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Travel Writer Yvonne Horn

Unusual Cruises

Unusual Cruises, Norway

The captain's voice crackled over the MS Nordnorge's intercom: "In five minutes we will be crossing the Arctic Circle. Please expect a bump." Who said Norwegian's don't have a sense of humor? Something I'd suspected lacking after viewing Norway's famed artist Edvard Munch's paintings at Oslo's National Museum a few day's before, where his pale, drab, sad-looking people stared back at me as if they'd experienced only winter darkness and had somehow missed the twenty-four hour summer sun.

The season of full-time daylight had barely passed when I stepped aboard the MS Nordnorge on its journey down the coast of Norway. It was August 1. The Midnight Sun shines between May 20 and July 29. Close enough; I still kept forgetting to go to bed......

"Norway A Coastal Voyage" 
Bronze, SATW Western Chapter
Writing Awards 2006

It is daybreak on the Sea of Japan and I have the top-most deck of the Clipper Odyssey to myself. In the distance, misty mountains pile upon misty mountains on their way to wade into the sea, looking all the world as if transported from an ancient Japanese scroll. Our watery path - herringbone-patterned by the Odyssey's pulsing engines - turns from steel gray to silver to salmon to rose as the sun clears the mountains to emerge as a brilliant round of red, identical to that centering the flag of Japan fluttering aft.

I am circling a marked "jogging path" of but 70 meters. Twenty-two times around equal a mile if I extend the designated path to round a line-up of teak deck chairs forward and to clear the edge of a stack of Zodiaks aft. Sixty-six times around complete my rather dizzying, daily, three-mile ritual aboard the small-ship Odyssey - a morning ritual that by midway on this twelve-day cruise through the islands of Japan I've come to think of as some sort of weird, meditative, Zen experience......

"Sailing into Japan"

The moon led the way, a perfect crescent, identical to that on the Turkish flag but now floating in an ink-black sky instead of upon a rectangle of red. Behind us lay the twin curves of Bodrum bay, twinkling with lights, a double harbor separated by the ruins of a great 15th century Crusader castle.

I am aboard Windstar Cruises’ Wind Spirit, our sails set toward the nearby Greek island of Rhodes, on a classical journey steeped in antiquity, atumble with downed marble columns, cradled with ancient amphitheatres, paved with intricate mosaics......

“Aegean Odyssey”
Sunday Morning Post Magazine,
Hong Kong

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