- Outline 1969
- Outline 1973
- Outline 1974
- Outline 1993
- Outline 1998
- Outline 1999
- Outline 2002
- Outline 2006
- Outline 2007
- Outline 2009
CN-69 Abbreviation of Czech “Cesta z nutnosti” (A Journey of Necessity) to France, Luxembourg, Iceland and USA to show that my year stay abroad after the Soviet Invasion was correct for my traveling aspirations.
Date of travel: Apr 2 – Aug 11, 1969
I left Switzerland by train late on Apr 2. By early morning Apr 3 I got to FRANCE specifically Paris where I spent 4 days sightseeing the city including Versailles. Early on Apr 7 I got by train to LUXEMBOUG and was a day there. Overnight flight took me to ICELAND for Apr 8 and 9 (visiting its capital Reykjavik and Selfoss). Another overnight flight brought me to New York in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in the morning Apr 10. In next 4 months I visited the following places by bus there: New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC, Niagara Falls, NY; Cleveland, OH; Chicago, IL; Kansas City, KS; St. Louis, MO; Huntsville, AL; Chattanooga and Knoxville, TN; Great Smoky Mountains, NC; Jacksonville, Cape Canaveral, Miami, Key West, Everglades National Park, St. Petersburg, all in FL; New Orleans, LA; San Antonio and El Paso, TX; Tucson, Phoenix and Grand Canyon, AZ; White Sands, Gallup, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos, all these in NM; Denver, CO; Cheyenne, Yellowstone National Park, WY; Salt Lake City, UT; Reno and Las Vegas, NV; San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Eureka, all CA; Seattle, WA.
Travel office: No specific travel office used, but a student travel agency in Zurich, Switzerland gave me number of good suggestions, which I used during this trip. Not to close my possible return to Czechoslovakia, I asked and got the Czechoslovakian government permission for travel to USA.
Who took part: I traveled alone with only rudimentary knowledge of English. In spite of that I had very little problems. In Europe I used the train, to Iceland and USA I took a plane and in USA I traveled by bus. In Paris I slept in a students’ college, on Iceland in a house of Salvation Army and in USA I slept mostly in YMCA or on the bus itself during overnight rides.
Alb-73 Trip 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)
SP-93SOUTH PACIFIC (Florida, CHILE, Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, French Polynesia)
Date of travel: Mar 17 – Apr 6, 1993
On Mar 17, 1993, early in the morning a fellow employee drives me to San Diego airport. Delta Airlines plane takes me via Dallas Ft. Worth to Jacksonville in Florida where in midafternoon. I spend the evening with the sales personal of Monitor the company we are all working for. Next day a drive with the sales person along the eastern coast of Florida with a stop at “St. Augustine Fortress.” At noon, we are in Melbourne. In the afternoon, a visit to a Monitor customer. At night, a dinner with Monitor representatives.
In the morning on Mar 19 a visit to 3 customers. That finishes my work for Monitor. At noon, I rent a car and drive to Orlando. Later in the afternoon, I visit “Epcot Center” with pavilions of various countries. Overnight in a hotel.
On Mar 20, I drive to visit “Kennedy Space Center” on Cape Canaveral. Then I continue freeway 95 south to Miami. When there I take a causeway to Miami Beach. After the sunset, I return the rented car to AVIS at the airport. Later I board a Lan Chile plane and fly via Caracas to Santiago de Chile.
The following morning the plane lands in Santiago de CHILE. With a local guide by bus to our Hyatt Regency Hotel. In the afternoon, there is a bus tour of the city. In the evening, we board a plane and after 5 hours flying we land on “Easter Island.” . There are 18 tourists in our group.
In the morning on Mar 22 a trip in two minibuses. Before we see any of the real statue we notice statues built from chicken wire for Kevin Costner’s new movie. Then we pass the long runway built here by NASA in case a Space Shuttle needs landing in this part of the world. Easter Island looks like a right-angle triangle having the right angle to the north. It’s only town Hanga Roa is on the southwestern side. This morning we explore the southwestern corner of the island. After seeing a platform on the shore with all statues lying on the ground, we drive to deep Rano Kao crater and places where so called Bird Culture was celebrated. There is a movie village with the artificial moai (statues) here. After lunch, there is an individual sightseeing of Hanga Roa.
