Last night, we had dinner at Toscana, the Italian specialty restaurant. We had a 6:30 pm reservation and shared a table with three other couples. I had the calamari, Caesar salad, and Lobster tail fra diavolo (on pasta) and Steve had minestrone soup, lasagna and chicken Alfredo. Desserts were also yummy (chocolate semifreddo, canoli). One of the other couples at our table hailed from Denver and another gentleman graduated from Aurora Central High School in the early 1960’s. Strange, small world…
We went up to Horizons afterwards, where people were partying celebrating our first sunset since July 9. Alas, the sun was not visible (cloudy and gloomy), but it did get a little dark for a short time last night after midnight, After the huge dinner and a few drinks and watching Marge and Ron dance in the makeshift disco in Horizons until midnight, I didn’t feel all that great this morning, but perked up after some coffee.
Today, we cruised into Bergen. The gorgeous countryside is reminiscent of the area near Seattle or Vancouver. We docked near noon, right near another AIDA ship (AIDA Sol). The skies were blue with no clouds, although it was a little cool initially as we disembarked. We walked down the dock and decided to do the Hop On-Hop Off sightseeing bus. We stayed in the bus past most of the major tourist attractions in Bergen, including the Hanseatic wharf (Bryggen), the fish market, the aquarium, the museums, the downtown area and the big park. We got off as they looped past the Fish Market again. This place has many little stalls with fresh fish and they cook up plates of monkfish, cod, herring, salmon, minke whale, shrimp, langoustine, and king crab. We continued walking over to the Hanseatic Wharf, with the colorful wood buildings that have been rebuilt numerous times after fires. The Hanseatic league is a centuries-old trade and merchant group that stretched across much of Europe. Scoring a table at one of outdoor cafes, we roasted in the sun and had a shrimp salad and drinks (only part of an arm and a leg in terms of “Nookies”, the nickname that a few of us have coined for NOK). The tourists and locals were out in force, this being a Saturday. Bergen is one of the rainiest places on earth, but our luck today was to have a picture-perfect day with temperatures probably soaring into the low eighties. We regretted bringing the windbreakers with us as we had to drag them around all day.
After this repast, we decided to walk to the funicular station and perhaps go up on Mt. Floyen. Bergen is called the city with seven hills and this peak is near the city. However, when we got close, we saw that the line was ridiculously long, so that idea was tossed out. We ended up going back through the Hanseatic Wharf and stopped in a store that sold sweaters. We found two nice wool sweaters that fit perfectly made by a Norwegian sweater company named Viking. Once again, we found ourselves at a sidewalk cafe for a short time and Steve had a Hansa beer that he liked very much (back to the Hanseatic League again for the name). We walked back to the ship and are sitting on the deck right now enjoying the gorgeous weather. My left leg had some serious weakness today and even some muscle spasms, so my sciatica is acting up, but I still walked quite a bit.
The dock areas at Bergen are filled with bizarre ships that are obviously used for offshore platforms, tug operations and oil and gas exploration. One ship, called the Bourbon Orca, has a new creative design known as an Ulstein X-bow (an inverted bow), which apparently is very stable in heavy seas. It has a big rounded front and 360-degree bridge. We took lots of pictures!
We sailed out at 6:00 pm, through the Bergen fjord and under two bridges. We “round the corner” tonight and have our last port stop tomorrow in Kristiansand, a city on the southeast coast of Norway. The weather is supposed to very, very nice. The midnight sun cruise is winding down. I think this was an amazing and extremely positive experience overall. However, we are both ready to return to reality and poor little Miss Ruby.