Tag 11. Vakker byen
Wir sind seit eineinhalb Tagen auf See und das Schiff wird kleiner. Gerade bei schwerem Seegang ist die Bewegungsfreiheit stark eingeschränkt, weil dann die Außendecks zum großen Teil gesperrt sind (Deck 6 und 11, Deck 10 nur ein paar Meter neben den Türen zum Luft schnappen offen). Morgens schwinge ich mich also in das Hamsterrad auf Deck 9 und nach der verdienten Dusche noch auf einen Morgenspaziergang nach draußen. Also: - aus der Kabine raus, eine Etage nach oben laufen, Staubsaugercrew grüßen - auf Deck 6 raus und eine Runde herumlaufen (oder zwei), die Außendeckwartungscrewleute grüßen (halten die mich inzwischen für bescheuert?) - die Treppe am Heck nehmen, an der Ocean Bar vorbei, andere Seite weiter nach oben, am Calypso auf Deck 9 vorbei und weiter nach oben - Deck 10, die Raucher bei Morgenkippe und -kaffee grüßen, einmal am Pooldeck rum, Aufräumcrew grüßen (halten die mich...?) - Treppe nach Deck 11 nehmen, mindestens zwei Runden drehen mit Abstecher nach Deck 12 - das Ganze wieder zurück Wie ein Knasti auf Hofgang.
Am Abend machen wir endlich in Trondheim fest und werden bis zum frühen Nachmittag bleiben. Der stürmische Seetag hat alle landhungrig gemacht und so entern nach dem Abendessen Scharen von Passagieren und einige Leute von der Crew die fast leere Stadt.
Wo sind wir hier eigentlich?
Wir gehen Richtung Innenstadt, vorbei am illuminierten Nidarosdomen, über Brücken und hin und her. Seltsam erscheint uns die Vertrautheit der Stadt. Während bisher die Ort- und Landschaften sehr andersartig waren, erinnert Trondheim im Stil straßenzugweise mehreren von uns unabhängig voneinander an die Stadt Potsdam. Es ist so seltsam, dass wir an manchen Stellen stehen bleiben und völlig verblüfft sind. Davon abgesehen, dass Trondheim und Potsdam keine direkte Verbindung miteinander haben, gibt es doch einige Parallelen, die dieses Trugbild und die Konvergenz bei der städtischen Entwicklung fördern: * beide Städte sind quasi gleich alt * sie sind vergleichbar groß in der Einwohnerzahl * sie sind von viel Wasser umgeben * sie verfügen über ein Straßenbahnnetz * sie gelten als Kulturstädte * Trondheim war lange Hauptstadt des Landes, Potsdam offizielle Residenzstadt des Königreich Preußen
|Trondheims nette Ecken|
Nach der Rückkehr zum Schiff machen wir Pläne für den nächsten Tag und verabreden uns in der AIDA Bar. Die Schiffsband spielt Klassiker mit Crewmitgliedern und wir trinken Bier. Ich habe den Trollfjord schon vergessen.
|Tagesplaner im Bordportal und tägliche Info in Papierform|
Day 8. Tromsø rain, Tromsø rain
At noon we arrive the ports of the largest north-Norwegian city Tromsø where we will be staying for a whole day. Our berth is some distance from the city centre so we can use a bus shuttle set up by the travel business.
I walk through the city and of course also cross the tromsøbrua (Tromsø bridge) to the Ishavskatedralen (Arctic Cathedral).
It is raining at temperatures broadly above freezing point and the compacted snow has transformed into thick ice tiles by repeated thawing and freezing that are now defrosting. One now walk on water covered ice shells surrounded by deep pond-like puddles permanently fed by thawing water. In the evening my shoes are completely soaked through.
The previously postponed Arctic circle baptism ceremony is held at the AIDA bar. This activity makes me have a premonition of the 'Ballermann' nature of these swimming club vacations that common cruises use to be. I take the next chance to nope out of it.
A part of our travel party attends a concert at the Arctic Cathedral but I go to bed early
|Quite pleasent around here and other shipping companies also have nice ships (Yes, that is the "Viking Sky").|
Day 9. Sortland calling
It is raining. We are still moored in Tromsø and I am out for a walk in the city buying postcards that I will dispatch at the next stop. It is raining.
We finally depart to destination Sortland. I spend the afternoon drinking coffee, solving crosswords and writing postcards. Best holiday ever.
Day 10. A storm is coming
My land excursion to the fascinating Trollfjord is going to start at 8 o'clock so the alarm clock rang early. There are only a few others having breakfast this early, some also booked the Trollfjord boat trip. Around 9 o'clock it becomes certain: there will be no Trollfjord. There will be no Sortland.
Due to heavy swell and wind there is no chance to dock in Sortland. Plans are officially changed in the course of the morning. We will spend another day on the sea and head directly to Trondheim. The ship is rolling through the Atlantic ocean and demands plenty of victims holding out in their cabins. Free seats at the bars.
I'm getting into a slightly sentimental mood. More than half of our travel lies behind us, we are heading south, only two stops ahead before we are going on a last day on the sea back to Hamburg.
My brain cannot completely process the fact yet that in a few days after being together with hundreds of people for two weeks chances are close to zero to see anybody of these ever again. The guests are going home and continue their lives as before and the staff will be seeing the next faces for two weeks and continues to do what they have done before which is working their asses off (Kudos to all of you).
