Eight Days on the Atlantic

Tomorrow, I will set sail from Gran Canaria, hopefully cross the Atlantic Ocean in eight days and arrive at Salvador de Bahia in Brazil on 26 November 2015.

The ship with which I embark on this adventure is the Sovereign, a cruise ship being relocated from the Mediterranean to South America and on which I therefore managed to catch an inexpensive ride.


But before you all turn green with envy, let me tell you landlubbers that the Atlantic is different from the Mediterranean not only in size. That would be like calling a lion a larger squirrel. No, the Atlantic Ocean is ferocious, deep, dangerous and the grave of thousands who attempted this passage before me. The most dangerous time is in November, when the winter storms are on a rampage and every sensible captain stays at home.

Forget your cruise clichés! It will rather look like this:

atlantic storm

Or take a look at this video

and imagine this thunderous rocking for eight long days! And eight nights, when you won’t even see the incoming waves before they crash over your head. My longest ship passages thus far have been in the English Channel and even there I was scared during the storms, although I could have swum to Britain or France in an emergency. In the Atlantic I will be thousands of miles from the nearest shore. Any rescue mission would come too late.

This is what the inside of the ship will look like:

How am I supposed to go to the bathroom like this?

No wonder that our emigrated European ancestors never dared to return to Europe. After this week, I will probably stay away from the high seas for a long time, too.

In the last months I have talked a lot about this crossing, and the first reactions I receive fall mostly into three different categories: 1. “Wow, this is great! Are there still any tickets?” 2. “Oh, oh, do you have some medicine against sea-sickness?” 3. “Will you have internet there?” – The last question always knocks my socks off. Seriously? Someone is emigrating, with only one backpack, to a continent where he has never been before, without any fixed plans of returning, without a job, without any security, on a ship, across the Atlantic Ocean, and some people’s first question is the one about internet? This internet thing has to be really addictive.

I, for my part, shall enjoy the eight days of seclusion. I am curious what this will do to me, whether it will become boring, or whether I will use the time for reading, if there are interesting people among the passengers and the crew, if the weather and the ocean are always the same or if they differ from day to day, what kind of thoughts I will develop in such an environment, and so on.

So you won’t read anything from me in the coming eight days. But don’t worry! If such a large ship sinks, it will be in the news. As long as there is nothing in the news, everything will be fine. – On the other hand, it won’t be in the news if only one passenger falls overboard. Mhh, well, anyway don’t worry!

Film recommendations for this week: The Perfect Storm, Titanic and The Poseidon Adventure.

(Auf Deutsch.)

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But which ship is mine?

As the faithful reader will know, tomorrow is the day for my adventurous departure. I will go to Brazil by boat and I have already been on Gran Canaria for a few days, where I will embark.

I went to the port in Las Palmas to look for my ship. This was not as easy as I had thought, because here people have more boats than cars.


How is one supposed to find the right boat among these thousands of vessels?

I was asking around in seedy sailors’ bars, when one old skipper finally had pity with me, went with me to one of the piers, pointed out the rustiest, most decrepit ship in the whole harbor and said: “This one, young man, will take you to Brazil. If you are lucky.”

rusty ship

But maybe he meant one of the cruise ships in the background.

(Auf Deutsch.)

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Everything flies at Half-Mast

After the terrorist attacks in Paris, flags fly at half-mast in places as far away as Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.


But reading the comments and listening to part of the usual post-attack debate, I have the impression that many brains have been lowered to half-mast, too.

(Auf Deutsch.)

Posted in France, Gran Canaria, Photography, Politics, Spain, Terrorism, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged | 8 Comments

Make-Up for a House

“She is trying really hard to attract a new tenant.”

“Yes, I believe she got herself some fake windows.”

“Five of them even!”

fake windows

(Photographed in Podgorica, Montenegro.)

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“The rector wants to see you!”

As a student at Belgrade University, you follow such an invitation with pleasure, as it takes you to one of the most beautiful buildings of the city.

Rektorat Uni Belgrad

And after receiving the surprising news that your scholarship was granted, you can relax in studentski park across the street. In the direct vicinity of the philosophical and the philological faculties, you not only meet beautiful, but even intelligent girls. When I sat there, I only made the acquaintance of a young man and an elderly couple though. We talked so long that I spent almost the whole afternoon there, discussing literature, politics, economics and life with strangers.

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No risk, no fun

risk your life

Photographed at Kalemegdan Park in Belgrade, Serbia.

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What does the future hold for Putin?

He will manage a pub in Jerusalem, wedged between a shop displaying the star-spangled banner in its logo and one in Jamaican colors.

Putin Pub Jerusalem

Posted in Israel, Photography, Politics, Russia, Travel | Tagged , | 4 Comments