188 pages

Flight of the Storks

I’ve visited two stork villages in Austria this summer. Before introducing them to you here, a documentary about their treks to and from Africa. They ave an Eastern and a western route. Also storks are part of the cote of arms of the city of The Hague, the place where I live.

Speeding RWS 70 – Sail AMS 2015 – 1

RWS 70

In the early morning of Wednesday, August 19, 2015 I boarded a typical Dutch steel motor yacht which was rented by a friend who had invited 3 couples for a tour from Zaandam to IJmuiden and back in order to see the parade of the Tall Ships participating in the Sail Amsterdam 2015 event.

From 8.00 hr on to 10.00 hr the Noordzeekanaal would be saileable from Amsterdam To IJmuiden only and the other way around from 10.00 hr till approximately 16.00 hr it would be one way traffic from IJmuiden to Amsterdam. No freight was allowed at all during the parade.

Directions were given that the absolute speed limit would be 6 km/hr for everyone.

RWS 70 is a patrol vessel of Rijkswaterstaat. Sometimes Rijkswaterstaat is called a state within a state. It was founded in 1798 as the Bureau voor den Waterstaat. Currently it is as an agency part of the Dutch ministry of Infra structure and Environtment. As it is incorporated long before Trains and Cars became en vogue, waterways were the way to transport people and goods. From there Rijkswaterstaat has 3 tasks: Make and maintain the Dutch waterways. Protect The Netherlands from the water by creating and maintaining water defence works (think dikes and dunes) and create and maintain roads.

It is clear to me that the RWS 70 is speeding here at minimal twice the 6 km speed limit without apparent signs that it was on duty. Moreover as the maximum speed of this class of patrol vessels is around 28 knots, I fail to see why it doesn’t give an example.

By this bad example the two small boats following it also apparently believe they are in their right to speed.

New Banner

Surfing in Scheveningen _U1A1592 Aaakl
Banner Surfing in Scheveningen _U1A1592 V10
The photo “Surfing in Scheveningen” gets a lot of views on Flickr. Therefor I’ve used it as my new banner.

It was not easy to take the photo as the wind tried to pull the camera from my hands and was blowing so hard it was almost impossible to take a steady shot. Therefor I’ve had to crank up the iso value a lot to be able to have a decent short shutter time to compensate for my moving camera.

Seabourn Odyssey in Venice


Recently I’ve been in Venice for the 2015 Biennial. But also I have taken various photo’s of Cruise ships and find it interesting to do some research on the ships and the cruise companies and share it with my readers. Venice is one of the top Cruise destination. As far as I can tell it can have up to 10 large cruise ships moored. Usually they do Venice in one day and sail on. They dwarf the old city when they are heading to the Adriatic.

I’m not a cruising type myself, as I become claustrophobic with too many people on a ship. Especially embarking and debarking when they are anchored in stead of moored would make me crazy. I don’t like the passive way of traveling with huge ships. I’m rather my own captain on a smaller boat. My best cruises thus far were 2 tours with 10 friends on a sailing cruise from Bodrum, Turkey.

However I do like ships and I do like to take photo’s of them. The Cruise market is huge and booming again and a lot is happening. There are a couple of good blogs and sites about cruising and of course one of my interests is the design of such large ships and off course the operation which is basically a lot the same as a hotel operation, albeit in most instances in less space.

Seascanner says:

The Odyssey

On a length of 198 meters a crew of 330 persons takes care of up to 450 guests’ needs – an outstanding crew-guest-ratio! The Odyssey was completed in the summer of 2009 and features a built-in marina at the ship’s stern.


All staterooms on board the Odyssey are suites, starting with spacious 28m². 90% of all staterooms have private balconies with at least 6m². Every suite is equipped with a comfortable living area with writing desk, a personal refrigerator and bar stocked daily with your preferred spirits and sodas, sofa, entertainment center and wireless internet access.

Atmosphere on Board

Travellers on Seabourn ships enjoy perfect luxury combined with modern casualty. A smoking or dark suite with tie is not required, but formal nights are optionally offered for those who enjoy festive evenings. Nevertheless a pair of jeans is not welcome in the main restaurants. A good command of the English language is strongly recommended due to the international guests and English being official onboard language.

About Seabourn Cruise Line

Seabourn has been founded in Norway in 1986 with the “Seabourn Pride” entering service in 1988. Today, the cruise line is part of the Carnival Corporation and is – without a doubt – their most luxurious and prestigous brand. Seabourn stands for absolute perfection in service, great individuality due to the very small ships and modern, casual luxury.

It also gets high ratings from Cruise Critic

For an In Depth review go to Avid Cruiser

10 Questions for Carol Perehudoff – Interview 49

I have asked Carol Perehudoff of Wandering Carol, a real funny Luxury Travel Blog, my 10 questions:

WanderingCarol.com Terrace at Gritti Palace Hotel VeniceCarol and hubby at the Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice

1) Who Are you?

I’m Carol Perehudoff, aka Wandering Carol, at WanderingCarol.com – a luxury travel blog for those who love to laugh. A former freelance travel columnist with the Toronto Star, I’ve written for many publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Royal Wings and enRoute Magazine, and was voted a Top 10 Luxury Travel Blogger in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

2) What do you like about what you do?

