Alb-73Trip through western USA and CANADA (province of Alberta)
Date of travel: Sep 1 – Sep 14, 1973
This trip was done by my car Ford Mustang 67 through western states of USA starting in California (Los Angeles), through Nevada (with stop in Las Vegas), Utah (stop in Salt Lake City), Wyoming (Yellowstone Park) and Montana (with Glacier Park) between Sep 1 and Sep 6. It continued to CANADA and its province of Alberta (with visits to Calgary, Edmonton plus Jasper and Banff in Canadian Rockies) between Sep 6 and Sep 11. It was followed by return through western American states Idaho, Nevada and California (with Death Valley back to Los Angeles) between Sep 11 and Sep 14, 1973.
Travel office: no travel office was used, we traveled by my car and slept in motels
Who took part: I traveled with a childhood friend Frank Z. (Aramis).
BC-74 Trip through western states of USA and CANADA (province British Columbia)
Date of travel: Aug 31 – Sep 16, 1974
A trip with my car Ford Mustang 67 through western states of USA starting in state of California (from Vista at San Diego and going north across Los Angeles and past San Francisco to Red Bluff, Mt. Lassen Park and Mt. Shasta), continuing in state of Oregon (Crater Lake, Portland, Columbia River with Bonneville Dam) to state of Washington (to visit the World Exhibition in Spokane, to Grand Coulee Dam and North Cascade National Park) that between Aug 31 to Sep 7. From there to CANADA and its province British Columbia (with sightseeing of the city Vancouver, of Vancouver Island with the capital of BC, Victoria, and the famous Butchart Gardens), all this between Sep 7 and Sep 11. Back to USA in state of Washington (Coast Highway, Olympic Park), Oregon (Coast Highway, Klamath) and California (Eureka and to Vista) from Sep 11 to Sep 16, 1974.
Travel office: no travel office used, we were driving my car and slept in motels
Who took part: I traveled with my childhood friend Frank Z, (Aramis)
BC-86Trip mainly to visit EXPO 86 in Vancouver and also Roger S. in Victoria both in Canada.
Date of trip: Sep 14 – Sep 20, 1986
On Sep 14 flight from San Diego to Vancouver, CANADA (in province of British Columbia). Two days spent exploring the EXPO 86. The third day sightseeing of Vancouver and then ferry to Vancouver Island for meeting with Roger S. with whom I traveled on IA-80. Some sightseeing of Victoria. On Sep 20 flight back to San Diego.
Travel office: No travel office used. Sleeping in hotels.
Who took part: I traveled with Frank Z. (Aramis) and on Vancouver Island with also Roger S.
AK-90 Alaska (USA), Yukon (CANADA)
Date of travel: Aug 24 – Sep 9, 1990
On Aug 24, 1990 at 4:15 AM I leave Vista in a car of Rancho Limousine Service. I am at San Diego airport at 5:40 AM. Here I board an Alaska Airlines plane for a 2.5-hr flight to Seattle. From northern California and Oregon to Washington I see the volcanoes of the Cascades. In Seattle, Washington I change the plane for another Alaska Airlines flying 3-hr 20 min. to Anchorage, Alaska, USA.The plane lands there at 2 PM. Alena with her younger daughter Diana takes me to the shop of her husband Petr, my childhood friend from Chrudim. Their older daughter Jana with Diana takes me for sightseeing of Anchorage. Accommodation in Petr and Alena house.
Next day Petr and Alena take me on a trip to Portage Glacier. Along the way we see down-hill runs for skiers at Alyeska Resort. In places we observe salmons swimming in ditches along the highways. The following day they drive me on Glenn Hwy north to Hatcher Pass, where in pouring rain Petr and I explore an abandoned gold mine. Then we make a stop in Eklutna Village at a Russian Orthodox Cemetery with a Russian Church. It is very colorful. In the evening a dinner in a very nice restaurant and a view from the tower of the “CaptainCook Hotel.”
