Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Getting there, Part 4, The Sugar Rush - May 28, 2011

On the last night of our divinely leisurely trip to Rotterdam on the Rotterdam, a special event was staged - Dessert Extravaganza! Dozens and dozens of creative cakes, pastries, canapes, sundaes, pies, fruits, custards, puddings all augmented by chocolate fountains, whipped cream, ice cream - you name it and it was probably there.
Believe it or not, we actually passed this event up although we did stop by earlier in the evening to witness the set up. Having been spoiled for more than two weeks in the restaurants of Holland America we knew we were going to have our work cut out over the next couple of weeks trying to get ourselves back up to speed for our walkabouts, and a visit to this orgy of confection would have made matters just that much worse! Here are some peeks at the pleasures we forwent.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Getting there, Part 3 - May 18, 2011

In 1972, Ted Arison, an Israeli-American entrepreneur bought the retired Canadian Ocean Liner, Empress of Canada, renamed it Mardi Gras and thus was born Carnival Cruise Lines. After a money-losing start the operation found its mark, added a couple more ships, went public in 1987 and never looked back.
Carnival is now the largest cruise operator in the world comprising eleven major brands, about 100 ships and more than 160,000 berths. Subsidiaries include Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line. The combined brands of Carnival Corporation control more than half of the total worldwide cruise market.
Check out these pictures to see where the 2,000 gallons of milk, 15,000 pounds of beef and 26 tons of vegetables actually go.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Getting there, Part 2 - May 16, 2011

There has been an SS Rotterdam in the Holland America Line since 1872 when the first, rigged for both steam and sail, entered service. Fourteen years later a shiny new SS Rotterdam replaced the original but this one too was sold off eleven years later to make way for number three in 1897. This third version in turn was sold in 1906 to another line and was ultimately sunk by a German U-Boat in 1918.
Its replacement, the fourth SS Rotterdam, was commissioned in 1908 and served until WWII before being scrapped in 1940.
There was then a hiatus until 1958 when Rotterdam the fifth sailed onto the scene - still as an SS (Steam Ship). Number five went on to roam the oceans of the world for almost forty years before being retired to make way for number six in 1997. This latest in the line was the MS (Motor Ship) Rotterdam which quickly became our favorite boat ever. More snaps are right here.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Europe 2011, Getting there Part I - May 15, 2011

Most of our trips to Europe in recent years have been by air. Our little European RV is stored in Holland so we usually fly into Amsterdam, catch a ride to the storage facility, fire up the RV, perform a major grocery shop, drive to a campsite and collapse. The dark side of this arrangement is the timing. Leaving home around noon the first leg is a puddle-jumper to an international airport. A wait of several hours and then, usually around six or seven in the evening, the big flight is ready to go. Nine hours later, around 3:00AM at home, we are expelled into the Dutch morning. It is about 9:00AM - the start of a new day. Of course, in theory, we should sleep like babes on the airplane and arrive refreshed. In practice, that just doesn't happen whether flying steerage or business class - we've tried them all. So this year, we tried something different - boating...