A DREAM IS BORN MARCH 2005
WRITTEN, EDITED AND ILLUSTRATED BY John (Bing) and Jane Grimsrud
In the scorching heat of a March afternoon at our home in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico with a temperature in excess of
40 ?C / 104 ?F our sweating bodies drive us first to our 20 ?C / 70 ?F well water shower in our jungle filled garden
to luxuriate in its coolness. Next to the shade to swing in our hammocks under our fans on the Yucatan and we plot
This season the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico becomes an inferno as hot as a cinder as the screaming southerly
winds fan the flames of the slash and burn Mayan Indians who have ritualistically torched all of Central America for
the past 3,000 years.
Our annual trek to Europe soon becomes convoluted. Jane spots a one way trip (repositioning) of a cruise ship
while surfing the web listed with Freighter World (www.freighterworld.com), a company we have used several times
over the years to book freighter travel.
In order to reap the ultimate in pleasure and satisfaction out of our trip our imaginations lead us to one of our
favorite pastimes, bicycling and how to incorporate this into our cruise ship getaway vacation.
The ideal bicycle for this trip will be the small folding bicycles used by yachtsmen and European commuters.
We quickly discover that none are available in Mexico so we search the web and find several dealers but then find
that they can’t ship to Mexico because the bicycles don’t meet the Mexican safety standards…the Mexican safety
standards? Did you ever happen to wonder why Mexico is often times considered third world? So much for free
trade and fair trade! The technocrats were just going to have it their way again and make me do something I had no
intention of doing…I would build our own bicycles!
I built four of them from junked frames and plumbing fittings and then picked the best two to bring to
Europe so we could follow our dream.
The Mexican airlines also had size and weight requirements that forced me to be crafty in my bicycle design. The
cruise ship also required that our bikes be boxed for boarding and after that we could do as we pleased as long as
we handled the bicycles ourselves.
Jane and I are no strangers to the high seas but this will be our first cruise ship passage of more than a couple of
days. However we have made two trans-Atlantic freighter trips.
Our curiosity and a good price finally got us to try a cruise ship.
Not being groupies, the concept of mass organized activities with rah-rah-rah jump and jive over zealous tour
directors and tourist trap flimflam excursions honestly left us cold.
Being the types to at least give everything an objective taste, we set sail.
If first impressions are anything then our first day aboard the MSC Opera, a one-year-old luxury Italian cruise liner,
(58,600 ton, 251 meter long by 29 meter on the beam vessel), was awesome and impressive. Inscrutable attention
to detail coupled with the most attentive and helpful crew made our first impression an everlastingly positive one.
Absolutely nothing, not even the smallest detail from the bow to the stern was left unpolished for even a second;
from the thousands of mirrors to the gleaming brass and marble. Believe it or not, they even had a contraption that
washed all of the port holes (outside windows) from top to bottom and from bow to stern every day…now that is
carrying attention to detail to extremes!
OUR LOVELY FLOATING HOME FOR 18 GLORIOUS DAYS:
Dining and entertainment alone made this cruise the ultimate in travel value and they were worth the price paid for
the entire voyage. The Italian chefs (world renowned for preparation of many course dining extravaganzas) were at
their very best with each and every feast.
If you got off on stuffing yourself then the all-ya’all can eat buffets were positively a gluttons dream come true. A
pizza and pasta restaurant dished out sumptuous delights for as long as it would take you to get your fill. A grill
pumped out your favorite dinner on a bun done to a turn and if you still had any capacity to cram just a little more in,
the ice cream parlor or pastry shop would put on the finishing touches.
ALL DAY, ALL THE TIME, THE HOSPITALITY IS BEYOND BELIEF
The incredible thing was that all of the above items were all inclusive all the time, so knock yourself out!
Self-control here was put to the true test. On our 18-day cruise, here is a partial list of what the passengers put
away; 28,000 fresh eggs, 14,400 pounds of meat, 6,300 pounds of fish, 1,900 pounds of butter and margarine and
33,000 pounds of fruit not to mention 3,800 pounds of ice cream.
