Category Archives: Uncategorized

Germany-Austria-Belgium Rendezvous

Munich

Sunday-Tuesday, September 30-October 2, 2018

We had arranged to meet up with some friends we met last winter in Spitsbergen, Hani and Ali. They currently live in Munich and had mentioned our coming to Oktoberfest. We arrived Sunday night and they immediately invited us to dinner where we met two of their friends, Firouzeh and her husband Ali.

You can see from the photo the meal and conversation provided a wonderful intro to our stay in Munich…

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with the piece de resistance of Ali lending Max his lederhosen :)

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The next day day we met Hani with her friend and colleague from work, Matt. He didn’t wear his lederhosen, which was a relief as I wasn’t in a dirndl, but the two who wore them did so splendidly :)

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Prior to making plans for Oktoberfest we had looked online at typical attendance per day and, as predicted, Monday daytime was one of the sparser days.

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Matt said the day before it had been a sea of people. Having been once or twice in a throng where your body became a vertical wedgie I admit I was thankful for room to maneuver.

A few hours amidst the beer-drinking crowd with a bit of music and German food sated our appetites.

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We left the huge beer tents and amusement park rides for a more sedate treat of coffee and cake in a nearby cafe.

Although it was a short visit with Hani and Ali, being with them and meeting Firouzeh, Ali, and Matt was another amazing way to feel part of a world of friends.

Salzburg

Tuesday-Wednesday, October 2-3, 2018

The next morning we took the highway for the 1.5 hour drive to Salzburg to another rendez-vous. And, it was here in Mozart’s birthplace we saw our friend from home, Colleen.

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She was finishing her ten-day cycling trip with VBT that had been in Slovenia, Italy, and Austria. And, the last stop was Salzburg, a city she knew from her year abroad.

We joined her for a fun afternoon visiting some of her old haunts and retracing the route to school from her apartment.

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And, with her fluent German, she could ask locals the way to other favorite locales :)

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Of course, with this being Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthplace we spent some time in his home, now a museum.

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Apart from being a musical prodigy, Mozart (1756-1791) certainly experienced a different childhood from Beethoven: he grew up in a supportive and loving environment as witnessed by the letters exchanged between all four in the family. Additionally, His sister, Maria Anna or ‘Nanneri’ (1751-1829) was noted as a being an amazing musician.

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Two years before his death in 1789 an artist sketched a portrait of Mozart identified as the most authentic rendering.

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Due to an extravagent lifestyle he died with large debts in spite of earning a good income. I found interesting one of the reasons for the debt was her wife’s spa excursions…

But, his work lives on with his friend and colleague Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809) stating  “In over 100 years  posterity will never see such a talent.”

We crossed the bridge on a final walk

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back to our respective hotels and a farewell dinner.

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Bolderberg

Thursday-Friday, October 4-5, 2016

After a night on the road with a quick stroll in Regensburg  Germany, a former Roman city and and medieval trading route, we arrived for an overnight at our Belgian Family’s home.  We caught up on 1-1/2 year of activity, which is a lot with three teens or ‘pubers’ as they’re called over here

 

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and met the newest member, Cuba, a Spanish water dog (which our friend Sue would love as well).

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After another lovely dinner we left the next morning for Hoorn with fond memories of sites we’d seen and the friends we met.  Life is grand :) !

 

 

 

 

 

All About Zzzzzzeees

Sunday, September 23, 2018

“Do you know the rest of the alphabet too?”

That caption comes from a book just hitting stores now. Yes, it’s in Dutch and yes, there’s no English translation… yet. But, what we find so wonderful about this book is knowing one of the faces on the cover:  Deborah Freriks!

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Deborah penned VAN DIT BOEK GA JE BETER SLAPEN (literal translation:  FROM THIS BOOK YOU WILL SLEEP BETTER) with her friend and colleague, Catelijne Elzes. Not only did Deborah co-author the book but, being an artist, she also created all of the illustrations.

We’ve witnessed her creative powers over the past two years as she’s researched and crafted this book. And, then last fall they had secured a publisher, one who also represents the Dali Lama (!).

So, to see this appear in a hard cover complete with a book tour launch and multiple promotions on TV, radio, and magazines gives us goose bumps :)

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The formal book launching occurred yesterday, September 22, in Amsterdam at Scheltema, the biggest Dutch bookstore chain.

