Tuesday, 19 July 2011

SAILING SOUTH AND HOMEWARD BOUND

We left the High Arctic, and after a day and night across the Arctic Ocean (thankfully not as rough as our outward journey!) we arrived at the Lofoten Islands. There are a myriad of islands along this very mountainous chain, with no big towns, just small fishing villages.



The mountains were rugged,and in strange shapes. Our Ship anchored just outside a tiny settlement.



There really was very little there. The Shuttle buses, for which we had to pay rather a lot, went to a slightly bigger village, where there was still very little, so we decided to explore the immediate vicinity.




We climbed a small hill, from where there were very lovely views. Afterwards, Mr.G (who gets a bit fed up with my slow walking speed!) went off along the shore, and found some interesting birds to watch. I went back to the Pier, and found the Princess Line had provided free coffee, perhaps to make up for the shuttle bus charges!




Another day and night's sailing took us to our last port before home, and at long last south of the Arctic Circle. Stavanger has a pretty harbour, but the Ship dominated the scene, and looked totally out of proportion!




We wandered rather aimlessly about, and found a small market selling fruit and vegetables and the inevitable knitted sweaters etc.




And found the first of the many sculptures around Stavanger.




There were some old roofs along the harbourside, mainly cafes and tourist shops at ground level.




I really wanted to see the Old Town, the largest surviving wooden house settlement in northern Europe. It is a beautiful area of little wooden houses and cobbled streets along the west side of the harbour The houses were originally built for the families working in the canneries in Stavanger. Nearly all the houses are white (only a few are allowed to be another colour) and they vary in age from less than 100 to about 300 years. The houses are lived in and most are privately owned.

It was well worth seeing, but I found the very hilly bits and the cobbled streets very tiring, and there was just nowhere to rest, not a cafe in sight!




We eventually found a cafe in the new town, and I collapsed with a coffee and a muffin. But I could do no more and left Mr.G to go round the rest of the harbour, and find some good bits I missed, while I went back to the Ship and rested.

And that was virtually the end of our holiday. Oh yes, we crossed the North Sea again for a day and a night, and then landed in Southampton, where our coach was waiting to whisk us northwards.

It was, all told, a fantastic holiday, and I am so pleased we had the opportunity to do it. But if I went on a cruise again, it would be a smaller ship! Far too much walking for me! But I couldn't fault the ship for the quality of the food, cleanliness, service, and entertainment.

Now I'm dreaming of another cruise!

11 comments:

cheshire wife said...

Quite an experience. The ship does look rather large. It makes the houses look like toytown.

Diane said...

Ive really enjoyed your cruise Gilly - but its been weird seeing snow at this time of year! xxxxx

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

What an experience - I love the stark grandeur of the scenery in that part of the world. A great place to visit - wouldn't like to live there though! x

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

So glad you had a wonderful cruise. I love the houses with the interesting roofs and the old wooden houses.

The ship does look huge beside the village.

kenju said...

The area looks charming, but I can't believe they had no cafes or places to rest. That's certainly not welcoming.

VioletSky said...

That ships really does loom over the poor harbour buildings!
So, where goes the next dream cruise?

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Wow, that ship is huge!

Sorry you were tired. I would be too. But how interesting! Was that England?

Max said...

That first picture of the lake and the mountains is beautiful, and I like the houses, great perspective. Good pictures!

KathyA said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip. And yes, that ship does look huge proportionately! It also looks like it's out of the water...

The cool of your photographs is comforting right now as it's quite warm here. Today it was 109 w/the heat index and tomorrow it's supposed to be 115.

Vicki said...

I think cruises are one of the best vacations around. You get to visit places that otherwise, you would never get to see. Looks like you had a great trip.

Hollace said...

So glad you had a good trip.
Today I was shocked to hear about the Norway massacre which occurred last week when I was out at camp. It made me think of you, how shocking it must have been to hear that the beautiful, peaceful-seeming place you were just in had such devastation. I'm sure it has shocked you and saddened you.
I have enjoyed your pictures of the trip.