Today in Copenhagen: at about 13 o’clock on Friday the 13th, Finnair flight 666 took off to fly to HEL (Helsinki). The (regularly scheduled) flight arrived on time, safe and sound. Alas, this was the last flight to Helsinki with this number. Finnair is said to have rearranged their flight numbers, so soon there will be no more flight 666s to HEL.
(These pictures are from Wednesday). We made a stop at Lake Lenore on Wednesday. Lake Lenore is a long, narrow lake (8 mi long, 15ft deep) formed by the Missoula Floods in the lower Coulee just north of the town of Soap Lake. There is a trail that leads up to caves in the basalt rock.
Driving further up north on Highway 17 brings one to Dry Falls, named for the massive waterfalls that existed there during the Pleistocene Epoch, when ice sheets and glaciers covered huge parts of Earth’s surface. This area was at the southern end of the Cordilleran ice sheet, and the melting of the glaciers carved out the coulees in the basalt rock that we see today.
We stayed over in the town of Omak on Wednesday night, and made our way back to Seattle on Thursday over the North Cascades* with Highway 20. It’s about a 5 hr drive without stops, to go from Omak to Twisp, Winthrop, Newhalem, Darrington and then with I-5 (or I-405) to Seattle. It was a crisp morning when we started back from Omak (47 °F/ 8°C), but back in Seattle it was a record warm day for Sept 28 at (85°F/ 29 °C).
*The Cascade Range or ‘Cascades’ is a major mountain range of western North America, extending from southern British Columbia in Canada through Washington State and Oregon and into Northern California.
Here are pictures from Friday and Saturday on Hood Canal. Hood Canal is a body of water with a bend in its southern end, that separates Kitsap peninsula from the Olympic peninsula. The Olympic peninsula is a large arm of land that lies between Seattle and the Pacific Ocean.
We stopped by Point No Point in Hansville on Friday morning, before catching the Bainbridge ferry back to Seattle. Point No Point was named as such by Charles Wilkes during the United States Exploring Expedition of Puget Sound in 1841. (It does not appear to stick out from the surrounding land mass from a distance).
Yes, it’s a real name: Cape Disappointment, north of the Columbia river and on the southwestern edge of Washington State. The cape was named on April 12, 1788 by British fur trader John Meares who was sailing south from Canada in search of trade. After a storm, he turned his ship around just north of the Cape and therefore just missed the discovery of the Columbia River.
We made our way there today with short hikes to two lighthouses in the area: the North Head Lighthouse, and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.
So : no nuclear test blasts on Friday in North Korea (good), during the Day of the Sun military parade. The Rachel Maddow Show (daily news and opinion TV show) reported that the three-times-a-week flights from Beijing on Air China into Pyongyang has been suspended, though.
That still leaves the option of going there with Air Koryo, on a Soviet-era airplane (no jeans, no talking to locals, no traveling solo). As the Koryo Tours website notes : Travelling with us to Pyongyang, and beyond, is something you’ll remember forever.
United Airlines got extensive and extremely bad press today, for the brutal way they treated a passenger on a Chicago to Louisville flight on Sunday. The passenger was a doctor that had already boarded, and refused to give up his seat voluntarily (for a United Airlines employee); the doctor said he had patients to see the next morning.
The Chicago Airport Police came on board, and soon violently dragged him off the airplane. The passenger suffered injuries to his face in the process. The other passengers were just shocked. Some had recorded it and posted the incident on Facebook and Twitter. Adding insult to injury, the United Airlines CEO issued a cold-blooded ‘apology’ on Monday : “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers”. Right. As a Twitter user noted : United made a business decision that that doctor’s humanity was worth less than $800. Make them pay for that. Said another tweet : ‘After what your goons did to a passenger on #flight3411, I will never fly with United again. There is NO excuse’.
(Tue 4/11/2017): from Thatcher A. Stone writing on CNN.com: Flying for vacation travel or work on a modern US carrier’s plane can be enjoyable and pleasant. Just do what you are told by the crew. And, to fulfill their part of the bargain, airlines need to follow the rules and treat passengers who get bumped fairly.
If United had taken a senior gate agent and brought him onto the airplane and said to the doctor, “here is our written policy about denied boarding. I know you are in a seat, but you are mistaken that we can’t remove you. But guess what? You will get refunded whatever you paid if we can get you to your destination within an hour and if it takes longer you could get up to 400 percent.”
He would likely have gotten up and gotten off the plane in a second.
I love to unpack my bags and dig out all the souvenirs, wedged in between my clothes. On this trip, I just bought a few small things, resisted buying a Swiss watch or another Swiss army knife (I al-ready have one, anyway). I eyed a beautiful mechanical music box called ‘1865’ made by Reuge, but at some US$3,000 it was out of the question.
The St Bernard with the keg is hand-carved from sustainable Swiss limewood. It was made in the village of Brienz that has a long wood-carving tradition.
The coffee mug is from Swiss porcelain manufacturer Langenthal, named after the town of Langenthal where its factory was established in 1906.
I also scanned in one of my train tickets, just to see what the turquoise and white patterned background would look like, enlarged : looks interesting, right? I think the pattern would look great for bathroom tiles!
I made it to Frankfurt airport by train and will soon board my Icelandair flight to Seattle, with a stop in Reykjavik. I took the train from Zürich to Frankfurt airport. My travel plan for Zürich Hbf > Frankfurt Airport called for a change of trains at Mannheim. The second train departure, to take me from Mannheim to Frankfurt airport, was canceled due to maintenance issues, though. ‘I know what your question is already’, said the conductor as I called him over to ask what my options were. It turned out there was another train just 4 minutes behind us, which is the one that I got onto, to get me to Frankfurt airport.
Well, I made it to Bern after all, on my last day. My visit really was too short to check into any of the museums – including Einstein’s old house. (Reviewers on-line rate it so-so, though). Also, my stop at the Swiss Mint was disappointing : there is no store on site; they only have an on-line store. But hey – now I know what the city looks like up close, and what to come back for at another time!
I wanted to just post these two pictures of the beautiful Church of St. Leodegar in Lucerne. It was just after 6 o’clock when I took the pictures.
[From Wikipedia]. The church is the most important church, and a landmark in the city of Lucerne. It was built in parts from 1633 to 1639 on the foundation of the Roman basilica which had burnt in 1633. This church was one of the few built north of the Alps during the Thirty Years War and one of the largest and art history rich churches of the German late renaissance period.
My time in Switzerland is running out, and this morning I thought : you cannot leave here and not see a little of the Swiss Alps!
What to do? Luckily, I ran into a great tip on-line, as for how to go about it when in Zurich, to get to the mountains (and that’s what I did) –
1. Take the train from Zürich to Arth-Goldau.
2. Take the Mt Rigi cogwheel train* up the mountain to the top.
3. Take in the scenery (and of course: take pictures).
4. Take the cogwheel train down to Vitznau.
5. Take a boat to Lucerne.
6. Walk around in Altstadt Lucerne.
7. Take the train back to Zürich.
*From the website : ‘No other mountain railway in the Alps has a longer history than this one. The Vitznau – Rigi Kulm cogwheel railway opened in 1871, making it Europe’s first mountain railway. The journey was, and still is, an experience in itself’.