In the morning on Aug 27 Alena takes me to the airport. I have a 2-day tour booked with Alaska Airlines. From Anchorage the plane flies 1-hr 20 min to Nome and then continue 30 min. to Kotzebue. Before 11 o’clock the plane lands there. In a bus with driver’s explanation we leave the airport. In Kotzebue I am first time above the Arctic Circle. The town is built on a sandspit peninsula. A stop at a museum followed by a sightseeing of the town with its wooden houses. Then to a Nullagvik Hotel for lunch. In the afternoon visit to Arts and Craft Center with dances of local Inuits. Then back to the airport. There we (there are 10of us in the group) board a plane and after 30 min. flight we land in Nome. A bus takes us to our “Nugget Inn Hotel.”
Next day there is a sightseeing tour. We make a stop at a beach. The sand contains gold and one can get about $150 of gold in an 8-hr work. Then we are taken to tundra. It is like a sponge when walking on it. We see sled dogs. There is a dredge in operation from June to October here. Then we pan for gold at Little Creek ourselves. After 1 PM we take a plane to Anchorage. Alena picks me up at the airport. In the afternoon I explore downtown Anchorage by myself. Overnight in Petr and Alena house.
In the morning on Aug 29 Alena drives me to the railway station. At 8:30 AM I take a train north to Denali. Every car has a guide. The train goes through wooded area. Later snow-covered mountains. In midafternoon I leave the train in Denali. A bus takes me to my lodge. I visit the village in the evening. Next day morning I take a bus of “Denali Natural History Tour.” First, we see dog kennels at the park headquarters. Then outside the village we see number of moose and later caribou. After midafternoon I continue on the train to Fairbanks. There I go to my “Fairbanks Hotel.”
On Aug 31 morning I get a Grey Line tour of the city and its vicinity. We see the Alaska pipeline, Dredge #8, and houses sunk in permafrost. Back in Fairbanks a visit of the University Museum with a prehistoric mammoth and drive through the city. After lunch another Grey Line tour. This time a bus takes tourists to a boat on Chena River. After a while Chena River ends in a bigger Tanana River. Both rivers are at the flood stage. On Tanana River we see contraptions for catching salmons. Later a stop at one bank to get explanation of dog mushing by Mary Shields a famous dog musher and writer. Then back to Chena River and Fairbanks. The following day I visit “Alaskaland Historical Park.” I explore the area showing mostly Alaska mining. While yesterday there was on and off rain, today is sunny.
On Sep 2 morning I take a bus from Fairbanks over “Richardson Highway.” The driver gives us information. Soon we pass through North Pole Village where kids send their letters to Santa. To the south there is the snow-covered Alaska Range. After 5 hours ride we come to a town Tok. Here I change the bus. Tok is known for its biting flies. We are on the “Alaska Highway” built during WWII. At 5:45 PM our bus crosses from Alaska,USA to Yukon, CANADA. Little later our bus makes an overnight stop in a Canadian town Beaver Creek. I get a room in Ida’s Motel. The biting flies are here, too.
On Sep 3 we continueonthe bus on the “Alaska Highway.” At 2 PM we come to town Haines Junction, where we switch buses. At 4:30 PM I leave the bus in the capital of Yukon Territory, Whitehorse. My hotel is only a block away. In the evening I go to see S.S.Klondike sternwheeler, beached on the shores of the Yukon River.Built 1929, sunk in 1936 and was rebuilt in 1937.The following morning, I make a walking tour by myself of Whitehorse visiting a museum, a government house and again the S.S.Klondike for a guided tour. At 4:40 PM I leave on a bus. I am the only passenger. After 3hr20min I am in Skagway, Alaska, USA. The ferry leaves after midnight, so I explore Skagway in the meantime. Skagway was a starting point for the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-99). The town still looks like it is at the turn of the century.
The ferry “Matanuska” leaves Skagway on Sep 5 at 1:30 AM and docks in Juneau just before 9 AM. Juneau is a capital of Alaska. Soon after reaching Juneau, I take the “City and Mendelhall Glacier tour.”The bus drives through Juneau with explanation then outside to the glacier, which is (as many others) melting. In the afternoon I do some waking through Juneau visiting Alaska State Museum, Alaska Capitol building and others. My “Alaskan Hotel & Bar” used to be a brothel. The wall paper reminds me that. Early in the morning next day by taxi to the airport. Here I board a 10-seatplane flying 25 min. to Gustavos. Then by bus 20 min. drive to ship “Spirit of Adventure.” Soon we are sailing on the “Glacier Bay” with explanation of a naturalist. There are islands in the bay with many “Bold Eagles” on their trees, various other birds, and sea lions. Our ship makes stops at several glaciers around the bay for us to watch calving (pieces of face of glacier falling off). After 8.5 hours on the “Glacier Bay” our ship docks in the harbor. By bus to the Gustavos airport. We board 6-seater Piper Cherokee for less than 30 min. flight to Juneau, where at 5:40 PM. I spend the evening in a city library. It’s cold outside.
