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Bimmer09

Celebrity Silhouette, Norwegian Fjords Sept. 1 2019

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Norris, thanks for a great review. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your pictures and comments. Your review brought back a lot of fond memories of our cruise to Norway a few years ago. Thanks  again for a fantastic review.

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August 29

O'hare airport, Chicago

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we are trekking to Terminal C which is a long walk starting in Illinois and ending in Iowa according to my feet but made easier by a conveyor belt and the United theme tune Rhapsody in Blue by George Gerswhin who had no idea when he wrote it that we would hear it so many times we'd be sick of it.

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other people were flying that night apparently

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We are flying Business Class (Hooray!) through a miles and money upgrade, so that we arrive in London fresh and frisky. We consider that we will be able to sleep for a few hours during the crossing. The United Business class lounge is called ....

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they actually have a restaurant within but it closed at 7.30 which is about when we arrived but luckily there was a buffet selection near the bar

 

 this was my plate with a BBQ pork slider, some ravioli, mushrooms and broccoli with flavorful rice and beans. I had been at work until 4 pm and was ravenous.

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the plane that would fly us to London sat outside as all the seats in the lounge were taken

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would be leaving on time

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We were a the airport, on time, were fed and relaxed and on the first leg of our cruise vacation.

 

Yippee!

 

 

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Onboard our flight

 

We are sitting in sleeping pods. Carol's is about 6 feet away and a wrap around seat fixture obscures her and everyone else on the plane from my gaze. There's no seat in front of me but rather a bulkhead where the kitchen begins between us and First class. The bulkhead supports this

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before I sit I have to find space for the blanket, the pillow, the headphones and the amenity kit that are placed on my seat. I get organized . There's a lot of legroom which will come in handy when I switch the seat to a sleeping position later.

 

a drink is offered and I opt for a Pinot Grigio to sip and savor while perusing the menu for dinner

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only a 7hour flight with the wind behind us

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on time we leave the gate and have no wait on the runway. Pedal to the metal!

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Chicago down below

 

once we have leveled off...

my smoked duck with faro salad, dried cranberries, brined carrots and whole grain mustard

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followed by

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seared lemongrass salmon, with coconut red curry sauce, Thai coconut risotto, stir fry bell peppers, carrot and onion. First class vittles!

 

and soon after

ice cream sundae with Ghirardelli hot fudge and sea salt caramel sauce with M & Ms

washed down with a Bailey's on the rocks, a favorite treat

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we were flying over Canada before I went to sleep

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next....London down below

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6 hours ago, Sadebud said:

Thank you Norris and Carol for another fabulous travel journal!  Have been with you all along, I just don't comment much.  Already have my calendar marked in January for your Sky Princess (can't wait to "hear" your thoughts as we hope to sail her later 2020), and again in October for your Azamara journey!

 

Love Snowy!

 

Tracy

 

Tracy, thanks as always, for following along!

I am sure I will have plenty to say about the Sky Princess and am very much looking forward to sailing on her. Azamara Quest will find me in Rome and Venice and some new ports to us.

Cheers!

Norris

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3 hours ago, Dbld777 said:

Norris, Thank you for a fantastic review. Your writing style is so easy and enoyable to follow along, and of course your pictures are always fantastic, always waiting patiently for the next installment. I especially enjoy the early morning ventures and your description of enjoying a cup of local coffee and watching a city awake.  I met you several years ago aboard the Ruby Princess, I believe, at a CC Meet & Greet and I've been quietly following your reviews as they come along. We are sailing Celebrity and Silhouette very soon for a change of venue and experiences. It's certainly interesting, the common refrain across the various forums, of getting just a bit tired of our long time cruise line host and wondering if there is something better to experience out there. It is common on all the boards. The honeymoon is over I guess. I'm sure we will thoroughly enjoy the Silhouette and your pictures make us anxious to board and enjoy.

 

Your final flashback and online storage challenges brings one song to mind..... hey, hey, you, you, get off of my cloud. How did the Stones know what the future held???

 

Bruce

 

Bruce! Yes I remember talking to you on a Princess ship. Ruby? Quite likely or was it Caribbean Princess to Western Caribbean in January 2014? Either way, great to know you were reading this and enjoying so thanks for the kind compliments .

 

Yes trying other lines is the thing to do, just to spice things up and not tire of the same old deck plans and food offerings. It's fun researching each line.

 

The early morning coffee walks have been with me for I don't know how long. I know I was doing them in Bayreuth Germany back in 1999 but they happened in Germany as far back as 1972 when I lived in Nuremberg. I love taking photos before the sun comes up and there are lots of people around. My Venice and Rome walks were a little creepy as the streets were so dark and few people were around but I soldiered on and found there was nothing to fear.

 

I hope to see you in my next review which is only 10 weeks or so away but will have sunshine and lots of color.

 

Thanks again, Bruce. Hope you are well.

Norris

 

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Norris,

 

Wonderful as usual.  Have your review of Sky in my calendar.  We are booked for Enchanted for the 10 day Med followed by the 15 day Transatlantic next Oct.

 

Hope that you get to do the opera in Germany next year.

