Busy first day in Minnesota…Here’s how it went…Remembering 22 years ago…

The entertainment at the venue in Tromso was undoubtedly a great representation of Norwegian customs.

I thought I was done with all the Norway cruise photos, but when I encountered the above photos, I thought it would be good to share this story again for those who may have missed it. It was a special night; details may be found at the above link to the post from the following day.

The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind of activities. First, at 10:30 am, Greg and the kids picked me up at the hotel. I didn’t know they wanted to go out to breakfast, so I had breakfast at the hotel. Instead, I joined Greg and the three kids at the restaurant while they ate, and I drank decaf coffee.

Afterward, we drove to Greg’s new place, which he moved to several months ago after his divorce and he moved out of the family home. He has the three kids at his place every other week, and I was thrilled to see them before they left for their other home at 4:00 pm.

On “Aza-mazing Night,” all the participating passengers loaded into buses, and we headed to a theatre for a live performance in Tromso, Norway.

We watched the disappointing Minnesota Vikings football. On and off during the game, my three teenage grandchildren checked in every so often. Greg’s girlfriend, Heather, who arrived around 1:00, was a delight. I’d never met her before and found her a perfect match for him. We all chatted endlessly.

Earlier in the day, Tom drove to TJ’s house, and they, too, watched the disappointing Vikings game. After the game, he met up with Tammy and Tracy to play trivia at a brewery in Robbinsdale.

We’d scheduled to meet Tom at the Brick and Bourbon restaurant at 5:30, and it all worked out. The kids were back at the other house, and Greg, Heather, and I headed out. We enjoyed the food and ambiance; of course, the flowing conversation was easily had among the four of us.

Upon returning to the hotel around 8:45 pm, Tom fell under the weather and crawled under the covers, shivering. He’d been coughing a lot since getting sick on the last cruise and still hadn’t recovered. My symptoms disappeared in a few days, but his lingered. It was a rough night, and neither of us slept much.

This morning, he was feeling slightly better but still not 100%. After breakfast at the hotel, we drove to the local Cub market for some items for dinner. He waited in the car while I went in to shop and got change for laundry. This hotel, Hyatt Place, doesn’t have laundry facilities, but arrangements had been made with a hotel across the parking lot for guests to use their self-serve laundry for $2 each for washing and drying.

Day 10…Norway Cruise…More from Tromso…Last night’s fantastic evening in Tromso…

We walked over each time, but when we went to pick up the dry clothes, they weren’t dry after all, and we had to do another drying cycle. After a while, we walked over there again to pick up the clothes, after which I folded everything and put it away. From there, the rest of my day is free. A nap might be ideal for both of us around 2:00 pm.

For dinner, I bought Tom his favorite soup, Chicken Wild Rice from Panera, with roasted chicken, guacamole, and raw veggies for me. Tonight, we’ll stay in and recover a little. It’s been a hectic period since we left Florida on July 28, and a day and night’s rest is definitely on the agenda.

Today, on September 11, we are reminded of the horrors of 2001 when the terrorist act killed thousands of lives. We send our love and prayers to those who lost loved ones. And…we also send love and prayers for all who have lost loved ones in the horrors of the pandemic and other causes over the years.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 11, 2012:

Tom engaged in power lounging in Diani Beach, Kenya, in our outdoor screen-less living room while searching for future cruises. Tom’s not naked. He’s wearing shorts. For more photos, please click here.

Part 5…Unpublished photos from the Azamara cruise to Tromso, Norway…

Yes, reindeer are real animals found in Norway.
Statue in Tromso.
It was a Sunday, and the streets were quiet.
This little train-like vehicle is a tourist attraction…
This was a government building.
A pretty church at the end of the road, Tromso Cathedral.
A view of the street from the top of the hill.
A pharmacy in the town of Tromso with a population of 72,000.
The Tromso Bridge.

Here’s the post we wrote on the day we arrived in Tromso, Norway:

Day 9…Norway Cruise…Tromso, Norway…Why is Norway called, “The Land of the Midnight Sun?”…The Troll Fjords…

Day 10…Norway Cruise…More from Tromso…Last night’s fantastic evening in Tromso…

Last night’s two dancers at the entertainment venue in Tromso. I was able to upload this one photo!

Note: I can only add the above photo due to the poor WiFi signal aboard the ship. Once we arrive in Nevada in early September, we can post our photos from Edinburgh and this cruise. Of course, we’ll continue to try to add photos each day! We are sorry for the inconvenience. Perhaps, when this cruise ends, we can start posting photos while on the upcoming Celebrity cruise in 8 days. We’ll continue taking photos and writing text daily, if possible.

Last night was an exceptional evening. We embarked on what Azamara refers to as an Az-Amazing event, which is an entertainment venue that was explicitly arranged for cruise passengers, described as follows:

“Sit back and enjoy a tailormade show with some of the best artists in Norway. Tonight will be a musical trip “through the country” with traditional, heart–moving songs and jaw-dropping showstoppers accompanied by live local musicians! You’ll travel in time and visit some old classic songs, and continue the journey into more modern times with Norwegian specialties and curiosities.”

The show was entertaining, but organizing over 500 passengers boarding buses for the ten-minute ride to the venue was time-consuming and challenging to organize. We didn’t envy the staff who tried to get everyone in their seats in the theatre for the presentation to begin.

The show was pleasant and cultural, and we took some photos we’ll upload when we have a better WiFi signal, which we’re looking forward to being able to do. Knowing we were departing the ship at 6:30 pm, we didn’t have dinner but instead ate at The Patio cafe on Deck 9 around 2:30 pm. We ordered bun-free burgers, and Tom added a bun-free hot dog. I added a salad and thought this light lunch would hold me.

