My days at Sea ended

Dear Bloggers,

Once again it has been a really long time since I wrote my blog about my old job as a sailor…and I think I have come to realize the I’m just not one of those people who is a very good and regular blogger. Maybe it’s that I try to do my blogs to perfect and I will put too much detail into my posts…then they become too long.

However I did not want to leave this blog as an old sailorman that ended up landbased and would feel incomplete….I've had the feeling that my job at sea all of a sudden had come to an end and I walked around being unemployed and had to go search for a job that wasn't like evryone elses. I felt for awhile that i had failed and unfinished my job that I loved so much. So I decided to do my best and find a new one, A second kind of lasting love….

So here is the short version of whats going on with me now….as I wrote in my former blogs, I started my new job with a temps office and learned how to be a bus driver on commuter busses close to home that was my first contract with them. As I was just there for the Summer but I stayed on until Newyears. I applied for a new contract with a different temps office for the same bus company but in the area of Groningen. The start was maybe quite rough but I learned quickly and some of the elder drivers told me, just do the best you can and don't be afraid to ask. 

I enjoyed the busy student routes and I found my way in most of the areas. During the seventh contract I got employed by the company at Qbuzz (the buscompany is one of the smallest ones in the country) …but then got transferred to the city of Groningen (the largest region and the biggest in the Northeren fleet!) Eventhough everything was better on the newest and largest depot I was not really happy here. (I enjoyed the old and quite a bit smaller depot and getting my own locker and little safetybox) I love the raw personalities of the drivers here as they are a smaal group and deal with the situations how they are crossing their paths. But let us go back to my goood old days at sea:

I have been sailing on the Mediterranean sea….with cruises starting out from Venice and Barcelona…and we docked in ports like Livorno (Pisa and Florence), Piraeus/Athens, Rome, and Naples and in Greece we saw some of the Islands(Santorini, Lesbos, zakhyntos.)…also Palma Spain (which is one of the most beautiful islands that I have ever seen). Also I got a chance to stop in Odessa in the Ukrain and Yalta on the Island Crimea, Limasol on Cyprus and we stopped over on Gibraltar and in Porto in Portugal as we were sailing up the Atlantic coast towards the North of Europe.

Also, my social life on the Astor was much more exciting than on any other ship or any other job. I actually kind of loved the job and hated on the same time over there….and though it did not work very well working long hours and going ashore and party after work…it was somewhat nice at the time as well. 

I visited so many amazing cities and places….in Venice Italy of course the Gondoleras…in Istanbul the Blue Mosque, well in Rome ROME!…I mean everything in Rome is beautiful…old…elaborate, and historical! And Athens the city of the Olympics and the Acropolis The tour starts at the temple of Olympian Zeus (6th c. B.C.), one of the largest in antiquity and close by Hadrian's Arch (131 A.D.), which forms the symbolic entrance to the city. From there, we were walking along Dionysou Areopaghitou Street (on the south side of the Acropolis) you pass the ancient Theatre of Dionysos (5thc. B.C.) where most of the works by Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylos and Aristophanes were performed.

Continuing, you will reach the ruins of the Asklepieion (5th c. B.C.) and the Stoa of Eumenens (2th c. B.C.) and from there the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, which was built in 161 A.D. and is nowadays the venue of the performances of the Atheus Festival.

From there you climb up to the sacred rock of the Acropolis, the site of some of the most important masterpieces of worldwide architecture and art, the most renowned of which is the Parthenon temple. Apart from this, also impressive are the Propylaea. The temple of the Athene Nike and the Erechtheion, while you shouldn't skip a visit to the Museum, located close to the Parthenon. Moreover, from the rock you have an impressive view of the city. My advise hire a tourguide and you will understand so much more about all this.

The Atlantic Coast, …with all of the gorgeous weather in gulf of Biscay, High winds and rolling ship, and the amazingly beautiful Island of Guernsey. I could not believe that after waiting all that time…and working on a few ships…I had finally made it to the Northsea in my part of Europe to see some of the most charming places I have ever had the privilege of visiting! 

However, as exciting and beautiful as my time onboard was….I was not really enjoying the job on the ship anymore. Honestly I don’t know if I ever really loved being a waiter on a ship with no youth and having the felling sometimes that I was there mental counselor…not that the job is that bad…it’s just as a person with a service education as a background…and being a bartender at heart…I really wanted to do more with serving cocktails and logdrinks…and all the other things that we offered… I got the feeling somedays that we were basically their shrink. As they were telling me things as I was their therapist….after a little while it becomes annoying. 

Plus on a ship the size of the Astor…with lots of elder couple’s (I think in high season we had over 50)…there was almost never ever drama and conflict so it was boring like …. I was tired of that too. Then there was ship life itself…though I loved being out in ports…I was always sad when it was time to head back to the ship and get back to work after a busy and sometimes exhausting day of roaming the streets of Europe. I just wanted to have some time to decompress,reflect and relax.…and on a ship like this I did not have that.  

Having all these reasons and probably more….I decided in March 1995 just before they began with sailing down South and do the Atlantic Crossing I offered my resignation to the Hotelmanager and stopped my contract I left the ship and the feelings were double I would miss it and on the other hand I was reunited with my love. My search for a job started again and I started to do something that I had been dreaming about for years.

I went on an interview to sail on a ferry again closer to home and still being overseas, in between the countries The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The interview was in Amsterdam …and I heard back from them within a few months that I had the job and if I wanted it, I had to jump on today a rough start but that is typically me. I was so excited…because for over the last few years this was my dream to find closure for other things…I had been wanting to actually move to a totally different continent, and experience what it would be like to live in big country like Australia this dream failed unfortunatly as I enjoyed life there but there were no jobs due to economic recession and we were just trying to become actually residents of that country. (So no Australian girlfriend or someone from another foreign country would have become my wife or anything like that). 

Therefore…I knew that my time on the Astor…would not be my last time on a ship (at least full time for a long period.)…because in March 1995 I came back from Bremerhaven in Germany and found a job in a local tobaccofactory for the time being to pay the bills. And next to it I had a job in the weekends in a local discotheque (I travelled home on my own dime at that because I ended up shortening my contract)…and started my preparation for the new start of my life! It took a while to recover and fill up my resources.

So in April 1996, I had to come back home after a early morning shift and prepare for my new job in the DFDS company as a bartender and waiter. A bit of a short notice so we quickly bought some shoes and utillities for my uniform. I sailed for this company on several cotracts,jobs and ships. I started as a bartender and waiter, as a shop assistant, night security guard, restaurantwaiter and running the Guest Service Center. I'ne sailed on the King of Scandinavia, Prince of Scandinavia and on the “new” King of Scandinavia (renamed nowadays as King Seaways)

I am grateful for the experiences and the relationships my time on the ships brought, I wished that I was able to chronicle it in a better, and more detailed way…but I hope this blog has been helpful to someone. I will keep my blog open for anyone who still finds my posts useful…and I may (I’m not 100% sure) start a blog about my time on the M/S Astor. 

If I do…I will certainly post the pages here…so those of you who are interested can follow my journeys half way across the world and the intriguing world of the lives on a cruiseship. I probably have to split up the story in several posts and I'll promise that they will follow eachother on a montly base. Mylife on the ferry has been told in earlier posts,

Thanks to every reader for coming along on the journey…it has certainly been an interesting one to say the least…and I have been happy to share this with you!

The Old Sailor,


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