Tag-Archive for » Vincent Van Gogh «

Friday File: Statues Live For Eternity

The thing about statues, which anybody who cruises sees in any number of places, is that they’ll take you as far as you want to go. Just admiring the talent it took to make it can be enough. Go a little deeper and read the inscription, if there is one. Or go whole hog and find out why the person was famous enough to warrant a statue. We’ve done a little of all of that in showing you some people you may have heard of, and some you may not know at all…

1-Van GoghIf ever a famous man appears to have been captured just as he was, that man might be Vincent Van Gogh, whose statue is in the courtyard of the insane asylum where he was imprisoned for 10 months in Saint-Remy, France.

2-New Orleans

New Orleans is a popular departure port for Caribbean cruisers, and New Orleans means the French Quarter, where you’ll find memorialized this trio of jazz or blues legends — Fats Domino, Al Hirt and Pete Fountain.


In Barcelona, Christopher Columbus stands high above the street pointing to the sea, and what humored us is that because the city's on the east coast of Spain, so is the sea and Columbus is pointing AWAY from America.


She lived in the Casa de Aliaga in Lima, Peru and the city’s oldest mansion is featured on many cruise shore excursions…but we have no idea who she is or why she’s cast like this for eternity — can anybody out there help?

5-San Juan

Arturo Somohano (1910-1977) went from child prodigy to founder of the San Juan Symphony Orchestra after a composition he played for U.S. troops during World War II (“Songs of the Americas”) became a U.S. Army anthem.


Italians know Michelangelo wherever his work is found, and his most famous statue (David) is found in Florence, where on the street is this replica of the original marble statue that was started 40 years earlier by another artist!


In his time, the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Admiral Sir George Somers was known as a British naval hero from the Anglo-Spanish War but when a hurricane drove his sinking ship ashore, he became the founder of Bermuda.

In the news…

• Norwegian considering two options: a ship to Asia…and a ship for Asia
• Low water levels on European rivers forcing more itinerary changes
• Six millionth cruise ship passenger recognized in Victoria, B.C.

Today at portsandbows.com: The next two mega ships going to Costa

Celebrity Infinity
7 nights
October 29, 2015

Fort Lauderdale (return): CozumelRoatanBelizeCosta Maya
Inside: $609
Cost per day: $65

Getting To Know Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh statueARLES, France — For most of our lives, the name Vincent Van Gogh was little more than that, a name. We knew he was a painter, perhaps because of jokes connected to his famous last name, perhaps because it had been buried in textbooks we tried hard to ignore. We knew he was a favorite of the art community, of which we have always been non-members.

Well, that was then.

Thanks to a shore excursion from the Costa Diadema, moored an hour down the road in Marseille, things have changed. Here in the French town where he painted some of his finest works and where 125 years after his death he remains something of an industry unto himself, we learned more about Vincent Van Gogh than we ever did in school.

That’s what travel does for you. That’s what cruise-ship excursions do for you. And that’s what Arles and the nearby town of Saint-Remy did for us. It is, indeed, true that you’re never too old to learn.

A troubled man all his life, Van Gogh moved to Arles in 1888, just two years before he died. His works — and we’re by no means experts at this — changed dramatically with the bright sunlight of Provence and his paintings reflected that with more brilliant colors, specifically yellow. He even lived in the “Yellow House,” now merely a roundabout long after it was destroyed at the end of World War II. One of his Van Gogh-Starry nightmost famous works — called The Starry Night — is of the night sky illuminated by his yellow paint.

Our guide, Pascale Maisonneuve, happily showed us the Saint-Remy “insane asylum” in which Van Gogh spent 10 months. From the courtyard of what is now a museum adjacent Van Gogh windowto a still-functioning mental hospital, we could see the window of his room. This is where, in 10 months, he painted more than 300 landscapes and subjects, including himself in what is believed to be his last of a series of self-portraits.

His painted selfies, as it were.

Many of his prints are displayed on the walls and on pedestals, and there’s a statue.  His is not a big industry in 2015 (a small fee to get into the museum that on this day has open doors with nobody home), but it’s a regular stop for the tour buses. Guides like Pascale actually get excited at the prospect of meeting the patients of today.

“Welcome,” she said, laughing, “to this crazy place. Yes, yes…the patients are very interested here. They want to participate and it can be very funny.”

On this day, there were no open doors to the hospital and, perhaps alas, no patients. Its most famous patient, who shall live forever on these grounds, was more than enough to satisfy us.

And to teach us, too.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Norwegian Pearl
5 nights
May 2, 201
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Victoria, Vancouver
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $59

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