This morning we ejected ourselves from the Baltic Sea, via the Kiel Canal into the North Sea. The Kiel Canal is a 61-mile shortcut (like the C&O Canal in Maryland and many more in the US) which opened in 1895. Of course, back then who knew that the Canal would open the Baltic Sea to invasive life from the Atlantic…but not to worry; the Baltic Sea has too little oxygen and salt for most healthy Atlantic life forms. There is very little life in the Baltic Sea to be invaded.
The North Sea is a very busy place. Joining the plethora of cargo ships on the North Sea are the trawling fishing boats, ships carrying propane and natural gas and huge windmill farms—all testament to the power of economic products (as is our cruise ship, for that matter).
Most of our fellow passengers disembark on Friday, the 27th in Le Havre. Some will be whisked home via air; others will stay and play a while in Europe. Guesses are that half of us will remain on board for the final ports and sea days, and a few will board. As an end-of-cruise ritual, all passengers were asked to complete a marketing survey. Separately, both Bob and I wrote “probably not” when asked if we would cruise again. While we are glad to have taken this cruise, and survived it, our age has been undeniable. (Bob just burst into the room announcing: “We are old.” It seems he couldn’t push the shuffleboard disc to the end of the court. That may be more muscle tone, and less age, but still…)
Our next port is Zeebrugge, gateway to Brussels and Brugge and Ghent in Belgium. Really ashamed and sorry to say this, but I don’t care a lot. Medieval towns built by and for craftsmen in the Hanseatic trading league look a whole lot like Copenhagen’s Nyhavn. Even thinking of Belgian chocolate doesn’t loosen my lassitude. We will take a simple canal trip in Ghent, and move on to Le Havre, where Bob’s lifelong dream of a trip to Paris will run smack into the practicality of 6 hours of bus travel for a few hours of bus touring and “free” time for lunch. He will be able to say he has been there.
Clearly, my mood needs a few hours of sunshine on the deck.