The second day we go around the island counter-clockwise visiting more platforms on the shore with the moai lying on the ground. On the beginning of 19th century no moa was standing and moai culture was dead. The island is of volcanic origin with some 70 volcanoes. The island is devoid of the original higher vegetation. At one point the movie people built a whole Polynesian village. The name of the movie will be “Rapa Nui,” which is the Polynesian name of the island. Later we climb Rano Raraku. From its basalt, the giant moai (statues) were carved. We see moai in various stages of carving. In midafternoon, we are in Anakena on the north coast. Thor Heyerdahl reconstructed the platform and the moai were erected here. Late in the afternoon, after returning to Hanga Roa we board small boats and despite large waves we climb on to the ship “Explorer.”
Next 3 days our ship sails to the west. Our time is interwoven by getting to know our ship, interesting lectures, talking to other passengers, and eating. There are 33 passengers. With our group of 18 there are 15 who boarded Explorer in Valparaiso, Chile. There is a lot of space, because our ship has space for 96 travelers. There are 64 crew members including the hotel personal. Explorer has displacement 2,500 tons. It is 72 m long and has 4.5 m draft.
On Mar 27, Explorer puts anchor at the small “Ducie Island,” part of the PITCAIRN GROUP.. It is a typical atoll with a lagoon inside. Pieces of corals and bushes cover its dry land. Nobody lives here, but there are many nesting birds everywhere. After walk on the island we are snorkeling near its shore.
On Mar 28, a visit to “Henderson Island,” also part of the Pitcairn Group. This is a coral reef pushed above the waves. There is a jungle on its shore. Nobody lives here either. In the morning, a walk along the shore of the island looking for its endemic birds and snorkeling in the afternoon.
On Mar 29, Explorer drops its anchor at “Pitcairn Island.” Morning is spent on this 4.5 sq. km island where the descendants of Bounty mutineers live. We visit Adamstown with its post office, courthouse, school, church, Adams’ grave, and cemetery. I am surprised to see a computer in the school. There are 58 people living on the island this time. In the afternoon, people of the island come to have lunch on our ship, sell their souvenirs, tell us about their history and life and sing their songs.
After a sea day, our ship enters FRENCH POLYNESIA. on Mar 31 and anchors at the “Mangareva Island” in the Gambier Group. On the shore, we are welcomed by local inhabitants with music and dancing. In the church, we get explanation about island history. There is snorkeling in the afternoon.
Two more days on the ocean, with more lectures. The second day PM we come to “Marotiri Islets” and do some riding on zodiacs around them. Marotiri are sheer rocks rising from the waves. On Apr 3, we reach the Austral Islands and anchor at “Rapa Island” (still in French Polynesia). There is a sightseeing walk around the village. Back on board I see a large shark near the ship. My first. At noon Explorer leaves the island.
At noon on Apr 4 we come to “Raivavae Island” (also Austral Islands). A school buses take us around the island with stops at various places. One of which is at a rock statue of a godlike figure, tiki. The local people put up a show for us. Before the sun is out we are back on our ship. The whole next day Explorer is sailing north to Society Islands.
In the morning on Apr 6, we are in TAHITI. (part of the Society Islands). Soon we leave Explorer and a bus takes us to the airport. There we board an Air France plane for 7.5 hours flight to Los Angeles. In a rented car I drive home to Vista where an hour before midnight the same day.
Travel office: Abercrombie & Kent
Who took part: There were 33 passengers on the ship Explorer.
HAW-98 Hawaii (USA)
Date of travel: Feb 4 – Feb 10, 1998
Aramis flew from San Jose to San Diego last night and I took him do Vista. In the morning on Feb 4, 1998 we drive my Mustang 67 to San Diego airport. We leave the car at long term parking. Then we take a United Airlines plane to Los Angeles and another one from Los Angeles to Kahului airport on Maui Island, Hawaiian Islands, USA. There is lunch on the plane. After almost 6 hours flying from Los Angeles our United plane lands on Maui at 2 PM local time. We get a Flower Lei Greeting on the airport.
