Dispatches From Abroad: Sublime Sweden, An Expedition In Australasia & Pondering Alaska Through Poetry | TravelResearchOnline

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Dispatches From Abroad: Sublime Sweden, An Expedition In Australasia & Pondering Alaska Through Poetry

I am writing these words on a Tuesday evening in the south of Sweden. It is 9 p.m., about 30 minutes before sunset and a few hours before the sky gets pitch dark.

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On many days during the summer and spring, we can see cruise ships passing in Oresund, the body of water that separates Denmark and Sweden. © 2014 Ralph Grizzle

It is achingly beautiful here, and I find it fulfilling to live in a region where the beauty rewards me with a sense of euphoria at nearly every turn. There are moments most everyday that cause me to gasp in awe. This is a place that literally can — and does — take your breath away.

Moments of breathlessness: You may be admiring the texture of the light or gazing at the endlessly rolling fields of golden rapeseed, which produces canola oil and poses a resplendent contrast against the deep blue sky, like the yellow that intersects the blue on the Swedish flag. Or you may simply be sinking your teeth into what are arguably the world’s best strawberries. They are produced here in Sweden.

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Bicycling last week in the south of Sweden. © 2014 Chris Stanley

If you’ve not been here, I encourage you to visit, and you can do so on one of many cruise ships. You just missed Seabourn Quest’s call on Helsingborg a few weeks ago, but if you hurry, you can still get on Crystal Symphony, as she makes her way from Reykjavik to Copenhagen on Crystal’s Icelandic Passage Voyage 4213, stopping June 23 in Helsingborg.

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Twenty minutes of pedaling from the sea takes me to beautiful countryside like this. © 2014 Ralph Grizzle

While I absorb the beauty of Sweden, Aaron Saunders is reminiscing about his two-week voyage on Silversea’s Silver Discoverer. Aaron battled fierce heat, feared crocodiles and other lethal creatures, marveled at the Komodo dragon and joined in cultural activities on his expedition cruise to The Kimberley and Indonesia.

You can reminisce with Aaron by following the links from this post. Aaron’s day-by-day account makes for good armchair reading, and you can do that in an air-conditioned room as Aaron sweats it out on his journey. Fortunately, Silver Discoverer not only has air conditioning but also a pool — and your own personal butler to hand you your towel when you emerge from the cool water.

Less oppressed by the heat, but without a butler, Gail Jessen appears to have been inspired by poetry as she explores the Great Land. A new writer for our Live Voyage Reports, Gail is penning her own poetic missives from Star Princess as she files daily from her explorations of Alaska. For Aaron and me, who have been doing this for awhile, it’s good to hear someone say that the work of writing posts each day is not easy. Gail has had some late nights posting her reflections of the day. I particularly enjoyed today’s report from Ketchikan and also lessons learned about internet on cruise ships.

In a few weeks, the heavens above south Sweden will not totally darken at all between sunset at 10 p.m. and sunrise at 4:22 a.m. As I have done on many of those long evenings, I will walk out the front door after midnight and admire the pastel streaks of sunlight brushed across the semi-dark sky.

Never lost on me is the appreciation of how fortunate I am to be standing 727 miles below the Arctic Circle, happy and content as ever to be in this enchanted land.

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Swedish strawberries are the best in the world. © 2014 Ralph Grizzle

An avid traveler and an award-winning journalist, Ralph Grizzle produces articles, video and photos that are inspiring and informative, personal and passionate. A journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ralph has specialized in travel writing for more than two decades. To read more cruise and port reviews by Ralph Grizzle, visit his website at www.avidcruiser.com

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