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14th May, 2017


And so it all, for me at least, draws to a close. One final voyage, a week up to Norway, before parking ships and wearing the braid will be a thing of the past.

The North Sea crossing was made in great weather, a following wind and a sunny day then an overnight before entering Bergen, unfortunately at about the same time a cold front made its slow progress over the southern coast of Norway. At least the rain had reduced to a light drizzle by the time the folks went off on tour, and when they returned the sky was just a rather drab grey. Being a Sunday many shops were closed, but the nearby fun fair was the source of bright lights and youthful screams, while down in the fish market there was whale meat, smoked salmon and king crab to try.

The following morning however, was both magical and mystical as we approached Olden, with wispy layers of low cloud skirting below the mountain tops and rays of sunshine reflecting off the mirror calm of Nordfjord. I couldn’t stop myself, I had to share this visual wonder so an announcement was made through the passengers spaces, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, if you are not up on deck witnessing what I am seeing from the bridge, you really ought to be!’Believe it or not one lady actually thanked me for waking her, then again the other 600 plus passengers didn’t.

Mrs R and I joined the morning walking tour to the Briksdal Glacier, an arm of ice coming down from the Jostedal plateau and my fourth time in 13 years I believe. It is remarkable to see how far the glacier has receded in that relatively short period. Great fun though, and the Norwegian cakes given out on our return were a guilty pleasure of the first order.

Unfortunately the forecast for Flam was for strong winds and heavy rain, so the next day became one of ‘scenic cruising’and we made an early evening arrival into Stavanger, fortunate really as the next morning the port was closed due to fog. The three other passenger ships expected were delayed for several hours until the murkiness began to clear.

For a final time we went over to see the famous gardens of ‘Flor & Fjære’, still looking wonderful even in the mists rising from the fjord. Back in Stavanger the celebrations for Norway Day were in full swing, the town was bustling with thousands of locals proudly wearing national dress and enjoying themselves. Even our passengers were joining the processions weaving their way along the quayside to the new auditorium. I have never seen the city looking so ‘jolly’.

Captain Philip Rentell

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