Europe. The local catch includes cod, whitefish, and herring.

You’ll see the equipment for production of stockfish, which is unsalted fish—usually cod—dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks.

In fact Norway is one of the prime suppliers of stockfish, baccala, baccalao—all the same thing—to places like Italy and Portugal and elsewhere around the world.

And then there is Lutefisk, which is a whole other kettle of fish.

It is made from aged stockfish (air-dried whitefish) or dried/salted whitefish (klippfisk) and lye (lut).

It is gelatinous in texture. Its name literally means “lye fish”, and it is somewhere between fish and fish-like jelly. Try it—you might like it—or perhaps not.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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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”

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

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15 June 2017:
Flåm, Norway:
Where Fjord Meets Railroad

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Silver Wind’s first call in Norway began when we came in from the open sea and sailed inland along one of Norway’s most spectacular fjords to visit Flåm.

If you call it Flam as in ham, they’ll know what you mean. But the Norwegian and Danish letter Å, with the little diacritical overring at it top, is not “a” but more similar to “o” in most other languages.

So, FLOME, or something like that.

The village of Flåm is at the end of the Aurlandsfjord, a small arm of the spectacular Sognefjord which extends 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.

The sail-in in the early morning is always spectacular; so, too, the sail-out in the still-bright evening.

Not far from the open sea is the statue of Fridtjof at Vangsnes on the Sognefjorden.

Fridtjof was the hero of an Icelandic Viking saga. The original version dates from the 8th century, updated and continued about the year 1300.

German Kaiser Wilhelm II was a regular visitor to this part of Norway, and in 1913 he gave the statue as a gift to the Norwegian people.

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

Truth be told, though: few people come to see the port.

It’s basically a train station and a few gift shops. 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 trip takes about an hour in each direction.

UP THE TRACK

BLOG Flam Norway 29June2014_DSC7427

BLOG Flam Norway 29June2014_DSC7430

The old town, just above the train station

At Kjossfossen, a maid of the most emerges a few dozen times a day to entice tourists. Looking for a job? This might not top your wish list.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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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”

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

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11-12 June 2017:
London, England:
Through the Tower Bridge to a Farewell and a Welcome Aboard

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

On a handsome Sunday afternoon, Silver Wind made its grand approach to London, one of my favorite sail-ins anywhere in the world.

Our ship is just the right size to make her way up the River Thames and through the Tower Bridge. All traffic across the river was stopped, and the twin bascule arms of the bridge were raised to let us pass through. This is an experience that never gets old, not for me or the captain, crew, and passengers.

In the morning, as we approached the mouth of the Thames we passed near to the Thames Estuary Mansell Forts, rising from the sea like rusty machines from H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.

The offshore forts  were built during the Second World War to defend against German minelayers and planes that were seeking to approach London up the watery highway of the river.

Here is a photo I took this morning as we passed nearby the ghostly forts.

 

We passed between Gravesend on the south bank, and Tilbury on the north. Some larger cruise ships and freighters can come no closer than this.

Pocanontas, the daughter of a chief in Virginia,  was by many accounts the first native American to visit England. After marrying a colonist in America, John Rolfe, she later sailed with him to England where she was received at the court in London and feted as a celebrity.

On the return voyage, seven months later, she was taken ill and died ashore in Gravesend in 1617 at age 21. She is buried under the chancel of St George’s parish church.

Closer to London, we passed through the Thames Barrier, erected to guard against the flooding of much of Greater London by exceptional high tides and storm surges that move up from the North Sea.

In modern times, a flood in 1928 killed 14, and then the North Sea Flood of 1953 killed 307, resulting in the construction of the barrier.

Just short of the Tower Bridge, we crossed over the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, which links Greenwich to the South to the Isle of Dogs in London. The tunnel opened in 1902, built of cast iron rings that extend 1,215 feet of 370 meters; the interior is about 9 feet in diameter–and I can’t recommend it to claustrophobics.

And then finally, the Tower Bridge opened for us. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name.

The bridge opened in 1894, with two towers tied together above by a pair of horizontal walkways. The roadway pivots upward at each end in a bascule design, like a forearm bending up from the elbow.

To those guests leaving us here in London, I wish you arrivederci, until we meet again. I hope to sail with you again. And to guests joining us here for the next cruise, benvenuto. Welcome aboard.