We pick-up a car (Chevrolet Cavalier) at Alamo and drive to our hotel, “Royal Lahaina Resort.” After 4 PM we go to see the town. The following day, Feb 5, we drive to Haleakala Volcano which dominates Maui. After driving about 65 miles we reach the 10,023-ft. summit at noon. There is a Visitor Center there. An hour later we drive down and stop at town Kahului for lunch. Then we drive counterclockwise around the western part of Maui with occasional photo stops above the ocean. Back to our hotel at 6 PM. Next day our plan is to drive along the northern coast of the eastern part of Maui. And we do it. We get as far as Hana at the easternmost Maui and have lunch there. It is a very nice area. Then we return the same way back to Lahaina and our hotel.
On Feb 7 we return the rented car to Alamo. Then we board a Hawaiian Airlines plane. Take off is after noon with stopover in Honolulu on Oahu. It is followed by flight to Lihue on Island of Kauai, where at 1:45 PM. In Dollar Rent a Car we get Dodge Neon of violet color. We drive to our hotel, “Sheraton Kauai.” It is in Poipu Beach at the southern tip of Kauai. Next day we drive along the east and north coast to Haena, where at noon. The road ends here. There are caves and beaches there. Then we return and visit Opae Kaa Falls and a Hawaiian Village and later Wailua Falls. We have lunch in the town of Lihue. By 4 PM we are in our hotel. Water in the hotel pool is cold. Later I spend 20 min. on the hotel beach. There are high waves. Then back to hotel pool for a while. The following day we drive to the mountains to the Puu O Kila Lookout and also Kokee Natural History Museum. After that back through the Waimea Canyon State Park. On the coast at Waimea town we visit Fort Elizabeth a “Russian Fort” built in 1817 and used until 1864. For late lunch to Lihue. We take pictures of Lihue Harbor. Then back to our hotel in Poipu Beach where before 5 PM. I go to swim to the ocean and hotel pool.
On Feb 10 in the morning we drive to look at the “Spouting Horn” about a mile west of our hotel. The water shoots through an underwater lava tube. Then to Lihue to return the car. After 10 AM we board a Hawaiian Airlines plane flying to Honolulu where at 10:30 AM. Our United Airlines plane takes off at 2 PM for Los Angeles. Lunch on the plane. After 4h35m the plane lands at LAX. Here we take another plane for 24 min. flight to San Diego. A bus takes us to the parking building. Then with my Mustang 67 the 40 miles to Vista where after 1 AM. Next day I take Aramis to the San Diego airport for his flight back to San Jose.
Travel office: CWT / Mission Center Travel in Mall in Carlsbad
Who took part: Aramis and I
AI-99USA (New York), Gibraltar (UK), Madeira (PORTUGAL), Canary Islands (SPAIN), CAPE VERDE ISLANDS, Ascension Island (UK), St. Helena (UK), Tristan da Cunha Islands (UK), South Georgia Island (UK), Falkland Islands (UK), ARGENTINA
Date of travel: Oct 11 – Nov 29, 1999 (the whole trip 50 days, sailing 45 days)
On Oct 11 late in the afternoon I drive in Budget rented car from Vista to Los Angeles airport. There I board a TWA plane to New York where next day early in the morning. I have 12 hours between planes. By bus andsubway,I get to 34thSt. I visit the “Empire State Building” and take pictures from its 86thfloor. I continue 5th Avenue and 42nd St. to “Grand Central Station,” then to“UN Building,” on 47th St. to “Rockefeller Center” and “Time Square” between 42nd and 47th St. Then back to JFK airport. In the evening I take a British Airways (BA) plane to London-Gatwick.