Traveling and writing! What could be a better combination? I once read on a postcard: “She was often gripped with a desire to be elsewhere,” and that pretty much sums up my life.

3) What don’t you like about what you do?

Jet lag is the perpetual curse of travel writers. I also have trouble with excruciatingly long dinners on press trips (a press trip is when a group of travel journalists are invited to explore a region, city or hotel and their trip itinerary is organized by their hosts), when all I really want to do is be back in my room processing what I’ve seen, keeping up with social media, blogging, etc. Oh, who am I kidding? After 12 hours with the same group of people I just want to have a bath and read a book. People need down time on trips, at least introverts like me do.

4) Please tell us all about your blog and your aims with it.

I want it to be fun. Also, I’m obsessed with researching historical details. Often those two things conflict. Over the last year or two I’ve been making my posts more info-filled so I can provide how-to’s as well as write in a narrative style. The primary goal of Wandering Carol is to entertain, to offer travel ideas and tips and to show people that luxury travel is more accessible than they think.

5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

I get asked this a lot and I always say it’s like being asked to name my favourite child (except I don’t have children.) However, some adventures stand out. One memorable trip to Europe was when my husband and I rented an apartment in an old chateau in the wilds of the Cevennes region of France. It was so out of the way and romantic that I’ll never forget it. Hot springs spas in Tuscany are always a favourite of mine and snorkelling with beluga whales up in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, had to be one of the most exciting experience I’ve ever had.

Brenners Park Hotel and Spa
Brenners Park Hotel and Spa

6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

Hm. Let me think. The restored Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice was like living in a doge’s palace – my top moment was having breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Grand Canal. (Mind you, it was my honeymoon so I was obligated to be happy.)
b) Brenners Park, an old world hotel in the spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, has a gracious atmosphere, a lovely park setting and a high-end spa – and has hosted every celebrity from Bill Clinton to Heidi Klum. And since I like to imagine I move in these circles (though I definitely don’t), how could I not love Brenners?
c) The castle-like Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Canada, will always be high on my list. I grew up going to Banff almost every summer and the hotel looked like a fairytale to me.

7) Your top 3 most memorable food / wine experiences to date and why?

Well, eating chicken anus at a Japanese restaurant in Korea was pretty unforgettable. At the other end (pardon the pun) of the spectrum the tasting menu at Cuisinart Resort in Anguilla will be etched in my mind forever (along with their eco-friendly hydroponic garden). However, my absolute favourite restaurant in the entire world is La Colombe d’Or in the tiny town of St Paul de Vence in the South of France, because of the history (Picasso used to hang out there, along with a host of other starving artists), the art-cluttered walls and because it’s where I was introduced to black truffles.

8) Your 3 worst destination/ accommodation /food experiences to date and why?

Much as I love Thailand, the $6 room I had in Kanchanaburi Province was slightly terrifying. I was the only guest at the resort, although you couldn’t really call it a resort, and the only staff member at night was a security guard. The problem was that I didn’t realize I could turn off the light outside my room, so every creepy flying insect in the jungle was attracted to the light and buzzing and flapping outside my door – this made going to the bathroom, which was outside and down the hall, a perilous nocturnal adventure. It was much better once I got that light turned off, and strangely enough, after I befriended the local cat and let him sleep in my room, I ended up loving the place and even went back a second time. This restored my faith in myself as a traveler – I’d begun to think nothing but a 5-star hotel would satisfy me.
Another bad experience? I was watching an elderly man’s bags for him while he went to change money in a train station in Paris and the bag with his medications was stolen in front of my eyes. Oh, the guilt.
A third less than wonderful travel experience was when EasyJet cancelled our flight from Paris to Nice. After spending the entire day in the airport, we were finally given tickets for a flight late the next day. The problem was we’d rented an apartment in Nice and were supposed to be there that afternoon, and the owner had driven in from Grasse and was waiting for us. There was no phone in the apartment and he didn’t have a cell phone so there was no way to reach him until he’d given up and driven back to Grasse. To make it worse, EasyJet’s customer service was awful to us afterwards when we tried to get compensation, even though the employees at the time had assured us we’d get it. I’m still annoyed.

Ripley's Aquarium Toronto
Ripley’s Aquarium Toronto

9) Can you offer the readers 3 destination/ food / accommodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?

Great question! Of course! Who doesn’t want to show off their city? I live in Toronto in the swishy (some would say snobby) area of Yorkville. But in the 60s it was the hippy hangout of choice, and there is so much more to the neighbourhood than high heels and pretentiousness. People can watch my Leopard Chicks Go to Yorkville Video to get an idea of what to see (and to be amazed by how stupid my friend and I look on video).
Toronto’s newest attraction is Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. I recently went and found it a lot more educational than I’d expected to. I also had a love affair with a shark so maybe I’m biased.
Toronto has come a long way in the spa and 5-star hotel department lately, and as I am a wellness fanatic, I’d recommend checking out some of Toronto’s best spas. And if people have any more questions about Toronto they can contact me through my blog.

10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?

My Take

Thank you for your contribution Carol. It’s always fun to see that the people I interview in this series, have similar preferences as I have. i love Venice and Tuscany and I love the Còte D’Azure around St Paul de Vence.