OUR FRIENDLY AND JOVIAL WINE STEWARDESSES MADE EACH MEAL A DELIGHT!
FINE DINING MADE INTO A PLESENT EXPERIENCE WITH A BIG SMILE.
Entertainment ranged from on stage acrobatics and magic, comedians and dance routines to violin and piano to
name a few. Standing ovations and encores were common. Live music lounge shows with a Latin beat or a dance
band were open afternoons and evenings.
Gambling casino, swimming pools, craft and language lessons, scientific and literary lectures and even ping-pong
and a mini putt-putt golf course would keep even the most active over doer fully occupied.
LEAVING THE U.S. FROM THE PORT OF FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
PLENTY OF ROOM FOR OUR FOLD UP BIKES IN OUR COMFORTABLE CABIN.
Our cabin, (room) with its bay window sized porthole brought into our comfortable quarters the beauty of the sea
and stars. Our Indonesian cabin boy I Wayan kept our cabin meticulously spotless and always made sure we had a
full bowl of select fresh fruit on our desk, news and information bulletins and our bed turned down and then made up
all quietly and efficiently without ever getting under foot. Very professional, polished and pleasant, he made us feel
To us the number one appeal of going to sea is the unlimited fresh air.
Monday April 4th In the afternoon we made landfall and picked up our pilot who took us to the dock in
downtown Old San Juan, Puerto Rico at 6 PM passing the huge high walled fort, “El Morro” guarding the port
We docked with two other gleaming white cruise ships bedecked with lights in this busiest of ports in the Caribbean.
The sun had set as we set foot ashore in this strange extension of America. We walked the lovely waterfront with its
gleaming harbor lights making this tropical island into a warm and friendly place. As we meandered back to the ship
we entered the narrow old streets lined
with neatly kept colonial buildings from another era rich in the history of explorers, conquistadors, colonists,
merchants, pirates, and hundreds of years of history richly steeped in the past. We sampled the local rums that
Puerto Rico has produced and exported, the end product of their cash crop; sugar, refined into molasses.
OUR HOME THE MSC OPERA AT THE PORT OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
After our three-hour city tour we still had time to take in a movie before turning into our cabin for a snooze as the
dock lines were cast off and we took departure for our next destination. This was a short hop of 72 nautical miles
across to St.Thomas in the American Virgin Islands.
Tuesday 6 AM April 5th found us anchored off the city of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, American Virgin
Island along side the cruise ship Queen Mary II. Inside the harbor were moored 9 other cruise ships that filled all the
available dock space.
QUEEN MARY II RIDING AT ANCHOR OFF OUR STERN AT ST. THOMAS.
By 8 AM Jane and I had finished breakfast, changed into our go to shore outfits and were boarding one of the ship’s
tenders that would shuttle us to shore.
A delightful tropical spring morning greets us with a brisk and fresh warm briny breeze and
more bright uninterrupted sunlight than we needed as we bobbed our way to shore.
OUR SHIP’S SHUTTLE SERVICE ARRIVING FROM ST. THOMAS.
St. Thomas is mass tourism condensed into a small tropical island smaller in scale than Cozumel in the Mexican
Yucatan but equally populated with trinket hunting tourists. The only difference we could notice between the two was
that at least St. Thomas housed its tourist traps in renovated old authentic dwellings.
The desolate topography of this barren outpost of civilization brought me to the realization that without tourism, life
here would be wretchedly miserable.
OFF THE TOURIST TRACK ON A SIDE STREET WE FIND A NEIGHBORHOOD STORE THAT SELLS MOSTLY
LIQUID REFRESHMENTS. JANE HAS A “SIPPING SACK” UNIVERSALLY KNOWN AT THESE LATITUDES AS
BEER IN A BAG.
ADDING SWEETENER TO OUR MORNING COFFEE IN THE FORM OF RUM
Luck is with us this season in the Caribbean. In all of our many previous experiences in this part of the world over
the years we have never seen such tranquil and calm seas. Normally the wind is so strong down here that it will blow
the coffee right out of your cup as it screams in your ears.
