The Retirees at Sea – Influenza

After a lovely day in Warnemunde and a session of cards and board games we went to dinner. I had been feeling light headed during the afternoon and had no apetite for dinner nor any wish for the after dinner show. We returned to our cabin. There was a full moon as we sailed from Warnemunde (I think it was Warnemunde) and I took my last photos for a couple of days. It was cloudy grey and despite the full moon darkening – just how I felt.

At sometime during the night I started vomiting and had tremendous stomach pain felt hot and the room was swimming. This went on till morning and throughout the next day. The ship was sailing for Oslo in Norway and I had no ability to do anything other than lie in bed. I was now hallucinating, feverish, vomiting and had diarrhea. Kerry nursed me as best she could with a damp washer to bring down my fever. For three days I hallucinated, ate chicken soup, drank water and fitfully slept while Kerry did what she could for me whilst staying sane with short trips from our cabin.

We had plans for Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm all of which were forsaken by Kerry to remain caring for me. After the 3rd day I was able to rise and visit the Infirmary where the doctor confirmed I had influenza and prescribed Tamiflu medication and a half dose for Kerry just to ensure she did not succomb. When in public (travelling to the infirmary each day for tests as to my fitness for my ongoing journey) I had to wear a mask, but otherwise I was confined to my cabin – in isolation. A biohazzard team would visit each day to disinfect the cabin.

So there I remained. Gradually the vomiting and diarrhea ceased but the hallucinations continued until my fever broke. I tried to rise for Copenhagen but there was no chance and Stockholm was the same although I did try and sat outside the cabin on our deck for a short time. Strangely they had an unusual wharf system (at least I think it was Stockholm) and I used my camera for the first time in 3 days.

Kerry was now becoming worried what might happen should my fever not break before Helsinki and our return flight home. She researched hotels in Helsinki and found one within the airport terminal. I was still unable to eat solid food or leave the cabin except for my morning and evening trip to the infirmary. As we sailed into the harbour I was feeling as though something had changed. The hallucinations had stopped and I had a reasonable night sleeping. So I opened the cabin door on our balcony to breath in some of the cool artic air and took these photos of the islands sheltering Helsinki, the multi coloured dressing cabins on one of the outer islands and at last the harbour.

On the morning we docked at Helsinki my fever broke and this was confirmed by the doctor who declared I was no longer infectious and free to go. We were last to leave the ship and Kerry and I travelled directly to the airport to locate the hotel, book a day bed and allow me to rest until our flight very late that night. My fever may have broken but I was weakened by the illness so much so that I slept from Helsinki to Singapore, and again from Singapore to Melbourne and finally home to Brisbane.

So despite the sour end we had a great time and the moral of the story is always have travel insurance!

The Retirees visit Warnemunde Germany

As we left a thick sea mist settled upon the water. Grey surrounded us and moisture hung in the air. the mist followed us for the two days sailing to Warnemunde and the joyous tune of the “Love Boat” blared into the fog. We killed time with cards and board games, feasting on the smorgasbord and other things which I have now forgotten. Little did I know that a sinsiter shadow was following me all that time.

Resting in our cabin I noticed we had a visitor in the form of a small land bird seeking refuge and probably lost in the fog.

The fog disappeared suddenly as we docked at Warnemunde. This is the port for Berlin 3 hours south. as we had spent 5 fantastic days in Berlin we were not considering sitting in a bus or train for 6 hours going to and from Berlin so we tumbled ashore to see what it had to offer. quite frankly I was pleasantly surprised.

From our cabin we could see a warm day rising. However I was now aware that I had a shadow. Warnemunde is a busy port as you might expect. Warnemünde  literally Mouth of the Warnow is a seaside resort and a district of the city of Rostock in Mecklenburg, Germany. It is one of the world’s busiest cruise ports. Founded in about 1200, Warnemünde was for centuries a small fishing village with minor importance for the economic and cultural development of the region. In 1323 Warnemünde lost its autonomous status as it was purchased by the city of Rostock in order to safeguard the city’s access to the Baltic Sea. It was not until the 19th century that Warnemünde began to develop into an important seaside resort.

We walked along the peir towards the railway station and the crossing into the township passing two other cruise ships of similar size to our SS Regal Princess before we encounter our first opportunity to purchase souvenirs. Out front of this establishment was a sand sculpture – why I don’t know exactly but it was very impressive in its artistry and detail.

A lefthand turn through a tunnel and we were out into the township with the rail station behind us. As we walked we encountered various buskers but this one caught my eye as very clever singing “Sitting on the dock of the bay”. the town’s fishing heritage can be seen with the fishing boats lining the canal whilst the new monarch of the seas stand large in the background.

The towns economy depended on fishing for centuries so you would expect some history around that. I found a well preserved fishermans house which had been enlarged with a modern extension to house a museum. The front entrance takes you back in time to when the last of the fishing families lived there. It is very much like someones home at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. as you walk through the home you are lead to the extension and the history of the community. I was impressed with the charm and the stories told by this museum. Like the story of Stephan Jantzen who went to sea at the age of 14. In 1856, he was granted a patent for skipper on a long journey. In the same year, he became captain of the 38-meter Bark “Johannes Keppler”; Jantzen personally commissioned this ship and had shares in this ship, with which he circumnavigated the earth twice in the period from December 1856 to 1866, mostly accompanied by his wife and his firstborn son Magnus. The second son Varelius was born on one of the trips aboard. Both sons of Jantzen later became sailors as well.Jantzen sold his vessel in 1863 and became commander of the local sea rescue stations of the German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked Persons and received numerous awards from Germany, Sweden and Portugal for his bravery and daring in rescuing shipwrecked persons.

I was the only one interested in the fisherman’s house so when I emerged I was all alone. I headed toward the town square and found my co-explorers who were oogling the markets in the square. As is the case in small towns and villages of Europe there was a collection of vendors selling everything from suasages to sauerkraut. We gathered a few items for a platter whilst playing cards on the ship. One item that abound in Germany is white asparagus and they are popular. What was unusal was a pub off the square called the “Captain Bligh” from mutiny on the Bounty fame (a bit of the south pacific in Wandemunde).

The town is on the Baltic Sea coast and has large sandy beaches and a unique beach chair. There is not a lot of wave action but the Germans are at the beach in great numbers. Nearby is the mouth of the river and great lines of ships can be seen sailing into the wharves in the river. We walked down the beach and over to an odd shaped building house an inviting cafe serving odd german beers – a Rostocker for Rod and a Duckstein for me. Having quenched our thirst and sampled the odd beach chairs we moved into the fishing wharves area and the major tourist strip. Still our ship was the largest thing in sight.

We returned to the ship ready to rest play cards and nibble on our market snacks. Relaxing in our cabin I realised how industrial the area around thei town has become. Later that afternoon just as we were readying to sail I saw a naval ship sail past. It was only then that I noticed the naval base behind the undergrowth on the island beyound our ship.