Thinking about this it appears even more bizarre watching befriending attempts among guests towards crew members. How does that work? Are these people on cruises that often that they meet the same staff all along? Working in service myself I know this kind of behaviour. Of course some people are more sympathetic than others. So up to a certain degree you are willing to communicate on a more informal level without crossing the line of professionality doing so.
On a cruiseship the situation is completely odd. As a guest this may be the journey of my life and every single day is just awesome. For other guests you may be the annoying neighbour with a strange dialect or the nice random conversional partner on your daily morning walk on deck. For the crew you are the one spreading the clothes on the cabin's sofa, roaming through the early morning across the ship and ordering Ipanemy without sugar and drinking even more espresso at the bar. Til the next ones arrive.
Day 6. The end of the world
The past days make me sleep until 7 o'clock. We will be at sea until the evening and stay overnight at the port of Honningsvåg.
After the stunning previous experiences everybody is in high spirits. There are currently no seasickness casualies in our small tourist group. Even our youngest member seems to have adapted to life on the boat, he is high-fiving staff at breakfast and makes an appointment to the Kids Club later.
|Circumnavigating the North Cape in mystic lights|
In the afternoon we pass the North Cape during sundown. There is clear sight and one can see the North Cape hall and the globe from afar. Stunned in fascination I'm standing on deck 6 for almost an hour and enjoy the sight.
Later it gets windy and starts snowing. The nightly excursions to the North Cape are canceled, the road is not opened because of the weather conditions. It is still uncertain if the excursions will happen tomorrow.
K. and me roam through the empty, sleepy Honningsvåg. We take a closer look at the ship and discover: the crew night club is located right behind our cabins. Well, that explains a lot...
|Honningsvåg covered in snow. A ship.|
Then green haze. Polar lights. As we return to the ship the show is just starting. Green, even a few red northern lights are dancing in the sky for hours.
|Not all heros wear capes. [Bamse, the canine war hero.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamse_(St._Bernard)|
Day 7. North Cape
Two perfect polar lights cruise days are behind us. Anything upcoming is just decoration on the cake.
We get ready for the land excursion to the North Cape which we had already seen from the ocean side just yesterday. It was cold and windy up there but the sight was clear and the place definitely worth the visit even without midnight sun.
|Hilsener fra Nordkapp! Tourist level over 9000!|
In the evening the swell is getting stronger again and so I enjoyed the rest of the evening at the AIDA Bar.
|It's all so terrible...|
Day 5. Land in sight
The day starts with an early workout. When the ship is close to the second harbour Bodø we are presented with a breathtaking panorama view. This day promises to become great.
After the last, turbulent night the passengers cannot wait to leave the boat. Excursion busses are standing right in front of the ship and our little tourist party prepares for the usual walk into the town.
We were "warned" in advance by other passengers that Bodø is such an ugly town. The cause of that condition is their almost complete destruction in an air strike by the German Luftwaffe in 1940. Many houses have been replaced by more untraditional buildings and therefore the central pedrestrian area looks similar to their German counterparts.
In a travel report I read afterwards the author was downright outraged to have been forced to stop at this unsightly place. This really has made me angry: so do you want to experience the country or not? Norway like the rest of the world is no fairyland and has more to offer than beautiful landscapes and overpriced sledge dog trips for tourists.
If you open your eyes a little you can discover interesting sites even in Bodø like the local pieces of streetart.
|Streetart: "Malstrøm" by David de la Mano|
On our exploratory walk I spot a supermarket - it's time to prove my Norwegian language skills and buy some local specialities: brunost (brown cheese) and lefsegodt (soft pastry with a kind of cream cheese).
|A German walks by a Norwegian kiosk. Hitler. ROFL. (slightly out of focus)|
In the afternoon I go for a walk again, enjoy the unbeknown surroundings just to be back on board in time for dinner.
|Pretty corners in Bodø|
Cast off, we are sailing north!
Anke's anecdotic tip
I love walking around but from the third day on I missed riding my bike. It somehow crossed my mind: You should have taken a folding bike with you. Each passenger can check in with two large pieces of luggage. If you get along with one like me it should not be problematic to take an adequately packaged folding bike (± 12 kg) on the trip. That would significantly increase the range of motion on land.
The night of nights
The evening starts quiet. This will change within a short period of time. Since experiencing the difficult weather conditions on the second day we have become addicted to the ship's own local web page - the bord portal - where you get information about speed, course, weather conditions and everything that happens on the ship. We are well-informed.
K. is stunned: she spotted green haze on the picture of the bow cam. M. is sent upstairs to evaluate the situation. I'm still doubtful but about to wrap up warm. We enter deck 11 which is already slightly crowded with some people and their expensive photo equipments. The sky is cloudy and the almost full moon is illuminating the ocean's surface and land masses of the Lofoten islands. This alone creates a breathtaking, mystical atmosphere.
People whisper and watch on each other's camera displays and suddenly somebody says "There it is." We stare into the sky and see: nothing.
We keep staring and start seeing the difference between clouds illuminated by the moon and diffuse haze. Yes, the hazes are greenish and slightly moving. So this should be it?
We remain outside in this winter night staring into the night sky. The clouds slowly dissolve. The weather forecast predicts lots of clouds and rain for the next days and somebody says "Tonight's the night of nights."
Deck 11 has awoken. The news of polar lights sightings are transmitted into steel Moby Dick. There is lively movement of people going in and out.
Tonight the sky is giving us the green light. Freezing and excitement - the loyal companions of the northern lights - stay with us until 2 o'clock in the morning.
What a great day.