Friday, November 29, 2013

The tour leader and stunt linguistics

I was so pleased that a passenger took the mike from tour leader Aud Ræstad during the farewell dinner, to thank her specifically for doing such an excellent job of organizing the excursions and informing us about highlights en route, and of managing to keep calm, no matter what happens.

I've already written about stunt filleting, and the tour leaders on board give us daily demonstrations of stunt linguistics. In addition to regular announcements in Norwegian, English and German, I've heard Aud Ræstad speak French with a passenger, and on earlier trips I've also overheard conversations in Spanish and Italian. I am impressed! 

Farewell Dinner Night ...

... is on the night before Trondheim, because passengers often disembark there instead of in Bergen the next day.

If you have a choice, I'd suggest you stay with the ship. Day 11 is lovely, and so are the final hours down the coast to Bergen. 

More fuzzy photos: 
My dinner companion, Bjørn Frotvedt, is welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine. And no, they don't do this at every meal.

And here is Wanda Clark from Indiana in the foreground, 
when the head chef, Kurt Gjertsen, is presented. 

Wanda is my cabin neighbour, 
so I could ask if she was OK with me posting a picture. 

The rest are random (as in "completely disorganized") photos of staff and officers, just to give you an idea of how this shift on this ship says goodbye. Please let me know if you want me to remove some of them, or if you want me to add your names * 

And many thanks to everyone who works on board, both the visible and the invisible, for making this a great vacation.

* email: koftakorma @


Tomorrow evening MS Finnmarken is hosting a julebord in Bergen. And there is a lot of decorating going on. 

I've been taking pictures of piles of decorations and thinking how nice they look before they are hung up.

And when I took a picture of hotel manager Per Øivind Dahl looking through a box ...

... he kindly shared some of the shrubbery with me: 

Later that day he mentioned that a couple of lovely ladies had volunteered to decorate one of the trees.

[Picture will be forthcoming]

And today, on the last leg of the journey, I cam across one of those lovely ladies hard at work in the restaurant: And Wanda Clark from Indiana seems to be having fun! (I'll fix the pix later, Wanda, just want to send you the link now.)

Babette's Cafe on MS Finnmarken

This is on deck 7, and a great alternative to the observation lounge. With cake!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Stunt filleting on board

It is always a pleasure to see something done extremely well, which is why I enjoy the filleting demonstration.

One whole salmon 
and one extremely well filleted one. 

I apologize for the fuzziness of the other pictures. And I'm posting them anyway. 

Here chef Kurt Gjertsen is showing us a very fresh salmon.

Normally, this event happens on deck, but today the weather was not compatible. 

I'm trying to stay out of the way of people who haven't seen this before, so I didn't get any pictures of the actual filleting ...

But here's the end result: sushi! 

If I ever see this again, I'm going to ask permission to film the whole process, from fish to bones.

Relevant posts:

The Lunch Buffet

Food awareness and thanks to the kitchen staff on Finnmarken


Blue on blue

Post and booze in Sandnessjøen

Vinmonopolet in Sandnessjøen - where you can buy wine and spirits - is right next to the ship.  

This picture is taken from the gangway, and Polet, as we call it, is next door to Narvesen.

If you want to post something, keep going right, past APOTEK1, follow the star, and there you are, at POSTEN

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What is your favourite ship?

A passenger asked me that when he saw me in a Trollfjord vest. He preferred MS Trollfjord because the promenade deck there was roofed - and for a serious photographer, that is an important consideration.

Both Trollfjord and Midnatsol have a central atrium, which gives a lovely impression of spaciousness. And I seem to remember big windows in the saunas and gyms?

And Trollfjord has art by Espolin Johnsen, who knows all about the million shades of dark:

I'll be posting wonky pictures of these ships and of Polarlys (does it, too have an atrium? I can't remember) when I find them - all were beautiful, each in its own way,  and all of  them could have been a favourite ship except for one thing: I write a lot on board, and MS Finnmarken is by far the best writing ship.

Finnmarken has more public areas than any of the other ships I have been on. And I spend a lot of time in Babette's Cafe - it's usually peaceful, has huge windows on either side, the internet connection is good, and it has cake!

And it's easy to rush out on deck if you see something that you want to photograph.

I'm stopping here and going to my cabin while the going is good: we have arrived at Stamsund from Svolvær 45 minutes behind schedule, and I want to be horizontal before we start crossing Vestfjorden.

So now that I've outed myself as a Finnmarken fan - how about you? What is your favourite ship, and why?

Spikes 101

I live on a hill farm, with steep paths that get icy in the winter, and spikes are very much a fact of daily life.

There are two categories of spikes:

I: Floor-friendly spikes

Yaktrax type:

These would be perfect on a Hurtigruten trip. You can put them on in your cabin, and walk (carefully, as they are slippery on bare floors) outside with them on. You can also keep them on when going into shops, yet they are amazingly stable on ice and snow. There is also a version for runners.

Sandpaper type

These are surprisingly good on hard, slippery surfaces, and pretty hopeless if there is a layer of snow on top. But you can use them indoors without harming the floors.

II: Floor- harming spikes

The totally super-serious crampon type:

This is what we use back at the farm. I have them permanently attached to a pair of winter boots that are easy to slip on or off, and I change to another pair of boots in the car when I'm going to the grocery store or to other civilised areas. The scrunchy sound these spikes make when digging into ice gives a wonderful sense of security. But they are probably overkill if your only icy experience will be on a Hurtigruten trip.

Hurtigruten gift shop type: 

I've seen them used on the stone floor in reception, and they don't leave a mark there. And they might be OK on carpet. And they do give you a good grip.

Newfangled portable type

These have been for sale in bookstores for the first time this year.

The spikes are the same as in the Hurtigruten type,but these are easy to keep in a pocket or handbag. I haven't tested them properly, so I can't say if they stay on when used.