On Oct 13 early in the morning after 7-hr flight I land in London-Gatwick in UK. Soon I am on another BA plane flying 2.5-hr to Gibraltar, UK. We are taken to our hotel. I share room with 76-year old Filipino-American who has traveled extensively. I do sightseeing in the afternoon. The British Colony is aplace to visit. 6 km in length, 1 km in width most of it is filled with limestone mountain. Next day there is a bus tour of the “Rock.” Due to limestone Gibraltar is full of caves. Some have stalactites and stalagmites, others are used for defense. We visit some of them. A cable car takes us to top. There are “Barbary Macaque” (monkeys) all over. From a lighthousewe see mountains in 16 km distant Morocco. Late in the afternoon we board our Russian ship “Lyubov Orlova.” The ship starts its journey through Atlantic Ocean.
Next two days are on the ocean. “Lyubov Orlova” used to be a cargo ship. While sailing it is being equipped with cabins. Not all passengers have cabins they paid for from the first day. I share cabin with the Filipino.Russian owner is on board. The crew and hotel personal are all Russians. There are 3 Canadians from Marine Expedition who run the expedition and 3 lecturers. The lectures start immediately.
On Oct 17 “Lyubov Orlova” docksatFunchal on Madeira Island.It is an autonomous region of PORTUGAL with some 275k inhabitants. The islandis a 1,400m high volcano. Our 2 buses climb from the subtropical area at ocean level, past Mediterranean area to forestedtop. The houses cling to the hill-sides. When returning from the top we visit a church in town Monte, where the last Austrian Emperor and the Czech King, Charles I., is buried. Then we take a toboggan (sled) steered by 2 local men going down on cable stone streets. Back in Funchal I do walking on my own. City has a fort still in use by military. Then back to our ship. Next day on ocean.
On Oct 19 our ship is moored in Santa Cruz on the Tenerife Island, part of Canary Islands, an autonomous region of SPAIN.We depart for a whole day trip. From Santa Cruz our bus climbs the mountains to Laguna then to smaller town Esperanza. Later we see the highest point of Canary Islands and of Spain, the 3,717m high volcano Teide Peak. In winter there is snow on it. We enter “Park National del Teide” in a caldera of gigantic volcano.It is a moonscape. After lunch there is a stop at town Orotava with narrow and often steep streets. The last stop is in Puerto de la Cruz which has everything a beach lover would wish for. In the evening I explore Santa Cruz.
Overnight our ship crosses to the nearby island Gomera.There we are at the pier in San Sabastian. Here Columbus stopped in 3 of his 4 passages to America. There is a shore excursion of the island. Again, the island is mountainous and at places the narrow road is cut in the rocky outcropping and goes through several tunnels. Bus is passing through villages. Most of the center of Gomera is a national park. After return to San Sebastian some of us explore the town on our own. I visit an interesting church and let somebody show me the house Columbus stayed in. It is a Casa Colon Museum now. There is a tower in the town, a remnant of a fortress. Our ship leaves Gomera at night.
Next 2.5 days we are on the ocean. Every day lectures.On Oct 23 afternoon “Lyubov Orlova” docks in the Mindelo harbor of San Vincente Island of CAPE VERDE ISLANDS. I take a walk through the town. Next morning, we go for a trip.In the harbor there are 3 shipwrecks. We drive to the “Baia das Gatas.”The hilly countryside lacks any trees or bushes only grass and weeds. After lunch we have another trip to southern part of the island. Cape Verde Islandsare one of the poorest countries of the world.
On Oct 25 we are in Praia on Santiago Island, the capital of CAPE VERDE ISLANDS. A bus and minibuses take us for a day trip of the island. The capital has number of ministerial buildings. Outside the city we are ingreen countryside. We go through several villages. Houses do not have glass in the windows. There are wooden shutters instead. The school children have uniforms. Eventually we return to Praia.
Next 5 days we are on the Atlantic Ocean sailing south-south-east. On Oct 28 our ship crosses the Equator. That is welcomed by the Neptune celebration.
