Luigi and Manly's trip to
EUROPE 1999

"A sign of civilization!" I remarked as the taxi from the airport approached a sign reading, "Carlsberg Beer." The driver did not stop, nor did we ask him to; he kept on going into downtown Copenhagen and across canals, eventually spiraling inward on one-way streets to the Hotel Maritime.

We had taken a 9:00 PM United flight from Chicago on Thursday, June 3, reaching London around noon the next day, and had then transferred to an SAS flight to Copenhagen, arriving late enough so that our hotel room was made up when we got there. We had used Mileage Plus points to upgrade to business class on the first flight, and were glad that we had not bought business class tickets on the SAS flight, because the seating there was the same as coach. The flight attendant seemed surprised that neither of us wanted alcohol -- Luigi had juice, I water. Evidently booze was free in coach class. I wished I'd thought to ask for beer.

At the Copenhagen airport I got 1500 Danish Kroner ($205) from an ATM machine; this proved to be more than we needed but the excess did not go to waste.

The Hotel Maritime is not luxurious. In our narrow room the beds stood in line, toe to toe, with just enough room between them to stand our suitcases. The shower portion of bathroom was defined by a 4" rim around a square meter of floor space and a curtain hanging from a corresponding track above. The shower floor drain erupted with suds when Luigi pulled the plug in the washbowl after doing laundry.

Naps for both of us. Then Luigi went for a walk and found the Skagen restaurant that we had liked in October, 1996, and made a dinner reservation. The meal included venison in sauce that included fruit, also various vegetables and potatoes like schnitzels, accompanied by Miranda Rovalley Ridge 1994 Shiraz wine from Barossa Valley, Australia. Dessert was fresh strawberries, chocolate moussecake, apple crepe, honeydew melon, raspberry, chocolate, sorbets on caramelized sugar shell. $105.

The front steps of our hotel provided a gathering place for young men and some women who talked and sometimes yelled or sang until after 2:00 AM. Our first floor room was directly above. We saw handwritten notes posted here and there referring to "A.S.U." I presumed that some of the young people staying in the hotel were on a trip sponsored by Arizona State University, but later talked to a couple of faculty members from Appalachian State University.

On Saturday, June 5, the hotel's buffet breakfast included cheese sliced by a wire under an arm on a pivot attached to a vertical threaded post so that the arm and wire descended about 1/8" at each revolution. Thus the brick of cheese, about the size and shape of a loaf of bread standing on end, was sliced as much as, but no more than, needed.

We walked to Stroget, the long pedestrian-only street, and along it to Tivoli Garden. Stroget resembles a combination of Michigan Avenue and Maxwell Street removed to Calcutta. There are some fancy stores and more that are not. Public performers included clowns, musicians {Andean Indians and American blacks and a European guitarist}, fire-juggling unicyclist, etc. There were several beggars and huge crowds, mostly sober.

Tivoli Garden is a delight. About a quarter mile on a side, it contains flower gardens, amusement rides, fountains (both conventional spraying ones and clear vertical tubes of bubbling water), and sculpture (mostly whimsical)
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There are many restaurants; we ate at Restaurant Perlen and were pleased with a half-liter of beer apiece, a cold venison plate for Luigi and a herring plate for me at $31.75.

Walking back to the hotel via Stroget we did not see the manure that was there after a couple of mounted police officers passed this morning. I suspect that it was carried away on people's shoes. The rest of the afternoon saw naps and reading and rain.

Sunday, June 6, started out cloudy, but the hotel manager promised no rain.
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We went out for a long walk along the waterfront

and observed a very new and fancy sailing yacht bearing the legend, "BT CHALLENGE." It is to participate in a race sponsored by British Telecom around the world from west to east to occur in 2000. See the website at . Rain started as we passed by Amielieborg Castle while the guard was changing. We walked on to the Hereford Restaurant for lunch, then back to hotel in rain to pick up our luggage and get a taxi to Langelinie Pier and theM.S. Maasdam for a Baltic Cruise ending up in London.
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The driver, as we approached the ship, said, "Jesus, it's big!"

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At 55,000 tons, the Maasdam is smaller than some modern cruise vessels, yet is bigger than the 46,000 ton Titanic that held over 1,300 passengers compared to about 1,250 on the former.