After midnight I take a bus to ferry. Its name is “Malaspina.” It leaves Juneau at 2:15 AM on Sep 7. The ferry sails south among the islands of “Inside Passage.” At noon the ship makes a call in Petersburg and some 3 hours later at Wrangel. These names remind us that Alaska belonged to Russia until 1867. I leave the ferry in Ketchikan. I have a room in hotel “Best Western Landing.” Next day Iexplore Ketchikan in the morning hours. The town has quite an artist colony. In early afternoon by ferry to an island with the airport. At 2:30 PM I leave on flight to Seattle where at 4 PM. Van from the “Best Western”takes me to that hotel. In the evening I take a bus to explore downtown.
In the morning on Sep 9 I take a bus to “Space Needle.” I make pictures and video from its top. Then by monorail and on foot to Sheraton Hotel. At noon by Grey Line bus to Lake Union. I board a boat. Through locks on a canal to Puget Sound. The boat docks at 3 PM at waterfront. Then I take a Grey Line bus to Westin Hotel, the biggest hotel in Seattle with 900 rooms. From here to the airport. I board Alaska Airlines plane with 6 PM departure. The plane lands in San Diego at 8:30 PM. Rancho Limousine Service takes me to Vista where at 10:40 PM.
Travel office: Alaska Airlines (trip to Kotzebue with 10 passengers), I arranged the rest
Who took part: In Anchorage Alena and Petr, but everywhere else I traveled alone
CNA-09 CANADA, USA, Greenland (DENMARK), ICELAND, Scotland (UK), NETHERLANDS, IRELAND, UK, Wales (UK), Faroe Islands (DENMARK)
Date of travel: Jul 15 – Aug 31, 2009 (the whole trip 48 days, cruise 42)
On Jul 15, 2009 in the evening I leave Vista in a car from Hertz for Los Angeles airport. There I board a United Airlines plane to Chicago.There I switch the plane for another United to Montreal. It lands in Montreal, CANADA on Jul 16.I get to my hotelin a bus.
On Jul 17 I take a walk-through Montreal. I go to St. Lawrence River harbor, I see the spot where my ship will be tomorrow. Then a stop at Basilic Notre-Dame. I walk past a gate to Chinatown. Later I take video of Cathedral Marie-Reine du Monde.
On Jul 18 in midmorning I take a taxi to my Holland America ship “Maasdam.” In the afternoon I get familiar with the ship, sign-up for excursions and do some photographs.
In the morning on Jul 19 “Maasdam” docks in Quebec.I get on the bus for a shore excursion. We are taken to “Fairmont le Chateau Frontenec Hotel” then through a park and past important buildings.Before lunch we are back at our ship. In the afternoon I take a free bus for individual exploration of Quebec. Besides other places I visit the above-mentioned hotel. Later I go down the staircase through the old city. The next day is on the St. Lawrence River. I am invited to Captain’s Lunch.
On Jul 21 “Maasdam” docks in Charlottetown in the Canadian province Prince Edward Island (PEI). Again, I do a tour. We drive through the city. No high rise building here. There are fields and woodlands outside the city. Potatoes are the main crop. There is a stop at the “Confederation Bridge” built 1992-97 connecting PEIwith the rest of Canada. After lunch I take a walk-through Charlottetown by myself.
On Jul 22 our ship comes to Sydney in the Canadian province Nova Scotia. In the afternoon I take a bus trip to Baddeck on the Cape Breton Island to see Graham Bell’s Museum.Next day we land in Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. Here I do a city tour on my own. First, I walk uphill to the “Citadel.”Then down and through the city.
On Jul 24 “Maasdam” drops anchor in Bar Harbor, Maine in USA. We go on tender to shore, then on bus through Bar Harbor and its vicinity. Many rich people built villas here.