Another bit of luck we have found after conversing with several of the travelers from the adjacent cruise ships is that
we happen to have the best of the best in dining, services and elegantly kept amenities. We had just assumed that
all were equally elegant and lavish as our MSC Opera. We discovered that we had lucked into the absolute gem of
the cruise ship
industry. Some other ships might have even been larger than ours but we were light years ahead of the others in
quality and service. Our elegant dining was worth more than the price of the cruise alone. Sometimes you don’t
know just how lucky you have it until you see how others are living.
St. Thomas is our second port of call and by far the most over run with cruise ship people.
The small town of Charlotte Amalie wraps itself around the protected harbor at the base of steep rocky hills that form
the island. Vegetation is stunted here for lack of precipitation and that gives the place a barren and burnt
appearance as though it is misplaced and really belongs in some desert setting instead of here in these tropical
waters of the eastern Caribbean.
The cruise ships bring a steady stream of cash flow to this place that would otherwise be a hardscrabble spot to eke
out a living This rocky barren island is blessed with tropical temperatures and a carnival atmosphere where hordes
of eager tourists shop elbow to elbow solicited by “carnival barkers” hawking their specials to the never ending
stream of tourists ready to snap up the glitter and glitz of memorabilia as souvenirs of their high-seas cruise.
Yes, the place is picturesque and quaint but in a mob atmosphere. Like all of these places just a few blocks
removed from the tourist trinket shops are found the neighborhoods that here tend to be on the slummier side of
Three hours and several rum samples later Jane and I were headed for our shuttle boat back home to our lovely
MSC Opera and our dining experience followed by a movie in the air-conditioned comfort of the ships theater.
The anchor went up at 5 PM, dinner at 6 and a live musical at 9…every day aboard the MSC Opera is equally action
Wednesday the 6th of April we dock at “Run Away Bay” at the Caribbean island of Antigua in the British
With our fold-up bicycles Jane and I roll off for a day of exploration and in minutes are startled by oncoming traffic
driving irrationally…wow! They are all driving on the wrong side of the road! We quickly discover that we are
amongst the contrary “Brits”. Now we have an added challenge besides driving on the wrong side of the road. We
now have other road hazards that include open sewers that parallel and crisscross the city streets plus potholes and
bumps. Our map is of little use but this is a small island and our ship can be spotted for miles away as it looms high
above the tallest city buildings.
We cycle north along the west coast and soon find one of the touted 365 white sand beaches. As luck would have it
we spot a vacant park bench underneath the shade of a kind old sea grape tree where we park our bikes and our
butts. We take turns indulging ourselves in the salubriously clean seawater and it doesn’t get much better than this!
To break the tranquility of this lovely slice of paradise we were soon treated to the frapping of helicopter blades as a
tag team of these obnoxiously noisy aircraft swapped in and out with tourists looking for that ultimate get-away
deserted Caribbean beach. This was soon interspersed with “Sea-doos” buzzing the swimming beach.
In spite of the occasional noise, the spot was positively lovely, our swim incredibly luxurious and the local people
friendly, smiling and helpful.
We enjoyed our morning coffee under the shade of that kind old sea grape tree and took an hour sojourn back to
our ship for cool-me-down showers, fresh clothes and a luxury lunch of smoked salmon. That afternoon we took a
short walking tour of the city center of St. John’s, one of the oldest trading centers of the Caribbean. We found the
people courteous and polite but the tourist trinkets shoddy and prohibitively high priced.
We cast off our dock lines at 5PM, rounded the island on a southeasterly course bound for Martinique, the second
to the southernmost port of our 18-day cruise.
After dinner we took in a piano and violin concert that was positively fabulous that culminated in a standing ovation
and encore…another very memorable day aboard
The MSC Opera comes to a close.
ACROSS THE ISLAND WE FIND ONE OF THE 365 BEACHES AND COOL OFF.
FROM THE HIGHEST POINT IN TOWN AT THE OLD CHURCH, THE HARBOR AND OUR VESSEL MSC OPERA
ONE OF HUNDREDS OF TOURIST SHOPS ON MAIN STREET.
THE HAT WEAVER TAKES AN ARTISTIC LEAP OF IMAGINATION.
