Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

November 4, 2019

WE SURVIVED THE GALE!

    
... yes, we survived the gale ... rome to barcelona was a most interesting sail ... during the evening and into the night the winds picked up until at times the ship was quartering into a 60+ knot gale ... seas were perhaps five-eight feet, with long swells exceeding that ... i've an app that measures all sorts of things, so i know that the ship was rolling almost 7° and pitching up to 3° ... translated into more understandable terms, my cabin was going up and down almost fourteen feet on a five second cycle ... unusual enough weather that at one point the ship heeled so suddenly that the water jumped out of the swimming pool and flooded the fore end of the cafeteria ...
    
    
... i went up to the front bridge, which for some reason hadn't been closed off ... in such a gale it was almost impossible to open the door ... once i stepped out the wind was so intense that if felt as if i could be picked up into the air and hurled overboard ... right, me, foolish, but there's no sense to an ocean voyage if i don't somehow experience the force of the sea and wind ... this shot was taken early on, and, in any case, pictures from the places i could access can't really portray how it felt ... and, no, these were not "heavy" seas ... i think it was the wind that was quite unusual, even the crew members were commenting so ...
    
    
... so, thankfully, we didn't have to get in one of these ...

      
    
... the lifeboat holds 150 passengers ... the crew gets rafts i believe ...
    
    
    
... i was fortune to get to watch some of the crew members as they practiced lowering a lifeboat into the sea ...
    
    
    
... there are fascinating details all around this ship ...
    
    
    
... statues, both homemade and classic ...
    
    
... we rented a cab and spent two hours driving around barcelona ... the driver spoke spanish mostly, and while one of our shipmates could talk with him, it still seemed to me that he was a bit bored with the whole "show the tourists the city" gig ... no matter, we enjoyed our little exploration ...
    
    
... barcelona has a great deal of modern architecture mixed in amongst all the historic buildings ... over 3,000,000 residents, it's one of the cleanest cities i've ever visited ...
    
    
... this church is in the process of a decades long construction ... when finished it will have 18 spires ... to me it seems as if someone reinterpreted gothic design while under the influence of lsd ... and, absolutely, i like it ...
    
    
... so far this port's the neatest and most modern we've docked in ...
    
    
... this couple came aboard in rome ... they laugh wonderfully, she's read desmond morris ... i like them ...
    
    
... i'm not quite sure what would happen if the internet on this ship failed ... seems to me that the number one complaint is "it's not fast enough" ... after that comes the "ten dollars a day is too much" ...
    
    
... there's always a lot reading, card playing, and puzzle building taking place ...
    
    
... some of the "lido cafe" crew ... i could move this fabulous place to waterville and eat in it for the rest of my life ...

    
    
... two of the chefs ...
    
    
    
... cut to order, as much as you want ...

    
... smiles're served up too, as many as you need ...
    
    
    
... here're a few of the "indonesian night" servings ...
    

    
...  unlimited bread, as if i needed it ...
    
    
... believe it or not, that little dining nook isn't for the posh people ...
    
    
... one of the very competent desk clerks ...
    
    
... two of the 2nd deck hall stewards ... the the fun smile on the right is my guy, he takes care of me as if i were a king or crown prince or one of the lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous folk ... i put him, and his mates, at the top of the list of things i'm really appreciating about this cruise ...
    
    
... one of the boarding security guards and one of the staff taking care of the bar near the pool ...
    
    
... taking care of details, taking a break ...
    
    
... she's getting married soon, her shipmate is excited ...
    
    
... genuine, completely and absolutely ... that's the only kind of smiles i've been given while i've been aboard ...
    
    
... some of the lido cafe crew ...
    
    
... one of what they used to call the "black gang" (engine room and below decks workers) takes a moment, perhaps to talk with a loved one thousands and thousands of miles distant, while with the piano player in the lounge tickles the ivory with great style ...
    
 
    
... believe me when i say that this is a polished ship ...
    
    
... he was out for a little fresh air ... the carpet was being cleaned in the middle of the night ...
    
 
    
... late in the evening the "fixers" and "scrapers" and "painters" appear ...
    
    
... always, someone cleaning ...
    
    
... or waiting ...
    
    
... or resting ...
    
    
... or disappearing into another world ...
    
    
... always, washing the decks ...
    
     
... always, removing the sea salt from the teak ... in the middle of the night, thousands of years ago, i wonder if a phoenician or greek or roman sailor was out in the dark, slogging a bucket of water in a job that never ended ...
    

... as i've said, my cabin's posh, the food is—well, i'm sure cruises such as this are on the weight watchers banned list ... but, for me, after sharing with my brother the very best of this is observing and getting to know the crew members ... doing so makes this, for me at least, a sort of "world cruise" ...

... i like that ...