July 26, 2014 Bergen, Norway
Sunny, at least 80, sunset 10:30
Bergen is on Norway’s southwest coast. It is the largest port and second largest city. We were lucky enough to be in port when the 2014 tall ship race was here. They arrived on the 24th and leave on the 27th. I talked to one of the skippers while on his tall ship. There are 31 tall ships in the race. Some are very large and some are small. The larger ones handle rough seas better. Each of them are given a rating which works like a handicap in golf. They add it on to the total time. I asked if their position in berth was determined by their racing position. He said no that the committee handles all of that. Many were lined two and three across, biggest to smallest. You could use a small plank board to walk across if you wanted to. I did not want to. There is a sail out parade tomorrow and they will sail out to a Fjord and the next leg of the race will start on Monday. They head to Denmark next and the total race takes one and a half months. The ships here are from all over the world. Russia has a very large tall ship. I asked him what they did the remainder of the year and he said they work on the ships. They train or provide rides where ever they are out of. This definitely is not a hobby but a full time way of life.
As we came out of port all of the tall ships and festival food booths were to our right and shops were at street level to our left. The main street was blocked so we did not have to worry about cars. The houses were built up into the hillsides. They must have had a beautiful view below them. There was a funicular which ran to the top of mountain. It was a clear day so the view should have been spectacular. We did not make it to the funicular. We stayed in town. I think we walked 10 miles today and it was hot. I got a bit of a sun burn. I did not think to put sunscreen on.
We spent a lot of time over by the bay and the tall ships. Pictures cannot due this place justice. Three of them were having open houses and allowing you on. I made the mistake of going on the first one. It was large and gang plank up was tough and steep. Up was ok but down was something else. Mom and I went on the second one. It was level entry but only one rope handrail. It was probably twice the width of a balance beam. Don’t look down. They ropes and masts were amazing.
We wandered through town and also spent some time people watching whenever we found a shady bench (which was not often.) Mom is so happy. She found a cross stitch store. She bought a kit. The one she wanted was big and on linen. She did not like the idea of linen so picked one on aida cloth. It is a tall ship picture.
We were headed toward the fish market. We finally made it there and did not realize it. I expected a large building with different types of fish in it. Turns out it is at the end of the bay and is lots and lots of free standing food stands. They have fish and shrimp and oysters and salmon and crabs and whale meat and so much more. We stopped at one and got some fish and chips. We had to wait about 10 minutes for them to cook them fresh. Dad had a local beer. It was amazing. Some places had the fresh lobster tanks and some had the fresh king crab tanks.
We ate and people watched. There were 3 or 4 other ships in. They did not all dock on our side of town. As the day went on, the crowd grew. We were going to get some ice cream on the way home. We never found the shop. We did stop at one the booths set up by the tall ships and had a waffle with powdered sugar. Yum, it was good.
We finally made our way back to the ship about 3ish. Mom and dad had some ice cream. I had some cheese and fresh pineapple. We went on the promenade and sat and read. I finished a book and the other two napped. The heat finally said go inside so it was back to our 70 degree cabin.
As we left the Captain came on to talk about our route to the next port. We could go back the same way we came or do a more scenic route. He choose the scenic cruise and it was beautiful. It was like gliding across a lake with islands, lighthouses, and mountains in view. We sit by a picture window at dinner and it was gorgeous. We went under one bridge that was a tight clearance. They had to lower an antennae on top of the ship.
Dinner was good. Can’t say I was really hungry. So Peter made mom and I a place of chicken bites and mashed potatoes with hot fudge sundaes for dessert. Are we spoiled or what. Dad is in for a treat tomorrow night. Peter is having the Indonesian chef prepare dad an Indonesian meal.
No show for us tonight. Hit the casino and mom and I hit a $40.00 jackpot together. We were happy. Cashed out and came home. The sunset at 10:30pm was one the prettiest we have had. Wish I had my camera to share it. Doubt it gets real dark for a while.
Good night and sweet dreams from the smooth gliding MS Veendam.