Monday, February 28, 2011

VoM2: Last Dinner In Paris

Our last dinner in Paris: Christine gives the ostrich two thumbs up, le creme brulee a hearty endorsement and our waiter Jean-Luc a winning smile!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

VoM2: Paris Football

Christine is a huge football (soccer) fan, so we went to a home game between Paris-St.Germain and Toulouse… Astonishing! The rivalry is extremely powerful, verging on scary. Women comprise only about 1% of the crowd, and their presence may be the only thing that keeps the savages from getting out of hand… Which may account for why women get in for free! Thankfully, Paris won (2-1) and the mob dispersed peacefully!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

VoM2: "Aperos"

My Parisian friend Charlotte — with whom I sailed on a freighter on The Voyage 1.0 — invited us to “aperos” (wine, cheese, etc.) at her boyfriend’s shop. It was great to visit with her and enjoy just enough wine in true Paris style… thanks Charlotte!

Friday, February 25, 2011

VoM2: Paris Agriculture Expo

The Paris Agriculture Expo — Seven immense buildings full of more cheese, wine, bread, crops, etc. than you could ever imagine, plus countless cows, horses, pigs, sheep, etc… Amazing!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

VoM2: Parisian Dinner

Dinner in “a very Parisian place” with my niece… Parfait!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

VoM2: Belgian Week In Review

I’ve had a pretty mild first week in Europe, one that I can probably best describe as “Browsing Belgium.” I only spent two days in Antwerp after arriving there on the freighter. It’s a nice little city, but a bit more commercial than I like.

The highlight of my visit was meeting for lunch with my friend Paulina. Those of you who followed me on Voyage 1.0 — and who have very good memories! — may recall that I met Paulina in Tapachula, Mexico, where she was working at the place I stayed and was very helpful to me in making travel arrangement on the infamous Tica Bus. We have stayed in touch over the years since then, and I was delighted to find her living in Antwerp with her son, Andre, and husband Simon. We had a grand time catching up and laughing about where in the world we might cross paths again!

I spent some time wandering around the old part of Antwerp, of course, and dutifully checked out the markets, etc. The only other real highlight was being back in a typically glorious European train station!

From there I went to Brugge, simply because everyone says you have to visit Brugge. It is a charming, old little city and I enjoyed my two days there. I think I might have enjoyed it more in better weather than the cold, overcast and rain that I got. Maybe next time!

Next, I hopped a train to Brussels for another two-day browsing. The weather was still pretty cold and grim, but I got out for some good long walks. Brussels is a big city and I can’t say I found it particularly interesting, attractive or easy to be in. Frankly, if you’re going to visit a big city in Europe you might as well make it Paris!

So… I’m in Paris now, delighted to be in this city that I like a lot more than I ever thought I would (or wanted to). I’ll be meeting my niece Christine for dinner in just a little while. She is doing a semester of school here and I’m looking forward to hanging around for a week and seeing what kind of trouble we can get into together. (When she’s not in class or doing homework, of course!)

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

VoM2: Atlantic Crossing on Rickmers Shanghai

We had a pretty uneventful crossing from Philadelphia to Antwerp, but here are a few highlights for you. First, you can see Third Officer Ken belting out a song during a Saturday night Karaoke Party with the crew:

Next, yes, that’s yours truly sharing a duet with our Steward Emerson (we scored a 98 out of 100 on the Karaoke machine!):

This photo doesn’t really capture the feeling of being on such a large ship and having it roll so much, but perhaps you can at least see that even 30,000 tons worth of ship doesn’t give you any immunity from the power of the sea!:

Finally, cocktail time for the passengers! (Why am I the only one with a glass in my hand?) Clockwise from me: Lani (US), Alex (NZ), Aloha (US), Ursula (Swiss) and Katherine (France):

Thursday, February 03, 2011

VoM2: Setting Sail Into The Setting Sun

We've been dockside in Philly all day while they've been doing cargo operations. Now, we're finally setting sail into the setting sun! Next port: Antwerp! Next post: in about 10 days!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

VoM2: Aboard The Rickmers Shanghai... Finally!

Finally on board and checking out the ship! So far I’ve found the bridge and my cabin: Everything you need, not much you don’t… Bed, desk, sofa, table, closet, bathroom… Perfect!

As you can see, there is nothing going on around here. I just met the captain, whose first words were, “I wish I could say when we go!

The best I could make out from his version of English is something to the effect that the dock crews are not working, he hopes to start loading tonight and we may be underway by midnight tomorrow night.

So, I’ve got coffee and will settle in… Stay tuned!

PS - I’m posting via my iPhone… There is no Internet on board… I’ll keep posting as long as I have cell signal, then catch up when we get to Europe in about 10 days… Maybe!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

VoM2: Tomorrow, Tomorrow...

I just talked with the port agent. The ship is now due into port this evening and will be (un)loading all night and all day tomorrow. I am invited to board whenever I like… Tomorrow… Stay tuned!