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We attended the event with Tika and Thijs (whose blue suede shoes called for a photo).

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This past week we had a mini-celebration aboard JUANONA with Deborah, Thijs and Tika as we toasted her accomplishment.

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Knowing many friends who join me in sleepless nights, I crave an English translation of this book.

Other friends of ours we’ve met cruising are published authors as well, such as Daria and Alex Blackwell, to name two. Pretty wonderful to think of people achieving such a feat! So, here’s to the written word and those who make me want to read them.

 

 

“No, it’s not for smoking fish…”

RODHAMN ISLAND

DISCLAIMER:  I’ve had to do this on an iPhone, and my big fingers and Teeny keyboard do not play well together. And, since this is the fourth time I’ve had to go back to add in the photos, try to correct formatting (which isn’t working well), and re-edit what I had re-edited three times previously, well, there have been a lot of not-so-nice bellows issued from JUANONA… to which Max can attest.

RODHAMN ISLAND

Friday-Sunday, July 20-22, 2018

Leaving the crowded and convenient marina of Mariehamn, Aland’s capital, we headed east into this Archipelago. With only a week dedicated to sailing these waters we limited our destinations to two other islands, ones highly recommended by other cruisers.

Under another warm, sunny day we sailed 10 miles to Rodhamn, dropped the hook, and dinghied to shore.

The anchorage features a marina for Aland Sailing Club, an artist’s shop, a few cabins, and a sought-after cafe.

Painted the ubiquitous red and perched on boulders

the eatery offered two sandwiches (of which we enjoyed the ham-and-cheese option), alcoholic and non-alcoholic libations, aromatic baked goods, and the even stronger aroma of freshly smoked salmon. All served by a friendly Swede named Anders.

In reading some outdoor signage we discovered an inn here has offered sustenance to many a crew since the Middle Ages due to Rodhamn’s strategic location between Finland and Sweden. When shipping petered out in the 20th century, the inn closed down; but fortunately the artist mentioned above opened up this delectable establishment catering to pleasure-seekers such as us.

Catching sight of a Canadian burgee we exclaimed ‘hey! We know those folks!’ It belonged to some Ocean Cruising Club members, Helen and Neil, whom we’d met a few years ago.

We snapped a photo and Max shared it on an OCC website. It’s always fun to come across a personal connection in a remote spot, and our friends said this is the first time they’ve known of anyone coming across their burgeee which they leave in a few favorite spots each year.

An outdoor deck looked out on the happy scene of boaters enjoying not being in a city. One couple we spoke to said they’d just escaped Helsinki to cruise for several weeks.

Like many of the age 30 or 40ish yachties in this part of the world, they were accompanied by a small family member, their little girl, a tow-head (tow-headedness is as common as red buildings here). Actually, most of these Alander cruisers with whom we spoke hailed from Helsinki. And, with this summer being one of the hottest in a long time, no surprise people are out on, and in, the water.

A walk through red dusty soil interspersed with impressive rock slabs brought us to the other side of the island where a two-room museum provided a brief history of the island. Specifically, the exhibits spoke of a pilot house built in 1818, operational up to the 1920s and later a radio beacon installed 1937.

Tbe latter ran until 1970 when radar and other more advanced navigational aids came into existence.

Photos of the families living here to run these operations provided a good idea of just how pioneering it must have been to do so. No thanks.

Further on We spotted some cairns by the shore and decided to build one of own. Not too difficult considering the number of available materials…

Another impressive structure appeared back on our side of the island. Here I experienced the nicest outhouse ever.

Decorated with flowers AND a piece of art, these toilets rivalved flushing ones. Well, almost.

They are far better engineered than the common campground outhouse. For more info ask Max, who was impressed that they use the same concept as the composting head aboard Juanona.

With a rare rain forecast the next day we opted to spend a second night here. The beautiful sound of water falling from the sky woke us.

 

Although not providing enough to put out the wildfires devasting inland Sweden, the rain still gave some respite from the hot sunny weather we’ve experienced literally since April 13.

Matter-of-fact the foliage is becoming so stressed we found the ground cover and trees are turning brown, with the aspens even losing their leaves (photo from previous day).

The fading of the lulling pitter-patter was replaced by the loud roar of speed boats entering the harbor.

Impressive in sleekness as well as sound we watched as boat after boat entered the harbor to retrieve something from a guy holding out a white pole.

