Aurora to Norway - second half

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DebW
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Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by DebW » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:05 am

Monday 4th March – Tromso, Norway

After yesterday’s rushing around the open decks, I discovered I’d lost my (only) woolly hat. Not good, when you’re out on a tour. We turned the cabin upside down looking for it, and I asked – twice – at Reception lost property, but nothing. However, I knew with my big scarf wrapped around my ears, and the hood on my coat up, I should be okay. And later on that proved to be the case.
We were in the Medina having breakfast not much after 7.00 am, and ready for our 8.30 am tour in good time. We were on a trip called “Winter Beauty of Sommaroy Island”, which was advertised as a low activity tour, and included “refreshments”. We’ve had those in Norway before, so we were expecting lovely things!
Our drive of about an hour took us across two islands before crossing onto Sommaroy island. The scenery was lovely, though we struggled to see much a lot of the time as snow was blowing quite strongly everywhere. And when we left the coach in Sommaroy village we had to trudge through a blizzard to the hotel for our food.
It was lovely. Waffles, sour cream, jam and brown cheese, washed down with tea or coffee. Then the snow finally stopped, and the sun came out, and we had a chance to take a quick look around before re-joining the coach for the journey back to Tromso. And this time we could see and fully appreciate the gorgeous scenery around. Stunning, especially where the snow met the shoreline and the sea was beginning to freeze.
We had a great guide who pointed out things as we passed, and told us quite a lot about the Sami people, and life in Norway generally. All in all, a good tour.
We got back to the ship and grabbed a bite to eat, and then headed into Tromso city centre on the shuttle bus. Not to have a massive look around (too slippery underfoot for my liking – I know, I’m a wus), but to see about getting me a new hat. Found one that didn’t require a bank loan, and also got George a new scarf, then headed ‘home’ again.
Time to thaw out, and I had a soak in the bath, with the water as hot as I could stand. Lovely.
Robin and Rosemary joined us for the hardest Individual quiz EVER. We scored less than 20 points between us! And the winning score was only 11 – it was genuinely tough. But we did better on the later quizzes, even though still no win.


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Batwoman
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Re: Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by Batwoman » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:14 am

What's the betting the missing hat turns up now that you've bought a new one!
Lizzie x

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mikef
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Re: Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by mikef » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:42 am

Did the same trip Deb, the food was great and we had better weather and had a nice walk around the village, we were lucky to see Reindeer on the way back
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DebW
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Re: Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by DebW » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:50 am

Tuesday 5th March – Alta, Norway

George woke up looking like death warmed up, and a trip to the medical Centre resulted in him having his tours today cancelled. If he still feels rough tomorrow, that tour will go down the Swanee too, so we’ll see what the rest-paracetamol-and-fluids treatment does. Fingers crossed.
I missed FitSteps for the only time so far because of our comings and goings (sorry Luke!). But I left George resting in the cabin, and wandered about the ship with my book and camera, reading and watching the sail-in to Alta. I went to the Battle (ladies are losing, but not by much – easily catchable), then returned to the cabin to see how George was. He’d had a doze, and was ready for a bite to eat, so we had a light lunch, and I also got a sandwich and mousse from the Grab-And-Go for later, as I’ll be missing dinner tonight.
I wonder how people living here manage with little or no internet access: we’ve both had “no internet access” messages come up on our laptops when we’ve tried to get online. In today’s world the internet is regarded as an essential service, so presumably there is some kind of booster gadget the locals can use. Otherwise it’s not just geographically that they’d be isolated.
I’d spend all morning thinking about whether or not to go on the igloo Hotel tour by myself, and in the end decided that yes, I would. And I was so glad I did – and not just because we spotted three moose on the journey there!
The hotel is something else. Constructed every year from scratch, entirely from snow and ice, it has bedrooms and suites for overnight stays, a chapel, a bar (hooray!) and even a “sitting room” with an ice three-piece suite and an electric log-effect fire. There are ice sculptures everywhere (trolls, Vikings and Norse mythology gods among them), and the bedroom suites are themed around fairy tales – I especially liked the Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast ones.
The little chapel had an altar and cross, again made of ice, and the pews were the only thing I spotted that was made from another material, (wood). And everywhere the beds and seats were covered in reindeer skins, so they were surprisingly warm and comfortable to sit on.
We were offered a drink from the bar, a choice of an apple concoction or vodka and curacao. Guess which one I had! The drinks were served in cubes of ice with a central ‘hole’, which gave a whole new meaning to “do you want ice in your drink?” This time it was “do you want drink in your ice?”! Saves on the washing up though!
We returned to the ship where George and I went up to the Indian buffet for a bite to eat. He was still feeling rough, so was planning on sleeping while I went out again, looking for the Northern Lights.
I was going with Angie, so I had a good friend to travel with, even though George was missing out. We were taken to a ‘camp’ about an hour from Alta – and the Lights started up just as we arrived. Talk about good timing!
We’d arrived there at about 10.30 pm, and I left at midnight (Angie stayed put for a while longer). And we saw a lot of Light activity, though no spectacular colours, just the greens and yellows. We didn’t get as cold as we thought we would (the pair of us went dressed like little Michelin men – so much padding that we waddled!), we played with a husky, and at one point went inside one of the cabins for hot chocolate and cake. A magical night.

