2023 – 4 – Grand World 4.3 of 5 More Europe – Holland, Denmark and Norway

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I took a tram into downtown Amsterdam with Nona and Lenora.  We ended up touring the Royal Palace, which happened to be open that day.  There were a lot of interesting sculpted friezes, but I think I liked this dining room best. 

They knew how to entertain.  I should put that in the present tense.  The palace is still in use to entertain state visitors, who even get to sleep in it. 

I like to eat out in a city when we have an overnight, but Holland America had a different plan.  They were having a gala dinner and a 150th anniversary bash with the president of the company.  So we all went to that, and I would have preferred my usual strategy.  I don’t run the show here. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Still in Amsterdam, Nona and Lenora and I took a different tram and visited the flea market.  It was a lovely day and I got this pretty picture. 

And this one of the bicycle culture that has long been alive in Amsterdam:

Then we walked around for a bit and didn’t find a resto we could agree on.  The others started getting nervous about missing the boat, but I was hungry, so I had croquettes on the street at the place I was sanding near, and it was a very pleasant experience.  Then I went in search of orangines to compare Dutch ones to Belgian ones.  All in all a good day.

I had given Belgian Orangines (Leonidas) to the Front Desk after our stop in Zebruge and now I presented the Dutch competitor.  Both the Front Desk and my table agreed, the Dutch version was better.  They had a comedian after dinner, Sid Davis.  We thought he was very funny. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

At Sea

I got word that our very important question for Gus Antorcha had been delivered to his room and would be answered.  Well, it wasn’t answered at the Q and A session, I can tell you that.  I sat through 40 questions before I had to leave to get ready for our welcome cocktail.  Gus made a lot of points for Holland America with that session.  He just plain stayed on the stage until the last question was answered and I don’t know how long that took, because I had to leave after two hours.   But he got a lot of marks for staying on his feet and taking it.  There was another great production show from our singers and dancers called “All for Love” and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Copenhagen, Denmark

Uffe & Joan Folkmann joined Nona and Me on board for breakfast today.  I had to have ONE dining room breakfast and this was a good occasion.  Uffe was our guide for Mariann’s tour of Denmark last year.  He’s such a nice person and so is his wife, Joan, who joined us for the last day, last year.  They were not unfamiliar with cruise ships.  It’s one of their favorite ways to have a vacation.  I get it. 

But it was a work day for both of them, so, after I had thoroughly enjoyed my eggs Benedict, they drove Nona and me into downtown Copenhagen.  Joan was already gone when I had the presence of mind to get a picture with Uffe.  I hope they visit me now, in Montreal.  Could happen. 

With a map from Uffe’s Segway Tour business, Nona and I walked through the shopping district, through a department store and on to Nyhavn, where we met Shari and Pat Sanders and had them take this super picture. 

I should have one of them but they rushed off to more adventures.  Nona and I had a beer, in the sun, at one of the delightful cafés, happy to have found a seat.  It got really packed while we were sitting there.  Then we walked along the waterfront past the cherry blossoms in bloom and The Little Mermaid, had a smoked salmon smorgasbord and another beer, and caught the shuttle to the ship, an A+ day. 

My acupuncture session after that was pure torture but I had a nice dinner with Lynann, Nona and Lenora.  The entertainment was another EXC talk about Nordic Pioneers.  I gave it a miss.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Oslo, Norway and cruising Oslofjord

Lynann and I got on the Hop On Hop Off bus right on the pier.  Lynann’s plan was just to ride the thing once around.  Mine was to ride it twice, getting off in Frognerkilen on Bygdoy and having a drink at the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club, which had an interesting location “Dronningen”, which means “The Queen”.  It looked like a bit of a challenge but, by my google research, doable.

It was a beautiful Spring day, and, no surprise, Norwegians behave like Canadians on the first gorgeous day of spring that happens to land on a weekend:

They also clog the streets with traffic and hold marathon runs.  Net, it took well over two hours to circle Oslo once.  Back at the ship, Lynann got off.  I made some calculations and decided to go around again, to get off at the RNYC. 

That’s where I made my mistake.  I should have just taken a taxi to the yacht club, because the HOHO took even longer the second time and I ran out of that commodity.  Next time.  It was still a beautiful spring day.  There was scenic cruising as we left Oslo, a treat we were to have for the next few days. 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Kristiansand, Norway

We docked in Kristiansand and it was easy to just step off the ship and walk around, so Nona and I did that.  They were nicely set up for tourists with literature on what to see, not that we could have missed any of it.  It was a pretty small place.  But, we did as we were told and toured the sculpture garden.  I liked this whimsical display:

Then we walked into the old center of town, where we were invited to go to mass at the Catholic church by a very nice Vietnamese man.  We demurred, not that Nona doesn’t go to mass every day, but yours truly certainly preferred what we did do. 

Next thing you know we were sitting in a restaurant on the square, where we were introduced to “dirty fries”.  I don’t know where they have been all my life.  They were delicious, French fries with all the tacos toppings, and they were pretty much a meal. 

I fell asleep in the bathtub when we got back to the ship. 

There was more scenic cruising, dinner and nice entertainment for a change, Iris Kroes on Harp and vocals.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Haugesund, Norway

This looked like another nice little town but I needed to stay in and work

We had a terrific dinner guest in the person of sax player Akos Laki.  The actual entertainment was a film: At Eternity’s Gate about Van Gogh.  I went back to the cabin and read my book. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Eidfjord, Norway

There was no Internet all day because they were changing the ship over to 5G, so I was very willing to go out.  It was a pretty little town from my balcony. 

It was also very cold, like 45 degrees.  There wasn’t all that much to see on our walk, until we happened on the Nils Bergslien Gallery attached to the Voringfoss Hotel, just opposite where the ship was docked.  Nils Bergslein (1853-1928) was a native of the place.  He did very well as a painter, sculptor, and designer of many major buildings.  He returned to Eidfjord for the last 25 years or so of his life and this delightful museum is the result.  Here’s a sample:

There was plenty of daylight left when we got back on board at five, so more lovely scenic cruising in the Crow’s Nest.  The entertainment was our delightful dinner guest from a few nights ago, sax player, Akos Laki. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Bergen, Norway

I got a newsletter ready to go tomorrow before I even thought of venturing out at noon with Lenora and Nona. 

The weather was terrible in Bergen.  People coming back in reported sleet.  I don’t go out in sleet.  I went back to my cabin and took care of business, like insurance for my next couple of trips. 

The entertainment was good, again, comedian Sid Davis.