Turned out it was a Poker Run boat race where each power boat at five check points along a designated route picks up a sealed envelope holding a playing card. At the end of the ‘race’–typically during a celebratory meal–the boat whose five cards scores the highest poker hand wins.

The comings and goings of the players kept us entertained for part of the morning.

Back ashore to relieve sitting-itis (a malady often associated with my cruising time) we wandered behind the cafe and soon smelled smoke. Noticing a quaint red (what else) cabin

we saw the woman with whom we spoke the day before sitting by what we thought was a fish smoke house. She smilingly corrected us by saying it was a sauna. Not only ‘a sauna’ but, to her, the BEST one in these islands.

Sold! So instead of smoking fish, the picturesque hut smoked people. Hustling back to the cafe where the sign-up sheet hung on the wall Anders put us down for an 8:00 A.M. excursion the next morning.

And, boy, what a great experience. In spite of no one around (that we could see) we did keep suited up and alternated perspiring in a windowed sauna

to jumping into refreshing water.

Now that’s a way to wake up in the morning :)

KOKAR ISLAND

Sunday-Tuesday, July 22-24, 2018

A 28 mile sail took us by some famous rock carvings we’d read about in Rodhamn’s museum.

Unable to anchor anywhere nearby we used binoculars to search out a monogram commemorating Tsar Alexander III’s (father of deposed and executed Nicholas II) family visit. We saw it! But we couldn’t easily document it with our camera. So, here’s the photo from the museum display.

Supposedly an older nearby carving commemorates Peter the Great’s time in these waters when his navy fought the Swedes 1714-1721; but, we couldn’t see it. We also espied a mark–a thin cross close to the water’s edge. And, we have no idea who made that but it’s intriguing to think about what soul may  have done so.

Having read Robert K. Massie’s bio of this western-leaning tsar I found it pretty neat to be sailing in ‘his’ waters.

The museum on the previous island also showed a photo of an awful swastika.

Although carved during WWII I discovered it was from a war I’d never heard of:  the Continuation War (June 25, 1941-September 19, 1944) fought against Russia by ‘co-belligerents’ Finnish and German troops (Russia won). This war came about as a result of the Winter War (November 30, 1939-March 13, 1940) when Russian invaded Finland. Remember hearing about that one? (NOTE:  Rhetorical Q) I sure don’t.

But, hold on, there’s another war of which I was also completely ignorant:  the Lapland War (September 15, 1944-April 27, 1945), which came about due to Russia’s demand that Finland disarm/expel the Germans, causing the Finns and Germans to battle it out in Lapland.

Had enough? Me, too. Moving on…

Arriving at Sandvik harbor we chose to anchor out again versus join the wedged-in boats on a pontoon (yes, I will admit I’m snobby when it comes to sardine-like docking. We much prefer open-air anchoring, not least because the boat swings with the wind and gets better ventilation. To say nothing of privacy).

We went ashore and met Oskar, the young man running the information office and docks and store and bike rental and boating excursions-basically everything and anything you’d want to know or do on this island of Kokar. We felt as if we had landed in a summer camp. (You can’t see it too well but looking left to right there’s a man/made beach with float, communal building with grills, ferry landing, cafe, tourist office/tiny convenience store with fresh produce, bike rentals, dock, and behind it all a camp site with RVs and tents.)

We used the late afternoon to do a hike, one that would take us to a Bronze Age seal-hunting camp. And, within 30 minutes of our walk we came upon a clearing nestled against a rocky bluff. Here we saw remains of stone foundations.

We continued scrambling along stones interspersed with gingerly stepping through small wooded areas always on the alert for ticks (warned by Oskar who said the entire island is infested with these blood suckers).

We finally reached the main road for the half-mile walk back to our dinghy and a promise of a cooling dip before dinner. Then dreaming of pizza (another Oskar piece of information about where to eat lunch the next day), we fell asleep.

To reach our lunch destination we decided to rent bikes, which is how we ended up, once again, devouring delectable pizzas – no splitting this time :)

We met the family proprietors

whose apple orchard products include wonderful apple flavors, from cider…

to salsa, the latter of which we wished we had stocked up on. We bought one and later found It’s one of our favorite hot sauces.

Being a bit slower post-gorging to jump on our bikes, we did manage to cycle the few miles to Kokar’s local museum. As is the case with many of these islands discovered by tourists, the few year-round inhabitants manage to create a museum out of anything. And, here we found our 6 Euros got us two rooms crammed wtih antiquey household furnishings and tools.

