So we commence the second leg of this voyage of discovery and transatlantic crossing. Bergen is the first port of call and then the Shetland Islands. Three calls in Iceland are next and then Newfoundland before arriving in New York. Seven full sea days is a highlight of this voyage.
Monday 8 September – Southampton, England Sailaway 1700
We were led out of Southampton by the Queen Mary and set sail for our v3rd visit to Bergen with 3,000 passengers on board, including over 1,600 elite/platinum holders.
Tuesday 9 September – at Sea
A quiet pleasant sea day, but a somewhat cool wind on deck.
After breakfast, took in the port lecture on Bergen & Lerwick.
After dinner, looked in on Crooners & the Dance Party.
Wednesday 10 September – Bergen, Norway 1100-1900
Our third visit to Bergen in 14 months began with a scenic arrival and a clearance of the Askoy Bridge by 4 metres.
Then a three hour walk through the back streets of Bergen, along through Bryggen along to Bergunhas Castle, and back to the funicular where Barrie & Lorna were in line slightly ahead of us.
At the castle, the army was preparing to lock up the area from tomorrow for an exercise so that added a point of interest especially when a couple with a long telephoto lens jumped the barrier and began taking photos! I felt binoculars trained on me also!
After a snack at Mt Floien and some scallops at the fish market, we returned to the Ruby Princess.
Sat in on the Princess Pop Star (karaoke) heat for the first time.
Thursday 11 September – Shetland Islands (Lerwick), Scotland 0700-1700
We arrived in the Shetland Islands shrouded in fog – which lifted with sunrise. The Shetlands are part of Scotland and the most northerly of the British Isles. They consist of over one hundred islands, of which 16 are inhabited. Lerwick is the capital of the archipelago. The closest city is Bergen. Fishing & oil are the economic stalwarts.
Many Viking settlements have left a distinctive Nordic stamp on the islands. It is of course very cold in Winter but the locals brave the cold each January to celebrate the end of long winter nights and anticipation of Spring: Up-Helly-Aa involves the construction of a replica 30ft Viking longship that is marched through the streets then burnt in a giant bonfire.
Ferried in from our anchorage, we set off in search of Clickimin Broch – a bronze age fortified tower-farmhouse peculiar to Scotland; they are circular, double-walled stone towers up to 40 feet high, with an interior stairway. The Clickimin Broch dates back to 400BC. We walked along the coastal pathway, past a major cemetery, The Knab & The Sletts before arriving at the Broch.
We returned to the township via Fort Charlotte and stopped at the Grand Hotel for a snack (far too much) before reviewing the shops.
The anniversary of 9-11 was marked with silence at 1600 and a service at 1700.
Thursday 14 August – Bergen, Norway 0700-1400
Our second visit to Bergen, and a short stay.
The shuttle bus dropped us at the lake and we set off into the city. We walked up towards the Theatre and up to what we thought would be a viewpoint. There was some views but not the vista we had hoped for. We did however discover two other cruise ships.
Our walk took us back down to the cove and the Fish Market.
The sightseeing tram, the Bergen Express took our fancy so we took the round trip up to the first funicular stop on Fjellveien road.
The fish market was doing a roaring trade but the caviar was not to Joy’s taste and we continued across the road to the souvenir/handycrafts market sampling some of the fruit Joy purchased.
The shuttle bus returned us to the ship, berthed in the industrial docks ready for the 2pm sailaway heading back to Southampton.
Bergen, Norway – Thursday 11 July
Bergen appeared to be quite spread out as we sailed in early this morning to our pier in the industrial port. And so it was!
We disembarked after breakfast by shuttle to Festplassen near the city centre. A short walk to the city centre, then to the fish markets with its Monkfish, King Crab, giant prawns, caviar, lobster etc. We walked on to the Mt Floien Funicular, negotiated the queue and arrived at the summit.
There we enjoyed the view over the fjord, and the expanse of Bergen. A short walk from the bottom to Bryggen – Bergen’s equivalent of The Rocks in Sydney. Many of the buildings are timber built but with a cladded exterior.
Back through the markets in search of Cloudberry jam and a Norwegian specialty cheese, caramelised goats cheese. The former was in jars too big for us, and the brown cheese looked unappetising but Joy has been unable to taste a sliver, at least so far.
We sailed for Southampton at 1400.
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See the Norway Image Gallery on this blog
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