We has dinner in the Grand Dining Room last night and, blessedly, had a table for two by the window. After snarfing down and appetizer and Vichyssoise soup, I got about halfway through my steak and realized that I was so full that I did not want to eat anything else, Steve had the same “I’m done with food” moment. We skipped dessert, went back to the stateroom and hit the sack before 10:00 pm.
After a good night’s sleep on placid seas, we woke up to clear blue skies and warm temperatures in Kristiansand, our last port in Norway, located on the southeast coast. This town, that dates back to before the middle ages, is named after King Christian IV; the “sand” part of the name actually means sand, as the town is built on sand and there are a number of beaches. We had breakfast, then ventured out to do a little sightseeing. My back was hurting a bit this morning, as was my left wrist, for some reason, so we planned to take it slow and easy. After exiting the ship, we laughed to see a stuffed moose on the dock right next to the gangplank (someone from the town with a good sense of humor). We walked up the dock and found one of those silly tourist street trains. We paid the 100 NOK each and decided to ride it around to see the sights. Right next to the dock area is a brand-new performing center that opened in 2012. The large Kilden performing arts center has an undulating wood roof and dramatic glass front. Just past the arts center, we entered the Fish Market area (Bryggen), with lots of restaurants, a small marina and working fish markets (those markets were closed today, on a Sunday). As we journeyed further into the town, we quickly realized that this town was filled with resplendent flower boxes and hanging flower displays. The train took us past the marina, with sand sculptures and a large fountain, and more flowers. We wound our way into the town center, going into the old town, with white-washed buildings built close together and right to the streets. The train stopped near the town center, a block away from the large Lutheran church. We took some pictures in this area, but everything was closed. Steve did walk down to the Lutheran church, where services were underway in Norwegian.
We took the train back over to the Fish Market area near the ship. We found a restaurant that seemed to be popular and spent some “Nookies” on lunch. Steve had a smoked salmon sandwich and I had another shrimp sandwich. The food was very good (of course, it was very pricey) and the Fish Market area and marina were obviously quite popular. We relaxed for a while, then walked back to the ship. Everywhere you looked, there were splendid flower arrangements. What a nice town!
Nautica sails at 3:00 pm, heading to Copenhagen. We are sitting outside by Waves, enjoying the band music and a beverage. At 3:30, we plan to go to the room and do power packing, then have our last team trivia at 4:30, followed by the general chaos to redeem Big-O points for cheap t-shirts, hats and other useless stuff. Then it’s the one of the saddest things known to humanity, the last night on board a cruise ship, followed by the crack-o-dawn disembarkation. Although we are anxious to get home, we are glad that we have one more day in Copenhagen to relax before the flight through Keflavik on Tuesday afternoon. The weather in Copenhagen is supposed to be absolutely splendid, near 80 degrees and mostly clear. We are staying in the Marriott on the waterfront. The last time we were in Copenhagen, in June 2010 on Disney Magic (see The Saga of the Mouse and Queen) , we had a tour of Tivoli Gardens and a canal boat ride under chilly, cloudy skies that threatened rain.
I hope you have enjoyed this interesting journey to the wilds of Norway, the gloom of Murmansk and the far Arctic north. We’re not done posting yet and likely there will be a large up-link of more pictures with better Internet, so do come back and visit again.