Yet, the second room held some wonderful photos documenting the local history with photographs.

Well worth the price of admission.

Our island arrival was timed perfectly for provisioning. We cycled to the new grocery store (the only one on the island) whose doors had just opened a week prior. Oskar told us a group of locals, himself included, had pitched in to get this store up and running.

Back aboard we checked the winds for the next day. With a favorable breeze to return to the Swedish side, we got back in the dinghy to see one more island site: a 1784 church

and ruins of an early Fransiscan chapel. (Those monks got around–Having just finished a fascinating bio of Genghis Khan thanks to our friends Traci and Smokey’s recommendation, I discovered these Franciscans visited The Mongolian court back in the mid-1200s.)

Remembering one of the old photos from the museum, I snapped a shot approximating the same angle.

The mile+ walk back gave us another chance to work off some of our pizza lunch and a quick dip and cockpit shower prepared us for the 54 mile sail the next day.

The next morning’s favorable winds validated the night-before forecast and off we sailed, eventually changing out our (correct) Aland courtesy flag for our Swedish one.

In spite of the short visit to these Finnish-not-so-Finnish islands*, we relished our time and are very glad we sailed the miles there and back.

Next, to Copenhagen! Well, with a few anchorages and ports along the way…

 

*These islands originally were part of Sweden, who lost them to Imperial Russia in 1809 under the Treaty of Fredriksham. The Aland Archipelago became the autonomous Duchy of Finland under the Tsars’ rule. But, I also wanted to find out why these islands are demilitarized, which led me to the Crimean War (October 1853-February 1856).

This war (yes, sorry, I just had to throw another one onto the pile) came about due to Russia’s challenging the Turks by (a) expanding into the Danube area (now Romania) and (b) disputing Turkish control over some holy sites in Jerusalem. So, those two countries began fighting one another with Great Britain and France joining in a year later to protect their access to trade routes. Because of Britain’s concern over Russian dominance in the Baltic Sea, fighting also occurred in Finnish waters. When the war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, Russia had to demilitarize.

And, the Åland Islands have remained as such since then.

Yet, with Russia’s current aggressions Baltic countries are considering their military options. In 2005 Sweden rearmed its base on Gotland Island, one we cycled by when there in May; and, in 2016 the Finnish Defense Minister started speaking about conscripting the Aland Island inhabitants into civil service. Unsurprisingly, this idea hasn’t gone over too well and seems to have died down somewhat.

Another interesting tidbit is how the Åland Islands are Finnish-but-not-so-Finnish. In 1917 with Finland’s independence from Russia, the residents on the Åland Islands wanted to be reunited with Sweden whose language and customs they identified with. Finland refused, but a compromise orchestrated by the League of Nations in 1921 (one of the first disputes settled by that organization) gave the local population the right to self-govern and remain autonomous from Finland – thus ensuring the Åland Islands would retain their Swedish heritage.

Oh, and another tidbit:  the Crimean War is where Florence Nightingale pops up. Adds a bit of humanity to the inhumanity of wars.

Okay, I’m done  or, as my mother would say, “I am  finished” (not ‘Finnish’, which takes me back to my disclaimer about trying to type on this #%!* Locke keyboard…)

 

Taking a break from our Winter Sleigh Ride Tales

And, the reason is I just had to share yesterday’s morning’s activity in preparation for Friday’s menu.

Max is cooking our now-traditional, roast beast recipe (first used for our first Christmas back in Virginia Beach with mom in 2004). We had found a Tyler Florence recipe, which comes with a bunch of good veggies to add to the mix.

Well, Max is doing it again for our dinner with Anne and Peter on the next pontoon over, and I mentioned we may want to check the meat thermometer.

So, while I’m making our cups of coffee, I look over and this is what I see:

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Now that’s what I call a fool-proof way to ensure not only that the battery is still good but also the thermometer registers the correct temperature (yes, he was perfectly ‘done’ hovering around 97 degrees).

Of course I had to get in on it and, as my husband says, I look like a drowned rat. It took him awhile to say it as he was laughing too hard when he snapped the photo.

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So, here’s to everyone’s wonderful holidays and may your chef be as clever mine.

