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

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)

30 May 2019:
London, United Kingdom:
Through the Tower Bridge to Coastal Norway and Back

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome aboard.

We’re off on the first of three loops in northern Europe, with wonderful London as our port of departure for each.

Silver Wind is one of a small number of cruise ships that are small enough to fit through the Tower Bridge (or to put it another way, not so huge that they cast shadows on the towns they visit.)

Here’s what we looked like on an earlier visit as we passed through the bridge in the night.

On this cruise we’ll enter the North Sea and stop at some of the resplendent settlements and fjords of southern and central Norway. Heading back, we’ll spend the day in Edinburgh, Scotland before coming back through the London Tower Bridge.

Here’s our plan:

Here’s Silver Wind tied up to the floating dock alongside HMS Belfast. We like that just fine.

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:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM
Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

What I Did on My Winter Vacation:
In Living Color

By Corey Sandler

Even professional travelers need a vacation from time to time. And as I often tell people, when I am away I do not want to feel at home.

This winter we checked off one of the boxes on our to-do list. We have been to the far north many times, but this time we made a specific plan to revisit the top of Norway at the optimal time of year to view the Aurora Borealis.

The Northern Lights (and the Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights) are glowing almost all the time, but they cannot be seen in the daylight or when there is heavy cloud cover. In the winter the sun never rises above the horizon for six to eight weeks which gives a whole lot of dark.

And some places on our planet receive significantly stronger solar particles than others: the Aurora Zone is a belt that sits at roughly 70 to 80 degrees above or below the Equator. Too far north and the angle to the lights is too thin; too far south and the odds of seeing them are very slim.

One more thing: in the far north, March tends to have less cloud cover than earlier months in winter.

So we went to Norway for nearly a month.

Here is some of what we saw:

Northern Lights Near Tromsø. Copyright 2019, Corey Sandler. All rights reserved
Narvik, Norway. Copyright 2019, Corey Sandler. All rights reserved.
Snow people, Tromsø. Copyright 2019, Corey Sandler. All rights reserved.
Bergen in winter. Copyright 2019, Corey Sandler. All rights reserved.
Tromsø under a blanket. Copyright 2019, Corey Sandler. All rights reserved.
Near Lillehammer. Copyright 2019, Corey Sandler. All rights reserved.
Landing at Oslo. Copyright 2019, Corey Sandler. All rights reserved.
Why I Travel.

If you would like to order a print of any of my photos, please contact me using the link at the top of this page.

6 January 2019:
San Francisco, United States:
Through The Golden Gate (UPDATED)

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have reached the end of our voyage between the seas, from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to San Francisco in California.

Our cruise retraced the path of thousands of early explorers and then prospectors who went from the east coast of the United States across the Isthmus of Panama and up to San Francisco. And the last two ports of call, San Diego and San Francisco were each sites of major expositions in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal.

The cruise is now complete but the memories of our path between the seas will sustain.

Here are some photos I took as our ship sailed below the Golden Gate Bridge and docked at the Embarcadero in San Francisco in the predawn darkness with the Oakland Bay Bridge deeper into the harbor.

All photos copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved.

I wish all of our guests safe travels.

I’ll be back soon, reporting from Europe on Silver Wind. I hope you’ll join me here.

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 AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

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

————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 January 2019:
San Diego, United States:
California Dreaming

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

San Diego is a beautiful setting, a great year-round climate, a natural deepwater harbor, great beaches, and an economy based to a great extent on the U.S. Navy and tourism.

But San Diego has a bit of a second-city complex. It is, in fact, the second most populous city in California after Los Angeles. In my opinion, L-A gets all the attention but San Diego—and San Francisco—deserve some more of the praise.

One of my favorite things about one of my favorite cities is the wonderful mix between old Spanish style structures and new buildings. Although San Diego certainly is booming, at least thus far they have not destroyed their past.

Here are some of the things I saw today, beginning with the arrival of the pilot to guide us into San Diego Bay and continuing on land to the historic Santa Fe Railroad Station and then into a bit of the Gaslamp District.

Our cruise from Florida through the Panama Canal to California follows the path of some of those who came to San Diego for the Panama–California Exposition in March, 1915 as part of the celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal.

The exposition was held in San Diego’s large urban Balboa Park. At a time when many architects (including at a simultaneous fair in San Francisco) embraced the over-the-top Beaux-Arts style, in San Diego they chose Spanish Baroque, which includes some Moorish Revival elements, and a bit of Spanish Colonial design.

