A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: HopeEakins



semi-overcast 60 °F


Our last day ashore was spent in Copenhagen. Like all of Scandinavia, we love it, and we admire the Danes. They have developed a well-functioning, happy, cooperative society in which their resources are used imaginatively to the benefit of all. They are kind and funny and helpful and surprisingly diverse, and they love their country. We ate at a nice restaurant on Nyhavn, a waterfront street packed with brightly colored 17-18th century houses; we shopped at Illum and caught the view from their 4th floor terrace, and we gave thanks for the past 137 days of travel, the last 11 of which we were blessed to share with our son Bruce. Did we have a favorite time/place? It is impossible to choose. The wilds and stark beauty of the Antarctic and Arctic made us gasp; the beaches of the Seychelles and Zanzibar brought us great delight; seeing Ova Sünder in Istanbul and Hugh Bryant in Cardiff made the world seem small; having Bruce with us brought us much fun - and travel help! Our ministry on the Whisper was a source of deep satisfaction, and seeing old friends and making new ones was of course a deep blessing. We were also blessed by seeing the passengers of this ship "pitch and roll" as ports were closed to us and itineraries changed - the "mystery cruise" some began to call it, and sometimes it was. We had too many Covid tests to count and too many friends were quarantined, but we sailed through all the unexpected events and really did enjoy every minute as we adapted and Silversea adapted and we all feel like intrepid travelers.
The last photo was taken as we departed on Sunday, here with our butler, Prashant, a truly skilled professional with a warm heart and a fine sense of humor. We are glad to have been in his care.

Goodbye - and thanks to all of you who have kept in touch with us.

Posted by HopeEakins 16:02 Archived in Denmark Comments (3)


Pulpits in a humane and progressive city

sunny 59 °F


We love Aalborg, an ancient city in Jutland, currently being transformed into a vibrant, friendly, center in northern Denmark. Our ship docked downtown, next to a cultural center whose architect, Jørn Utzon, designed the fabulous Sydney (Australia) Opera House. Nearby, the Domkirke (Cathedral of St. Botolph, patron of seafarers) has a dramatic and highly carved pulpit, the foundation of which = Moses holding the tablets of the Law.

Then on to Gug Church, founded in the 1100's, demolished in 1555, and rebuilt in 1969. This church looks nothing like the Cathedral! It was built in a developing planned community, next to a supermarket and a nursery school, and everything about this place is designed to connect sacred and secular, not diminishing the mystery of the holy nor forgetting God's incarnation in the midst of a real and tangible world. WE LOVE this church. Let's start with the bell tower: it looks like a prison watch tower at first, and then it looks like a sign of God is watching over God's people as they go about their lives. The building itself is rough concrete marked with the imprint of the wood that shaped it and pierced with stripes of glass letting light pour inside. Also inside tiny lights twinkle like stars. The odd twisted sculpture over the altar spirals beside the wall paintings in a dance that connects Word and Sacrament; it is non-representational, a strong sign that God cannot be depicted/contained in a single symbol. The altar is shaped like a table; twelve Royal Copenhagen dinner plates sit in shallow depressions around the sides - ready for any 12 apostles who might come to be fed at the Holy Communion. The Baptismal font is a concrete trough lined with metal; water slowly drips into it and then flows away into an open channel that leads outside the church. THIS pulpit bears the beginning of John's Gospel affixed to a plaque made of newspapers compressed into a panel. A good model for preachers! The rear of the church (filled with yellow chairs) can be partitioned off to be used as a gathering place for the community. All remarkable, wonderful, and surprising. Deo gratias!

Posted by HopeEakins 10:44 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)


Spring is coming!

sunny 59 °F


The cities, the fjords, the flowers all get more and more beautiful. The air is filled with laughter and the food is fabulous and the street paving looks like a work of art. Norway is stunning! And Bruce managed to navigate the tram system and pedestrian walks with great skill and ease. The first two photos are at the final World Cruise dinner at a beautiful hall in Oslo (great chandeliers!). The third photo is of our ship next to the King's yacht, tied up next to a local private boat. It somehow bespeaks the very organized and safe atmosphere here - coupled with an informality that is very attractive. We spoke with a crew member of the King's company - just a neighborly chat over the deck - and he told us all about the ship and its crew and the cute dog aboard. NO GUNS! No Secret Service agents with wires sewed into their ears, no distance between the monarchy and the family of folks. And the people love their King. Absolutely.

Flowers bloom everywhere; every street is lined with pots. The Domkirke (Cathedral) is imposing, especially its royal box (the King is very respected). A statue of Fearless Girl faces the Parliament Building and exudes optimism and challenge and hope. This sculpture is the copy of the first Fearless Girl installed in 2017 at the NY Stock Exchange facing down the charging bull - and now has been slowly appearing in other places across the world. She's tough, this one! More sculpture fills the Vigeland Garden, a vast expanse of streams and decorated bridges and gorgeous lawns and truly amazing life-size bronzes of men and women, old and young, single and in family groups.

Back downtown, the Oslo City Hall is the site where the Nobel peace prize is awarded every December 10. Our hearts were moved as we walked there and recalled the dreams of those who would end the wars and rumors of Edward that threaten us and our children.

Finally, a little photo of the Silver Whisper choir singing at the Captain's farewell party last evening - Bill the one in the blue sweater, all belting out ABBA songs.

Posted by HopeEakins 08:38 Archived in Norway Comments (1)



sunny 68 °F


Norway just gets more and more beautiful and friendly and efficient and fun. From our dock in Kristiansand, a charming city with a lovely church built in 1040, we drove to Lillesand where white-painted 18-19th century houses line the hilly streets and surround the harbor (every town seems to be on the water here). The big hit was the Constitution Day parade. The whole town seemed to be marching, most in costume, and everyone was smiling. And then there was the sunset seen from our veranda ....

Posted by HopeEakins 04:52 Archived in Norway Comments (1)


No more snow!

sunny 65 °F


Bergen is absolutely stunning! (Are you getting tired of reading gushy comments like this?). But truly, after a beautiful sail through a long fjord, we docked beside a long row (called Bryggen) of colorful houses built by Hanseatic merchants around 1702. Castles and arches and towers dot the city; its streets are beautiful; cherry blossoms are in bloom; no one even thinks of littering. The stave church built in 1150 and reconstructed after a fire contains a lepers' squint near the baptistry, a tiny altar and a massive roof.

Posted by HopeEakins 11:19 Archived in Norway Comments (2)

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