We were originally signed up for stateroom 404, on the Promenade Deck, an outside cabin like the one we had going through the Panama Canal in January, 1998. But when we checked in at the tent near the gangway we were advised that we had been upgraded to stateroom 218 on the Veranda Deck -- two decks higher and with more space plus a private veranda. Two chairs and table stood on its teak deck. I am not sure why this upgrade happened, but we enjoyed it.

The ship was to leave at 5:00 but waited until 6:30 for 38 delayed passengers. We passed within sight of the site of the new bridge and tunnel project from Copenhagen to Malmo, Sweden. Luigi and I were seated in first (6:00) seating at a table for six with one additional passenger; Dave from Providence. The others were Tom and Celeste from Chicago suburbia, and two who did not show up immediately but joined us in Tallin - Bernie and Enid. Their travel agent had fouled up their air tickets. Both are 86 and live somewhere between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

All were pleasant and congenial company. After dinner we went to a movie in the small theater and were recognized by one of the other two men in the audience -- Ron Dahlquist, who had been a classmate of Luigi's at Cornell many years ago. We encountered him and his wife Gail several more times on the ship and had one or two meals with them in the Lido Restaurant. This is the cafeteria where most people eat breakfast and lunch, as distinguished from the Rotterdam Dining Room where we were served dinner at assigned tables.

Monday, June 7, was spent at sea. In the evening a Captain's reception in the ship's auditorium was followed by a "formal" dinner. Tom and Celeste at our table were dressed accordingly, but the huge majority were in dark business suits, including me.

During breakfast on Tuesday the Maasdam docked at a working pier in Tallin, Estonia. Many cranes were working among piles of pulpwood, saw logs, coiled steel, etc. moving pulpwood from long heaps onto truck trailers. Passengers were not allowed to walk on the pier, but were given shuttle bus rides to Hotel Veru -- a large, new hotel near the waterfront with lots of space for parking busses. Luigi and I walked from there up through old city as far as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Most buildings were old, some dating from 13th century.
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City walls were in evidence here and there, along with stone towers and some narrow, winding streets.

Estonia had been ruled by Germans, Swedes, and Russians from century to century, and only recently, between the two World Wars and after the breakup of the Soviet Union, has the country been self-governing. A significant part of the population speak Russian as a native language, and are unhappy at being required to speak Estonian for citizenship.

The ship reached St. Petersburg on Wednesday about 7:00 AM. Luigi watched the ship navigate the long and often narrow channel from the Gulf of Finland.
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I took a morning tour of the Hermitage, the Russian state museum, seeing many old masters, including --.

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Rubens's splendid painting of Bacchus as a gross, naked, degenerate slob.

At the end we saw six rooms full of disputed paintings that Russian soldiers took from Germany at the end of WWII and that the Russians had kept hidden for 50 years. France is claiming that many of them were taken by the Germans from France.

I asked the guide if any part of the Hermitage's collection was on the Internet. She doubted that it was, but said that the museum shop had a couple of CDROMS with such material. I bought them for $50 and a catalog for $10. In fact the Hermitage has an excellent website with lots of art on it at
www.hermitagemuseum.org Outside I was approached by a young man selling paintings that he had made. I bought a colorful watercolor of the Church of the Resurrection ("Church of the Spilt Blood" -- it was built so that the altar is on the spot where flowed the blood from the assassinated Czar Alexander II) for $20.

Luigi took an afternoon tour of Pushkin Palace. On Thursday she took an all-day tour of the Hermitage and the Fortress of Peter and Paul, and bought three nesting doll sets for $10

The ship left St. Petersburg at 6:00 pm.

We reached Helsinki about 7:00 am on Friday, June 11. Luigi and I walked about the city after breakfast, from the dock through an open market (handicrafts, produce, fish, and furs} and through shady esplanade.
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Then to the railroad station (designed by Saarinen father and son)

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and on to Finlandia Hall. This is a major public building, very modern, white, and scenic.

Helsinki has lots of sculpture, much of it fun.
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The approach to the City by sea is full of islands, so the channel is not easily discernible. As the ship left the dock she backed down for a few hundred yards. Standing in the stern I noticed that when the propellers were un-reversed to drive the ship forward a great deal of mud appeared in the water -- so much that I wondered if she had gone slightly aground.