The fair was decorated with more than two million plants of 1,200 different types. Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell made a three-day appearance in November 1915.

Some of the Exposition’s buildings are still standing, including the Botanical Building, with a changing display of rare and notable plants, the 200-foot-tall California Bell Tower, shaped like a Spanish ship, the Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi, and the Fine Arts Building , now part of the Museum of Man.

And the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. In 2015, the organ was expanded to 80 ranks and 5,017 pipes, once again making it the world’s largest pipe organ in a fully outdoor venue.

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 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

2 January 2019:
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico:
Arcs of Sand

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Cabo San Lucas, the Cape of Saint Luke, Cabo San Lucas is at the bottom of the peninsula of Baja California, lower California in Mexico.

We arrived this morning and put down our anchor just offshore of the famous arches, Los Arcos. here are some photographs from today:

All photos copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

At the far northern end of the peninsula is Tijuana, and beyond that is San Diego, where we are scheduled to call Friday.

It was a relatively prosperous fishing and agricultural port for the first few centuries of its existence.

And then in 1973, the Transpeninsular Highway (Mexico Route 1) was completed, linking Cabo to Tijuana and from there to that big country to the north, the United States.

With the road and an airport, Cabo became an accessible destination.

It is now home to about 81,000 people, most of whom work in the tourism industry: hotels, restaurants, shops, tour guides.

It is a beautiful bay, with lovely beaches and lots and lots of tourists…and fishermen angling to catch dollars and euros and pounds from the pockets of visitors.

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 AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

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

————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30 December 2018:
Puerto Chiapas, Mexico:
The Birthplace of Time

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Mexico’s ancient culture reaches back thousands of years.

And there are hundreds of cruise ships heading north or south along the coast each year, looking for places to stop. More and more each year.

And so we have new ports in an old country:

Two small, old ports called Puerto Madero and Puerto de San Benito were redeveloped as a commercial harbor in the 1970s and renamed Puerto Chiapas. And a cruise terminal came along 15 years ago.

And so we are here. There is not much of a settlement at the port, but it does serve as the gateway to the ancient Olmec city of Tapachula, dating from about 1500 BCE. It was at its height from about 600 BCE until 100 of the modern era.

And about 45 minutes from our ship is the archeological site of Izapa.

The ancient peoples of Mesoamerica—centered in and around this area—developed an elaborate time-reckoning system composed of both a 260-day sacred almanac and a 365-day secular calendar.

They came upon that 365-day year perhaps 1800 years before the solar calendar was supposedly “invented” in Europe.

Izapa is along the Izapa River near the base of the Tacaná volcano, the fourth largest mountain in Mexico.

Here is how it looked today:

Izapa certainly is not as well known as places like Chichen-Itza or Tikal in Guatemala (two great Mayan sites). It does not have the monumental pyramids and temples of those sites which were developed later. But in some ways Izapa is richer and more significant.

The site contains many carved Stelae or posts, most of them from the Mayans who succeeded the Olmecs.

We also paid a call at the town of Tuxtla Chico near Izapa.

And there we were serenaded by a marimba band and given a demonstration of the opening of cacao pods, their roasting, and their conversion into the makings of that essential of life, chocolate.

We are headed out to sea now and for the next two days will be proceeding north up the coast of Mexico to Cabo San Lucas. We will celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day aboard ship, and wish all a healthy and happy New Year.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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 December 2018:
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala:
The Land of the Respendent Quetzal

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Guatemala is a place of resplendent beauty, terrible poverty, great history, tragic bloodshed, vibrant culture, and a rebirth with a still uncertain future.

It has balanced on a knife’s edge for centuries.

Inland from the port of Puerto Quetzal lies the huge metropolis of Guatemala City, which would not qualify as one of the more attractive places on this planet. It is a place of grinding poverty, made worse by growling volcanoes all around.

But a bit further is the ancient city of Antigua Guatemala, which is a mostly intact Spanish Colonial city. In fact, the Spanish governed most of Central America from Mexico to Peru from here.

Antigua Guatemala has been damaged over the centuries by earthquakes and volcanoes. But somehow it has managed to maintain an air of dignity and quiet.