On Oct 31 we reach the Ascension Island (UK).First day we are circumnavigating the island. While there is greenery in the higher eastern part of the island, the lower altitudes are like a moonscape with many volcanic cones. In the afternoon we do birding from zodiacs off a tiny bird island. Underwater cables crisscross the island. The British have a garrison here. The Americans enlarged the runway, so Space Shuttle can land on it. The following morning, we get by zodiac to its only town, Georgetown. Minibuses are taking us around the island. Volcanic surface and no vegetation in lower elevation. A twisting road takes us in the mountains and lush vegetation. After returning from the mountains somebody points to a golf course. Its surface is volcanic sand instead grass. After lunch in a local restaurant we visit a museum. There are interesting collections of BW photographs from last 2 centuries here and old radio parts reminding me start of my carrier in Tesla. In other parts of this museum there are war memorabilia. While strolling the town I notice an “Exiles Club” (none-members welcome), Tesco store, Tourist Center, church, and a beautiful but empty beach. Late in the afternoonback to ship by zodiac. Next 2 days are spent on the ocean with more lectures.
On Nov 4 our ship drops anchor at Jamestown, St. Helena Island (UK). Zodiacs take us to shore. We have a collection of cars for the island tour. I get in a 1929 Chevrolet. We enter Jamestown through a gate in a city wall. There is a “Castle”on left. It was a fort, but it is administration building now. St. James’ Church from 1774 on the right. We are driving up the main street called Parade Groundsbordered by historical buildings. Above town we stop at Ladder Hill Fort. There are many forts on this island. St. Helena is mountainous. Another stop is at “Plantation House,” which is the residence of the governor. The wife of present governor shows us the building. In the garden we see a 200-year tortoise from Galapagos Islands. In higher elevation there is lush vegetation. Near the highest point of the island (818 m) we visit “Longwood House,” where Napoleon lived last 6 years of his life and died in 1821. When returning we see the place (picked-up by Napoleon), where he was buried. In 1840 his remains were brought to Paris. Our last stop is at “Briars Pavilion,” where Napoleon lived 2 monthsafter British brought him to St. Helena. We have free time in Jamestown and lunch in hotel Ambassy the only hotel on the island. There is a walking tour of the town with visits tothe “Court House” and the “Castle.” At 6 PM by zodiac to our ship.
Next 4 days we are sailing the South Atlantic.There are lectures every day. On Nov 9 our ship comes to Tristan da Cunha (UK). In this group there are 4 islands.They are Tristan da Cunha, Inaccessible, Nightingale and Gough.There are large waves and there is no harbor at the village called Edinburgh on Tristan da Cunha. We hope next two days there will be more opportunity to land there. Today we circumnavigate Tristan. The island is a large volcano 2,060 m (6,760 ft.) high. At the sea level there is the village and 3miles away are “The Patches” for growing potatoes, vegetable and even some fruit. After lunch we go on zodiacs to see some waterfalls and nesting birds on the island. The following day the situation is not better. No landing in the village a home to about 300 people. They fish for lobsters, process them and export. They have income from postage stamps, too. In 1961 a volcanic crater opened at the village. All people were evacuated to Scotland. They stayed 2 years there and when volcanic activity stopped they elected toreturn to Tristan. The third day several Tristaneans came to our ship with their souvenirs and stamps. They used a special ship which can take the waves. In the afternoon our ship pulls its anchor and sails south. It circumnavigates Inaccessible Island. Sheer rocks make it inaccessible. Then the Nightingale, where the people from Tristan have cottages. Next day we pass past Gough Island some 350 km southeast of Nightingale. Later our ship crosses to “Roaring Forties” known for stormy weather.
It takes 5 days in “Roaring Forties” & “Furious Fifties” to get to South Georgia. While on our way there, the waves are high. During lectures we sit on floor, because it is dangerous to sit onchairs. On Nov 15 we enter “Furious Fifties” and see first iceberg.
On Nov 16 before midnight our ship docks in town Grytviken on South Georgia Island, UK possession. South Georgia with its high mountain ridge is the most attractive island of South Atlantic. There used to bewhaling stations here and Grytviken was the last. Next day we visit the town with its falling apart whaling equipment, in sun resting fur and elephant seals and like doormen standing in their tuxedos“king penguins.”On local cemetery we see the graveof Antarctictraveler Shackleton.There are 3 people taking care of everything from a small museum and a post office to stamping our passports. Next 3 days our ship sails along the northeast coast of South Georgia visiting several bays, where we see more species of penguins, seals, and birds.
