OMG…..Where do I Bergen?

July 26, 2014  Bergen, Norway

Sunny, at least 80, sunset 10:30

WOW…..Bergen….Amazing

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.

 

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Medals and cupcake tea

Tea Sandwiches

Tea Sandwiches

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Medals

Medals

Captain and Hotel Manager

Captain and Hotel Manager

They got a bouquet for 1500 days on board a ship

They got a bouquet for 1500 days on board a ship

Sea Day   July 25, 2014

Partly cloudy  60 degrees sunset 10:05pm

Wow another foggy morning sailing towards Norway.  Up about 9:00am and French toast for breakfast.  The fog horn sounds for 45 seconds every 120 seconds.  This means it is foggy and the visability is less than 2 miles.

It was a lazy morning, blogging, reading and playing some slots.  At 3:00pm it was my favorite tea, the cupcake tea.  First there were sandwiches, then cupcakes and the grand finale of plain or raisin scones with fresh clotted cream.  Actually it is a freshly whipped cream doubt that clotted cream is actually used.

After that, back to the room to change.  At 4:00pm we are off to the Mariner Reception.  Our Captain Eric van der wal and Hotel Director Simon de Boer will be handing out medals.  I received my 300 day medal today.  I am on my way to the 500 day medal.  There were a lot of medals given out today.  A couple (he was dressed in a Viking hat) received a beautiful bouquet of flowers as the topped the 1500 day mark.  That is 1500 days apiece.  They have been sailing since the 70’s.

It is formal night.  Dinner was good.  Peter ordered off the menu for us tonight and got us chicken wings.  They were great.  We had cheese soufflé and cream of 5 onion soup.  I did not eat the soup, it was to salty and I would not have ordered it if I knew we had chicken wings coming.  I had a BBQ chicken salad for dinner and mom and dad had Jumbo Prawns.  Tonight was Biscotti ice cream for dessert.

No show we went to the casino instead.  No great winners.  Time for bed, early day tomorrow.  It is already past 11:00. No fog tonight.  Good night from quiet MS Veendam.

 

Polar Bear Plunge Pictures

Ice for the pool

Ice for the pool

Ice going into the pool

Ice going into the pool

Captain and the Hotel Manager

Captain and the Hotel Manager

Jonathon our Show Host

Jonathon our Show Host

Viking Bruce

Viking Bruce

May a body builder and our Hal Cat singer

May a body builder and our Hal Cat singer

Our Captain

Our Captain

Captain and Hotel Manager

Captain and Hotel Manager

Granny nap by the pool

Granny nap by the pool

Long day for papa

Long day for papa

Polar Bear Plunge

Ice for the pool

Ice for the pool

Ice going into the pool

Ice going into the pool

Viking Bruce

Viking Bruce

May a body builder and our Hal Cat singer

May a body builder and our Hal Cat singer

Our Captain

Our Captain

Captain and Hotel Manager

Captain and Hotel Manager

Jonathon our Show Host

Jonathon our Show Host

Granny nap by the pool

Granny nap by the pool

Long day for papa

Long day for papa

The land of waterfalls and mountains

Seydisfjordur, Iceland   July 23, 2014

Sunny, 70+ degrees, no sunset

Connected to the rest of Iceland by a road over Fjaroarheidi mountain pass, Seydisfjordur is a picturesque town surrounded by mountains on all sides.  This is a land of a million waterfalls.  Everywhere you look it was mountains, waterfalls and snow.  There are about 600 people who live here.  Ten cruise ships call here per year in the summer months.

We had a spectacular day.  We were up early and had a hearty breakfast of  oatmeal.  We headed out early and it was sunny and 70 degrees.  Many of the locals were in tank tops and shorts.  Today was a day of lawn mowing, painting and general clean up.  We stopped at the tourist office first and used the free internet. 

Next it was out the door and off to the first waterfall.  It was spectacular.  We talked to the lady who lived in the house next to the waterfall.  She told us they have summer (actual warmth) for 3 months.  The sun is gone from October 27 until February 12.  On the first day of sun there is a celebration and everyone makes pancakes!

From here we wandered all over town.  Locals were in the park having picnics.  Everyone was out walking or riding bikes.  We stopped in the café (actually the only one we saw).  Dad had a local beer (El Gillo), mom and I had a glass of hot chocolate and we shared a piece of the best apple caramel cake I  have ever had.  We got the last piece or we would have had another!

