Alaska on the Amsterdam

 Ketchikan Day 6

After six days on this looking around, walking around, and eating around, I decided to see if there were any “abs” on this ship. The 7:30 am Fitness Class entitled, “Fab Abs” was my first goal of the day. I made it, and guess what? Not even the “trainer” had “Fab Abs”. Maybe sometime in the past, maybe some time in the far off future, but there are no “abs” on this ship. The only possibility might have come from some of the teens, but believe me, they are not up and around at 7:30 a.m. The only people with “abs” on this ship are the Amsterdam Singers and Dancers, and they move so fast you have to use your imagination. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam

  Day 5 Thursday June 11, 2015

Sitka

This place has some history! I got four miles of walking today exploring Sitka for the first time. Last fall on a similar cruise, the ship was unable to stop here. There was too much wind a chop for the “tenders” to safely move passengers from ship to shore. Not so this time around. It was cool (48F), and it drizzled rain off and on all day; but no matter. It all started as an Indian fishing village that the Russians liked because there were pelts to be had, so they took over and used the indians as slaves for more than fifty years. Russian Orthodox missionaries had already been here, and when the fur trade moved it, it was a easy transition. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam

It’s raining! But then it is a “Rain Forest”. How else would it get that name? Sitting now in the Juneau public Library with free wifi and crew members and passengers all around using up band width, but it’s sure faster than the satellite service on the ship which just about drove me crazy last night trying to post. During breakfast in the Lido, the Oosterdam pulled in, and I see a Carnival ship further down the dock which means about 4000 people wandering around downtown Juneau. However, the rain seems to have discouraged many. I walked up to the Cathedral, and it is quite a hike up a steep hill. Yesterday at Mass I suggested that some might want to pay a visit to the Cathedral which is so simple and tiny that escapes the tour groups unlike other major Capitol cities. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam

Day 3 Tuesday June 9, 2015

Sailing the Tracy Arm

This remarkable day began with sunrise at 4:30 am. No one should even think I know this except that I read it on the Ship Television channel. However, this is really the day I was waiting for, and there was no disappointment what so ever. Thirty-three people were at Mass, and I treated myself to Breakfast in the elegant La Fontaine Dining room with linen and no children. Already by that time we were approaching the Tracy Arm named after a Secretary of the Interior at the time of Teddy Roosevelt at the time this rain forest was declared a National Forest. A true Fiord formed ages ago by the glacier we were about see rises up sharply from the water edge, and the fiord narrows as we moved deeper. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam

Day 2 Monday June 8, 2015

At Sea

Rocking and Rolling on big swells this morning, and then by late afternoon the wind came down a bit. The fog lifted as the sun came up, but the breeze makes the 52 degrees seem more like freezing with a 82% humidity. The sea depth out here is 9,520 feet. All this daylight seems strange with the sun rising at 5:30 am and setting at 10:15 followed by a very long twilight. As I send this we are 563 nm from Seattle with 306 nm to go during the night getting us into the “Tracy Arm” by morning.

I skipped the “Fitness Class” this morning and opted for Mass and “Spiritual Fitness.” There was a nice group of 27 at Mass from Washington State, Dallas, Ft Worth, Ocala, Florida, Iowa, and New Jersey. … more »

Alaska on the Amsterdam

Day 1 Sunday June 7, 2015

Seattle Boarding Amsterdam Departure

Another ship, another adventure, and another look at Alaska’s coastal cities of Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan. This is coming to you from Holland America’s ship: Amsterdam. This is one of the smaller ships in the fleet: 10 decks, 780 feet long with a crew of 615. It was dedicated in 2000 and we have 1300 passengers. They call this an “R Class” ship, and I have no idea what that means. When I ask people who should know, they give conflicting information. It would be a good question for “Team Trivia”.

I was aboard by 11:15 which means they had all 1300 people off the ship very quickly this Sunday morning. … more »

Friday, February 27

Friday, February 27

Sunshine is back! Temp in the 40s. I discovered that there is a painting by Giacometti at Notre Dame des Champs which is about 15 minutes away on foot, so we walked up there to see it after breakfast. It’s an interesting 19th century church. It is up on Montparnasse which is noticeable uphill  walk of about 20 minutes.

15.02.27 Paris Notre Dame des Champs 1There was a Roman Temple on the site 2000 years ago replaced by a Christian church early on. That wooden church was eventually replaced by a big monastic church in the 1600s. The revolution ended all of that and the church was torn down. In the 19th century the present building went up, and it is a thriving parish church now. … more »

Thursday, February 26

Thursday, February 26

A day of drizzle and stillness. The Irish would call this a “soft day”, and it was just that. We didn’t leave the cozy confines of the apartment until 5:00 pm when we headed off for a three metro line trip into the 19th arrondissement for dinner with a delightful family: mom from Oklahoma, dad from Normandy, France. The 19th is where Charlie’s publishing office is, and it all happened just about two blocks from where we were headed. The father of this family is the vice principal of an upper level school (18 to 23 year olds), and mom teaches at the Institute Catholique right here in our neighborhood. Their lives are like a story-book love tale. … more »

Wednesday, February 25

Wednesday, February 25

This was food day and reading day. All we really did was prepare for a dinner party here in the little apartment. At 484 square feet, there is not a lot of room for entertaining; but it works with a little planning. I made a long list for the grocery store trip today, and then I forgot to take the list. However, making the list was responsible n’est pas? As a result of forgetting the list we came home with twice as much as we needed, but without the coffee filters. I have made another list for tomorrow. We have fun at the “Mono Prix” store which is about 10 minutes on foot. This walking to the grocery is a good idea because you do not buy more than you can carry home. … more »

Monday, February 23

Monday, February 23

Bright morning sun broke out by 10:00 am. For the two of us, it was a reading morning until Jim decided to wander over to the big Left Bank Department Store: “Bon Marche”. While he was out I took a 3 mile walk around the neighborhood checking out a chocolate shop down the street, and wandered over to a shop that sells church vestments where I have bought some albs in the past. There was a nice simple one that got my attention, but the $200€ did not. On the way over there I walked past the Chapel which is all that is left of a huge Carmelite Monastery from the 16th Century. I always think this is a very holy place, and I always stop and look inside the gate. … more »