SITTING AT THE APPROACH TO THE CRUISE SHIP DOCKS, HE HAS SEVERAL THOUSAND PERSPECTIVE
BUYERS PASS HIM EVERY DAY.
FROM THE SHIP LOOKING BACK AT THE CHURCH ON THE HILL IN TOWN.
Saturday is our 7th day aboard the MSC Opera and our tenth day since leaving our home in Mexico; a most
beautiful vacation! Unlimited fresh air, elegance in fine living with the finest Italian dining, world class entertainment
coupled with visits to five Caribbean Islands in five days has made our cruise the ultimate in vacation value.
THE ABOVE FOUR PHOTOS GIVE A PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE HARBOR FROM THE 11TH DECK STARBOARD
Thursday April 7th we dock at the French speaking port of Martinique, a miniature tropical Paris named Fort
de France. After breakfast Jane and I wheel our bicycles ashore and follow the blue painted sidewalk designated for
the cruise ship passengers to follow on their way to the city center, a distance of two kilometers. The friendly natives
light up when greeted with a “bonjour” greeting. The French influence is distinctively everywhere starting with the
headless statue of Josephine, wife of Napoleon. (These are ironically the people that brought us the guillotine.)
HEADLESS STATUE OF JOSEPHINE, WIFE OF NAPOLEON IN THE PARK
Across the street from this statue is located the public library. It was built in Paris for the 1889 World’s Fair,
disassembled and shipped tile by tile and stone by stone here to Martinique where it was reassembled. Something
we found remarkable was the colonial French floor tiles in this building that were exactly the same as ones we find in
the French colonial homes of our home town of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
ABOVE PHOTO OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY BUILT IN PARIS IN 1889 FOR THE WORLD’S FAIR.
STATUE OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS IN A DOWNTOWN WATERFRONT PARK.
The explorer Christopher Columbus claimed the island for Spain in 1502 but the fierce cannibalistic Carib Indians
repelled the settlers for more than a hundred years.
We have noticed one conspicuous similarity found in all of the port towns visited by the cruise ship fleet. That is
noncompetitive pricing brought about by the flood of never ending rich cruise ship patrons.
The weather is hot, the 87° humidity is high, and shade is scarce as we ride the streets, mingle with very friendly
people and shoot photos of the local statuary. The prominent old bay front fort whose appearance beckons us to
explore is an active military base restricting visitors. We shoot photos from afar and make it back to our ship by noon
to park our bikes and take cool-me-down cold-water showers, change our clothes and dine in air-conditioned
Our dining conversation is spiced up by our companions; Robert Macomber, the award-winning novelist from Florida
and John and Gloria LaPorte from Manitoba, Canada.
Robert was in law enforcement before he began writing and spends nearly half of his time engaged in research and
extensive travels to authenticate his historical novels. His wealth of stored factual knowledge and recall of dates and
names is awesome. So, naturally he is a superb conversationalist. Our other companions from Canada bring to the
table a completely different slant and relate their tales of near tundra conditions in the frozen, frigid out back of
Seated at one of our daily dining extravaganzas from left to right are; DR. PAT BROGAN (SUPER WOMEN
FROM SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA), ROBERT MACOMBER (AWARD WINNING HISTORICAL NOVELIST FROM
MATLACHA ISLAND, FLORIDA), GLORIA AND JOHN LAPORTE (NUCLEAR RADIATION SPECIALIST FROM
WINNIPEG, CANADA), LOWELL WILEY (COMPUTER ENGINEER AND WORLD TRAVELER FROM KANSAS),
JANE GRIMSRUD AND JOHN GRIMSRUD (INTERNATIONAL CYCLISTS FROM YUCATAN, MEXICO)
THIS GROUP MADE THE TRIP ONE OF THE FINEST OF LIFE’S EXPERIENCES.
Our 5PM departure comes and goes and we still sit dockside. At precisely 6PM the dock lines are cast off and we
are underway for Barbados.
