Newcastle to Bergen (7th – 10th August 2008)
I may be a Wildlife Officer but when out on a trip I do not just look for wildlife, oh no! During this minicruise we did a bit of ‘boat’ spotting too. Now to some this may not seem like the most exciting thing to do but believe me when we arrived in Bergen even the most nautically challenged would have been impressed with the visual treat that greeted us as we docked. The Tall Ships were in.
The Tall Ships had left Liverpool on the 21st July and had travelled across the North Sea where the first leg of the Tall Ship Challenge was due to finish in Bergen. There were cannons blasting, national anthems were reverberating around the harbour and sailors singing like they were in boot camp (do sailors go to boot camp?). I took the opportunity to disembark from the Queen of Scandinavia to soak up the atmosphere down on the harbour where there were literally hundreds of people milling around.
There were street musicians, a market, and a music stage which featured a multitude of music genres throughout the evening. The fish market was open which enhanced the ambience as the aroma of the sea filtered through the top end of the harbour. Even the weather was kind with a lovely sunset allowing for picturesque views of tall ships in front of mountains with red-pink clouds overhead.
We departed Bergen the following morning and headed south along the Norwegian coast stopping at Haugesund and then Stavanger. On arrival at Stavanger who did we spot in dock – the QE2! She departed just before we did and our passengers spilled onto our decks to wave her off. I have to admit that this did make me giggle a bit. I mean think about it; the Queen (as the Queen of Scandinavia is affectionately known to the crew) waving off the QE2. Well what can I say, it was never a job requirement to have a ‘normal’ sense of humour and I can’t help it if things like that make me smile.