Our Cruise to Iceland was part II or our adventure this summer. We were sooooooo tired touring London we were looking forward to some sea days to relax. To get to the cruise ship, located in the east of England, we took a taxi and our 5 bags to Liverpool Street Station and then a train to Manningtree, then transferred to a train going to Harwich International where of ship was docked. This adventure with suit cases did not make Marguerite happy so she decided to take a bus back to Heathrow Airport when we returned. For George this was worse since traffic was horrendous and no potty on the bus.
Harwich is a small little port about 100 miles northeast of London. As you can see from the painting, many destinations are supported out of this port. Our adventure will take us to 3 more countries and then return us to Harwich (Semi-autonomous Faeroe Islands, Iceland and Norway - external functions of the Faeroe Islands are handled by Denmark). Below are some photos of Harwich and our ship.
The next day was a sea day. George hates sea days. But this was when he was under 70. He now loves sea days. The following day we arrived at the Shetland Islands. We took a ship's launch to visit Lerwick. This was almost the furthest south of the cruise and also the coldest day due to the wind. Never again did George have to wear his sweater.
Unfortunately, Marguerite did not bring a warm enough jacket for the cold of Iceland so in the ship's gift shop she purchased a very warm black/mauve jacket ($40), a pair of gloves ($10) and a pretty scarf ($10). You will see her in these warm clothes throughout the rest of the trip!
Torshavn, Faroe Islands
The next day was Torshavn, a much larger town than Lerwick. We walked around town and went back to the ship for more food. This was our practice for most of the trip. The VAT makes most things in these countries very expensive.
The next day we arrived in Eskifjordur, Iceland. This is a small fishing village with a dock. The ship likes docks. All our Iceland and Norway ports had tall mountains near the coast with snow and waterfalls all over. Very pretty when you could see through the fog. Keep in mind this is August, February probably not so good, especially in the dark. On our trip it was dark from 11 PM to 3 AM at the most.
Marguerite read over a dozen books on the trip. The ship had a good library and she read everything they had by Kristin Hannah, Jodi Picault, and Anita Shreve and a couple of others too. She had brought along To Kill a Mockingbird to read again before reading Go Set a Watchman -- the Harper Lee novel that has gotten so much hype. She was very disappointed -- characters not developed well and lacked maturity of writing.
Heimaey, Iceland, was our next stop. This is an Island off southern coast of Iceland. More fisherman. The ship parked right up against the cliffs, most impressive.
Reykjavik, Iceland, was our next stop. this is the most northern capital in the world. A town of 200,00 it appeared modern and nice and clean. All these people are clean. We took a 2 hour bus tour.
Isafjordur, Iceland & Akureyri, Iceland
Isafjordur, Iceland & Akureyri, Iceland were our next two stops. By this time we were getting Iceland-out but swimming back home not an option. By going around Iceland we passed the Arctic Circle and therefore earned our Arctic Circle Certificate.
Sea Day to Norway
We now left Iceland and had a sea day to get to Norway. Below are some photos of life at sea. The sea was ruffffffffffff, made George have a lot of respect for the Vikings. Not going to catch me in a small Viking boat going from Norway to Iceland in 800 AD. Seas were 10 feet high and one could see the stars every 4th day. Polynesians had it made, longer trips but better weather.
One of Marguerite's joys of cruising is the gourmet food options. In addition to wonderful and plentiful food in the dining room and food court (The Lido), there is also a fancy restaurant called the Pinnacle Grill. One evening she spent 4 hours there at a Cellar Master's Dinner, a lovely wine and 5-course dinner hosted by the ship's wine expert. Georgie went to the Lido. Although she looked forward to the Culinary Theater sessions, there was no celebrity chef on this trip and Marguerite could have taught the classes instead of the young woman who did. Accordingly, she stopped going after a few. There was also $4 wine and appetizers at 5:00 each evening but the appetizers were skimpy and the pours very short....so she didn't go to many of those either. Georgie did go to most of the evening dinners in the formal dining room (his great concession was he had to wear long pants!) and with Open Seating, we joined a different table each evening and met some very nice people.
Alesund, Norway, was our first stop on the continent. All Norway towns are clean and beautiful with snow covered mountains. Because of oil, they have a good life (3.5% unemployment, $55K average income, $1 trillion dollars in sovereign wealth find for future generations). Income taxes are 37% with that paying for social security, education through college, and healthcare. Life could be good for all without Republicans.
Bergen, Norway, is second largest town in Norway. We were in Oslo on a previous cruise some years ago. Bergen is beautiful, the Georgie could live here.
Early in the trip Marguerite ran into an old UCSD friend, Barbara McKellar, who was the Supervisor of the Virology Lab for many years. Barbara and two friends were on the trip too. Marguerite had booked two tickets for a very fancy dinner that uses menus from Le Cirque in New York. She invited Barbara to be her guest and spare Georgie another Gucci evening (he did go to the fancy restaurant one night, compliments of AAA). The dinner was a nice way to finish the day in Bergen and they shared a bottle of Conundrum wine with a 2+hour 5 course dinner!!
Eidfjord, Norway & Scenic Cruising was our next destination. The beautiful little town is a hundred miles up a fjord. Beautiful snow capped mountains of both sides as we went up to the town and back down to the sea.
Long Trek Home
We now had a sea day back to Harwich, UK, and then took a bus to Heathrow Airport. We then spent the night at an airport hotel and the next day took a 10:30 flight to Newark, NJ, then flight to San Diego and arrived at 6:30 PM. Given the time difference a total of 16 hours. It will be a long time before the Dill gets on an airplane again.
The best photo of the trip is below, Marguerite took it into a glass mirror. George thinks only old people ride trams in airports. Guess what, George and Marguerite are now officially old people.
George is so happy to be home. Marguerite leaves next week for Florida to visit her sister and go to her Aunt's funeral. In two months she leaves for Japan and a tour of that country with her college friends. George will smile all the way to the airport and all the way home as Marguerite crosses the globe.
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