On Nov 21 we take course west and after 3 days on the ocean we come to Falkland Islands, UK, on Nov 24. In the morning there is a shore excursion of Stanley, the capital of the islands. Stanley is partly around a bay and mostly on an incline covered by nice looking houses. We drive through the town in a bus. There is a photo stop at a memorial of the 1982 conflict with Argentina. Thanks to that war the Falkland Islands entered 20th century. Then a visit to a museum and stops at other interesting places.An individual sightseeing of the town follows. Two large islands and many small form Falkland Islands. Next two days we do birding on 4 small islands.
We have a farewell dinner while sailing through Beagle Channel to Ushuaia. In the morning on Nov 28 “Lyubov Orlova” reaches Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, ARGENTINA.Ushuaia is the southernmost city of the world. We take a plane to Buenos Aires where at midafternoon. There is a sightseeing tour of the city. We stop in Recolleta cemetery at the tomb of Evita Peron, then we drive on the main street, “Avenida 9 de Julio,” do another stops at “Parliament” and at “Casa Rosada” a president’s office. The tour ends with a great Argentinian dinner, steak with French fries, vegetable and red wine.
An Aerolineas Argentinas planetakes me for a 10-hr flight to New York, USA, where in the morning on Nov 29. By bus and a subway to Manhattan. This time I do sightseeing of southern tip of the island. I go to Battery Park, then Trinity Church, Wall Street, and the World Trade Center. After that back to the JFK airport. In midafternoon I board a TWA plane for a 5h40m flight to Los Angeles. There I take a car in AVIS for drive home to Vista. I am there at 10PM.
Travel office: “Marine Expedition” through“Star Travel” in Carlsbad Mall
Who took part: 55 tourists, 62 Russian crews, 3 from Marine Exp. and 3 lecturers
The ship: “Lyubov Orlova,” 1,400 tons, 100.2 m long, 16.2 m breadth
AF-02 This trip was to the heart of West Africa with Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin in 4WDs
Date of travel: Feb 27 – Mar 20, 2002
On Feb 27 by a rented car from Vista to Los Angeles Airport (LAX) and then by overnight plane to New York (where I visited the American Museum of Natural History in the Central Park). Another night flight to FRANCE where Mar 1 (sightseeing the center of Paris). It was followed by a flight to Bamako, MALI. From Mar 1 to Mar 8 we were in this country visiting: Timbuktu (flying there, having a Blue Man of the desert, a Tuareg, as the local guide and took a camel ride in the desert), flight to Mopti (where a boat ride on Niger River). From here we continued in 4WDs to Djenne (probably the most interesting city in Mali), then we spent some 3 days exploring the unforgettable Dogon Country. Last town visited in Mali was Segou. Then we crossed border to BURKINA FASO (used to be Upper Volta) where from Mar 8 to Mar 14 visiting: Bobo Dioulasso, Banfora, Gaoua, local villages and the capital Ouagadougou. On Mar 14 the third country BENIN (used to be Dahomey). This is a voodoo country, has fascinated villages and a royal history. We visited places like Natitingou, a royal town Abomey, Cotonou, Quidah and Lake Nokoue, where people live in villages on stilts. Late on Mar 19 overnight flight to Paris then New York and LAX and by rented car back to Vista, where Mar 20.
Travel office: Spector Travel of Boston
Who took part: Total of 7 people traveled in Mali, 6 in Burkina Faso and 4 in Benin. In addition an African guide was with us in all 3 countries. Two 4WDs and their drivers in the first two countries and only one in the third.
P-06 Persia trip with stops in New York and Istanbul
Date of travel: Apr 17 – May 12, 2006
At noon on Apr 17 I drive in a rented car from Vista to Los Angeles airport. I fly to New York where very early the following morning. I spend most of the day here visiting the Central Park, Lincoln Center, the City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge. Then I take a plane to Istanbul in TURKEY (I have a walk through the center of the city visiting the Blue Mosque there). By a red eye flight I go to Tehran in IRAN (the old name was Persia) where early on Apr 20.
