Little Citizens of the World


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Amsterdam

So close to Ireland right now, I can almost smell it.  …Or maybe that’s the weed :/

So Amsterdam.  Not a fan.

I don’t know, maybe it was the stress of the impending journey, but I didn’t really like Amsterdam.  It was packed, I mean PACKED with people.  You could barely walk down the street it was so jammed with pedestrians.  The architecture is extraordinary, and we took the canal boats all around so we could see the gorgeous construction.  The kids enjoyed the canal boats, but they didn’t like the busyness.

If you plan on going to the Van Gogh museum or Anne Frank house, book your tickets online in advance.  We couldn’t get into either, the lines were insane.  The Anne Frank house had a 5.5 hour wait when we walked by.  Yikes!

This is an over night stop that ends this crossing, so we get off tomorrow and make our way to Ireland

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The architecture is amazing

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Train station

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Canal boat water taxi

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Bergen, Norway

I keep forgetting that my version of a big city is very different from the European version.  I think LA or New York, but European cities are much older, much more artistic in their architecture and, for the most part, don’t have massively tall skyscrapers blotting out the landscape.

I have heard of Bergen before, I knew it was a big city, but it’s sort of not.  I mean it’s a major metropolitan European city, but it’s got a small town local charm that I adore.

It was a little windy and 57F when we got off the ship, There’s a bit of a walk from the cruise terminal to the waterfront, but it’s enjoyable.  The shops along the water are very old and no more than 3 stories high.  There are lots of shops and restaurants too.  We walked around a bit, stopping at almost every souvenir shop we passed by, and were back onboard for a late lunch in the lido.  It’s a very pleasant waterfront with lots to see and do.  We didn’t have any shore excursions, so we enjoyed the stroll and headed back.

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Waterfront shopping and resaurants

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This was taken from behind the waterfront shops

 


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Alesund, Norway

It was a great day in Alesund!  It was a little overcast, but not too bad.  We had a splendid little walk all over the waterfront and around the many corners.  It was absolutely spotless, I have to say, I was really impressed with the complete lack of litter or even cigarette butts anywhere.  Every once in a while, it would start to sprinkle, but it held off and we were able to enjoy the pretty potted flowers that decorated the town.

Norway has a very strong folklore history and they still hold true to it today.  You can’t go anywhere in Norway without seeing trolls.  There are trolls everywhere, Christmas ornaments, refrigerator magnets, dolls, miniatures, giant statues, and books upon books upon books.  I love it!  There’s a lot to be said for fairy tales, and we are loving these fuzzy little guys.

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Geiranger, Norway

This is a tender port (life boats to shore).  We entered the fjord very early this morning, approximately 6:30am, but we’ve had so many time changes, it feels so much earlier than that.  We’ve actually had two 1 hour time changes in two days, so yeah.  So I did get up and have a look out the window around 7am, but there was no way I was heading out on deck.

Luckily, this is a very, very tiny little stop, so we were able to get a tender at 11:45am and, although it was sprinkling down rain pretty steadily, we had a nice walk round.  My pictures simply can’t do justice to the immensity of the walls of this incredible fjord.  They are so unbelievably tall, and the waterfalls look like they’re coming down in slow motion, they’re so high up.  Because we didn’t have a shore excursion, we just did the souvenir shops that are right at the dock, of course.  We did stop into a small grocery shop and low and behold…..SMARTIES!!!!  They don’t have Smarties in the US.  Well, not the same kind they have in Europe.  American Smarties are those little tart things you get at Halloween.  European Smarties are like M&M’s, but as Hershey is not big in Europe, they have their own brand.  Personally, I prefer M&M’s, but the girls LOVE Smarties.

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SMARTIES!!!!!!!

For anyone who may have thought that Norway wasn’t a place for gourmet cuisine, check out this squeeze tube bacon we found!  Now with 50% more bacon!!

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Yum!

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That orange boat is a tender coming back, while we’re going out.

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It’s so much more amazing in real life.

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We are standing at the end of the fjord.

Later that day, the girls enjoyed a snack while watching the crew oil the lifeboat cables.

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Almost Djupivogur, Iceland

We were supposed to stop in Djupivogur today, but as it’s a tender port, and the weather is not very good, the captain has announced that we’ll be skipping it and carrying on to Geiranger, Norway.  He says that the tenders won’t be able to dock as it’s to rocky by shore, and that there’s not enough for the ships anchor to hold on to, to keep the ship steady while passengers are getting on and off lifeboats from the ships platform.  Apparently, there’s going to be some very bad weather coming up towards Iceland, so it’s better that we get going and try to keep ahead of it.

I had to get Sky from Club HAL tonight, she just wasn’t feeling it.  It’s so much rockier at the top of the ship anyway, than down where we are.  When I went up to get her, the ship tracking channel said we were having winds of 50kts.  They’re supposed to decrease as the night goes on.  Fingers crossed.

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It’s not very clear, but this is the channel you can watch 24/7 that gives the ships position, temperature, wind speed, etc.  It’s very helpful.

 

 


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Reykjavik, Iceland

Due to some more than moderate seas last night, we had to slow to decrease chances of damaging the hull.  We weren’t expected to reach Reykjavik until noon, but things calmed and we were able to make up the time and dock by 7:30am.  Nice job, Captain!

So we are here, and it’s really pretty awesome.  We had a shore excursion this morning to the Blue Lagoon and it was HEAVEN!!!

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I guess I had never thought about it before, but I didn’t realise Iceland was made up of volcanic rock, the same way Hawaii is.  So on the bus ride to the Blue Lagoon, the landscape was like something out of a lunar landing.

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After the lagoon, we headed into town and enjoyed walking around the city and doing some shopping.  Reykjavik is a very beautiful city and spotless!  The people are pleasant and everyone we met spoke English fluently. Sky bought a wooden viking shield, Sparrow bought a puffin hat with ear flaps.

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We’re here on an overnight, so not leaving until 12:30 tomorrow afternoon.  I’d thought about staying out a bit and maybe grabbing a bite to eat in town, but the girls were desperate to get to Club HAL, so we were back onboard by late afternoon.

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Running to get to Club HAL after dinner.

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This is 11:20pm.  The sun is only just setting.

 


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Prince Christian Sound, Greenland

I’m just going to let the photos speak for themselves.  This was incredible.  I was on deck for hours, just staring at the landscape.  Absolutely breathtaking.

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Just to give you some perspective, there are two fishing boats in the water there.

 

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A passenger said, as we were taking photos, “it’s a full body experience”.  It’s so true, the photos don’t even do it justice.

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If you told me Lord Of The Rings was filmed here, I’d believe you.

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When we came out of the sound into open water, it was no less spectacular.  For miles all around was a massive ice field.  According to the ships TV channel, we were moving at 4kts.  Slowly we approached the first large iceberg and as we hit it, it made a sound like a huge bell being struck.  The whole ship shuttered and the 300+ people out on the various decks collectively went, “Woah!”.  After that, the ship slowed to 2kts.  It took most of the day to get through the icefield, gently nudging the icebergs out of the way.

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Keep in mind, I’m about 12 decks up.  The people on the bow are (I believe) 7 decks up.

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I saw a movie like this once.  It didn’t end well.

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That’s a seal swimming around in there!

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This little seal wasn’t too sure about our ship and kept inching closer and closer to the water.  He finally couldn’t take the anxiety, and dove in.

 

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The Club HAL girls brought the kids out to see the ice field.  Sparrow gave me a quick wave before running back to her friends.  This is looking back towards the Sound.