Friday, June 22, 2018

Silver Spirit Norway, Day 8 - I cod you not

With thanks to Silversea for this Norway cruise
More photos to follow when the wifi is faster
So of course we woke to brighter weather today, having left the Lofoten Islands far behind during the night. I say ‘night’ – but we’re well into the midnight sun zone now, so it's a good thing the Silver Spirit’s curtains are a decent thickness.

Harstad is a pleasant little town notable for its ‘Adolf gun’ on a hilltop (just your regular Nazi-installed WWII cannon), a fortified church and a historic village, none of which I visited. Instead I meandered around the hilly streets surrounding the harbour, enjoying the colours of the neat houses – red, yellow, green, blue, with pleasingly contrasting window frames and doors – and simply being out in the fresh air and sunshine. I met my second friendly Norwegian cat so far – this time a soft-furred grey one called Lily, who was very purry and dribbly but, according to her owner, only with strangers, treating those who actually feed and house her with disdain. Cats, eh.

The locals were focused on a flower market in the town square, no doubt enjoying their brief fling with pansies, petunias and marigolds – the giveaway snow-scraper scratch marks on the pavements telling a different sort of story. I ate a tasty crèpe cooked at a pavement stall, the classic banana and Nutella version. The customer queuing behind me was interested in our cruise, and told me with quiet pride that yesterday’s port, Svolvaer, has an annual fishing contest which he once won with a catch of a 22kg Arctic cod.

And then at lunchtime we were on our way again, heading back our through the fjords and yet further north, past improbably isolated-looking island settlements of wooden houses and barns in pockets of green fields, surrounded by unbroken woodland. Trivial Pursuit restored our team's confidence with 22/25 and second place, with a bit of a controversy over the pronunciation of 'pamplemousse', and personal satisfaction at holding out, against spirited support for Lake Victoria, for Lake Baikal as the biggest by volume in the world.

High point of today was choosing the Atlantic cod at the main restaurant, Atlantide, and selecting the lemon butter sauce to accompany it. Delectable!

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