Our ship docks in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in the morning. Many passengers depart and new board the ship here. I take a taxi to Aquarium in downtown. I am at Long Wharf. I buy a 45-min. boat ride on the Boston harbor and 1 hr. bus tour of the city. In the Navy Yard we see the ship “USS Constitution” called “Old Ironside.” Then a bus tour of the city. I return in a taxi to ship. Next day is a sea day going north to Canada. There are interesting lectures available.
On Jul 27 “Maasdam” inches its way through the fog to “Cap-Aux MeulesMagdalen Islands, Quebec, CANADA. By a tender to the island. We seethe island individually.The following day our ship drops anchor in Bonne Bay on Newfoundland, another province of CANADA. To shore by tender. Next day we anchor in Red Bay in Labrador which is part of Newfoundland province of CANADA.
“Maasdam” spends another day on the North Atlantic Ocean before dropping its anchor at Nanortalik in Greenland, dependency of DENMARK. A ship tender brings us to the village. I notice the Greenland flag with rising sun. I walk through the place taking pictures of local kids. No trees or bushes just grass and few flowers like dandelions. Some houses are nice. There are 2,500 people living here. In the whole Greenland there are 56,366 inhabitants.The following day we sail through the Prins Christian Sund bordered by sheer cliffs. Day after is on the ocean with interesting lectures.
On Aug 3 we land in Isafjordur innorthwestern corner of ICELAND. My first visit to Iceland since 1969. In the afternoon I take a boat to one of the local islands. I see the “puffins” funny looking birds of the arctic region. Day after we moor in Akureyri on the north coast of the island. The shore excursion takes us to a large waterfall called “Godafoss.” From here to Lake “Myvatn.” In the afternoon we visit a break in the crust where the European and American plates meet. There is a hot water in it. Then we pass used to be sulphur mine and later a power plant run by volcanic steam. Following day, we are at Husavik also on the north coast. We see the small town individually. The day after a stop at Seydisfjordur in a deep fjord on the east coast of the island. Again, we walk through the town individually. The next day we are sailing towards Scotland.
On Aug 8 our ship docks in Invergordon in Scotland in UK. During the shore excursion we stop at “Colloden Battle Field,” where the last battle in Great Britten took place on Apr 16, 1746. The second stop is a “Cawdor Castle” sitting in a beautiful garden still run by the Cawdor family.
On Aug 9 “Maasdam” anchors at South Queensferry near the famous cantilever bridge on Firth of Forth. We get to shore by a local boat. Buses take us to “Falkirk Wheel” (from 2002), which amazingly connects two vertically distant canals. We experience it on a canal boat, which takes us to the near Antonie Wall built by Romans in 142AD. There is a walk to one of the wall fortification, Rough Castle. Past a castle where Mary Queen of Scots was born we return to our ship.
After a sea day, when a sick passenger was extracted from “Maasdam” by a helicopter,the ship docks in Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS on Aug 11. Here most of the passengers leave and new board the ship. Today shore excursion takes us through Rotterdam and on the levees outside the city. That brings us to “Kinderdijk Windmills.” There used to be some 10 thousand windmills throughout this country. There are about 1,000 now. We get full explanation of past and present use of windmills. By a different route back to Rotterdam. Then “Maasdam”leaves Rotterdam through the Maas River into the North Sea and to the English Channel. We continue sailing also the next sea day.
On Aug 13 our ship drops anchor at Dunmore East in IRELAND. By tender to the shore. Our bus takesus to Waterford. There used to be a famous glass company here, but this spring it was closed. Then we go to town Inistioge and stop at “Woodstock Gardens.” From here we drive to New Ross, the place Kennedy family came from. There is an Irish show on the ship in the afternoon.
The following day our ship is moored at a pier in Liverpool, England (UK) . I take a bus tour to “Conway Castle” in the town of Conway in Wales (UK) . After about 30 min. we cross to Wales. An hour later we are in Conway encircled by a 1.2km wall. Above it is now ruined “Conway Castle” built by the English king Edward I. and finished in 1287. This king built several castles to stop the Welsh attacking the English.