When we got up, about 6:00 Saturday morning, we were sailing through someone's front yard. This was suburban Stockholm, whence many commute by boat. Housing is still tight in the City, which is built on scores of islands. I took a tour to City Hall; this is not the administrative center but a large building for civic purposes that is made available for group use, including a dinner for the International Conference of Architectural Museums a few years ago that Luigi attended. Next the tour went to the Vasa Museum, a large brown building with two masts protruding from the roof.

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Inside was the Vasa, a very fancy and expensive 17th century warship that had capsized and sank before leaving harbor on her maiden voyage in 1626 -- at least partly because the king had ordered the ship to carry 80 guns instead of the 40 for which she was designed. She was discovered in 1956.

On returning to the Maasdam on the bus I saw a store sign, "Badrum."

Luigi walked about the nearby parts of the city, and returned pleased at its busy vitality.

The passengers were told to be aboard at 5:00 for a 5:30 sailing. Luigi and I went up on deck to supervise, and saw the lines cast off and the gangplank pulled up about 5:25 and the ship move 50 feet away from the dock by 5:28, when two passengers and a younger woman turned up on the dock waving frantically. The ship returned to the dock for them.

On the way out to sea the ship was still dodging islands at bedtime. At this latitude and this time of year the white nights prevail: the sun sets very late and rises very early and the sky does not grow dark.

The Maasdam anchored off Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea on Sunday, June 13. I did laundry while Luigi went ashore. I intended to join her later, but at ten o'clock it started to rain as I was getting ready to take tender ashore, so I didn't. I called her on the Talkabout radios that we brought to keep in touch over short (2-mile) distances, and mentioned the rain. "Tell me about it," she said.

Luigi returned very wet. She was at farthest part of her walk when the rain started, and the tender back to the ship was so crowded that she had to stand where water from the canvas doorway cover drained on her. She wanted whiskey in the hot coffee she picked up on the way back to our stateroom.

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We spent most of Monday, June 14, in Warnemunde. This is a small city athwart the opening to the major harbor of Rostock, on the north coast of Germany east of Hamburg.

We walked around residential and modest commercial neighborhoods and to lovely long beach of very fine sand. Many houses were adding front rooms in the space between the original structures and the sidewalk. The City appears prosperous for a former East German community.

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On Tuesday we visited Aarhus, Denmark, and walked a mile or so to the open-air museum of various old houses and other buildings brought here over the last 50 years from other parts of Denmark.

On entering we found that Ron and Gail Dahlquist had gotten there before us by virtue of a taxi and were just leaving. Beer in the garden of one of the old buildings tasted very good, and we could pay for it with Kroner left over from Copenhagen. A little later we bought pastry with marzipan inside and chocolate on top from a shop in another specimen building. This gave us enough strength to walk back to the ship in time for lunch.

Wednesday, June 16, brought us to Oslo, deep at the end of a long a fjord. The Maasdam docked across the street from the fort. Nearby was the City Hall, with statues of workmen in front and a live one nearby working on street.
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The second floor is occupied by a huge hall with murals. After visiting this we walked on about the City and found the Dahlquists on a bench near a church and open air market with flowers. The four of us proceeded into the church where a flute and organ recital was in progress. The ceiling displayed a nice modern painted design.

Then Luigi and I walked back to the ship, stopping at Engebret Cafe, an open air restaurant near a museum whose nature we could not discern. It cost 138 Norwegian Kroner ($17) for two 51 cl beers; this was more than the 98.5 than I'd gotten in exchange for 100 Danish Kroner at a booth on the dock, so I had to pay with a credit card. One of the ways Norway tries to reduce alcoholism is to impose very heavy taxes on alcoholic drinks.

After lunch Luigi visited the National Gallery of Norway and, on returning, spoke highly of it.
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I admired the lowering sun reflected from the waters of Oslo harbor, and silouetting the boats.

Thursday, June 17, was spent on the North Sea, considerably rougher than the Baltic, but not rough enough to spill a drink, nor even rough enough to notice if you were thinking of something else, due to the ship's stabilizers. Cloudy, rainy. Luigi went to a lecture in the Rembrandt Lounge about disembarking and transportation procedures on the morrow. I watched it on closed circuit TV. In our stateroom.