I traveled with guests today from the port about 90 minutes up to the old city. Along the way we had to traverse a section of highway that had been destroyed by the eruption of a volcano just a few months ago.

Today in Antigua Guatemala was a Saturday market day and a general festival between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Here is some of what we saw:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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

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

————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27 December 2018:
Puntarenas, Costa Rica:
Pura Vida

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived in hot and muggy Puntarenas this morning and I went with a group of guests into the rainforest where we jumped off about a dozen perfectly good trees.

We were, of course engaging in the entertainment known as zip-lining. It’s a lot of fun and not nearly as scary as bungee jumping or parachuting.

Strapped into a harness and attached to not one but two separate steel cables above, participants glide through the jungle as if we we belonged there.

Just to make things interesting more interesting, at the bottom of the zip-line course was the Tarcoles River, it’s banks lined with crocodiles. An active imagination might lead you to think they were hoping for someone dropping off the zipline, but we did not oblige them.

Photo by Corey Sandler, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Costa Rica, like Panama–and Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, the United States, and Canada–has ports on both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

There is only one canal, though.

The other countries have done the best they can with roads and railways to transfer products from one ocean to another.

Puntarenas here in Costa Rica was once the country’s principal port, but it was on the wrong side when it came to trade with the east coast of the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe. Over the past century, a railroad and then highways were built to climb up and over the Continental Divide to bring bananas, other agriculture, minerals, and more from one side to the other.

Modern Costa Rica has devoted much of its economy to sustainable and green industries and ecotourism. And the country–not quite perfect in its government and social services, but far ahead of nearly all of its neighbors–is doing well,

In fact, they have their own all-purpose expression of contentment: Pura Vida. Think of it as “all is well” or hakuna matata.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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 December 2018:
Christmas in the Panama Canal:
The Path Between the Seas

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

There are few sights more astounding than to approach the locks at the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal and see a huge freighter, containership, or cruiseship floating 85 feet above you at the top of the stairs.

I have made the transit of the Panama Canal several dozen times over the years, and it never fails to impress.

Here is our ship as captured by shoreside webcams today:

And a view as longtime Silversea hotel director Norman Rafelson waved at tourists watching us in the locks:

When it opened in 1914, it was a triumph of human engineering and medicine. It still is.

The canal itself runs for about 50 miles. There are three locks at each end which lift ships to the level of manmade Gatun Lake which floods the Continental Divide to permit a crossing.

The new locks, which are roughly in parallel with the original set, allow huge containerships and other vessels to enter the system. Vessels like ours generally use the old locks, and we all meet in the lake for a procession between the seas.

Here are more photos from previous transits:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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

23-24 December 2018:
Cartagena, Colombia:
A Hot Place in a Hot Place

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon evening and morning at a hot place in a hot place: Cartagena.

We arrived on a Sunday aon the day before Christmas Eve and this city of nearly two million people was in a party mood. Then again Cartagena is almost always in a party mood. They call it rumbeando.

Here are some photos I took in the decorated streets and at sunset as we enjoyed a cold beer and celebrated the setting of the sun.

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

Cartagena, La Heroica, was one of Spain’s treasuries in the New World, along with Havana, Cuba.

As Spain extracted gold, silver, pearls, silk, and almost anything else they could move from the Americas and beyond from the Phillippines, China, and Japan, the had to sail their galleons through the Gulf of Mexico past the real pirates of the Caribbean.

Cartagena grew wealthy from that role, and as a result of the massive fortifications put in place by the Spanish.

Today the city is one of the handsomest places in this part of the world, a rich stew of Spanish Colonial architecture, Spanish and indigenous food and music and dance, and the money left behind by modern tourists.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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 December 2018:
Going Bi-Coastal:
Silver Whisper from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome aboard. We’re heading out today from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the east coast of the United States to the west coast.

At the time of the California Gold Rush that began in 1849, this sort of journey would have taken months and been an exceptionally dangerous journey.

There were three routes back then:

By wagon train across the vast North American continent, traversing desert and mountains and through sometimes hostile homelands.

By ship from New York, Boston, or the Gulf Coast to a port in Panama or Nicaragua and then a treacherous and difficult crossing of the isthmus to the west coast where a second ship would take travelers up north to California.

Or, the long sea voyage down and around the bottom of South America at Cape Horn and then back up the coast.

None of the options was attractive. Heat, cold, rough seas, insect-borne diseases, unfriendly locals.