 

Judy

Edited by jlf1

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When I awoke and lifted my window shade...

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the best part of waking up...is this

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England's green and pleasant land appears before me

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and here below me is the East End of London

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the bend in the river Thames where Canary Wharf lives and below that to the South, Greenwich Park. The white disc to the right is the 02 concert arena 

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the sprawl of South London with the Houses of Parliament and London Eye visible

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and West London

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and we have arrived!

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end of flashback

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18 minutes ago, jlf1 said:

Norris,

 

Wonderful as usual.  Have your review of Sky in my calendar.  We are booked for Enchanted for the 10 day Med followed by the 15 day Transatlantic next Oct.

 

Hope that you get to do the opera in Germany next year.

 

Judy

 

Judy, we will know by the end of February whether we have tickets for the Bayreuth Festival or not and will jump up and down if we do as we are Wagner devotees and love Germany.

 

I'm happy you found this review! Thanks for your kind compliments!!

Norris, going to catch up with my TripAdvisor reviews tomorrow

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This sign, hastily and poorly shot on the way into the airport made me smile

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the sign is of course tongue in cheek and not to be taken literally

 

there's a trek from the spot the Uber driver is able to unload. To terminal 2 we trudge after waiting for an elevator. Ahead of us are maybe refugees who are bringing all their belongings including a stove and a sofa to start a new life somewhere that is not London. Then to check in at Terminal 2, the Queen's Terminal only to find that the passport reading machine is on the Fritz and we have to go to a counter agent and wait behind some guy who wants to know if there are tea cosies provided on the flight. The agent types the first chapter of Game of Thrones into the computer before apologizing that there are not. Then we are up and the second chapter is typed in. My Green card is the issue but eventually all is well. We are told that the gate is "just 15 minutes walk away". I immediately double that as I have flown out of Heathrow before. We pass a Greggs shop and "the best sausage rolls in London" comes back to mind but there is no time now. We are directed down an escalator  and then through some bushes. We are by a river with crocodiles and then climb over a grassy hill and now to an up escalator, then over a bridge past some mud huts and people cooking fish over a fire, then turn left up some stairs and then down an escalator and there is our gate to Chicago.  I take off my bandana and wring the moisture from it and remove the leeches from my neck. No time to relax, visit one of those amazing British candy shops where Terry's and Cadbury Chocolates abound. No time for a  drink or a few minutes of breath-catching. Onto a plane. Economy Plus which lives up to its name and strapped in for a daytime journey home. Window seat and Carol is next to me. Neither plan to sleep so we are in tune with Chicago even though we have got up 6 hours earlier than it has.

 

exotic airline we may never fly

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goodbye Middlesex, hope to see you again soon!

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the route will take me directly over my birthplace, south of Belfast on the coast of County Down 

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no sleep today so I watch Deadpool 2 on the tv and eat whatever comes my way but I can't recall what that was. I work on my photos on the laptop and think about Snowy facing another day with just the cat-sitter's visit to dread (she hides in the boxspring of the bed) but appreciates the food top-up and the fresh litter in her box. She's a good cat and never destroys anything or knocks plants over. She's more likely to put up some shelves and paint the kitchen than destroy.

 

The miles fly by and soon we are losing altitude

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almost home

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back to the familiar

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And in the end...the love you take...is equal to the love you make....

The Beatles knew how to sign off better than anyone, but then they did everything better than everyone. Thanks to everyone who has been reading this and especially to those who commented and gave me a reason to come back to the computer every day (bar 2 when I was in Michigan). It's "last orders at the bar" and time to put the lights out (but not the cat) on another review.

 

The cruise had its' weather challenges but we saw and adored what we saw of Norway and will return. Celebrity and this stunning ship took good care of us. London reminded us of why we love her so much and made returning a no brainer. Just not enough time there, alas but that will be rectified.

 

We are cruising again soon and looking forward to some sun in  Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and Belize and hope that you will follow along on January 26th when I write about it on the Princess board. Until then...adios and thank you!

Norris and Carol

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Thank you Norris for yet another wonderful review.  I have already marked my calendar for both your January trip and the Azamara in October. Can't wait!

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Norris and Carol, what a fantastic read! I have enjoyed so much "travelling" with you on this trip.

Can't wait for your report on your next adventure so looking forward to hearing about the Sky Princess.

Your stunning pictures of London, its beautiful architecture and all those lovely, cosy pubs brought back a lot of memories. I was born and brought up in East London many long years ago and left with my family in 1981, never returning.  I can't remember going into any of those wonderful museums or cathedrals growing up - all taken for granted really. Only now I look in awe at London through your eyes. 

As for the pub grub shots, especially the ones of crispy fish and chips, mushy peas etc. I remember these so well.

One "delicacy" we miss from long ago and maybe we're looking through rose-tinted specs, is going into Cook's Pie and Mash Shops in the East End and getting a plate of a large meat pie, potato mash ( which came onto your plate via a spatula), and lastly "liquor" which covered your meal in a custardy green parsley sauce. (no alcohol involved) Oh so delicious!

Thanks again.