Peace and love to all,

Lynnie & Max

Tomorrow we leave for the Azores. Some have asked if I was going to blog about the trip, so I’m going to try to figure out how to do it with this being my first post. No guarantees on quantity or quality, just a warning:  you will be subjected to my goofball sense of humor.

I thought it appropriate to return to my first passage or crossing, which was summer of 2002. That episode of my life is captured succinctly with the following email sent upon landing in Flores, one of the western-most islands of these Portuguese islands located roughly two-thirds across the Atlantic:

Tuesday, July 9, 2002 11:35 AM

Hola, I know it’s been awhile since I sent a good email to all but its taken me awhile to unwind, rewind and move forward it seems. So here’s a brief tale of my trips from USA to Bermuda (eight days) and Bermuda to Flores, one of the nine Azores islands (13 days).

DAY 1: try hard not to throw up, try harder, really really try, throw up… repeat cycle

DAY 2: get blinding headache from caffeine withdrawal because coffee out the nose can be hot on the nostrils

DAY 3: rise from hot, sticky bunk to face rolling salt water; retreat to hot, sticky bunk

DAY 3.25: contemplate launching dinghy and motoring to QE II to meet up with Joanna and Marcy

DAY 4: question purpose of my life

DAY 4.5: recover appetite; eat half of loaf of bread

DAy 5: answer purpose of my life–there is none

DAY 6: move to next hand to continue counting days since last changed pants while constantly shifting buttocks to combat sittingitus extremis

DAY 6.75: realize this is the closest I’ve come to resembling Eloise of the Plaza (storybook character) in looks and figure

DAY 7: know that “fresh air” at sea is a misnomer inside a cabin where thee adults have cohabited for six days

DAY 8: land and cafe au lait ahead…

BERMUDA (WED-SUN): get off boat, jump off cliff into water, jam two discs in back

DAY 1-13: lie loll in same hot, sticky bunk from previous eight days at sea while alternating between ibuprofen, codeine, and seasick pills

AZORES (week ago from this past Sunday to now): DAYS 1-26 were worth it.

We did have some amazing times on our first voyage as well as some quite memorable experiences such as:

I saw just how dirty ones toes can become;

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but, it helped knowing we could bathe with the locals,

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as well as having clean laundry facilities at our disposal.

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Intelligent conversations were available if you knew where to look,

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and, there were always simple games one could play with an accommodating nephew.

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Food on land was generally attractively displayed,

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while rides were within walking distance as long as you didn’t mind waiting.

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And, there were always the times we came up with useful inventions such as how to catch flies with a large global fruit and rolling seas.

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I’ve left out too many other memories especially ones where I can get sad thinking of those whom I can’t see now, such as my mom and dad; so, I won’t go there. We all have those moments so no need for me to bring them up here. Rather that I’ll think this–I have a lot more to learn and, thankfully, I have a partner with whom I can and will.

One area that’s a humongous opportunity for improvement is my sailoring skills during JV2 (Juanona Voyage II). Another is attending to a healthy lifestyle and not end up as one big blob. Why could that happen you may ask? Easily. Just ask my sister Betsy who kindly helped me categorize and quantify the dried goods being stowed aboard as part of our provisioning. As she identified and counted out loud the packets of pasta and rice, cans of peas and corn, while I typed them into a spreadsheet, her voice began to carry a note of alarm. When she just went quiet, I asked her what was wrong. Holding two bags of instant risotto she slowly raised her eyes and said in a stunned hush, you’re going to look like one big woman stepping off that boat.

Since she knows me well and since I do like to eat, I realized she’s absolutely correct.  We stared at one another both of us envisioning the boat listing to whichever side I was placing my butt down. Then I smiled in relief and said, No I won’t because I’ll be throwing up all the way across the Atlantic. With that cheerful thought we returned to our task and happily began itemizing the chips and peanuts and 5-lb chocolate bars for between-meal snacking.

That aside, as I attempt blogging about this passage and voyage, know that my friends and family are key to my survival (and my husband being able to put up with me). Fortunately, I have wonderful friends and family as well as husband, so I foresee this being a heck of a lot easier than that first crossing.

As I listen to the whining sound of a last load of laundry and dream of a cafe latte (low-fat milk, of course), I’ll close without saying good-bye as I really don’t like to use that word. Instead I’ll quote one of my favorite authors:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

― Dr. SeussOh, The Places You’ll Go!