March 1, 2022. 62°F/17°C.
I saw nothing and no one except the bed and bathroom until almost noon (shall I pretend it was 11:00 a.m. old time?), despite the lure of an Austrian brunch. The sun was shining brightly, but the sea was rough and I felt worse this morning than I have at any time so far on our cruise. The captain shared later on that the sea swell today was about 12-14 feet (4 meters) on the port side, which is apparently better than if it were starboard, although I don’t know why. Nonetheless, even he acknowledged “rough” seas. I know this cruise diary has chronicled a few seasick days, but I’m still convinced that this is the best way to travel when wanting to visit multiple countries.
At 11:51 a.m. the “stretcher crew” was summoned to Deck 1 over the P.A. System, which can’t be good. There’ll likely be rumours going around the ship as the day progresses, although not by the crew, who are always very protective of guests’ privacy. Last week, another passenger (I can’t remember who) mentioned to us that there’d been a death on board during the Atlantic crossing, but that the body was being stored until Cabo Verde and access to an airport. I have absolutely no idea whether that was true, but we do know that helicopter transport from the middle of the ocean would be prohibitively expensive. That same guest told us burial at sea is prohibited by marine law; I researched that on the web, and it’s not true. Bodies can be buried at sea as long as it is at least 3 miles offshore. Ah, rumours.
The median passenger age on board must be well over 70, with several guests in their 90’s, so it wouldn’t be unusual to have something happen during a 4 and 1/2 month journey. There are enough people with canes, walkers, and unsteady gaits that someone falls on every rough sea day (that one’s not a rumour- it came from an officer who’d know).
Captain Olav reminded us in his noon report that from this point forward we will have very few sea days, with movement between ports happening mostly overnight. HUZZAH!!
“Huzzah” is what the Russians yelled every time they smashed down their empty vodka glasses in the Hulu series The Great (a satirical comedy about Catherine the Great) that we watched last fall. We talked about breakage with the restaurant manager today, when we learned that part of his job, in addition to supervising all the restaurant staff, is managing the inventory of cookware, serving ware, glassware, and cutlery for the whole ship! What breaks the most? As you’d expect, stemmed wineglasses, and water glasses. What disappears the most? Teaspoons! Since they’re the smallest piece of cutlery – even smaller than the butter knives – which makes them the most easily scraped into the bin when prepping items fir the dishwasher.
Tomorrow in Cádiz is another reprovisioning day: fuel, food, and physical items. We’ll be taking on cases and cases of glassware.
Ted checked on me around 12:30 and let me know that the Austrian brunch included Kaiserschmarren, one of my favourite breakfast dishes and one that my grandmother often made: a scrambled/shredded very egg-rich pancake with raisins, topped with powdered sugar and served with a compote on the side. Kaiserschmarren means “king’s mess”, since it involves making a mess out of the batter while it cooks. Apparently it was a favourite of Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria, the “kaiser” of the name.
While I enjoyed TWO helpings of that, Ted described his brunch items, the dessert trolley came by, and an array of specialty coffees were presented. Wow.
Ted’s lunch was a platter shared with his table-mates: a selection of breads including poppy seed rolls, caraway breadsticks, soft pretzels and pumpkin seed bread; a choice of Kürbiscremem Suppe (pumpkin soup)or Wiener Gulasch Suppe (goulash soup); Wiener Schnitzel (veal cutlet with potato salad, lingonberry sauce and lemon) Raücherlachs Schnitte (smoked salmon and cream cheese on rye), Bozner Würstchen Semmel (a spicy bratwurst sandwich), and Kalbsrahm Gulasch (vealgoilash with a paprika and sour cream sauce and bread dumplings)
True to Viennese tradition, the coffees were varied and delicious. A couple of the clever descriptions (for the ones Ted tried) are shown below. Of course, Eiskaffee was also on offer. Unlike North American iced coffee, this “ice coffee” is made by adding a generous scoop of rich ice cream to a cup of strong hot coffee, and topping it with Schlag (whipped cream).
And then there were all the famous Viennese desserts! (What a day to have no appetite)
I felt settled enough by dinner time to eat a light supper, but sadly not settled enough to join our friends for the Thai theme (and the accompanying 4 glasses of wine) at The Chef’s Table. We’ll get together tomorrow after our tours instead.
Tonight Viking presented another guest performer, violinist Jakub Trasak, originally from the Czech Republic and a graduate of both Prague’s Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music. Jakub entertained us on both traditional acoustic and Yamaha electric violin, with everything from Csardas through Orange Blossom Special, to Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, and Coldplay. His watchword was “groovy”!