Friday the 9th of April our ship is docking in Barbados as we are dining at breakfast and we have a
commanding view of the whole operation and surrounding harbor. Turquoise tropical bay waters and green rolling
hills give an inviting appearance to this, the furthest south point that we will reach on this voyage.
We roll our bikes off the ship and then ride the very long break wall/dock to shore. We pass an ancient rust bucket
of a ship suffering from many years of hard work and apathetic neglect but still ready for its next cargo like an old
overloaded burro ready to step out one more time. This ship is being loaded with molasses and the sweet deep
pungent aroma is so inviting that we linger to drink it in.
We ride on along the quay this gloriously beautiful morning and soon arrive at the “customs”, shore inspection
station where the old stern faced guard dressed in his shoddy military looking costume resplendent with tarnished
brassy bangles and a hodgepodge of badges and other do-dads stopped us with his one finger hand signal,
Then he looked at the approaching autos and waved them through one at a time again with his one finger hand
signal. Then he looks our way and again and with one finger held up motions us to stop. This process repeats itself
several times until all of the autos have passed. Each time he made eye contact with us he gave us his one finger
stop signal with a single finger pointed up. Then he motions us over to him with his one finger hand signal and
sternly asks to see our Barbados bicycle permits…he claims everything on the streets of Barbados is required to
have these permits and comply with their requirements which also included bicycle bells. With his long face and glum
disposition he scrutinized Jane’s bicycle and I then rang my bell and the agents face lights up for half a second but
then asks where is Jane’s bell. I told him that we ride together and I ring my bell for her.
I ask the agent where we can obtain our bicycle permits for our three-hour bike ride. With that he confers with his
colleague and after some verbal banter it is decided that we should just go on our way and with that I tell the agent
to have a nice day. The agent grumbles and says, “That isn’t something I do”. I then say, “Keep smiling”, and the
agent then says, “I’m not good at that either”.
A taxi driver stops us to remind us that here the drivers drive on the wrong side of the road and to be careful...yes,
thanks! Yes, we are back to a country of the contrary “Brits” and on our way into Bridgetown, Barbados,
independent from England since 1966. The state of public places shows signs of long apathetic neglect, functional
but unkempt. Restorations undone and very similar to conditions we found in the Bahamas Islands after the British
departed there. The garbage is mounting.
We diverge on the way into town at an open-air fruit and vegetable market. As we lean our bicycles against the
fence a skinny little black lady with a bundle perched atop her head sternly tells us to guard our bicycles or they will
be stolen for sure! She spots Jane’s camera and insists upon having her picture taken…we oblige.
THE SWEET AND FRIENDLY LITTLE LADY GETS HER PHOTO TAKEN.
Jane then proceeds to photograph some of the other people at the market and is quickly informed that it is
customary to ask permission before taking a photo. Jane than asks one of the vendors and is told no. Jane then
asks if she might at least take a photo of the fruit and the lady says, “this is not my stand and I can’t give permission
THE STREET MARKET HAS AN ISOLATED CULTURAL DIFFERENCE WHICH SETS IT APART FROM THOSE WE
HAVE VISITED IN OUR TRAVELS. WE BELIEVE IT IS STILL INFLUENCED BY THE OLD TRADE ROUTES OF THE
SAILING SHIP DAYS.
CEMETERY: APATHETIC NEGLECT AND BLINDNESS TO GARBAGE ARE HERE.
We next diverge into an old Anglican Church that looks interesting to investigate and still in use though sadly deep
in a state of utter neglect. Pealing paint is the structures only embellishment, with a derelict neglected yard filled with
low fenced in burial crypts dating from the 1800’s, one of which was being used as a garbage receptacle where the
local dogs had strewn the refuge across the unkempt grounds.
Next we arrived in the city center on a walking street somehow detached from the 21st century to better get a look at
the shops, people and the conditions of this island outpost. The slow moving pace and old time store fronts devoid
of glitter and glitz had no neon signs and
franchise establishments were conspicuously absent. The town was packed with this motley mix of slow moving
pedestrians. The side streets and alleyways were neglected and unkempt repositories for societies lost souls who
made these places their home and they resembled old B movie sets.
