Thursday, June 8, 2023

Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Welcome to Seydisfjordur!

Seydisfjordur, Iceland

I wasn't sure how welcoming I was going to be after the middle of the night coughing fit I couldn't stop. The positive side of it? Catching the sunrise. 

Time stamp 2:16 AM

It was late (guess early since the sun was already up?) before I finally got settled back in and calmed down so I turned off my alarm and decided to sleep in. Even when I did wake up, I stayed in bed not sure of what I was going to do. Take the easy way out and stay onboard and do laundry or drag myself out of bed and take the big, bad world head on? After multiple conversations talking myself in and out of both choices, I opted to put on my big girl pants and plow forward.

I'm sure glad I did. 

Challenge number one was tendering. While I've taken tenders in ports here, there, and everywhere, not all ships are the same. Couldn't have been easier here on the Island Princess. Grab a tender ticket in the Wheelhouse Bar and take the elevator down to deck 4 midship. There is where they have a second little plexiglass-enclosed lift for wheelchairs. Hold the floor button to go down and press the deck 4 button to go back up when you get back. Gotta hold it continuously or you'll stop midway. Oops.
controls to elevator platform on the Island Princess
On my way back up after a great day ashore
Getting off the tender shoreside, it's several steps to get down to the pier level. Then it's another step up and a bit of a steep walk to the top but handrails on both sides help. Shore personnel already had my scooter up at the top waiting for me.
ramp at cruise tender port in Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Here's where I found what Scooter dislikes as much as rain and hills. Gravel.

I found driving on the grass worked better, but there was a big chunk where there was no grass and the only way Scooter would go was if I pulled him. Talk about a workout. Once a little ways outside the port the walkways and roads were paved. Sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy, but nothing we couldn't handle.

Taking a right outside the port area gets you to the blue ferry building. 
outside of ferry building in Seydisfjordur, Iceland
There is a nice little seating area, ferry check-in, car rental, and a little gift shop/information booth. The car rentals were closed up when I was in the building so it may have been mostly for the ferry passengers.
inside of ferry building in Seydisfjordur, Icelandcar rental counter at Seydisfjordur, Iceland ferry building
ferry leaving Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Off goes the ferry
Continuing that direction, I ran into several signs of interest. I couldn't get Scooter down there but they seemed to capture peoples attentions.
Continuing around to the right you find you can make a loop all the way around the town.
If you had gone straight out of the port area instead you would have run into a waterfall. 
waterfall in Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Difficult to understand the scale but it was a big one

The town is very small and easily walkable. Scooter wasn't happy with some of the rougher pavement but it didn't stop him from allowing me to take all the pictures I wanted.

Of flowers.
Artwork on buildings.
artwork on buildings in Seydisfjordur, Iceland
The rainbow street and blue church.
rainbow street and church in Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Even of someone's pet.
And then there were the landscapes. Just stunning.
landscape view of Seydisfjordur, Iceland
landscape view of Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Even Scooter got in the action and had a lovely view on the tender ride back.
Once back onboard I tucked myself out of the wind,
Flags for you, Ed
found a spot up top, and took off my jacket and basked in the sunlight yet again.
Once it clouded up it was my signal to get the laundry done. Since my husband took over laundry duties years ago, I had forgotten how cut-throat cruise ship passengers can be when crammed in a small room waiting for the timers to go to zero. Oh, my. 

We have two sea days before we are in Falmouth/Cornwall, England. I have no plans there so far, but we'll see what I can come up with. Or not.
One more waterfall down the fjord

Time zone changes so far: 7 with another tonight

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Akureyri, Iceland

Welcome to Akureyri!

This morning’s approach as seen on the Akureyri webcam

Before I talk about today, I have to talk about last night.  I was already in bed with my sleep mask on (thanks to the land of the midnight sun) when I felt the ship make some turns and list a couple of times. Not thinking too much of it, I moved more into the middle of the bed. My mask dislodged and I saw something white go by outside. And more white and more white. I can’t see a thing without my glasses but once I got them on I said three words out loud.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Remember how I mentioned yesterday we’d be going above the Arctic Circle? Well not only did we cross it but we ran into Arctic ice while we were there! 

sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Yes, we sailed through this
I've sailed through ice from glaciers in Alaska a couple dozen times. But this ice was something special. Bigger. More imposing. And there was a lot of it. Note: All the pictures were taken after midnight so you can see how light it was at that time.
sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise shipsailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Even after the ship quietly and gently sailed through it all, I could still see what looked to be even heavier ice off the port side for quite some time. 
sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Wonder if an ice breaker would be needed to head north into this?