Next, it was off to the Blue Church.  It is a Lutheran church and the only church in town.  It  was a lovely wooden church with padded pews.  There were only 70 hymnals and everything was Icelandic.

We kept wandering through town and eventually found our way back to the ship about 1:30.  Sail away was at 2:30 and sausage and beer was being served on the Lido.  We got a great table in the Lido and had lunch than watched the magnificent sailaway.  We sailed out between the mountains with snow around us and spectacular waterfalls.  Pictures will not due this place justice.  This is where I want to move, I even found my house.

Dinner was good.  Calamari as an appetizer, cream a chicken and artichoke soup, and fish for some and a a bowl of cheese grits for me. I had to much bread and he brought us 4 servings of calamari.

The show tonight is a group of Tenors.  It should be interesting.

Earlier today, we had the polar bear plunge.  This normally happens when we are near the artic circle.  Johnathon, the show host started the sign up process.  You do get a certificate!  About 15 minutes before the plunge, there were garbage bags full of ice dumped into the pool.  Bruce, the Cruise Director read the official Viking Decree and the plunge proceeded.  We had 2 special guests who plunged, the Captain and the Hotel Manager.  I was quite impressed.  A great time was had by all.

Goodnight from the fog horn blowing MS Veendam.

This the house I am buying!

This the house I am buying!

What a town picture.

What a town picture.

Of course our snack stop.

Of course our snack stop.

Cold water spring into town from mountain

Cold water spring into town from mountain

Picnic by the lake

Picnic by the lake

Blue church  Lutheran and the only one in town

Blue church Lutheran and the only one in town

Beautiful blue house with mountains in back yard

Beautiful blue house with mountains in back yard

Lawn mowing day in Iceland

Lawn mowing day in Iceland

First waterfall right off the ship

First waterfall right off the ship

 

Mystical and Magical Akureyri, Iceland

Akureyri, Iceland  July 22, 2014

Partly Cloudy  60 degrees, sunset 11:11pm sunrise 3:23am

We are in Northern Iceland.  Akureyri is a booming port town that relies on fishing as the main industry.

We are now in an area of perpetual daylight.  Last night at midnight, it was still light out.  I checked the TV this morning about 5:30 of course it was light so mom and I headed on deck to check it out.  It was peaceful and beautiful.  We had mountains on each side of us and the fog would drift up and down them.  There were beautiful waterfalls, some flowing and some frozen.  We did 4 laps on deck which is one mile.  I believe we saw one other person the entire time we were there.

From there we headed to the lido for juice and coffee.  That were not quite open yet so we sat and watched the world pass by.  Great ready….this morning was fresh hot off the grill French toast.  I had to wait for him to cook it.  So good on the thick bread and I think a hint of cinnamon.  We came back to the cabin, dad was still asleep. 

After he had breakfast we were off to town, about 10:00AM.  Having been here before, we knew the layout.  Internet is right at port but was so clogged with people downloading books, movies and candy crush along with the staff getting with family, I could not get on to post yesterday’s info.  I will get in town tomorrow.

We walked into town.  It is a nice town with one main street through the center, once you get there.  They have all kinds of stores, restaurants, bakari, and town center.   Our first stop was to the bakari for our favorite chocolate covered cinnamon roll and hot chocolate along with a type of pizza roll.  It was all wonderful.  We shopped through town looking for a new baseball cap.  We actually want another Iceland hat just like he has.  It has gotten dirty.  So far, no luck.

We wandered all through town.  There is a beautiful Lutheran church here that towers above the city on a hill.  Oh the stairs, we looked, we thought about it and then a bench opened up and we sat and people watched for a while.  The benches are on the one way road through the middle of the shopping area.  It is a narrow road with people all over it.  While sitting on the benches, you need to mind your feet.  People would be walking and stop to take a picture and the cars would come up from behind them and stop and politely wait for them to move.  No horn honking.  It was kind of like a cattle crossing.  At noon they block it off to cars all together we had free reign. 

We wandered back down to the town square and there was fish and chips stand open.  So we tried some Icelandic cod.  It was very good.  He cooks to order.  We got there first, ordered and got the only table set up.  By the time we left, he had quite a line.

Back to the ship.   I spent about an hour trying to get on line then my battery went so I came in.  We were leaving anyways.  We are doing a scenic cruise out.  It is so pretty.  Mountains, snow, and sunny.

