Teaching Hamlet

April 6, 2008 -

John Heald

I had forgotten about Hamlet and if my old English literature teacher Mrs. Martin knew that I had she would be mad…………….and when Mrs. Martin got mad her face would go red and the mole on one of her seven chins from which sprung 3 long hairs would grow before our eyes.

Mrs. Martin or Martin the Mole as we used to call her out of ear shot read Hamlet to us time and time again and there I was today in Frederiksberg castle today listening to the legend of Hamlet and before I knew it I could picture Mrs. Martin’s mole and those three hairs that used to give me nightmares.

I would like to say a few nice things about Mrs. Martin…………………..but I can’t ………..she was a tyrant who used her ugliness to scare us kids………….and we were 14 years old at the time. This was back in the day when teachers could if they wanted use physical violence on pupils to advance their education…………..today, a teacher just has to look at a kid in the wrong way and they are immediately fired and burnt at the stake.

Mrs. Martin used her chalkboard eraser to hit us over the head with when we spoke out of turn or when reading the Bard’s work and we showed even the slightest disinterest. Her biggest pet hate was yawning and anyone of us who yawned would receive the good news with the chalk board eraser…………..I became great friends with it and can still feel her rancid breath as she breathed “Heald, did you just yawn?” and then her huge hand would bring the eraser for a close up meeting with my head.

She was though ………….not the worst teacher……………there was one who we all feared………and his name was Mr.Waknen – Renyolds………….he taught biology ……….. and his favorite weapon of choice was …………….a slipper…………….an old leather thing which probably belonged to his great grandfather and which he used on our bottoms whenever he could.

I would like to say that his strictness caused us to listen and learn more ……….but it didn’t……….it just made me hate biology and it’s his fault that until the age of 16 I thought babies really were delivered by a stork …………….it’s probably his fault I never had girlfriends as well then.

Anyway, I digress as usual so back to today. When guests come to Denmark they will mostly want to see Copenhagen and all its wonderful sites. However, today’s trip to Zeeland and the Royal Palaces was remarkable. These fairy tales (do you write tail or tale?) castles are usually found in Hans Christian Andersen stories or in a Disney Film and, of course, in the story of Hamlet.

To walk around these structures that were built in 1308 like Fredericksburg Castle was is an event you will never forget.

In between visiting the castles we went for lunch and of course there was herring in a white sauce, herring in a red sauce and herring in a Toblerone sauce or herring with no sauce………oh how I long for a plate of fries.

Seriously, if you want peace, tranquility and feel the need to step back in time then the castles and Palaces of Zeeland tour is something very special.

The morning started though with a very early canal boat tour. These canal boats are similar to the ones in Amsterdam and this morning at 9 am we rode the canals. This is a perfect way to see the royal palace, canals and all the famous sites without walking. The tour includes a photo stop at The Little Mermaid and if you can manage to walk down three small steps even guests with walking challenges may enjoy it.

If you are lucky enough to take a canal boat called Laudrup please have a look at the second row on the left as half my buttock is still there frozen to the plastic seat………..9 am…………canal tour……………-2 degrees………….someone’s having a laugh!

Also this morning we visited the Calsberg Brewery which produces some of the world’s favorite beers. If you love beer (you get two free ones at the end of the tour) this tour is for you. If you don’t drink beer then taking this tour would be like asking someone from Paris to tour a factory making soap ………………….pointless.

No, for me the highlight of the day was the Palaces and Castles of Zeeland …………….. simply brilliant.

Let’s see what Bubba has been up to today………………Bubba, over to you mate.

Alaska Fam 2008 – the last couple of days….

Hey all greetings from Skaaaaaggggggway!  I like to say it like that.  It’s fun to say cause this is a fun place.  Sorry could write yesterday but we were in Haines Alaska and they had us staying in a very small motel…looked like something out of a movie…not that it was bad.  It was actually quite comfortable but it just looked like one of those road side motels you see in the movies.  So the internet was sparce.  I was wondering around the streets of Haines trying to find a signal, but couldn’t seem to find something.  Now that we are in Skagway, I have found some wifi so on with the show!

