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11th December, 2013

Mystery Cruise. Port No.4

The next port lay twenty seven miles from the sea, but not up a river. It was the first time for the ship and the first time for me so I was particularly careful as we approached the bridge that separates the two halves of the city. I did suggest to the passengers watching from above that I was waiting for the centre of the bridge to open and let us through, which raised a few eyebrows as the gap would have only been about eight meters. Aalborg, a city in the north west of Denmark is connected to the Kattegat, and thus the Baltic, as well as the North Sea by Limfjorden, but only the very smallest of ships can come in from the west, hence the narrow bridge.

Once alongside we were advised that the port had arranged that complementary sausage dogs would be given out to crew and passengers by a stall holder on the quayside. By the time I went down there to greet our touring guests the linesmen and the pilot were tucking in. Before sailing I was advised that at least 800 had been generously donated to our starving and obviously undernourished complement.

The town itself was an interesting mix of old and new buildings, plenty of Christmas trees in the streets and of course, the inevitable, but rather small/charming Christmas market. The Budolfi Cathedral (named after the English Saint Botholphus – new one to me) was open for a while and was quite impressive being snow white inside except for its religious painting. The complementary tour also took in the ancient Viking site of Lindholm Hoje that had over 700 graves in stone settings, which must have looked rather bleak on this rather cold grey day.

The grey seemed to descend on the city during the afternoon and, as darkness came early, the lights ashore became somewhat indistinct, almost disappearing by the time we came to sail. In fact when we did leave late in the evening, the fog was just about a pea souper, and it stayed with us for the whole overnight voyage.

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