On Aug 15 “Maasdam” docks in Greenock, west of Glasgow, Scotland (UK) . For the shore excursion I picked up a trip to “Stirling Castle.” Our bus needs 1.5-hr to get there.A fortress used to be here.The current buildings date between 14th and 16thcenturies, when it was a residence of Stuart monarchs. It is the grandest of all Scottish castles. We get a full sightseeing tour of the castle. Mary Queen of Scots was crowned here. After our return, our shipdeparts Greenock. Next day it sails the Atlantic Ocean north.
On Aug 17 “Maasdam” lands at Torshavn on Faroe Islands,dependency of DENMARK. A shuttle bus takes me through harbor to town. The sightseeing is on my feet. The town is on inclines leading to the harbor. Faroe Islands are fully autonomous region of Denmark and with their own currency. Faroe Islands and Greenland are not part of EU though Denmark is. I am walking around the town making pictures. On the end I visit a grass covered fortress with a lighthouse and a great view of the town and its harbor.
Overnight our ship reaches a small town Djupivogur on the southeastern coast of ICELAND. Tenders take us to shore. I spend about an hour walking here before I return to ship. After lunch on Aug 19 “Maasdam” docks in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Afternoon a bus takes people from ship to city. I browse through the city on my own. I am thinking about the 2 days I spent here 40 years ago. By chance I come to the building of Salvation Army. I slept in Salvation Army hotel that time, but I don’t recognize this building. Inside I ask in reception, if this building was here 40 years ago. A young man tells me that it was. It was built in 1912. The following day I am taking part in a bus tour outside Reykjavik. First stop at the greenhouses in Hveragerdi, then through Selfoss a place I traveled to 40 years ago looking for waterfall (foss) I did not find it. A photo stop at Kerid volcano. Another one at a two-storeyed Gullfoss waterfall. It is very impressive. We have lunch at Geyser Hotel near the famous Geyser. All geysers got their name from this one. In the afternoon we see the rift valley where American and European plates move from each other. There is a place here, where the Icelandic Parliament met first time in 930AD. Back in Reykjavík we stop at “Perlan.” It is a glass building from where the hot volcanic water is pumped through the city. There is a museum, shops, and a restaurant in it. From its roof there is 360 degview of the city.
Next day we sailwest. On Aug 22 in the afternoon our ship navigates the “Prins Christian Sund.”The following day we anchor at Qaqortog village with 3,500 people at the southern tip of Greenland,which is an autonomous part of DENMARK.After tender brings me to shore, I do some walking with my cameras in the harbor and the village. Again, I make few photos of children. Then we have another ocean day with lectures.
On Aug 25 “Maasdam” drops anchor off the northern tip of Newfoundland, a province of CANADA. A tender takes us to a village St. Anthony. From there by bus to the visitor center of “L’Anse aux Meadows.” A foundations of a 1000-year old Viking village was excavated here. We get 2.5 hours to see the visitor center, the foundations of the Viking village and a make-believe village showing the life 1000 years ago here. Next day we dock in St. John’s, which is the capital of Newfoundland province. There is a bus tour of the city and its vicinity.
In the morning on Aug 27 our ship should anchor off the coast of 2 French islands, St. Pierre and Miquelon. They are the last vestiges of once large French possessions in North America. However, the first I hear from intercom this morning is that for bad weather and few other excuses we can’t anchor there, and the visit of the islands is canceled. I don’t want to believe it. The weather is beautiful, and we are far from any land. The cruise companies use this excuse to prolong its ocean going to keep their stores and casinos open and get more income. While in harbor all above must be closed. I am very disappointed, I complain to the staff, but nothing would help. So today and tomorrow we are on the ocean.
In the morning on Aug 29 “Maasdam” docks in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and our cruise is over. In midmorning I take a taxi to my hotel in the city. It is often raining over next 2 days. With an umbrella I do some sightseeing of the city on foot. On Aug 31 in the afternoon I take a taxi to the airport. I fly from Boston on United Airlines plane to Los Angeles. In LA I get a car at AVIS and drive home to Vista where before midnight.
Travel office: Holland America Line (HAL) with help from Spiekermann Travel Service
Who took part: “Maasdam” can take 1,258 passengers and 560 crew members
Maasdam: 55,451 gross tons, length 720ft. (220m), width 101ft. (31m), max speed 21k