27.06.2010 55 °F
We had a great day today touring the stunning countryside of Stavanger, Norway (pronounced “stuh-VAN-gur”) by bus. The ship docked around 8:30am, and we got room service for breakfast (Kev was upset that I only let him order 3 pastries!) and met our tour group at 9:30. The bus driver was a cute Norwegian guy who delivered a few snippets of good commentary, but the highlight was definitely the scenery. The fjords are just gorgeous, and – as most landscapes – just do not come out in pictures as beautifully as they actually look. But here is a sampling of what we saw!
We tried to capture a few out of the bus window, but they didn’t turn out great
Our first stop at a fjord took our breath away – the water is so sparkling, and the green mountains plunge right into the water, which is exactly what we like (some of our favorite places “scenery-wise” – St. Lucia, Puerto Vallarta, Haiti, and now Norway – involve mountains going directly into the water). Here are several shots, including the now-standard ring shot
Our second stop was at an old cheese-factory, now converted to a candle factory, situated right next to a cave that is used for balls, weddings, etc. We got to have a traditional Norwegian snack inside the cave – it was coffee and pancakes with some sour cream-like topping and jam. It was really good but very filling! Halfway through the snack, we looked at each other and thought – “How random and amazing is it that we are in a cave in the middle of Norway eating pancakes on our honeymoon?” We are NOT letting the enormity of this huge honeymoon go unnoticed and are definitely appreciating every moment!
Our next stop was at a giant slope of boulders that had fallen shortly after the Ice Age. The rocks were HUGE and it was amazing that they were all so perfectly poised … we’re thankful they stayed that way until we left! Again, the scenery was amazing.
We took the long way back through the countryside of Stavanger, but the pictures through the moving bus window just don’t do it justice. Stavanger is Norway’s capital of oil and gas, which is the country’s main industry, so there were several offices and oil facilities (we’ve also been passing several oil rigs in the ocean while approaching Norway).
Once back at the ship, I took a long nap – my throat had been hurting all day and I was coughing a lot last night, so I tried to sleep it off. Kev went to read and nap by the pool and then went to the gym. Later, we went to the Planet Bar (on the 18th floor of the back of the boat) and watched the sailaway. The views were amazing, once again, and we had fun watching and talking. The white wooden houses you see are over 200-years old and are one of the top attractions (besides scenery) in Stavanger.
After the bar, we headed to dinner. We each started with a Caesar salad, then Kev had sweet potato and prawn soup (forgot a picture), and turkey with potatoes for an entrée. I had baked Icelandic cod with fava beans and vegetables for the entrée. We had fruit salad (me), and maple-walnut and chocolate truffle ice cream (Kev) for dessert. By the way, tonight’s stated attire was semi-formal, and Kev looked very nice in his slacks and collared shirt, but almost all of the men were in black suits, white shirts, and ties! Last night’s formal attire was even worse – we knew Kev would be a bit underdressed in khakis, a sportcoat, and a tie, but all the men where in tuxes, with even a few white tux spottings! I guess the British love dressing up! I think this is one occasion where being a young female is helpful – you can kind of get away with the “nice dress” look even if it is not actually formal. OK, enough of that discussion!
After dinner, we headed to the evening’s show, which was called “Destination Dance” and was awesome! I usually think the dance quality is just average on cruises (and the quantity of dancing in most productions is relatively low), but tonight’s show was a solid 45-minutes of high-quality dance. Most cast members were in about 80% of the numbers – that’s a LOT of choreography to remember especially when they are in a different show each night! The idea of the show was to do a dance or two from several countries around the world. The first number they did for the US was a military one, and this was a bit of an unfortunate choice. There is just a lot more to the US than declaring war, but that is the first thing that “foreign” people think of. Let’s be clear, though – even though we thought this, we still have the utmost respect and admiration for our troops. Hope I didn’t open a can of worms there!
After the show, we headed to the bar and casino (where we won back our losses from the other day, plus a little bit for Kev!), and back to the Planet Bar, where they were showing a montage of pictures from the Orient on the amazing 3-panel TV. (As a side note, I am not usually comfortable saying “The Orient” or “Oriental,” as I thought that was no longer PC, but they say it all over the place here, so when in Rome…) We stayed at the bar for a while, headed to the late-night buffet, and are now headed to bed! We will be in Flaam tomorrow where we’ll be going on the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour – stay tuned for an update!
Oh, one last note … LeBron is supposedly headed to the Bulls? I am not LeBron’s #1 fan, and up until now I was not the Bulls’ #1 fan either, but we are moving to Chicago, and it would be pretty fun to see the energy that LeBron could bring to our new “home team” … but DON’T WORRY, my Mavericks fanship will NEVER be compromised!!!!!! Just saying!