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mikef
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Re: Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by mikef » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:58 am

Deb the Ice hotel is incredible, when I went my Ice 'glass' slipped out of my hand!! Glad you saw the lights, it is one of life's great memories, I was the same as you i has so much on I didn't feel cold
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Re: Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by Batwoman » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:37 am

Sorry to hear George is not well, what a shame he is missing out on the tours but hopefully he'll feel a lot better soon.
Lizzie x

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DebW
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Re: Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by DebW » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:28 am

Wednesday 6th March – Alta, Norway

George was still feeling rough when we woke this morning, so after breakfast in a very busy Medina he went back to the Medical Centre, returning this time with antibiotics and tour tickets for both of us stamped for refunds.
So Alta’s been a non-starter for George, and a hit-and-miss affair for me – but it means we have the perfect excuse for booking a similar cruise in the future!
I thought I’d get the shuttle bus into Alta city centre, but by mid-morning the snow and wind had returned with a vengeance. Could barely see the dock pier from the upper decks of the ship, it was that bad. So I stayed on board in the warm with my poorly hubby.
We didn’t do much all day, just reading and relaxing, and George slept a bit. We had dinner in the buffet, which was pretty disappointing: supposed to be Italian tonight, but very limited selection. Most of it seemed to be some kind of roast, with all the trimmings. Admittedly, there was lasagne and pasta carbonara, but no sign of any spag-bol, and no pizzas. Ah well, we didn’t starve!
We met up with our friends for a quiz in Champions. They’d all had a good time today, and from Robin’s description it sounds like our cancelled trip would have been as good as we had hoped. Another time, perhaps.
With George not well, and me still tired from last night, we were asleep before 10.00 pm.
Night night!

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Batwoman
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Re: Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by Batwoman » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:12 pm

Such a shame that George is still feeling poorly hopefully the ABs will do the trick and he'll be fighting fit very soon.
Lizzie x

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DebW
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Re: Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by DebW » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:18 am

Thursday 7th March – at sea

We were woken at around 2.00 am as the ship sailed from Alta, and by breakfast time we were sailing back past the snow-covered mountains that we’d passed two days ago. Spectacular scenery, and mid-morning whales we saw whales, which is always good.
I went to a strangely quiet FitSteps, where Olivia and Lucy took us through a revision of the Charleston, and the swing jive. Good fun, even though we were a bit thin on numbers – we thought perhaps everyone else was still in bed!
George had a meeting with David, the Food and Beverage Manager, and I joined them once FitSteps was over. George is quietly determined to stop P&O calling their strange offerings “Cornish Pasties” – they look and taste nothing like proper pasties, nor are they made in Cornwall (they are actually a regionally protected product, meaning they can only be called Cornish if they’re made in the county). David is on his first P&O contract, and is very open to hearing comments and suggestions from the passengers, and the three of us had a long and friendly chat with him, comparing standards with other cruise lines he’s worked on and we’ve been on, as well as what the food on P&O used to be when we first started cruising.
It was snowing on and off all day, but we sailed past some pretty amazing scenery, and whales were quite easy to spot, too. George went for a deck walk while I was FitStepping, just to get some fresh air in his lungs after being confined to the ship for the last few days, and he certainly looked better for it. I went to the Battle again, where the ladies managed to pull back, so there’s not a lot in it now.
Later we met up in Anderson’s with our friends or a drink before going for a meal in the Beach House. This was Robin’s treat, as a sort of early birthday for himself (his birthday’s actually the end of the month, but any excuse!). We had a lovely meal, but sadly the evening was ruined by a continuous stream of people going outside to look at the Northern Lights, and returning again. Nothing wrong with doing that, except every time the automatic doors to the deck opened, we got a blast of freezing air. Poor Angie took the brunt – and she was wearing a sleeveless dress. The staff there did nothing to stop people using the door, and with the cold making George feel rough again, we left.
I was so angry about the lack of care from the Beach House supervisors (not even a change of table offered), that I went and saw David, the F&B Manager we’d met earlier, and made a complaint. Not that I expect anything to come of it, but I felt better with my spleen well and truly vented.

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Batwoman
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Re: Aurora to Norway - second half

Post by Batwoman » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:43 am

That was very poor Deb, especially as there's 2 exits out into the deck. The restaurant door should have been locked, or at the very least all of you moved to a table well out of the icy blasts.
Lizzie x

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