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!