When I was child, living along the beautiful and haunting shores of Lake Michigan, I fondly remember spending many an evening curled in bed with sandy sheets. As the light crept over the horizon, spreading its delicate orange radiance across our sweet smelling garden, my dearest friend Sarah and I would fiercely peddle our dirt bikes up Sheridan Road to the Winnetka Beach Club. From early morning to mid afternoon, our days were spent rigging and unrigging our sleek little Sunfishes, eager to feel our bodies soar over the water at, what we considered, break-neck speeds.
Mind you, these wee little sailboats in Europe are considered the training wheels for toddlers interested in learning the very basic rules of the sea. But in the States, at least back in the 80’s, this was my main mode of adolescent transportation in the summer, and I loved it. Even more enticing were the cool nights spent collecting sea glass, or the forbidden shadowy swim without parental supervision. Water will always symbolize a right of passage for me, or more accurately, a sign of transition.
Consequently, you can imagine my childish excitement to take my first cruise tomorrow!! Having originally been asked to host 3 Iberian wine tastings in exchange for 2 free tickets aboard the National Geographic Explorer, we are now obligated to 1 Iberian wine tasting, along with a short talk during each dinner about the Iberian wines chosen with the meal. “Tough” work, I know.
We’ll be giving you a play by play of the trip, but for now, allow me to give you a little background. The trip is organized by a company called Lindblad Expeditions. The company was originally founded in the 1950’s by Lars-Eric Lindblad (definitely go to the link – great story), who is considered the father of “eco-tourism”. His expeditions were to far and exotic lands such as Easter Island, the Galápagos, the Amazon, Papua New Guinea, China and Bhutan, where he created experiences of understanding and appreciation for both the culture and the land. In 1979, Lars’ son, Sven-Olof Lindblad, created a division of the company dedicated to educational travel expeditions, allowing learned people – such as us wine folk – to educate passengers on Iberian wine.
According to their website, Lindblad Expeditions believe that, “All the animals and land throughout the planet are held in trust by us. We have no right to destroy or change this heritage so that it becomes unrecognizable. We have a duty to pass the planet along to future generations in as unspoiled a way as possible. This requires intelligence, foresight, understanding and creative effort.â€ Not bad for mission statement, if I do say so myself.
The entire 17 day cruise began on September 28th from Copenhagen and ends on October 13th in Lisbon. Ryan and I will start in Le Cote Basque, France around mid-day tomorrow, thoroughly enjoying the last leg of the expedition.
Our itinerary is as follows:
- October 8 Le Cote Basque, France
- October 09 Bilbao, Spain
- October 10 La Coruña/Santiago de Compostela
- October 11 Islas Cies and Bayona
- October 12 Oporto, Portugal
- October 13 Lisbon
Stay tuned for our high sea adventures. Mind you, an Internet connection might be iffy, so be patient with us if we find ourselves in the middle of the sea with our laptops wrapped in plastic looking for a connection.
Cheers…or, arrrr mattey,
Gabriella and Ryan Opaz