I STILL REMEMBER THIS CARIBBEAN BEER FROM MY VISIT TO THE NEIGHBORING ISLAND OF TRINIDAD
MORE THAN 20 YEARS BEFORE.
We biked east following the harbor through “pushy-shovey” traffic dashing around the roundabouts as the Brits call
these traffic circles. The traffic changes from one-way to two lanes to two ways and then two lanes to single lane and
all madly racing through a maze of traffic islands.
We next follow the harbor heading east where countless abandoned buildings from Bridgetown’s more prosperous
years have fallen into rack and ruin, many with only their facades still intact…ghosts from the past.
Soon we are out of town following a white sand beach lined with coconut palms and casuarinas.
We spot a park bench under a stand of sea grape and coconut palms that invites us to soak up the ambiance and
enjoy our morning coffee (our thermos of coffee always accompanies on such excursions).
The white sand beaches and departure from frantic traffic made this moment at our southernmost point of land on
our 18 day cruise a special event.
THE SHADE OF A SEA GRAPE TREE WITH A TROPICAL SEA BREEZE IS A WELCOME COMBINATION AT
COFFEE DRINKING TIME THIS MORNING
We didn’t have two minutes of tranquility before a big black woman arrives from the sea toting her perpetually
screaming little brat that then disturbs the sleeping hound that commences into a nonstop barking binge. Now in
concert, sirens blare forth from the city traffic. We had our memorable moment, finished our coffee, and had all we
needed from the beach scene and began to leave when half a dozen young black island kids appeared and quite
frankly become insistent about taking our bicycles for a joy ride…”Ha! Do you think I am Santa Clause?” I say.
The kids are unaccustomed to being told no and are put out and become surly.
We took our departure.
We are back to the ship by noon and ride the bikes an extra distance to the end of the break water to get a little
more biking in before setting out for five straight days of out to sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the way to
Tenerife a distance of 2,616 nautical miles.
MSC OPERA DOCKSIDE AT OUR SOUTHERN MOST POINT OF OUR TRIP.
A STERN VIEW OF OUR CRUISE SHIP AND HOME THE MSC OPERA IN BARBADOS
This day is perfect in almost all ways; the climate is salubriously tropical with gentle sea breezes and an intensely
bright sun beaming down as we stand at 13° north latitude where in a few days the sun will pass directly overhead.
Our remaining course will carry us only north from here. We will be crossing one time zone on average per day and
headed north as our ambient temperatures gradually take a dive, ultimately arriving in northern Germany in cherry
So much for Barbados, we did however find something of personal interest to us. (A dear old deceased friend of
ours named George Tappin, who was also a partner in a shrimp boat we owned, traced his roots back to Barbados.
George’s father had been a ship’s captain and had
left Barbados for North Florida in the early 1900s, over a hundred years ago, and George had told us that one of
his dreams had been to someday return to trace his family; a dream he never lived to fulfill. Jane and I did indeed
locate some of George Tappin’s relatives still residing in Barbados and have the addresses of the four listed in the
local phone book.
Back aboard the ship a cool shower and dry clothes restored our bodies and spirits.
LEAVING BARBADOS: OUR LAST LOOK AT LAND FOR FIVE DAYS BEFORE CROSSING THE ATLANTIC TO
TENERIFE, A DISTANCE OF 2616 NAUTICAL MILES.
The next five days are wondrously filled with dining experiences spiced with lively conversations exchanged with
fellow passengers. We consider ourselves to be among the most fortunate people on this planet to have the
opportunity to share this voyage with this extraordinary mix of world travelers that are on the cutting edge of
intellectual exchanges of humorous thoughts and philosophical insights.
Besides the world class Italian cuisine and atmosphere of fine dining our tablemates have all enthusiastically
maintained an interactively stimulating conversation that entices us to eagerly anticipate our next meal and more of
The daily activities usually begin for us with a cool water shower and a pre-dawn deck walk followed by breakfast of
smoked salmon and rye toast.
