The laziest of days. How many naps is it possible to take in one day? Ships are the best, especially in rough seas. This trip continues to delight and sooth…here’s a disjointed bit of unimportant babble…enjoy the photos!
Thursday, /August 23rd/Fourteenth day of travel.
12:50pm: And the tiniest of blips in my perfect life-on-the-road. Nothing is wrong; I’m on the MS Finnmarken in a luxurious (by my standards) cabin; I’ve grazed the always sumptuous Scandinavian breakfast buffet (three or four meats in addition to three or four smoked and pickled fish, five or six white/brown/gold/seeded/herbed/spiced cheeses, chewy brown breads, jams and yogurts and cereals and fruits and vegetables galore, and did I mention the platters of butter?), been to a lecture on fiords, and taken a morning nap. Could life be better! Perhaps if I’d remember to take my happy stomach pills and had not decided to do my entire Christmas shopping before leaving Longyearbyen—making my suitcase impossibly heavy—which wrenched some left-side muscles coming on board last night—which now hurt like hell.
All of the Hurtigruten ships are working ferries plying the long and picturesque coast of Norway. It’s actually easier to travel much of the distance by ferry instead of by road given all of the fiords cutting in from the Atlantic. This ship, the MS Finnmarken, has two lovely dining areas and all sorts of welcoming nooks and crannies, comfy chairs lining the windows and plenty of deck chairs. I do not believe there is a slot machine, cheesy floor show, or popular entertainment area anywhere on board. Tourism is woven in with side tours into fiords, opportunities to disembark and visit the small towns where we stop along the way, and various lectures on edifying Nordic subjects. It’s nice in a slow and dreamy kind of way—loud people in a rush have all flown airport to airport, and I can imagine myself taking this coastal journey as I grow ever older. But without the overstuffed suitcase and long flights of stairs—maybe with a devoted servant at my side…or one of my also-aging children.
It is cloudy today; damp gray chill. And yes I still am in love with the clouds; stay away sun, I say.
Announcement: Lofoten side tours are cancelled for this evening as the wind is high and the seas rough. Yay. I wasn’t going on the tours anyway—I will never ever be a tour person—and I love the sea a bit wild, the boat rocking…best sleep in the world.
Soon I’ll go to the ala carte dining room for a small lunch and wine. First though let me do a luggage tweak to see if there’s anything I can leave behind. Definitely that fat Paul Theroux book of essays—whatever prompted me to bring that—it is not an interesting book. From now forward it will just be me moving along with the Bob Dylan bio on my trusty kindle. I should start playing some of his obscure songs—and if the author ever moves past Bob’s protest years I will. But the tune in my head for weeks has been Paul Simon’s “Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War.” What else can I get rid of…the big bag of plastic bags brought along in case…?… I have too many spare cookies?
2:35 pm or as we like to say—at sea, in foreign countries—14:35: I’ve had lunch. The a la carte restaurant is good enough, service perhaps not excellent, but my wine was fine, my waffle all buried in butter, sour cream and strawberry jam. So…Norwegian. So…not exciting. So…me. We’re paused in a village where there’s a museum, so there’s a 45-minute edifying interlude for those who wish to quickly fork over their 50 Krone ($6 or so), look quickly, and plod back on board, I’ve decided to spend lots of time in my cabin today. It’s restful and easy and I only have one more day and two nights with this light-filled, wave-rocked happy life of semi-luxury. When I’m on board again after Trondheim, my cabin is down under and will be claustrophobic and tiny.
Maybe I should take another nap.
Karl Ove writes like this, except that he would include a detailed account of the consistency of yesterday’s bowel movements and the number of square indents in his afternoon waffle and the colors in his kid’s throw up this morning and how his wife drools ever so fetchingly as she sleeps. Love him though. Why isn’t my sentence about plastic bags interesting? Karl Ove’s would be.
16:45: Another nap. Pain pill now before yesterday’s muscle abuse ruins the evening.
It’s time to go sign up for internet service. What high crimes has Sleazy T. committed today? Are Meghan and Harry okay? Are the glaciers still melting, the fires still burning, the space station still orbiting…?