But, when we returned after the event, I was hungry again, and the only food available was pizza and puff pastry-type appetizers. A kind food and beverage manager ordered a cheese plate for me, which was perfect for a late-evening snack with my glass of red wine.

Then, while seated in The Living Room on Deck 10, we watched a fantastic show with the assistant cruise director, Jose Alpizar. Azamara’s cruise directors are all required to be entertainers and entertainers; he was! We loved every moment of the show. We visited with a few passengers, and by midnight we went to our cabin for a good night’s sleep.

This morning I didn’t have breakfast since I wanted to enjoy that lovely lunch again at the Patio Cafe, and we’ve both limited ourselves to eating only twice a day, either breakfast and dinner or lunch and dinner. Neither of us has gained an ounce on this cruise, and I hope to be able to be as diligent on the next cruise, upcoming on August 18.

It’s hard to resist eating more often, but certainly not worth it to gain weight when both of us have been trying to lose a few pounds after gaining a few since Covid. I have lost a bit but still have a ways to go to be back to my usual self and able to fit into some jeans I left behind in South Africa, hoping they’ll fit me when we return in ten months. It’s not easy since my metabolism has slowed in the past few years, especially after taking several drugs that caused weight gain while I had the Covid headache and facial pain.

Now that I’m still pain-free, I can stay medication-free for the former awful symptoms. I am so grateful, more than words can describe.

That’s it for today, folks. Tomorrow, we’ll write about the next port of call, which we’ll visit once we arrive in the next few hours.

Thank you for your continued patience with our lack of photos.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, August 10, 2013:

In Tuscany, our housekeeper Santina brought us more vegetables when arriving to clean the house on Friday that we’ll be using tonight in our homemade taco salads (minus the shells). For more photos, please click here.

Day 9…Norway Cruise…Tromso, Norway…Why is Norway called, “The Land of the Midnight Sun?”…The Troll Fjords…

Not our photo. The Troll Fjords in Norway.

Note: I can only add the above photo due to the poor WiFi signal aboard the ship. Once we arrive in Nevada in early September, we can post our photos from Edinburgh and this cruise. Of course, we’ll continue to try to add photos each day! We are sorry for the inconvenience. Perhaps, when this cruise ends, we can start posting photos while on the upcoming Celebrity cruise in 9 days. We’ll continue taking photos and writing text daily, if possible.

It’s been odd for me to prepare posts without photos for the past several days. I am looking forward to arriving at a new location that will allow me to catch up, adding the corresponding photos to the posts, and listing the links for those who like to see photos to return to each post and catch up easily. It will be a one-click process.

Many have written and asked if we’ll see the Northern Lights, and with much disappointment, we discovered early on that we will not. Norway is known as “The Land of the Midnight Sun,” as described below from this site:

“What is the Midnight Sun?

The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs north of the Arctic Circle at 66º33′N during the summer months: beyond this latitude, the sun never completely sets below the horizon. Why is that? As the Earth rotates on a tilted axis relative to the sun, the North Pole is angled towards the sun during summer. This also means the further north you go, the higher in the sky the sun is at night. As a sizable portion of its territory, located above the Arctic Circle, Norway is well known as the Land of the Midnight Sun. The Midnight Sun is the same sun we see during the day! However, it’s something you must see for yourself. The reddish yellow light is something that will mesmerize you, like a never-ending sunset…

Where can I see the Midnight Sun?

Northern Norway is probably the best place to experience the Midnight Sun. TromsøSenja, the Lyngenfjord region, and the Lofoten islands are a must-see during the Arctic summer. Imagine it’s 11 pm, and you’re sailing through the fjords of Norway, the golden light caresses your face while you enjoy the beautiful scenery passing before your eyes. For the more adventurous ones, the Midnight Sun is also best experienced from the top of a mountain. You can go to Sommarøy, the “summer island” and the world’s first time-free zone (people officially asked the government to abolish civil time, understandable when the Midnight Sun gives you the impression of endless days!), and hike to unique viewpoints overlooking the Caribbean-like beaches. Around Tromsø, an all-time favourite place to enjoy the Midnight Sun is Ersfjord and its dramatic scenery

When can I see the Midnight Sun in Norway?

The Arctic is truly special during the Midnight Sun season, which basically runs from mid-May to late July. Depending on where you find yourself above the Arctic Circle, the Midnight Sun period might differ: the further north you go, the longer it lasts! That’s why Svalbard, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, has the longest period of Midnight Sun: 4 months!”

I suppose this is somewhat of a trade-off for being unable to see the Northern Lights. In any case, we’re enjoying Norway, and today, we’ll disembark the ship to walk around the village for Tromso, as described below in the ship’s brochure:

“Tromso offers a captivating blend of nature and culture. Explore the mesmerizing Northern Lights, embark on thrilling Arctic adventures, and indulge in local delicacies. This vibrant city with its warm-hearted locals awaits, promising an unforgettable experience in the Arctic wonderland. Discover the magic of Tromso and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.”

With a map of Tromso in hand, it appears there is plenty for us to see when we walk through the quaint little village. Our ship arrives in Tromso in an hour, and we’ll be getting off to see the attractions that appeal to us the most.

Tonight, we’ll leave the ship again around 7:00 pm to head out on buses to a venue where we’ll be entertained by local artists, returning to the ship around 11:00 pm. Azamara refers to these off-the-ship entertainment venues as Az-Amazing. Cute, eh?

Last night, we sailed through the fjords for an exciting adventure, during which we took many photos to share in the future. The fun continues.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, August 9, 2013:

Common pipistrelle, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, common house bat.  I guess this is nothing compared to the bats awaiting us in Africa. For more, please click here.