Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The North Cape

7/2012 Update:  a series of blog entries from a Norway cruise I was fortunate enough to take in the Summer of 2008. Although it feels funny to have relayed trip updates via a blog, it was a pre-Facebook way of telling friends/family about my travels.

 We're at sea again today on our way down to Trondheim, our next stop.

Yesterday, we spent the day in Honningsvag, which is ... oh wait, there's Captain Rik on the intercom...he has a weather report and is telling us we'll be docking around 8 tomorrow morning.  The wind/sea is calm today and the ship feels more steady than it did on our way up.  Supposedly, some whales were sighted.  Okay, he's done.  We cross back below the Arctic Circle around 10 tonight and there will be a whopping 3 hours of "night" (I use the quotes since even after sun sets around here, it's still light out) this evening.

We got on some tour buses yesterday and made our way to the North Cape, the point furthest North in Europe.  There's a very pleasant visitor center there where you can send postcards (I did) and admire the barren scenery.  The only critters I saw, other than tourists, were reindeer.
Ain't that a touristy picture! 
Near the very edge of the 1000 foot cliff that marks the North Cape, there is a large metal globe.  Of course, everyone has to pose in front of it.
The terrain in this area somewhat reminds me of Western South Dakota in winter; barren with patches of old snow.  I can only imagine what the winter is like up here Below the visitor center, there's a small set of museum exhibits dedicated to those who first came here and a kooky tiny chapel.  The bottom area contains a nightclub with a view of the ocean out of the cliff.  Very nice.  We then get back on the buses and have some time to check out the town of Honningsvag.  It's a small, but pleasant seaside community that is well used to tourists.  Rob manages to find a drug store and we wander into a grocery store.  It's fun to see what different things they have as well as what's the same as what we have at home.  I score some Schweppes Bitter Lemon (longtime unavailable favorite of my Dad) and try a Norwegian Coke (tastes very good).  Around dinnertime, we leave Honningsvag and head back out of the Fjord.  I must say I've seen a lifetime's worth of snowy mountain peaks, though it hardly gets old, especially with the water surrounding them.  Oops, time to grab lunch!

Just got back from lunch and am now sitting on my folks' verandah.  The Sun has come out and we can see some islands or chunks of coastline to the South of the ship.  The wind and sea is still calm.  Someone's smoking nearby...yuk!  Since the live entertainment aboard has mostly been unappealing (maybe I'm not the target audience), we've gone to some movies shown in the ship's theater room.  The room seats ca. 100 and is quite comfortable.  The seating appears to have tablet arms (!) and I'll try and grab a picture for the work crew to laugh at.  The main problem with watching movies there is they appear to be showing pan/scan video versions of the movies and them are showing them on a 16x9 projector with the stretch mode engaged.  I suspect most don't notice it, but it's a shame in such a nice room though.

It's formal dress night again, the last I think, so we'll be getting out the suits once more for dinner.  I'm going to try and hang out on deck for a while.  Who knows, maybe I'll spot a large seagoing critter!

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