We’re headed back down the Thames and then up the west coast of Norway to near its top…and then back up the Thames to where we started. Here’s our plan:

After two days in the North Sea, we are due to call at the pretty little village of Flåm, Norway. It is best-known as the lower terminus of a railroad that ascends up from the fjord into the surrounding mountains.

We’ll continue on to Alesund, Svolvaer, Tromso, and Honningsvåg near the top of Norway and close to Nordkapp, the famed north cape of the country.

Then we’ll turn back for more calls in Norway, at Bodo, Trondheim, Molde, Olden, and the wondrous city of Bergen.

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

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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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”

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Henry Hudson Dreams cover

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

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10 June 2017:
Dartmouth, United Kingdom:
Not Quite Famous

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Dartmouth, the town near the mouth of the River Dart, is not quite famous.

Although, over the centuries, it was here that Geoffrey Chaucer visited, and adopted a character. And where Sir Francis Drake, and Sir Walter Raleigh plundered fabulous treasures.

It was here that the troubled explorer Henry Hudson was put under arrest. And the Pilgrim Fathers and the Mayflower put out to sea.

Prince Charles, his son Prince William, and a host of other royalty and naval figures trained here. And Agatha Christie vacationed.

Dartmouth was for centuries a very strategic deep-water port for sailing vessels. The port was used as the departure point for the Crusades of 1147 and 1190.

Warfleet Creek, close to Dartmouth Castle is supposed by some to be named for the vast fleets which assembled there.

Today I went with guests on a visit to Slapton Sands, about 10 miles away, where in 1944 about 800 American soldiers and sailors died in a D-Day rehearsal gone terribly wrong.

Here are some pictures from today:

A DARTMOUTH AND SLAPTON SANDS DIARY

Silver Wind at anchor in Dartmouth

Above Dartmouth

Slapton Sands

The countryside of Devon

Dartmouth

The room call board within the Royal Castle Hotel in Dartmouth

Dartmouth Castle

Dartmouth was a home of the Royal Navy from the reign of Edward III in the 14th century.

Dartmouth sent a number of ships to join the English fleet that attacked the Spanish Armada in 1588. And then Nuestra Señora del Rosario, the Spanish Armada’s “payship” was captured along with all its crew by Sir Francis Drake.

It was reportedly anchored in the River Dart for more than a year and the crew were used as laborers on the nearby Greenway Estate which was the home of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and his half-brother Sir Walter Raleigh.

Greenway was later the holiday home of Dame Agatha Christie in the 1950s.

The Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, established in 1863, is where all officers of the Royal Navy and many foreign naval officers are trained.

And in the run-up to the D-Day invasion of 1943, it was in this region that hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and sailors gathered and trained.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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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”

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Henry Hudson Dreams cover

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

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9 June 2017:
Cardiff, Wales:
A Doctor in the House

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Cardiff is in the southwest of Wales, a bit closer to England than Holyhead in both geography and culture.

If London is New York, then Wales is the American midwest.

The tourism bureau would have us believe Cardiff has the largest concentration of castles of any city in the world, a claim I cannot easily verify.

In addition to Cardiff Castle, there are numerous other grand homes scattered about.

Until the Roman conquest of Britain, Cardiff was part of the territory of the Silures, a Celtic British tribe that flourished in the Iron Age.

The Romans built a 3.2-hectare (8-acre) fort established by the Romans near the mouth of the River Taff in 75 AD (four years before the eruption of Vesuvius on the Italian peninsula.)

In 1081 William I, King of England, began work on the castle keep within the walls of the old Roman fort.

Cardiff Castle has been at the heart of the city ever since. The castle was substantially altered and extended during the Victorian era. Small portions of the original Roman work can still be distinguished in the wall facings.

I spent the day exploring the apartments built within the castle in the 18th and 19th century by the Bute family, which amassed a huge fortune in the coal export business.

The most spectacular enhancements were made by the third Marquess of Bute, John Crichton-Stuart.

Here is some of what I saw:

A wondrous goat of a downspout at the castle

The spectacular Arab Room in the living quarters

The children’s room, decorated with great tales and portraits (left to right) of Aesop, Sheherazade, and Chaucer.

The gentlemen’s smoking room, with a nod to the ladies: the inscription reads in Latin: “Love Conquers All, and We All Surrender to Love.”

But outside the gentlemen’s smoking room, a depiction of Typhon, the most awful of Greek monsters, intended perhaps to keep women away

Outside in Cardiff, a pub named after the officer keeper of the mascot of the Royal Welsh Regiment. The Goat Major tends to the needs of the goat, who has his own title, rank, and salary

A fishmonger at the Central Market

And finally, a one-stop shop where you can get a tattoo, have it removed, or give yourself over to taxidermy

All photos copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

MODERN CARDIFF

One of the most striking modern structures in Cardiff is the Millennium Centre, home to the Welsh National Opera, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and the Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre.

The finished building by architect Jonathan Adams was meant to express “Welshness.” Its construction uses local metal, wood, and glass, and 1,350 tons of local slate in purple, blue, green, gray, and black colors.

Inscribed on the front of the dome, above the main entrance, are two poetic lines, written by Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis in Welsh and English.

IN THESE STONES
HORIZONS
SING

Which somehow brings us to Doctor Who, which I’m sure means quite a lot to many of you and nothing whatsoever to others.

The Doctor, from a race called the Time Lords whose home planet is Gallifrey, travels through time and space in his ship the TARDIS (an acronym for Time and Relative Dimensions In Space) with various companions.

From time to time he regenerates into a new form (which is how the show has been running since 1963).

The show, in its current form, is produced and filmed by BBC Wales.

His time-traveling space ship, the Tardis, appears from the exterior to be a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Not so much anymore.

Much of the series is filmed in and around Cardiff—not because of a particular Welsh reason, but as a stand-in for London and other places.

All text and photos Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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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 cover

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

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8 June 2017:
Holyhead, Wales:
Princes and Prisoners

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’ve arrived in the northwest of Wales, a lesser-known corner of the United Kingdom.

It’s a place of legends and mountains and kings and princes. The Prince of Wales, right? And Prisoners.

About an hour away, is Caernarfon, the source for more than 700 years—with a few gaps here and there—of the title for the heir apparent to the English or British monarchy.

The title of Prince of Wales was first granted to princes born in Wales in the 12th century onwards; at the time Prince was the top of the chain, not King.

One of the last Welsh princes, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, was killed in battle in 1282 by Edward I, King of England, whose son Edward, born in Caernarfon Castle, was invested as Prince of Wales and was the first English person to claim the title.

Since the 13th century, the title is granted to the heir apparent, although it is not a formal part of the royal succession but instead a personal honorific.

The title merges with or is replaced by King on accession to the throne.

In 1911, David Lloyd George, at the time Member of Parliament for Caernarfon boroughs, agreed to the British Royal Family’s idea of holding the investiture of Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David as the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle.

The ceremony took place on July 13, 1911, with the royal family paying a rare visit to Wales, and the future Edward VIII received his preliminary title there.

On July 1, 1969 the investiture ceremony for Charles was held at Caernarfon Castle.

HAIL, HAIL SNOWDONIA

On this visit I went with guests for a ride on the Welsh Highland Railway through a portion of the dramatic Snowdonia National Park. It was a gray and misty day, but that suited our journey well.

Here are some scenes from our railway voyage:

THE PRISONER

About 90 minutes away from Holyhead, across the Isle of Anglesey, lies Portmeirion.

It is an architectural folie, a version of an Italian coastal town—perhaps Portofino—purpose-built as a tourist attraction.

Most of the 50 or so buildings are slightly smaller than full-scale, which is exactly the approach that Walt Disney used in creating Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

And it is such an unusual sight that it was used as one of the centerpieces of a 1960s fantasy cult television series.

The Disney-esque visionary behind Portmeirion was Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who devoted much of his time from 1925 to 1975 on its construction.

The television series was The Prisoner, first broadcast in the United Kingdom from September 1967 to February 1968. Only 17 episodes were made, starring Patrick McGoohan.

Basically, it is the story of a spy who quits in anger, but as he prepares to run away is rendered unconscious by knockout gas. When he awakes he finds himself held captive in a strange seaside “village” that is isolated by mountains and the sea.

The series had bits of spy fiction, a heavy dose of science fiction, a dollop of allegory, and more than a soupçon of psychological drama.