All that changed in 1914 with the opening of the Panama Canal, one of the greatest engineering and logistical projects of all time. The canal is still in service, little changed from its original layout; additional sets of wider and longer locks were added a few years ago, like new entryways to an existing highway.

And that is the path we will follow. Silver Whisper, fresh out of the shipyard where she underwent a major facelift, will sail first to Cartagena, Colombia near the top of South America. From there we will pass through the Panama Canal on Christmas Day.

Once we are in the Pacific Ocean, we will head northwest up the coast, with stops at Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; the Mexican ports of Puerto Chiapas and Cabo San Lucas, and then into California in the United States for calls at San Diego and our ultimate destination of San Francisco.

Here’s our plan:

I hope you will follow me here in these pages.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

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

 

5 November 2018:
New York, NY, US:
Last Call

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Early this morning we sailed into the harbor of New York,  completing (for me) a journey that began two months ago in London.

In early September, Silver Spirit cruised down the River Thames, across the North Atlantic to Newfoundland and then made four loops of New England and the maritime provinces of Canada and into the Saint Lawrence to resplendent Quebec City and Montreal.

It’s time to head home for a month or so. I’ll be back in December on Silver Whisper as she heads from Fort Lauderdale through the Gulf of Mexico and into the Panama Canal to emerge in the Pacific Ocean and up the coast to San Francisco.

I hope to see you aboard ship, or if not, here in these pages.

To guests we have sailed with on the past five cruises: safe travels.

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

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

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

————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 November 2018:
Newport, Rhode Island, US:
Winter Coming

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We sailed out of Boston last night and into the teeth of a storm headed up the coast. To get from Boston to Newport, our course was essentially this:

  • west to exit Boston Harbor and its many islands and to get far enough out to sea to be clear of Provincetown on the hook of Cape Cod, then
  • south, past Provincetown and thirty more miles to the east coast of the island of Nantucket and an additional 30 miles below Nantucket to stay clear of the shoals and rocks, then
  • west in the main transatlantic channel about 60 miles until we were in line with the entrance to Narragansett Bay, and then finally
  • north, back up to Aquidneck Island, the home of Newport, Rhode Island.

If that sounds like a complicated route that includes all four cardinal points of the compass, that’s because it is. The waters around Cape Cod and Nantucket are very hazardous to uninformed mariners.

In any case, we arrived at midday in Newport, to a beautiful fall day. This is the last day of this cruise, which began in Montreal, and a fitting end.

Here are some scenes from Newport. You can read more about this special place by entering Newport in the search bar of this blog.

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

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

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

————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 November 2018:
Boston, Massachusetts, US:
Grab Your Hat

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We are back in the Hub of the Universe, or as people who are not from around here might call it, Boston.

The weather in New England this time of the year is very much binary. It can be glorious or it can be the opposite.

So this morning began with some fairly heavy rain, and the forecast for this afternoon calls for some pretty strong winds.

Nevertheless, Boston remains one of the handsomest cities of the United States. Today it requires the assistance of an umbrella and a hat and a good pair of shoes.

Speaking of hats, there are more than a few Red Sox caps in town including the latest version, proclaiming World Series champions 2018.

We are due to sail out of Boston at the end of the day and head east, then south, then west, then north to arrive at Newport, Rhode Island on Sunday.

The reason for the circuitous route is the presence of the hook of Cape Cod at Provincetown which extends all the way east, and then the necessity to go down below the island of Nantucket before heading west and north back up to Rhode Island.

The waters around here are rather treacherous and the hook of Cape Cod is littered with wrecks of old fishing and trading vessels. And the seas between Nantucket and Cape Cod are filled with shoals and other obstructions.

To make a long course short, we have to go out to sea and down and around

Here are some photos from Boston I have taken on various visits:

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

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

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

————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 November 2018:
Bar Harbor, Maine, US:
Last Call

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

It’s last call in Bar Harbor, a beautiful place for most of the year. It is in a way especially beautiful in the time of year some locals call “almost winter.

The skies were gray and filled with fog and when we went to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak along the coastline of the Eastern United States, we were nearly blown over by the wind.

But the colors in the trees against the flat gray light were ethereal.

Here is some of what I saw today:

You can read more about Bar Harbor in my earlier postings from this year and before.

Here are some photos from sunnier days:

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

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

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

————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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