Throughout the day a wide variety of activities can fill your every moment from the frivolous poolside games to bingo
and paper crafts. Concerts, movies, opera, stimulating lectures, language lessons and seminars on diverse range of
subjects from geologic formations to authors like the award winning Robert Macomber with his stimulating stories
and humors anecdotes as he traverses the world researching material for his next historical novel.
A CARIBBEAN SUNSET WAVES GOODBYE AS WE BEGIN OUR ATLANTIC CROSSING HEADING NORTH EAST
CROSSING THE EXPANSIVE ATLANTIC OCEAN WITH FRESH AIR AND CLEAN WATER THAT IS CALM ENOUGH
TO TAKE A CANOE. WE HAD A FABULOUS VOYAGE PARTLY BECAUSE OF OUR OUTSTANDING WEATHER
MSC OPERA OUR ISLAND IN THE SEA MAKES LIFE GOOD.
WE WALK THE DECKS EARLY TO GREET THE SUN BEFORE BREAKFAST AND ANOTHER DAY OF LIVING
WE ARE PAMPERED WITH TOP QUALITY SERVICE AND ATTENTION.
ROBERT MACOMBER AND DR. PAT BROGAN WERE WELCOME COMPANY AT OUR DINNER TABLE. THEY
KEPT STIMULATING CONVERSATION SPICED WITH THOUGHT PROVOKING IDEAS. WE EAGERLY WAITED TO
CONTINUE WITH A BOUNDLESS VARIETY OF TOPICS. WE DON’T MEET PEOPLE OF THIS CALIBER OFTEN
AND THE STRANGEST THING OF ALL WAS THAT WE ALL BOOKED OUR PASSAGE THROUGH THE SAME
TRAVEL AGENT AT FREIGHTER WORLD.
JOHN AND GLORIA LAPORTE ALSO BOOKED WITH FREIGHTER WORLD.
ED AND MURIEL FAWCETT BOOKED WITH FREIGHTER WORLD
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT JOHN GRIMSRUD, ROBERT MACOMBER, GLORIA AND JOHN LAPORTE AND LOWELL
WILEY; WE ALL BOOKED WITH FREIGHTER WORLD AND THIS GROUP TURNED OUT TO BE THE BEST
TRAVELING COMPANIONS WE HAVE EVER HAD THE GOOD LUCK TO BE WITH, IT WAS A GOOD THING
BECAUSE WE WERE TOGETHER FOR 18 DAYS.
AFTER FIVE DAYS OUT TO SEA WE MAKE LAND FALL AT TENERIFE.
WHILE TOURING THE CITY JANE AND I ENCOUNTERED A LADY FROM OUR CRUISE SHIP THAT SAID THAT
SHE JUST COULDN’T STAND THE TRIP. I ASKED WHY AHD HER REPLY WAS; “THE PEOPLE SPEAK TOO
MANY DIFFERENT LANGUAGES”. IT JUST GOES TO SHOW YOU THAT SOME PEOPLE CAN BE MISERABLE
WHILE RESTING ON A WALKING STREET AT SANTA CRUZ, TENERIFE. THE CLEANLINESS, NEATNESS AND
ORDER OF LIFE BECOME A STRIKING CONTRAST TO THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS.
FROM THE WATERFRONT WAR MEMORIAL PARK OUR CRUISE SHIP IS PROMINENTLY IN VIEW WITH EASY
ACCESS TO TOWN.
OUR LITTLE BICYCLES MADE THIS TRIP A LARK FOR SIGHTSEEING AND JANE AND I GOT TO PLACES THAT
OUR CRUISE SHIP MATES NEVER SAW.
OUR SHIP AND HOME EVERYWHERE WE TRAVELED MADE THIS TRIP TO ALL THESE PORTS ABSOLUTELY
THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL. IF YOU CONSIDER THE ADDED ADVANTAGE OF ARRIVING IN EUROPE WITHOUT
ANY JET LAG, THIS IS THE BEST OF THE BEST IN TRAVEL.
EASY ON AND EASY OFF WITH OUR BICYCLES WAS GREAT. WE TURNED IN OUR PEDALS AND HANDLE
BARS, WHICH TOOK SECONDS, AND THEN WE COULD ROLL THEM EASILY THROUGH THE SHIP AND UP
THE ELEVATORS TO NEAT AND CONVENIENT STORAGE IN OUR CABIN.