That morning I continue with 2 other travelers by plane to Mashhad in north-eastern part of the country. We spend most of 3 days sightseeing this Holy City of Shiites and its vicinity (mainly the Shrine of Imam Reza and caravanserais on the Silk Road). Then we fly back to Tehran where we are joined by the rest of our group. A day is devoted to sightseeing of this 15 million people capital of Iran (visiting the Saadabad Palace Complex, the Crown Jewels Museum and the Carpet Museum).
The following day we leave Tehran by bus for Hamadan to see the Tomb of Ester and Mordecal, Avicenna Tomb Tower and the inscriptions carved on a mountain by Darius I. and his son Xerxes. Day after we drive to Kangavar to see the Anahita Temple, to Bisotun with another relief of Darius, this in 3 languages that became a Rosetta Stone for deciphering the cuneiform script. By evening we are in Kermanshah where are important Sassanians reliefs.
On Apr 26 we drive into area of Iranian oilfields and spend a night in city of Ahwaz. From here we make a daytrip to Susa to visit the ruins of Apadana and the 2,500 years old remnants of Darius I. palace. On the Dez River we see the ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil built in 1250 BC. At Shustar we stop at Sassanian Watermills and an ancient bridge on the Korun River. Between Ahwaz and Shiraz we make visits to more excavations and see more rock carvings.
Having Shiraz as a base we travel to the most famous Iranian place, Persepolis. We devote its exploration and to a visit to the Hajiabad necropolis the whole day. Next day we do the sightseeing of Shiraz itself. On May 1 we leave this city and with a visit to ruins of the capital and the majestic tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae we reach Yazd by the evening. Before Islam Zoroastrianism was the main religion in old Persia. The last significant community of Zoroastrians (some 30 thousands strong) lives among the 500 thousands people of Yazd. We visit their “Fire Temple“ and the “Tower of Silence,” where they used to put their dead.
It takes us most of the day driving to get to the jewel of ancient Persia, Esfahan. We need two full days to explore many of its monuments. There are number of famous mosques, palaces, gardens, museums, bazaars and 5 ancient bridges here. The most impressive is the Imam Square (the second biggest square in the world after the Tiananmen Square in Beijing) surrounded by several mosques and palaces. It is a gathering place of the city. One can see families taking a stroll and many young people, too, though boys and girls are visibly separated. On our way from Esfahan back to Tehran we see the golden domes of shrines in the Holy City of Qom (Qom is not open for tourists).
Next 5 days we spend in Iranian Azerbaijan. First, we fly from Tehran to the provincial capital, Tabriz. After its sightseeing we get in a van and go over the high mountains to town of Anzali on the Caspian Sea and the same time it is close to the border with independent Azerbaijan to the north. Following days we drive along the coast to Ramsar. Here we sleep in an old royal hotel built by the father of the last Iranian shah in 30’s of the 20th century. The Caspian Sea is 27 m under the level of the world oceans.
On May 9 we drive over the high Alburz Range (here is the highest peak of Iran 5,671m above the sea level.) back to Tehran. We then spend another day sightseeing the city (visiting the Archeological Museum and Niavaran and Sahebgerameh Palaces).
After 21 days traveling through Iran we boarded planes on May 11 and flew to our individual homes in North America. My flights took me via Istanbul, New York, Dallas to Los Angeles. From there I drive in a rented car home to Vista where very early in the morning May 12, my 67 birthdate.
Travel office: Spiekermann Travel Service from Detroit
Who took part: Most of the trip there were 9 travelers, but there were only 3 of us in Mashhad and then 8 in Iranian Azerbaijan. One of the travelers, a professor of a university in Texas, lectured about the relevant matters of our journey. We had an excellent Iranian tour leader and in some places also local guides. There were Iranian drivers in the bus and later in the van.
