All in Food

Sunday August 11, Arendal Norway

An interesting couple of days’ journeys since my last post. On Thursday we left our anchorage right after breakfast, raised sails and headed for Gothenburg, an old university town and the second largest city in Sweden. Winds were not helpful, Force 2, so not really moving the boat with any speed, so on with the engine expecting our motor-sail to cover the 70-odd nautical miles by late evening. As the day drew in with our boat speed hovering between 4 and 5 knots it was clear that it would be very late evening or early morning before we arrived, so picked a very nice anchorage about 3 hour’s sail from Gothenburg and tied up for the night….

Leaving the Faroes, Thursday Sept. 13

I’ve had some email question asking about the ship, requesting some pictures of the interior and some more about the daily routine.

You need to know that we are not on watch when moored but only when at sea. So breakfast is usually around 7 so that the 8am watch can eat before their watch. The 4am to 8am watch also eat then with a couple of permanent crew standing watch in their place and then switching before the 8am watch comes on. Breakfast is done by 8 and if you’re not on watch and sleep in, you lose…

Out of Namibia 08/10/16

In my last post I talked about our 9 hour drive to Damaraland. Because we got our roads so wrong before the Tracks4Africa gps app came to the rescue, we drove to the Doro Nawas camp from the opposite direction than the one taken by visitors which meant that there were no signs for the camp on the sides off the road, we keep looking for them but never saw any, which given the overlong drive worried us considerably. One of the benefits of our wrong-way drive however was that it took us through parts of the country not usually traveled by visitors and over a mountain pass that was stunning, hairy driving but fabulous views. Our guide when we finally arrived couldn't believe that we made managed the drive in our vehicle, clearly a drive that is not normally taken by tourists.

Damaraland the region, and Doro Nawas our lodge, in neither case had any really compelling connections for us. Doro Nawas is reached by 4 or 5 kilometres of gravel road branching off the main gravel highway to a very rocky and wind-swept hill rising out of the dusty desert and about 40 or 50 metres high. The main lodge was perched on top and the various individual stone chalets scattered around the hillside. The 5k drive to reach it was unquestionably the worst piece of track that we have driven  in our entire trip. It was bone-shaking, teeth-rattlingly bad and while the gravel roads and highways are pretty pretty grim in places, corrugations really shaking the car, you can usually find an optimum speed that is not so slow that the car is is slowly being shaken into piles of bolts nor so fast that the bumps are minimized but the car is unsafe, slewing about on the gravel, but a happy and tolerable balance between the two. In the case of the Doro Nawas road there was no optimum manageable speed and we feared for the safety of the car as we pounded along it. Not a good introduction to the lodge, which is a Wilderness Camp, a brand for a number of camps throughout Southern Africa which like the &Beyond Camps is a guarantee of a high level of service and accommodation. Someone was not watching the store in the case of Doro Nawas and given the cost of the camp it was surprising that no attention was paid to the first impression that a camp creates, the road to the site. It quickly became clear that the road to the camp was not the only problem faced by the camp, the service was forgetful and unpleasant and the food less than compelling....

First day in Namibia

Friday was a very, very, very long day. Landed in São Paulo at 10 am and our next connection was at 11:30 pm for our overnight to Jo'burg. I had booked us a day room at the Wyndham Tryp hotel which is in the secured in-transit area of the terminal so that we could get some sleep and have a base for the 14 hour layover without going into the public area of the terminal and so avoid having to deal with passport control and security. Good idea on paper but 14 hours marking time is very slow in reality. Slept for a couple of hours and found that the best way of getting through the day was to concentrate on not looking at my watch until at least a half hour had passed since my last look, a game with a remarkably low engagement factor. I was reminded of a movie made 5 or 6 years ago concerning someone who, for unremembered reasons, lost papers?, could not leave the transit area. Couldn't go back and couldn't go forward, had no accommodation so slept on benches, and simply waited. Don't know who wrote the script but it should have been Beckett. I empathized.

Arrived in Jo'burg in the early afternoon on Saturday, slept for a few hours, took the train into the city and had a really good dinner at The Butcher Shop grill, we both had very rare steaks, lots of fresh vegetables and a gallon or so of a wonderful South African cabernet, the single best prescription for re-kindling the ashes.

Paris 2

Dinner party was a great success. Food was very good, and as the cook I am allowed to say that, the wines were excellent and the guests were charming and witty, in English and in French. As the evening advanced and the level in the wine bottles lowered, we were given some hilarious lessons in idiomatic French, many of which cannot be used in polite company. Birthday cake was excellent and we sang Happy Birthday in both official languages. Party ended late in the evening ....

Paris 1

Weather has finally broken. Distinctly chillier, wind picking up and skies overcast for the first time since we arrived. Rain forecast for tomorrow but we have had a very good run so can't complain about our change of fortune.

Yesterday we were up early for a run out to Clingancourt, the very large Paris flea market in the northern suburbs. Since we had a dinner party planned for the evening and needed to get back in time to shop, prepare the apt for guests and organize the meal, we decided to arrive at the market an hour later than the official opening time of 8 am. Jane, V and I took the subway out and arrived shortly after 9 to find that most of the vendors did not feel the same urgency....