Travel with Jan Weekly Digest

Travel with Jan Weekly Digest

Snaefells Peninsula

Snaefells Peninsula

Western Iceland

September 8, 2015

Hello,

I chose the road less travelled. 

Before driving the popular route that heads east along the southern highway and the south coast of Iceland, I decide to drive north from Reykjavik to the Snaefells Peninsula – a road less traveled.

Snaefells is a long, narrow peninsula that pokes out into the Atlantic.  I encounter misty rain, ubiquitous fog, incessant, even overpowering wind, and a raucous surf that seems determined to smash (and has already smashed) the jagged, black volcanic cliffs that disappear below the waves.  What can I expect out in the middle of the ocean? 

Norway: The Fjords

MS Vesterålen

Hurtigruten Limited

 

Come to Norway to see the fjords.

What’s a fjord?

Here’s the brief answer:

Geologically, a fjord or fiord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion.

The steep sides of the cliffs decend straight down to the seabed.

The sea is quite deep, deep enough for a large cruise ship.

The fjord is so narrow that the sides of the cliff pass ever so close to the side of the ship - close enough to almost reach out and touch them. 

The remarkable moment comes when, in this narrow channel, the cruise ship stops near the end of the fjord, turns one hundred and eighty degrees and returns to the open sea.

Ikateq: Debris and Discovery

 

Ikateq Airbase

Ikateq Fjord

East Greenland

August 28, 2015

 

If I had had a vote I would have voted “no.”

Since I didn’t have a vote, and without any discussion, our tour proceeds up Ikateq Fjord to visit an abandoned United States Airbase built during World War II.

On this occasion, dictatorship trumps democracy.

But why would we want to spend any time at an obsolete gravel airstrip and the adjacent forlorn remains of construction equipment and the rubble of overturned oil drums, discarded and left to rust and decay?

The scenery surrounding the airbase is as dramatic and pristine as any I have seen here in East Greenland.  Yet, is there something moving and compelling and even attractive about this detritus of the not so distant past?

Ulm: Stolpersteine Ceremony

Ulm

Baden-Württemberg

Federal Republic of Germany

October 29, 2016

My Cousins and the Stolpersteine

Otto Polatschek is gone but not forgotten.

Lisa Polatschek is gone but not forgotten.

In Ulm, Germany, Otto inherited a retail shoe business from his parents Alois Polatschek (1879-1929) and Paula née Brumlik Polatschek (1883-1932).  But as the Nazi menace in Germany became more threatening, Otto sold his business to the Werdich family and fled with his wife Lisa to Berlin.

Nan Shan: Welcome to Xinjiang

Ürümqi (pop 3.5 million) - Uyghur name

Wūlǔmùqí – Chinese name

Xinjiang – Uyghur Autonomous Region

Peoples Republic of China

June 24, 2017

Hello and Welcome to Nan Shan – The Southern Mountains,

In the parking lot of this popular tourist area seventy-five kilometers (46 miles) south of the city, young Kazakh women offer to take us to their summer yurts for tea or lunch.  Horseback rides are available as well as hikes through the grassland meadows up the mountainsides.

(Between May and October Kazakh families move their yurts into this area to graze their herds. Kazakhs are an important minority group in this area of China.  The border of Kazakhstan is just beyond the mountains.) 

Korla: The Dusty Pass and the Fragrant Pear

Korla

Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region

China

June 26, 2017

Dear Friends and Fellow Dreamers,

Stand with me now at the Iron Gate Tower … and imagine ….

Imagine that behind us lies the Tian Shan mountain range.  Our Silk Road caravan has traversed the mountains carrying goods from Pakistan and the West.  Beyond the gate we face steep cliffs and even more mountains.

Please close your eyes.

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