We went to Haines yesterday which is located about 70 miles as the eagle flies to the northwest of Juneau.  Two ways to get to Haines from Juneau….flying, or the Alaska Marine Highway which is the state’s ferry system used by many to get around to different cities.  We were flying on Wings of Alaska Airlines which was a lot like flying on that TV show “wings.”  A small business that does service between these smaller cities.  When you check in they just ask for your name.  No taking your shoes off or anything thing like that and they don’t give you a ticket.  You just check in, the call your name and you walk out to the plane.  There were 11 passengers on the flight and that was every seat occupied.  Ross got to sit in the copilot seat which he was thrilled with and was making jokes the whole way….all though it entertained the people in the plane the pilot didn’t seemed too pleased.  Just a short jump over, the flight only lasted 30 minutes and even though it was raining the whole way, it was pretty smooth.

Haines is not a port of call for the Carnival Spirit, all though some other cruise lines do call there.  There is room for one ship to dock.  Haines is/was home to one of the first military installation of the U.S. which is FT. Seward.  We were visiting this town as it is very close to Skagway…bout 15 miles as the eagle flies and we run about 4 different excursions near the town of Haines.

This is the town of Haines.

We greeted by our hosts in Haines and began our adventures.  We quickly learned that these excursions over to Haines are great for those who want to see nature in the wild.  Haines is home to The Bald Eagle Preserve which is a massive piece of protected land that the eagles like to hunt in during the salmon season.  Not only will you see the mighty bald eagles in this area, you’ll also have pretty good opportunities to see moose and bears in this area….this whole trip we have been arguing over what is the plural of moose?  We’ve had some pretty funny answers since our group comes from all over: England, Belgium, South Africa, Australia, & America.  Some of them include Mice, Moosi, Mooses and more.

Both of these tours that go through the eagle preserve are Jetboat & the Float Trip.  The Float trip you go in Rubber Rafts down the Chilkat River.  Your guide does all the work with the paddles.  You just sit along the edges and have your cameras ready to shoot the wildlife.

An example of one of the float trip rafts.

The Jetboat Tour used powered Jetboats to go up the Chilkat river which usually has a better chance of seeing moose if that’s what you are looking for.  In fact our guides let us know that last season there were over 1500 moose sightings on this excursion.   That’s a lot of moosies.

 


Eagles are usually pretty easy to spot with the white heads.  It almost looks like golf balls are in the trees.

Now the last one I will mention for going over towards Haines is the Glacier Point Tour.  This goes over to Davidson Glacier by way of Canoe.  All though there’s too much snow and ice there now for them to take us over there, I have this pic from last season when I was on the Fam trip then.

With this tour you will ride the ferry over near Haines, take a shore nature walk through the forest and then board these large canoes and paddle out to the face of Davidson Glacier.

One highlight of our trip to Haines is that the sun finally poked it’s head out and the view was incredible.

The view from our “Bates” like motel.  The spring is definitely coming.

Our hosts were very nice in showing us around and we had a great time here.  But we would not gather any moss as we would be on the move for the next day. We were up early for breakfast and all though there is no Waffle House in Haines, there is a great little diner call the Bamboo Room which had all the elements of a Waffle House.  Had a great breakfast, biscuits and GRAVY!!! Then we were back to the airport.

We were flying to Skagway via Helicopter thanks to our friends who run the helicopter excursions in Skagway.  They too offer similar helicopter type excursions like the ones in Juneau.  So if you miss out on the chance to do this type of activity in one port you can always have another chance in another.

Now as I mentioned in the beginning Skagway is a lot of fun because it is full of history and the past comes alive in this town.  Skagway was the starting point for the great gold rush of 1898 in the Yukon.  Many great stories of the propectors are interesting to learn about during your stay.  I love this kind of stuff.  It’s like having the history channel in 3D!

The oldest running excursion in Alaska started  in Skayway and is still running today.  It’s the street car tour.  Now all though Skayway is only 4 blocks wide & 23 blocks long, there is so much to learn about this town.  So hop on the Street Car and their in character drivers will take you all around and show you the town in just 2 hours.  Very entertaining…..