THE NARROW BIKE FRIENDLY STREETS OF THIS ANCIENT CITY OF CADIZ, SPAIN MADE US WANT TO
LINGER FOR A SEASON OR MORE.
THE ROMANS AND THE MOORS HAVE LEFT THEIR IMPRINT ON CADIZ THROUGH THEIR ARCHITECTURE.
CADIZ WAS MADE FOR PEDESTRIANS AND BIKERS.
AN INTERESTING MONUMENT TO A FAMOUS CONQUISTADOR, CORTEZ WHO PLUNDERED ALL OF THE
GOLD OUT OF MEXICO AND MADE SPAIN INTO THE RICHEST COUNTRY IN EUROPE THAT THEN WENT ON
TO THE VERY BLOODY INQUISITION UNTIL THE MONEY WAS GONE.
FRIENDLY LOCALS AND GOOD FOOD AND WINE BECKON US BACK.
A VIEW OF THE UPPER DECKS OF MSC OPERA WITH CADIZ IN THE BACKGROUND
IN THE ABOVE TWO PHOTOS: THE BUSY HARBOR OF CADIZ, SPAIN IN THE BACKGROUND AND SOME OF
OUR TRAVELING COMPANIONS SOAKING UP THE AMBIENT AFTERNOON SUN, ONE OF THE MANY
PASTIMES AVAILABLE TO THOSE SOLAR LOVERS.
MYSELF, JOHN GRIMSRUD, WITH OUR FRIEND AND FELLOW DINING PARTNER LOWELL WILEY AT SUNSET
AS WE ENTER THE STRAITS OF GIBRALTAR WITH AFRICA IN THE BACKGROUND.
OUR DINING PARTNERS GLORIA AND JOHN LAPORTE AT SUNSET AS WE ENTERED THE STRAITS OF
GIBRALTAR. I DUBBED JOHN “MR. GADGETEER” BECAUSE OF HIS HUGE INVENTORY OF ELECTRONIC
GADGETS THAT INCLUDED A GPS NAVIGATIONAL DEVICE AND THE MULTI BAND RADIO YOU SEE HIM
PUNCHING IN THIS PHOTO.
LOOKING BACK AT THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AS WE LEAVE IT BEHIND AND ENTER THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA.
IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY IN THE PHOTO YOU WILL SEE THE SILHOUETTES OF SEVERAL OCEAN GOING
FREIGHTERS FAR OUT ON THE HORIZON.
JANE SAYS GOODBYE TO THE SETTING SUN AND THE ATLANTIC OCEAN.
ON THE BUSY STREETS OF PALMA DE MALLORCA JANE AND I FOLLOWED THE BIKE PATH THAT FOLLOWS
THE ENTIRE HARBOR AND OFFERED MANY PHOTO OPS.
ON APRIL 19, WE LEFT THE SHIP IN GENOA, ITALY AND WENT ON TO NORTHERN GERMANY WITH MANY
GOOD REFLECTIONS OF OUR MEMORIES ABOARD MSC OPERA WHILE TRAVELING THE ROAD AHEAD.
THE STORY CONTINUES WITH PART 2, INCIDENTS OF BIKE AND TRAIN TRAVEL - GENOA TO GERMANY
go to part 2
We move on and have a slow ride back to the
ship taking some photos along the way and
discovered an interesting and very historical
monument. Horatio Nelson, 1758-1805, the
British admiral who destroyed the French fleet at
Trafalgar, has a monument here along the
harbor front in the city center that is a duplicate
of the one in Trafalgar Square in London,
THIS BARBADOS MONUMENT HOWEVER IS
As we sight see our way back to the ship we shop
at several souvenir establishments looking for
Barbados flag stickers for our bicycle helmets. So
far we have one from everyplace we traveled on
this trip starting with Mexico.
I ask one of the shop keeper ladies about locking
our bicycles and she exclaims; “Oh Lordy! They
won’t only steal your bike they will steal you too!”