All over the world artists choose to create directly on the walls, buildings and streets. This series is dedicated to those works of art that eventually get painted over. Generally this artform, graffiti aka street art is unappreciated and thought of as a disfiguration to the wall it’s placed upon.
One morning, early for a musician, my cabin phone rang a few years ago and it was my buddy DJ JT. He’s been cruising for several years now and has “been there done that” just about everywhere on the globe. When you’re on a ship and JT calls with an idea to do something, you get up and just go. No questions asked.
Our trip up the Northwestern coast of Norway was just one of those situations. JT had been there and knew of some of the best things to see and do along the way. In a cruise ship environment, often times it’s the crew around you that make or break an entire contract, not just one day.
When JT called, I could still hear the engines and thrusters going and I really didn’t know why I needed to race up to the open deck. But I put on a warm sweater, my name tags and trainers and ran up to deck 17 to see what all the fuss was about.
The ship was sailing down a somewhat narrow channel between two very large cliffs. There was a fine mist and a light fog all about us. On the shore you could see a tiny bright yellow cottage standing all alone against the cliffs and the shores. Breathtaking. JT grabbed my by the shoulders and said, I’m not showing you that little house. Look over there, and he spun me around just as the ship was nearing these gushing roaring waterfalls. It was the Seven Sisters… called such because there are seven tightly woven paths that each of these waterfalls followed down the cliffs to meet the fjord below. As the ship got closer, I could feel their icy mist hitting me in the face, coating my sunglasses in a dense thick mist.
We walked miles circlingf deck 17 many times taking in the natural beauty of the falls and fjords. (In general walking around a Princess cruises ship 1.5-2.5 times, it’s a mile.)
Norway really is a nature lovers paradase. The entire country is interlinked with hiking and biking trails, different rail lines that take you out into the far reaches of their country.
Did I ever tell you the story about Jake, myself and comedian Tom Briscoe in Dublin on Saint Patty’s Day? Well if you can imagine two rockers and the king of getting fired from jobs comedy ripping up the secret speakeasies, rocking out at the hidden gems in Temple Bar and drinking a bunch of Guinness and all the Irish coffees Ireland has to offer… You’ve got a great start for the day and be about 1/2 right.
A couple of years ago while we were touring the British Isles, we were fortunate enough to land in Dublin right on the blessed day. What’s funny is in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day it’s sort of just another day, everyone celebrates but there’s no 10 AM drinking silliness with leprechauns and parades. (Don’t get me wrong we found plenty of tourists in Dublin willing to live up to that side of St. Patty’s Day!)
We started the day on the second floor of Mr. Briscoe’s favorite Dublin pub, O’Neill’s, which happens to be in the heart of Dublin right near to Trinity College. O’Neill’s offers a carvery… It’s like going to Sunday Dinner, Christmas, New Years Eve, American Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl all in one lovely homey pub. They offer am amazing selection of meats and fish for you to choose from along with tons of traditional sides. Trust me, come hungry and plan on leaving extra full.
After we filled our bellies, we wandered over to the Temple Bar neighborhood. Note: there is an establishment called “Temple Bar Pub” and the name also refers to the neighborhood surrounding the bar. Temple Bar has music pretty much 7 days a week. If you didn’t hear music in the streets, check out the many different bars for local artists performing both traditional Irish music as well as modern pop covers.
Many famous authors and artists hail from Dublin. It is and was a literary mecca for writers. Some very famous and classic authors hail from the fabulous city on the Liffey River like:
James Joyce, Ulysses
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
Bram Stoker, Dracula
and of course Johnathan Swift, Gullivers Travels
Other artists that also hail from Dublin like U2, Bono, Sinead O’Connor all create a bit of tension when spoken about in the local pubs as people are very opinionate about their outspoken political and religious views.
Detroit, Michigan A comeback city set to make good on its promise.
It’s amazing to think that one of my favorite t-shirts & slogans for our fair city throughout most of my life reads, “I’m so BAD I vacation in Detroit”.
When I was growing up, Detroit was notorious for fires, crime, murder, shootings, drugs and violence. Detroit was the murder capitol of the nation. Not exactly something to write home to Mom about. I know that our fair city still has a high murder rate per capita but our local authorities and people are working hard to change this. If you’re coming to town, just be smart, play it safe and keep your whits about.
In the 1980’s we used to drive in to the city for a Tigers ballgame in the now gentrified hipster center aka Corktown. We’d park in a secure lot with a guard, watch the game and hightail it out of Dodge afterward. When I permanently moved to the “Metro-Detroit” area in the 1990’s, my family would not even discuss renting an apartment in the city. It didn’t matter that I wanted to be near Wayne State University. I ended up in a small flat in the blue collar neighborhood of Hazel Park. (Which happens to be the home of the Detroit Free Press 2017 Restaurant of the Year, Mable Grey.) After H.P., I moved around from suburb to suburb, (Troy, Warren, Grosse Pointe Park, Berkley) before finally landing my permanent residence in Royal Oak.
I know, local “Detroiters” are calling me out right now for not actually living in the city proper. This used to be a big thing around here, suburbanites vs the city. As far as borders go, I don’t really care any longer, as long as we have a prospering economy in our area, that’s the really important thing.
If you’ve seen Eminem’s 8 Mile film, you know that is the border road of the city vs the suburbs. Downtown Royal Oak is between 10 & 11 mile roads off Woodward. Our location puts me about 25 minutes from downtown Detroit. Perfect for anything I want to do in all of Metro Detroit. Situated at the junctures Woodward Avenue, I-696 and I-75 freeways, Woodward Ave is a popular corridor. It’s one of our cities main traffic spokes running out from the city center on the Detroit River out to Pontiac & beyond. Where I live, I can get anywhere in the Metro-Detroit area in under an hour, give or take the traffic. (Where else in the world can you live in a somewhat urban environment and do that?)
As we’ve traveled around the world peforming for Princess Cruises, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many people who have an opinion on Detroit based on the media coverage, or one brief experience they had a million years ago, or the state of the American auto industry. I started traveling and performing full time for a living in 2011. Just after the auto industry came to a head with the governmental bail out, the actual city of Detoit then went bankrupt in 2013. I listened to so many folks disrespect our city, talk bad about our hard working people. It really bummed me out to hear that people could make a decision without any first hand experience or actual witness facts.
” In 2015, Detroit was named a Unesco City of Design. But 2017 may be the year promise becomes reality. The new QLine streetcar is expected to open in April, connecting the central Woodward Avenue corridor some 3.3 miles between downtown and the revived New Center area. It passes through Midtown, home to the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the entertainment-focused District Detroit, where a stadium opening this fall will be shared by the Detroit Red Wings and, in a return from the suburbs, the Detroit Pistons. — ELAINE GLUSAC”
I’m excited for the new streetcars. However, I’m equally frustrated by this because we have one short circuit tract downtown already… This one still does not really link the city and it still doesn’t get the suburbanites an easy non-automotive route to the inner parts of our city. Funny that so many of the places we’ve traveled across the globe the public transportation is so easily accessed and obvious to foreigners. Here, Metro Detroiters voted NO in 2016 to an increase in our taxes to help link all of our existing travel systems so that there would be easier public mass transportation. I’m still beside myself.
Yet, here we are, Detroit a top tourist travel destination for 2017.
Coming to Detroit? Want an insiders perspective? Want someone in the know who can show you around? I’m happy to help, just email or facebook me!