We were invited to have drinks with the Captain tonight.  We had a great time.  I tried the drink of day an Artic Kiss.  It was vodka and champagne.  As someone else said it was more of a sloppy kiss.  I changed to my old standby rum punch.  The Captain and the Hotel Manager stayed the entire time and thanked us for coming.  They are a class act.

Nothing jumped out at dinner to me except the bacon cheese soup so Peter had the kitchen grill me a wonderful cheeseburger.  It was on a wonderful bakery bun.  Yum.

After dinner there was no show.  They are showing Monument Men in the main show lounge.  This is tough.  It ends at midnight and we are in port 7 to 3 tomorrow.  It is a port we have never been to so we will need to get out there and get going.  Dad went to the movie and mom and I hit the casino.  I came out $15.00 ahead, but can’t say the same for mom.

As the one t-shirt said today….In Iceland, I wear my sunglasses all night long…Good night from the peaceful and sunny MS Veendam.

Fish and ships trailor

Fish and ships trailor

Fish and chips from a trailer

Fish and chips from a trailer

Busy Cafe

Busy Cafe

Bench where we sat.  See the street and the people.

Bench where we sat. See the street and the people.

Lutheran Church

Lutheran Church

Is mom telling her a secret?

Is mom telling her a secret?

Hot Choclate

Hot Choclate

Chocolate covered cinnamon roll

Chocolate covered cinnamon roll

Pizzaschkin

Pizzaschkin

Look out...Polar Bears

Look out…Polar Bears

Magical Iceland

Magical Iceland

 

Cloud haloed Isafjordur, Iceland

 

July 21, 2014  Isafjordur, Iceland

Partly Cloudy,  55 Degrees, Sunset 9:24 pm

This lovely little town is the capital of the beautifully rugged Westfjord region and the birthplace of two of Iceland’s presidents.  Fishing and tourism are their top two industries. 

We lost another hour of sleep to the time change but were up about 9:00 and off to breakfast.  Omelet and raisin rolls were the morning fare and them the sail in.  We are anchored and tendering this morning.  Our arrival time was noon.   We leave at 7:30 pm.

The tender ride was said to be about 30 minutes but in fact took only 15.  We headed to deck 7 and the showroom about noon.   Tours were being sent out first.  By the third tender it all 4 and 5 star and we were on our way.  We got to town about 1:00 pm.  The weather here was ominous.  There was a light drizzle for about a half hour or so.  The clouds haloed the top of mountains surrounding us.  At times it was an eerie but beautiful site.  Our first stop was the tourist office to get a map and see what was in the area.  The young lady spoke perfect english. 

We got our map and headed off through town.  The streets were narrow and they were lined with houses and shops.  Our first stop was the bakery but there was no internet so we backtracked to the café with internet.  We got a couple hot chocolates and a piece of mother in laws cake.  It was oatmeal and some kind of fruit and really good.  I got the blog caught up and even got the pictures on.  Once we left here, the rain had stopped.

Next it was off to wander through town.  I did stop at the ATM to get money.  The ship was changing at 10:1, not sure what my rate was.  Will have to check it out.  We walked from one picturesque bay to another.  Many of the houses were made out of wood.  From the bay you could see the surrounding mountains with snow and ice on them and clouds moving about them.  It was a sight.  It felt very magical and mystical.  We wandered through the older residential area.  They had a wooden 3 story house with large picture windows on each level and a pulley system on the front eave to hoist furniture into the house.  It was pretty neat.

Since we did not have lunch, we wandered back past the bakery for a cheese croissant and rye pretzel.  Oh were they good.  Then it was back towards the ship via the fish market.  Not much happening there at 4:30, just cleaning up.

No wait for the tender heading back.  We went up to the top outside deck for pictures and then off to the crows nest for drinks.  It was Happy Hour.  Two for 1 plus $1.00.  We were able to use our Beverage card for them.  That was nice.

Dinner tonight was great.  We pre-ordered avocado’s for tonight and dad a shrimp cocktail.  No other apps or soup just some lasagna and short ribs.  On a side note, last night I had a chocolate chip soufflé for dessert.  Best soufflé I have ever had.  It tasted and smelled like a hot chocolate chip cookie.

Good night from the beautiful MS Veendam.

Hot Chocolate

Center of Town

Center of Town

What a picture!

What a picture!

Bakery goodies

Bakery goodies

Where would you like to go?

Where would you like to go?

Yummy place

Yummy place

Ice and snow mountains

Ice and snow mountains

Avocados for dinner

Avocados for dinner

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail