Friday, July 27, 2007

France – Bikes & Wine

When initially planning the PHC cruise, we decided to hang a few days at the end of the trip. After fussing around with various options, we decided to do a short trip to the Burgundy region of France and to do our local travel via bicycle. Marcia arranged our Burgundy trip through Detours in France

The schedule was:

Monday, July 23 Travel from Copenhagen through Amsterdam to Lyon and spend the night
Tuesday, July 24 Travel via train from Lyon to Beaune, pick up bicycles and pedal to Nuit St George for the night
Wednesday, July 25 Do a ride around Nuit St George, returning to spend the night in the same B&B
Thursday, July 26 Bike from Nuit St George back to Beaune
Friday, July 27 Take the train back to Lyon and fly to Amsterdam for the night
Saturday, July 28 Fly from Amsterdam back to Seattle

We had a wonderful time on our short trip and would love to go back. Below are some photos we took along the way.

2007-Europe-475The Hospices de Beaune (aka Hotel Dieu) a hospital built in the fifteenth century.


2007-Europe-489A few bottles of wine (vintage 2000) aging in the wine cellar of a winery we visited.


2007-Europe-501It was sunny and the traffic on the roads we traveled was generally light.



2007-Europe-528The roads are usually well marked





2007-Europe-496Lots of grapes are grown here




2007-Europe-504and they do very well.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scenery - The Cities

The Scandinavian communities we visited all had a strong maritime heritage and feel (I suppose our arriving via a 800 foot vessel biased things).  They were also pretty touristy but you can hardly blame them for that since you had several thousand cruise ship passengers walking through town each day looking for that perfect souvenir.

Nevertheless, there were lovely sights in each town. Sometimes it was your expected tourist attraction other times it was something simpler (a manhole cover?).

2007-Europe-255The top of the funicular in Bergen



2007-Europe-127Manhole cover in Trondheim




2007-Europe-279Stained glass inside a Bergen church


2007-Europe-353Community area in Kristiansand






2007-Europe-392Viking ship in Oslo museum


2007-Europe-412Bow shot of Fram, the vessel built by Nansen for his successful transiting of the Arctic Ocean then used by Roald Amundsen to transport his expedition to Antarctica.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Scenery -Fjords

Cruising the Norwegian fjords was truly stunning. We had cruised the inside passage of British Columbia on our own boat earlier in the spring but the BC fjords don't seem as deep or dramatic as here in Norway.

One thing that was similar was the weather, lots of clouds and rain. Here are some photos from the fjords.

2007-Europe-035 Norway fjords have neat and tasteful farms rather than clearcuts as in BC.

2007-Europe-155 The weather was similar in Norway and BC, lots of rain! 




2007-Europe-063 The towns in the fjords are too small to dock a cruise ship so they anchor out and passengers tender to shore


2007-Europe-146Lots of water coming from the mountains above the fjords and plunging straight down

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Shipboard Entertainment

What sets a PHC cruise apart from an "ordinary" cruise is the shipboard entertainment. Garrison brings his regular cast along, Rich Dworsky and the Shoe Band, Sue Scott, Tim Russell, Fred Newman (sound effects), frequent PHC guests, Robin and Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson, Maria Jette, and then spices it up with additional performers to break us out of our ruts.

The ship has one large performing arts theater and 3 or 4 other lounge venues. Most evenings had a show in the large theater. The first performance was for those at the late dinner seating while the second (repeated) performance was for those in the first dinner seating.

The shows in the lounge settings were generally one performer or ensemble. Most were in the later evening, after the second show in the large theater.

During the daytime, there were a variety of talks from the four naturalist accompanying the cruise, writer workshops and choir practice.

It was always a challenge to schedule your day so that you were able to attend sessions/performances that interested you while still leaving time for food(!) and seeing the sights.

Below are some photos from the various performances.

2007-Europe-027 Garrison, Linda and Robin Williams



2007-Europe-077Frigg, a very fast paced string band



2007-Europe-216Maria Jette and Robin Williams performing a duet as part of a duet contest 


2007-Europe-310Andy Stein from the Shoe Band

Saturday, July 14, 2007

July 13-23 - Cruise Schedule

The previous two PHC cruises, Canadian Maritime in 2005 and Alaska in 2006 were both 7-day cruises. We'd leave in the afternoon on the first day and arrive early in the morning in the same port a week later.

This cruise is three days longer. We depart on Friday afternoon, July 13 from Copenhagen and return to Copenhagen on Monday morning, July 23. During that time, we make many ports of call, all in Norway. The complete schedule is below.

Friday, July 13 Begin boarding at 11:30 AM;
Depart at 6:00 PM
Saturday, July 14 At sea (i.e., we didn't land anywhere)
Sunday, July 15 Cruise Aurlandsfjord and Sognefjord with a stop at Flam
Monday, July 16 Visit Alesund
Tuesday, July 17 Visit Trondheim (furthest north on this cruise)
Wednesday, July 18 Cruise Geirangerfjord and visit Geiranger
Thursday, July 19 Visit Bergen
Friday, July 20 Visit Kristiansand
Saturday, July 21 Visit Oslo. The ship overnighted here
Sunday, July 22 Depart Oslo at noon
Monday, July 23 Arrive Copenhagen at 7:00 AM

Friday, July 13, 2007

July 12-13 - Copenhagen

The 2007 Prairie Home Companion Cruise to Norway departed from Copenhagen. July 12th was spent traveling from Seattle through Amsterdam to Copenhagen.

We had about 16 hours from our arrival in Copenhagen on the afternoon of July 12 until our departure the following day on the Holland America Line cruise ship Veendam.

2007-Europe-002We didn't do any formal tours or visit any cultural sites but did some nice walks. I took some iconic photos of vessels on the canals in the city.

And, of course, one of the little mermaid in the harbor. 2007-Europe-017

Sunday, July 1, 2007

About Us

2008-Antarctica-117xWe are a family of three, two humans and one cat.

The humans are Kurt and Marcia.  We are retired and now split our time between living on our boat Alpenglow, a 50 foot steel trawler, cruising the Inside Passage to SE Alaska and our winter home in the Tucson area, enjoying sunshine while hiking and biking. 

2009-02-010yThe feline member of the family is Maggie one of two cats (Annie RIP) adopted through Purrfect Pals. Over the years, Maggie has turned into a pretty good traveler, coping well with the cruises to/from Alaska and the driving to/from Arizona, although she gets sea sick more easily than we do.

Besides this blog, we maintain a blog documenting some of our older trips at