It made for a very exciting night. Just think, if I didn't need to readjust my sleep mask I would have missed it completely. The Captain said it was unexpected and unusual for this time of year so it was a shock to us all.
sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Now back to Akureyri. After yesterday's wet and frigid day we arrived today to clear skies.
Akureyri, Iceland
My plan for the day was the Hop On Hop Off bus. From what I had researched the pick up would be very close to the pier. Boy, it certainly was. Right out of the gate.
hop on hop off bus at cruise terminal in Akureyri, Iceland
Their HOHO is white, not red
The bus couldn't get any closer to the ship if it tried
A few notes about the bus:
*It didn’t do a typical narration with headphones but had some monitors with audio and video instead.
*There were only about half a dozen of us riding. Great for me who is still trying to stay away from crowds! I went earlier in the morning so I don’t know if it got busier later.
*There was a place for Scooter with a seat for me nearby.
*It cost 5000 Icelandic Krona which is about 35 US dollars. I paid with my card but don’t know if he would take ISK cash or not.
*The full loop took 45 minutes.

I was going to ride the bus the entire loop to get my bearings and decide where I wanted to hop off on a second trip around.
There were some places I had in mind. The botanical garden at stop #7 was a possibility, but being there were several ship tour busses when we passed by I decided to avoid those crowds. The pool at #9 was an option but not one I wanted to take up today.
Akureyri, Iceland swimming pool
Sightseeing through old town, checking out museums, or taking photos of the churches were options. Some of the town is hilly and since Scooter is not a fan of hills, I didn't feel up to the extra work of dragging him around. So I stayed put and took all my photos from inside the bus.
heart stoplight in Akureyri, Iceland
All of their red stoplights are hearts
Hockey rink for you, Ed.
Since it was such a nice day I headed back to the ship earlier than planned and sat outside with my sweatshirt on and soaked up some rays by the pool, trying oh-so-hard to heal myself.
Akureyri, Iceland  airport runway seen from cruise ship
I waited to see how many airplanes I could get flying straight over the ship but found they used the other end of the runway for landing and take off. Guess we're not on Maho Beach in St. Maarten? (Although, later a large plane flew over and I missed it.)
The clouds moved in later in the day, forming some interesting patterns.
We'll be back here twice more this summer and since I now have my bearings I'll be able to hit the ground running next time. If I’m feeling brave I might even try out the free city bus.

Tomorrow we're in our last Icelandic port of this cruise, Seydisfjordur. It's another tender port and this time I'm really, really, really wishing for dry weather. Between here and there we again go above and below the Arctic Circle where the Captain is certainly hoping for no ice tonight. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Isafjordur, Iceland

Hello from Isafjordur! 

Isafjordur, Iceland

Well, more like from hello from a ship with a view of the town of Isafjordur as I never made it ashore today. It wasn’t because of the tender situation, either. Waters appeared smooth which is always a plus.

Princess ship cruise ship water shuttle
It was because of this:
Bridge cam view most of the day
It’s not because I’m afraid of getting my hair wet, or fearful of braving such cold temperatures as these

Take note of the sunrise and sunset times.
It’s never dark in these lands!
But Scooter? That’s a different story. As I found out during our last cruise, wet surfaces and scooter tires are a bad combination. With only one of the three wheels with a drive belt on it, I have to be super careful when driving on slippery surfaces. Even a little baby turn or a tiny little bump can cause me to lose traction and make the scooter go catawampus. 

I really wanted to go ashore, so first I went on two different outdoor decks and onto multiple surfaces to try out some white-knuckle icy-road no-four-wheel drive maneuvering. Uh, no go. Making lemonade out of lemons (and unintentionally trying out two-handed, two-footed braking skills), I did snag some pictures.
Still some snow out there
These looked to be some type of fishing nets or pots
A closer look at them. Beautiful landscape, huh?
Movies Under the Stars had scenes of Glacier Bay showing.
Today is certainly colder than Alaska is right now.
Tomorrow we’re in yet another port in Iceland, Akureyri. Between here and there we’ll cross above, and then back below, the Arctic Circle. Way cool. Literally!