By that I mean it is rather difficult to explain.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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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:

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Henry Hudson Dreams cover

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 June 2017:
Greenock and Glasgow, Scotland:
On the Clyde

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Early Wednesday morning, we crossed west to east in the North Channel, from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

We arrived at Greenock, the northernmost port of call on this cruise, at about the same latitude as Moscow.

It’s not Moscow, of course. For one thing, they don’t speak Russian in Greenock, or Glasgow.

That may or may not help you, though. Because here in the west-central Lowlands of Scotland they use a dialect that is not exactly the Queen’s English. They call it Glaswegian.

And the effect of the Gulf Stream on the River Clyde helps Greenock’s average temperature stay above that of similar towns in the region and much milder than that of Moscow.

Greenock’s location that far north also gives long hours of daylight in midsummer and short days in midwinter. On the longest day of the year, June 21, the sun rises at 4:31 in the morning and sets at 11:07 in the evening.

We have been under gray skies and in rain for much of the past few days.

But the sun made its reappearance this morning, in a place not known for bright days. We chose to explore Greenock.

Among the places we visited was Saint Mary’s Church, established by Irish Catholics who crossed over in search of jobs and food in the 19th century.

We also went to see the Old West Kirk, a small but noteworthy outpost of the Church of Scotland.

Here are some photos from today:

A GREENOCK ALBUM

Silver Wind at the Dock

Saint Mary’s Church

A wee bit of shopping at a local outlet

The grand town chambers of Greenock, with a steeple one meter taller than that of Glasgow up the River Clyde

Greenock from the top of Lyle Hill, overlooking the Clyde

The Old West Kirk

The Old West Kirk, Church of Scotland, was the first Presbyterian Church built in Scotland after the Reformation. Opened in 1591 and added to several times, it was later moved from its location along the water in 1917 when Harland and Wolff enlarged their shipyard.

The Church’s original graveyard held the tomb of Mary Campbell, or Highland Mary as she was known: the poet Robert Burns’ somewhat unrequited love.

Burns was forced to marry—at least on paper—another woman after that other woman somehow became pregnant. Mary Campbell was later said to have prepared to emigrate to Jamaica in 1786 to be with Robert Burns, but Mary died of typhus in Greenock before she could leave.

One other intriguing detail: Mary Todd Lincoln, the widow of American president Abraham Lincoln, came to Greenock in 1869 to visit the grave of Mary Campbell and also that of Robert Burns (in Dumfries);

President Lincoln was said to have been an admirer of Burns and his widow, a very melancholic woman even before her husband’s assassination, continued that pursuit.

GLASGOW

Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and then the establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, Glasgow became a major center of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century.

From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain’s main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.

With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, Glasgow rapidly expanded to become one of the world’s leading centers of chemicals, textiles, and engineering; most notably in shipbuilding.

Glasgow was to many observers the “Second City of the British Empire” for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period.

By about 1900, Glasgow was producing more than half Britain’s tonnage of shipping and a quarter of all locomotives in the world.

All text and photos Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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————-

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 cover

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

 

6 June 2017:
Belfast, Northern Ireland:
The Titanic City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, which—like it or not for some residents—is part of the United Kingdom.

A tenuous peace has taken root in the past two decades, with some level of power-sharing between the two sides.

In modern times, Belfast 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.

The Harland and Wolff 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.

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.

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

Belfast briefly overtook Dublin as the largest city in Ireland.

My view of history is that it is driven by economics.

And the relative success of Belfast as an industrial center was one reason why Unionists held on to the link to Great Britain, at least at first.

The flashiest modern attraction is Titanic Belfast, which opened in 2012 to coincide with the centenary of the incomplete maiden voyage of the luxury liner Titanic.

The angular metallic structure was intended, according to its designers, to evoke the image of ship.

It stands 126 feet (38 meters) high, the same height as Titanic’s hull.

Locals have already applied their own nickname: The Iceberg.

We went for a long walk across the river to the former shipyards and the Titanic Museum, which also includes in a nearby drydock the last remaining White Star Line vessel: the tender Nomadic, constructed alongside her much larger sister to be dispatched to Cherbourg to carry guests from shore to the ship at anchor. Nomadic performed that task just once…and then was reassigned after Titanic sank.

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AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

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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 cover

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