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Calendar >  Travels With TR – The Fjords and Cities of Norway – Part I

Travels With TR – The Fjords and Cities of Norway – Part I

By   /  August 15, 2023  /  No Comments

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TR Robertson -Carolyn and I were recently off on another travel adventure, this time cruising to 15 cities in Scandinavia, 13 in Norway and one each in Sweden and Denmark. Day 1 of the trip featured an early morning drive to the San Diego Airport, thanks to son Brian, to catch an Air Canada flight to Montreal, a plane change and a flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. A plane delay in San Diego would lead to our flight out of Montreal being held for 2 ½ hours waiting for our arrival. Fortunately, I had upgraded to business class for the flight to Copenhagen to give us a chance to arrive somewhat rested.

Arriving at Copenhagen Airport, we collected our luggage and found the representatives from Oceania Cruise Lines along with a number of other passengers who were on our flight and also arriving on other flights from around the world. Boarding the bus that would take us to the check-in area next to our Oceania Cruise ship Marina, we drove through the older parts of Copenhagen, sections we remembered from a previous visit to Copenhagen. This is our fifth cruise with Oceania. The check-in process is organized, orderly and quick. Usually, the staterooms are not ready when we arrive as the staff is cleaning and making preparations for the new influx of guests. What is ready is lunch at the Terrace Café and the Waves Grill and a chance to begin to meet guests we would be traveling with for the next two weeks. We had sailed on Marina on previous Oceania cruises, so this was also a chance to walk around the ship and get reacquainted with the various parts of the ship.

Mid-afternoon an announcement was made that the staterooms on Deck 7 were ready. Our stateroom was #7045 so we retired to the room to begin the process of unpacking and making our stateroom our home-away-from-home for the next two weeks. Sail away time was 9 pm, headed for Gothenburg, Sweden, 121 nautical miles away. We retired early so we would be ready for our first tour in Gothenburg.

What is amazing about the Oceania Cruise Lines is the incredible selection of food offered each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wonderful specialty restaurants add to the options available featuring delicious dishes based on the theme of the restaurant. You will definitely never go hungry on board. Up early for breakfast, we began our usual daily routine of grabbing a bite to eat then reporting to the Marina Lounge where members of the Destination Staff would direct us to our buses designated for whatever tour we were on for the day.

The Marina had docked at Gothenburg, Sweden at 7 am the morning of Day 2. Gothenburg was founded in 1621 and is the second largest city in Sweden and the largest seaport. For today’s adventure we boarded a bus that drove our group outside of the city to visit Tjoloholms Slott Manor Castle, a 16th century Tudor style Manor house built in the late 19th century. The castle was built by James Frederick Dickson and his wife Blanche. James tragically died before the construction was complete. The castle was designed by Lars Israel Wahlman with the interiors designed by Liberty’s in London. State of the art details were added such as electricity, vacuum cleaners and surround showers. The castle garden is a typical English garden with the Knot Garden facing the sea. The castle has been turned into a destination offering a restaurant, a café, a Castle Shop Visitors Center and a carriage museum featuring not only various carriages once used by the Dickson family, but the massive unique vacuum cleaner used for the castle.  Cottages in the former worker’s village are available for rent. Touring the various rooms of the castle offered a step back in time to the turn of the 20th century and the elegant Tudor style woodwork and unique features each of the rooms contained.

Back on the ship, I attended the first of several special presentations offered with the OLife Enrichment Speaker Series, presented by Jennifer Eremeeva who spoke on the Viking Age. These speaker series always add to the cruise providing information and pictures of the history of where we are traveling. Most of the days we also attended the Afternoon Tea in the Horizons Lounge featuring delicious pastry items and finger sandwiches and we also took part in the Happy Hour 2 for 1 cocktails before we headed out to the restaurant we would choose for dinner in the evening. We also joined a Trivia Team for Team Trivia, which took place almost every day in the afternoons. This is another fun way to meet people from around the world and to have fun taking part in trivia quizzes. The Marina departed at 5pm for Oslo, Norway, 98 nautical miles away.

Our ship tied up in Oslo at 7am for Day 3 of the trip. Oslo is a vibrant city we have visited before. Our last visit here took us to the incredible Vikingskipshuset (Viking Ships Museum), home to several fully intact Viking long ships as well as numerous Viking historical items. On this trip we are taking a tour to the historic Hadeland Glassverk, first opened in 1762, When the glass factory was first established, they mainly produced pharmaceutical medical glass containers. The large facility provided homes for the hundreds of employees. Today, this popular tourist site still produces glass for all occasions, has designers and glassblowers on display for visitors, offers several shops full of a variety of glass and pewter products, several restaurants, a visitors’ center and has received “The Best Taste of Norway Branding Awards”.

After several hours at the glassworks, we returned to the ship in time for Team Trivia and dinner at one of the specialty restaurants, Jacques the French style restaurant. The Marina set sail at 9 pm bound for Skagen, Denmark, 85 nautical miles away.

The morning of Day 4 an announcement was made on board that today would be a Sea Day rather than docking in Skagen as high winds made entrance into the harbor too dangerous and we would not be able to dock or tender in. The stop in Arendal, Norway, was also dropped for the same reason. Our new destination was changed to Mandal, Norway. This is not unusual on cruises as we have had changes in the sailing schedules on previous trips. During the morning I attended another OLife Enrichment Lecture, this time about the Legends of King Arthur. Days at sea also provide some time to relax, not have to be anywhere at any specific time unless you really want to and to sit back in the Marina Library on board and read a good book.

For Day 5 we arrived in Mandal, Norway, the southernmost town in Norway. We did not have a scheduled tour for Mandal, instead deciding to walk around the small town to see what it had to offer. The town was established in the 1600’s. The city is known for its narrow streets and white wooden houses. There is also the city’s church, Mandal Kirke, the largest wooden church in Norway. We didn’t spend too much time in the town and were back on board by lunchtime. At 3 pm the Marina set sail for our next stop for tomorrow, Bergen, Norway, 216 nautical miles from Mandal. The OLife Speaker Series continued, this time covering Martin Luther & the Protestant Revolution. Later in the evening we enjoyed another dinner in a specialty restaurant, this time the Italian restaurant Toscana. After dinner we headed to the Marina Lounge to listen to Chris Bannister, a young singer from England who performed a selection of songs by John Denver. A nice ending for Day 5 of the trip to Norway. Day 6 will feature our stop in Bergen, Norway, and further adventures as we head toward the Artic Circle and the Bluenose Initiation.

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  • Published: 8 months ago on August 15, 2023
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  • Last Modified: August 15, 2023 @ 12:35 am
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