Our guide Elsie telling us about the demise of the Famous “Soapy Smith” shot by the town hero Frank Reid.

 

If you want to strike it rich you can also do the Gold Dredge where folks in period costumes will tell you all about the Gold Dredge and how to pan for gold.

Above is the gang learning how to pan at the Gold  Dredge and then Ross showing off his big find.  Turned out to be $47.70 worth.  With the price of gold on the rise, this stop sure could pay off.

Another area that people can see period style costumes and entertainment is Liarsville.  This tent city is where the base camp was where prospectors would get their supplies together before heading up the white pass trail to go into the Yukon.  You can also pan for gold here as well as check out a show & see the full campsite.  Including the general store, Barber tent, press, tent, & the madam’s tent..where $5 can get you 15 minutes.


Got another day in Skagway tomorrow..  We’ll bring you those adventures as they come.
Until tomorrow…Chris

I want to thank Bubba again. I know what its like to tour from early morning to late at night and then try and write ……………. especially has Bubba has not been able to eat any Grits for the last few days. He did walk into a breakfast place in Juneau and ask the waitress “d’yall server Grits?”……the waitress replied……………sure, we serve everyone, sitdown.

Now, what am I going to do with my sister Suedrip who seems to be enjoying spilling the beans about me and Alan. She tried to mask it with the “I am so proud of my big brother” routine but deep down I know she is loving a chance to tell thousands and thousands of people all about me. I therefore feel the need to warn her that should any other stories of my past emerge on my thingy I shall reveal everything about a certain function she and her hairdresser/cable TV friend Debbie attended ………………..in fancy dress…………………so Sue Drip……….you have been warned.

I love Denmark…………I love the people’s honesty…………their love of drinking, the fact that history shows their army was crap and never won a war……………..even today our guide said that Rhode Island could take them. Most of all I love their sense of humor and their ability to laugh at themselves.

Now, what what I do if I had just a day in Copenhagen…………….that’s a tough one…………I love the tour today to the Palaces of Zeeland……………the canal boat was a great and relaxing way to see it all…………….however……………I think for me it would be the Wonderful Copenhagen or Royal Copenhagen tours. These tours visits the must sees………..The Little Mermaid ……….The Royal Palace for the changing of the guard………….Tivoli Gardens and so much more. With Wonderful Copenhagen you also get free time to shop or to enjoy more at Tivoli Gardens

Joking aside you have to try the Herring and drink a Carlsberg to wash it down ………….those are my hot tips. Taking a shore excursion from the ship is the best way to do all this………….not because I want this blog thingy to be all about tours but the fact that it’s true that the guides will show you their city and their pride and passion will be something which will further enhance your time. I will answer questions at the end of the trip I promise.

So, it’s now 9:35 pm and tomorrow we have a flight with Air Blue…………who…………..at 8 am to Helsinki, Finland. This means the alarm sounds at 5:45am…………….bugger.

One more thing about Denmark ………….. everyone has the same name………..the men especially. They are called Hans, Eric or Lars………………I mean everyone ……………it’s like in Grand Cayman………….if you stand in the main street and shout “hey, Mr. Boden,” thousand men will say “What?” in unison.

Teachers………………they should be paid a million dollars…………….I know my dad was one and all of mine were excellent and wonderful caring people but tonight I am sure I will dream of Mrs. A Martin and Mr. B Wakenen – Reynolds. I never knew their first names and although I think I had a good education those two made my Biology and English classes a living hell ………….. and…………….if I met them today………….and I thought I could get away with it……………..I would probably sneak into Mrs. Martin’s house and cut of those mole hairs and as for Mr. Biology man…………..well…………..I would probably buy a Great Dane ……………. feed it ten bars of Exlax and then hold his favorite slipper under his bottom and wait for the flood gates to open.

I will leave you with some photos…………….by the way; the one of the finished product from my glass blowing will be posted soon.

Good Night.

Your friends,
John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.