Saturday 16 June 2018

Silver Spirit Norway, Day 2 - Sun, sea, Starbucks and sequins

With thanks to Silversea for this Norway cruise
Photos coming later, when the wifi is faster
So now I know what taupe looks like. It’s one of those catalogue colours that I’ve always wondered about. I mean, how is that different from beige? (Neither of them is a colour I’ve ever had anything to do with, personally. I’m into primary colours, me.) But the décor on the ship is definitely taupe, and beige, and grey and pewter and black, with muted aqua highlights. Sophisticated, I guess.

It’s an At-Sea day today, so there’s time to register such things. Also, to be entertained by the programme of lectures and activities that are laid on by the Silver Spirit team. First, though, I had work to do: an interview, no less, with Steve McCurry. Hang on, don’t click away, to save you googling I’ll tell you that he’s the man who produced what’s been called the World’s Best Photo: Afghan Girl. You know it from the National Geographic cover back in 1978, you’ve seen it often, and even only once seen you’d never forget those green eyes looking right into yours. Brilliant photo.

Steve himself is a quietly-spoken man of 68, not tall, fairly forgettable physically, to be brutally honest, which has without a doubt been to his advantage in his career, slipping under the radar, not intimidating his subjects. He’s travelled the world, mostly to less developed countries, and produced a huge body of work. Comfortingly for the rest of us, he’s a great proponent of the iPhone camera and has even included phone pics in his books. So there’s hope for all of us.

I also learned how to make rhubarb panna cotta at a cooking demonstration, tasted the Danish version of Calvados (they cheat by adding aquavit), and at a different lecture learned how unsafe hotel safes are and why you should never give your real name to the Starbucks guy if you’re carrying a hotel umbrella. This travel security lecturer is totally paranoid, but also an amusing speaker, and his next talk on identity theft might be pretty handy in these treacherous times.

The sun shone all day, the sea sparkled, the ship creaked quietly (hopefully not the inserted section working loose), and we set out on the Trivial Pursuit marathon, our group of six achieving a moderately respectable third place in the first skirmish. We finished the day’s events with the Captain’s Welcome cocktail reception, a formal affair which my Amazon owl dress allowed me to just scrape into, although many guests really, er, pushed the boat out. Pearls, diamonds, sequins, long gowns, bow ties… not all on the same people, I hasten to add. And then I took a pleasant wander around some other decks, discovered the Art Café with its truffles, the boutique with a very eclectic selection of fashions, glitzy watches, jewellery and perfumes (had a spray of Chanel #5 to waft me to sleep), and finally got some fresh air up on the top deck to observe the sun starting to sink, the North Sea uncharacteristically turquoise and peaceful, breaking long and slow under the bow, and the sky streaked with high cloud. The sun set, infinitely slowly, tonight at 11.40pm. It may have felt weary: sunrise tomorrow will be at 3.56am.

Highlight of today: a big squashy hug from lovely little Miriam, wine waitress, who remembered me (and my owl dress) from our Christmas cruise to Antarctica on Silver Explorer.

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