Sometime when we were scores of miles from land, a pigeon landed on our veranda, cold and sluggish; it gave every appearance of being exhausted, and spent the night on our deck.. It was still there on Friday morning. Five deposits showed that it had eaten before flying out to sea. Eventually, as we were about to dock, we found it had gone. Getting 1,200 passengers off the ship at Harwich took some time, but as we had all been given disembarkation numbers the night before, the process was orderly and we were off the ship about 9:00 in the morning. Holland America has a "tipping not required" rule, so it is not necessary to tip the dining room waiters or the cabin steward, and many passengers don't. We gave them our leftover Danish and Norwegian bills in amounts that we considered of appropriate value..

Luigi had arranged a few days before to get us on a bus to the bus terminal at Victoria Station in London. From there we got a taxi to the United Oxford and Cambridge University Club at 71 pall Mall. Both rides were very roundabout partly because of the natural way that traffic must go in London and partly because of measures taken for Prince Edward's wedding the next day.

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The Club where we stayed is in a white stone building with four columns in front and a series of seven blue and white plaques under the eaves.

It is located within easy walking distance of Buckingham Palace to the west and the Embankment to the east and the West End to the northwest. It has reciprocal arrangements with The University Club of Chicago. The porter gave us instructions on how to get to our room; fortunately there were signs as well. Our route took us from the porter's desk right four steps, left down four steps to a landing, right three steps to a corridor, left four steps to an elevator on the left; up to the third floor, right three steps to a corridor, left 10 steps through a doorway and past a caged service elevator shaft, left 10 steps, right three steps through another doorway, down one step, ahead one step, up three steps, and left one step to our chamber door .

The room has one small window through which we could see and hear Big Ben; also a translucent skylight under which an accordion folded shade is opened or drawn electrically by a switch next to the bed. The shade was open and the room temperature was too hot.

For lunch we found a pizza parlor a couple of blocks away. In time we were aware of helicopters constantly flying nearby, and we guessed that this had something to do with the forthcoming royal wedding. Later the porter, when we asked, said that they were on hand because of some anarchist riots nearby. It seems that many people did not like capitalism, others did not like food additives, and it was Springtime. Dinner in the Club was delicious and included venison.

On Saturday, June 19, Luigi felt sick and stayed in bed. I went down to the Club dining room for breakfast and was sent back to put on a jacket and tie. Afterward I went out for a walk to the Embankment where I looked for a boat that would take me on a tour to Greenwich and, at 12:35, found that a luncheon cruise had left 12:30. Wandering back I came across, and climbed a flight of narrow stairs up to, the Princess of Wales Restaurant. It was small and mostly occupied by a family of 11 adults and a baby so small that this must have been the mother's first meal out after its birth. Between courses they played pass-the-baby-around-the-table.

In time I got steak and ale pie.

After lunch, on the way back to the Club, I looked in vain all over St Martin's Lane and St. Martin's Place for St. Martin's Theater where we had tickets to "The Mousetrap" for that evening's performance. Suddenly, outside the tea room of the National Portrait Gallery, I came across my cousin Carol and her husband Dewey Ganzel. They live in Oberlin, Ohio, and were spending several weeks in London. We had a pleasant coffee / tea in the tea room. Dewey mentioned that he had seen "The Mousetrap" early in its 47- year run and thought that it would never last.

Luigi still did not feel well enough to go to the theater that evening, so I went alone, getting a taxi driver to show me where it was by taking me there -- on West Street just around a curve and out of sight of St. Martin's Lane. At the end one of the actors announced that we were participating in a bit of theatrical history. We had just seen the last performance using the existing set after 37 years - a new set would be installed tomorrow..

On Sunday, June 20, Luigi felt better and joined me for breakfast and a walk afterward. At 1:00 our friends Charles and Anne Gilson joined us for lunch. They live in Hove, near Brighton, and entertained us for lunch the year before when we were in London. Seeking coffee afterward, the four of us retired to a nearby room that seemed appropriate for the purpose and that had a machine that accepts an unopened packet of ground coffee, tea or chocolate; opens the packet and dispenses the hot beverage into cup set under spout. As we were comfortably enjoying our after-dinner time, a member of the Club staff politely told us that we were in the wrong coffee room; this one was reserved for members and their gentlemen guests only. He led us to the ladies' coffee room where we finished out conversation with the Gilsons.

The next day the porter called a car to take us to Heathrow where we caught an 11:00 flight to Chicago, arriving at about 2:00. Here, for the first time in nearfly three weeks, we saw smog.