Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Silver Spirit Norway Day 12 - Déja vu

With thanks to Silversea for this Norway cruise
More photos to follow when the wifi is faster
So, how to fill a bonus extra day in Tromsø when it's grey and windy and damp, and there's pretty much no-one on board who thinks it's a bonus at all? While the captain waited for the weather to decide which way it was going to go, I set off on foot from the ship for the nearby Botanic Gardens. They're the northernmost such gardens in the world, and I was glad I went to see them. They're naturally landscaped around clumps of rocks, with little trails in and around them allowing close inspection, and the plants are all helpfully labelled, so there were lots of "Oh, yes!" moments as I discovered old friends from my English gardening days, and their more exotic cousins.

Many of the were in gorgeous, beautiful, colourful bloom, and it was fun trying to do close-ups in such a strong, gusty wind. Saxifrage, sedum, aquilegia, poppy, primula, calendula, gentian, buttercup, rhododendron... they're from all over the world, even NZ, and it was a real pleasure to poke around the gardens discovering new beauties.

I nearly went back to the ship then, since the weather was getting worse, but took it for a sign when I got there and found the shuttle into town ready and waiting. So I went back into Tromsø's small but busy centre and then - adventure is my middle name, people - took a city bus out through the suburbs to the Tromsø Museum. That involved buying a pass from a café, waiting at a stop with an updating bus info screen, and then once on board watching another screen listing the stops - so there was no difficulty knowing when to get off. Though most people had their cards screened as they boarded, some paid actual cash, and it was cute to see that the driver had a little leather handbag hanging beside him with slots for all the coins. So old-fashioned!

The museum, run by the University, was, frankly, crap. Small, with well-presented and realistic displays, but kind of random, with big gaps in the stories they were telling. It didn't help that after beginning with a hiss and a roar with good English translations of the labels, they suddenly disappeared, leaving me floundering and gazing blankly at mysterious objects described only in Norwegian. Yes, I know I'm in Norway, but if you start supplying English labels, why not continue?

It didn't help that the bits I could understand were so depressing, about climate change and environmental pollution: eg the stark statement that "20-25,000 polar bears live in the Arctic today. Scientists predict that the population will decrease by two-thirds by 2050". Not arguing with the sad truth of that - just that most people visiting the museum would already have had their consciousness raised and could do with some celebration of how magnificent these animals are, and how worth protecting. Sigh.

Back on board the Silver Spirit, bingo went well and, though our TP team misattributed a quote to Hamlet (should have been As You Like It) and made a snooker ball colour mistake, we were still second with 22/25. Dinner at Atlantide was very good - delicious lobster bisque - and part of the company was interesting, though we ended up also sharing the table with the Kiwi-baiting Aussie OWM again, who still hasn't twigged how predictable, boring and unfunny that shtick is. Because he's an OWM, I suppose: not a demographic known for self-knowledge and personal development.

The show tonight was jazz (blech) so I stayed in the Dolce Vita lounge with a number of other enlightened souls and very much enjoyed Angela on guitar beautifully singing sets composed entirely of songs I know and like. And so to bed, in a ship tucked neatly into the wharf, to be carried as I (hopefully) sleep out into the open sea early tomorrow morning, to take our chances with the wind and big swells.


In a very grey day, the highlight was definitely the flowers, especially so many varieties of fabulous aquilegias.

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