Monday, June 5, 2023

Reykjavik, Iceland

Welcome to Reykjavik!

Ed and I spent Thanksgiving week here some years back and squeezed in about as much as we possibly could have, so today I didn't feel the pressure to see and do everything in just one port visit. (Plus I'll be back two more times this summer.) 

Since our ship was docked in the industrial area, I took the free shuttle to the Harpa Concert Hall. It's quite a spectacular looking building.

Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, IcelandHarpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland

From the concert hall, Scooter and I rolled around the surrounding areas. So much about today's visit felt familiar. I saw some of the same sights as before.
Was reminded of the beautiful artwork
artwork on wall in Reykjavik, IcelandSun Voyager Sculpture in Reykjavik, Iceland
and the different styles of graffiti. 
graffiti in Reykjavik, Iceland
I ate at some of the same places, too. Just like on our previous visit, I had a famous Icelandic hot dog with everything. The Pylsur lamb dog had mustard, ketchup, remoulade, raw onions, and crispy fried onions.
Pyslur hot dog stall in Reykjavik, Iceland
Pylsur hot dog in Reykjavik, Iceland
Too bad I still can’t taste or smell anything
A little bakery treat for later
I shopped in some of the same stores as before, snagging some new bling for Scooter.
It took a few relaxing hours to wander my way back around. While I had a map in my pocket I never brought it out once. 
Grab some rocks and make your own sculptures at the bus loading zone

It was a good way to spend the first day out of the cabin. I'm still not feeling well and am sleeping a lot, and everything continues to taste like toilet water, but the Icelandic air was refreshing. Tomorrow we're in Isafjordur. It's a tender port so I hope to get to go ashore.

Time zone changes so far: 7

Want to know more about Reykjavik and Iceland? Check out some info and photos from my previous time here:
Reykjavik sights
Swimming in the Blue Lagoon

Friday, June 2, 2023

Isolation No More

After six days in isolation I've received a golden ticket. A self-test with a negative result, followed by a test done by the medical center to confirm the result.

Now I'm a one stripe zebra instead of two!
So now what? I can go out and about wherever I'd like. I'll need to wear a mask for a while not because I'm contagious, but because my immune system is depleted and they don't want me catching the flu. I guess while I've been isolated the flu has popped up on the ship? In June? Since I'm still feeling not so great I'm planning on just staying put here in the cabin. Iceland is coming up in a few days with Norway following quickly behind so I (along with my medical team) think it best I keep laying low for a while and rest up.

I'll need to be full strength to tackle June
Since I'm now in self isolation instead of mandatory isolation, I'll lose my daily calls from the medical center and the calls from dining to place my meal orders. It was nice having those calls when I was at my sickest, but I can take care of my own room service needs now. Something I did wish I had from day one is the letter I received the day before I was released. I had bugged guest services every single day for this information sheet and was told every single day it was on its way. Sure would have been nice to know some of these things during isolation. Someone or a whole bunch of someones messed up in providing the communication in a timely manner. Anyway, you can’t always believe what you read because some of the information wound up not being accurate.
Being I'm still staying away from people and spending my days resting in the cabin and getting my fresh air from the balcony, I missed the Most Traveled Guest Luncheon today. It's hard to make the cut on these transatlantic sailings because there are so many Elites onboard, so being invited to this week's but not being able to go was a big disappointment. But sweet Patrizia, the Loyalty and Events Manager (formally the Captain's Circle Host and soon to be another title, I believe) gave me a call and offered to send the meal up to the cabin. Don't have to ask me twice. Without the menu - and still with no taste and smell - I'm not sure exactly what I was eating. But I ate it anyway!
Salmon appetizer

Even more tender than last week's beef

I almost tasted a hint of lemon?

The foghorn has been getting its workout these last couple sea days. Guess it's one way to mask my hacking cough on the balcony. 

Internet is becoming a little more unstable so I'll sign off for now. See you in Reykjavik.

Time zone changes so far: 5. We also have another coming tonight and another one the next night.