HAW-07Hawaii (part of USA) and KARIBATI
Date of travel: Apr 14 – Apr 25, 2007
On Apr 14, 2007 my sister, her husband and I drive an AVIS car from Vista to San Diego airport. From there we fly 5 hrs. and 20 min. on a Hawaiian Airlines plane to Honolulu on Oahu Island in the American state of Hawaii. The plane lands at 1PM of local time. A taxi takes us to our ship “Norwegian Wind” (55k tons). While I take care of shore excursion, Mirka and Karel explore the ship. Soon the ship leaves Honolulu.
Next morning our ship docks in Hilo on the Big Island. It is far the biggest island of the Hawaiian Islands. Our today trip is “Volcanoes National Park Odyssey.” During the trip there is a stop at Macadamia Nut Company. Then the bus takes us to Kilauea Volcano. Later, we circumnavigate the crater, do some walking on lava from 1982 eruption and in 500 years old lava tube. The last stop is at a shopping center v Hilo. After 3PM we are back on our ship. In the evening we see a good magician show.
On Apr 16 we reach another Hawaiian Island. It is Maui and our ship anchors off the coast of Lahaina. We use tenders to get to shore. We are taking a trip to Haleakala Volcano. It takes more than 2 hours to get to the place we can see the crater of the still active Haleakala Volcano. We are some 3,000 m above the sea level. Before noon our bus goes downhill. We see number of cyclists following the same downhill run. Then we return to Lahaina and in a tender back to our ship. Mirka and Karel go to Lahaina later in the afternoon. In the evening I browse Lahaina with Mirka.
The following day we are still off the coast of Lahaina and we have a walking tour of the place. By a tender to shore. The first stop at Houola Stone, where Hawaiian women had children. Close by there are foundations of a house built by American ship captains for the king Kamehameha the Great. This is followed by a museum, an old prison, Buddhist Temple, and a cemetery with royal tombs.
At night our ship sails to the island of Kauai. It docks in the harbor of Nawiliwili in the morning. We have a bus tour of the island. We see a “Spouting Horn” shooting water through a lava tube on the shore. Driving west we see coffee fields grown for harvesting by machines. Other fields are covered by sugar cane. Then we go uphill and stop at the Waimea Canyon Lookout. During the drive there is a smaller island Niihau visible south of Kauai, where only pure blood Hawaiians live. Last stop is at large Mariko store in the town Hanapepe. We leave our bus in the town Lihue some 20-min. walk from our ship.
Next 2 days we are on the ocean going south. There are some lectures to attend and shows in the evenings.
On Apr 21 in midafternoon our ship anchors off the coast of Fanning Island which is part of island country KIRIBATI. a new country for me. A tender takes us to the island. The Fanning Island is only few feet above the waves. A group of local people welcomes us on the shore. There is a line to get a stamp to our passports and another one to buy postcards and stamps. Then I walk around, do some photos on the shore, and buy few souvenirs. At the coming darkness we are back on our ship.
The following two days “Norwegian Wind” is on the Pacific Ocean returning to the Hawaiian Islands. We watch flying fish of various sizes flying above the waves and take part in interesting lectures. The second day a large wave hit the ship as high as the 10th deck. I and my sister were at a lecture, but her husband was outside on deck 7 and took the whole brand of it. Then he tries to dry his camera.
On Apr 24 in the morning our ship anchors at Kona Coast at the Big Island of the Hawaiian Islands. A tender gets us to the shore. We take a bus tour of thewestern part of the island. The first stop is to taste Kona coffee. Next stop is at “Refuge,” where in the past local people could hide after they broke a taboo. Lastly, we see a “Painted Church” from 1903. While Mirka and Karel take a walk of the town, I return to the ship.
On Apr 25 “Norwegian Wind” docks in Honolulu harbor on the Oahu Island. We leave our ship in the morning and take a taxi to the Royal Iolani Palace, then through the Chinatown to “Pearl Harbor.” Here we take pictures and video. We see Arizona Memorial and a battle ship Missouri. There is a submarine there. After that we continue to the airport. In the afternoon we take a Hawaiian Airline plane and after 5 hours it lands in San Diego in the evening. Rented car from Hertz takes us to Vista where at midnight.
Travel office: I arranged the trip for all 3 of us directly with the “Norwegian Wind.”
Who took part: My sister, her husband and I.
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