Tessa

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11 hours ago, mchell810 said:

Thank you Norris for yet another wonderful review.  I have already marked my calendar for both your January trip and the Azamara in October. Can't wait!

 

Thank you for reading it and for the compliment!

See you in January!

Norris

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11 hours ago, temani said:

Norris and Carol, what a fantastic read! I have enjoyed so much "travelling" with you on this trip.

Can't wait for your report on your next adventure so looking forward to hearing about the Sky Princess.

Your stunning pictures of London, its beautiful architecture and all those lovely, cosy pubs brought back a lot of memories. I was born and brought up in East London many long years ago and left with my family in 1981, never returning.  I can't remember going into any of those wonderful museums or cathedrals growing up - all taken for granted really. Only now I look in awe at London through your eyes. 

As for the pub grub shots, especially the ones of crispy fish and chips, mushy peas etc. I remember these so well.

One "delicacy" we miss from long ago and maybe we're looking through rose-tinted specs, is going into Cook's Pie and Mash Shops in the East End and getting a plate of a large meat pie, potato mash ( which came onto your plate via a spatula), and lastly "liquor" which covered your meal in a custardy green parsley sauce. (no alcohol involved) Oh so delicious!

Thanks again.

Tessa

 

Tessa, you owe yourself a make-up visit to London after all these years!

We shouldn't have stayed away so long but our fleeting visit has convinced us to go back again.

I hope to see you on the Princess Board when we sail the Sky. We sail on January 18 and the review will start the day we get home which is the 26th.

Until then, thank you for reading this and for the kind compliments!

Norris

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Scenes from our Michigan Road Trip 

As we have done for many years going back to 2005, we took 3 days to drive from Chicago up to the Mission Peninsula, which begins in Traverse City, Michigan. I took a lot of photos and did a lot of driving (960 miles and most of those in rain and then snow on the return to Chicago)

 

Here are a few shots to give you the flavor of the trip

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SS City of Milwaukee, a retired rail car ferry in Manistee

 

One of our favorite fine dining restaurants-the Boathouse in Bowers Harbor, Mission Peninsula

Tonight we celebrated our 25th Anniversary since we met in New York

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the rolling grounds of the winery we always stay at, early morning

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Chateau Chantal, our lodgings

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at a rest stop on the way to Charlevoix

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although not a registered architect Earl Young built 31 houses in Charlevoix

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Young_(architect)

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I photographed most of the 31, no two the same

 

small town America, in Charlevoix

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Weathervane restaurant in Charlevoix

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another rest stop, where the Lake (Michigan) has risen high enough to swallow the beach and the trees

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we revisited our morning rest stop in the afternoon on the way home to Chateau Chantal

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that was the one day we didn't have rain

 

before leaving the Peninsula to drive to Chicago we visited Mission Point Lighthouse which sits on the 45th parallel, halfway between the Equator and the Arctic Circle. The beach used to be 100 feet deep but is now gone due to high lake levels

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 Carol stops for some apples at a roadside stand. It's raining and there is no one to serve her. She puts the money in a little cash box. The honor system.

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150 miles from home at a rest stop on Route 31, a very fast smooth highway

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thanks for reading!

Norris

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Love your beautiful fall colors photos! The peaceful and serene feelings really come through.

Thank you for sharing.

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Norris,

 

Thanks again for another fabulous review. And as always, your photos are spectacular. Never been to Norway, and I doubt we ever will. But you brought me there. And your London photos brought back fond memories of the 2 visits we had to that incredible city.

 

Your Sky Princess review reminder is already on my 2020 calendar. See you there.

John

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Thank you Norris and Carol.  I have really enjoyed reading along.

 

Although we haven’t eaten at Hospital Road, we did dine at Petrus a couple of years ago and it still stands as our best meal ever. So, when next in London, I would suggest you go.  You do need to book in advance usually and booking doesn’t open until 6 weeks before the date you want.

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10 hours ago, yoshi said:

Love your beautiful fall colors photos! The peaceful and serene feelings really come through.

Thank you for sharing.

 

Yoshi, thank you for the comment. 

We drove 320 miles or so in drizzle which didn't seem like a good start but it (like a cruise in wet weather) was better than a day at work and the further North we drove the more vibrant the color. The day driving to Charlevoix was perfection and I took a lot of pics there, especially of the Earl Young houses which exist only in this small picturesque town which we love. The tourists had all gone, bar two. I took some nice pics in our favorite fudge shop as we stocked up. Murdicks is the name should you ever visit. They have stores in a few towns up that way.

 

We had one exploring day and two days of getting there and back (in rain and snow) but had two great dinners, great breakfasts in the winery and at night when we got home to the Chateau high on a hill there was complete silence and when the clouds would part, a starry sky. Bliss.

The staff go home at 6 pm but you can sit by the log fire and help yourself to some wine (on the honor system). It's a big working winery with a huge tasting room for guests and visitors. We have already booked for October 2021 as they sell the suites out quickly to repeat customers such as us. We have stayed there 6 or 7 times. Next October we will be in Italy sailing on Azamara Quest.

 

Our Michigan trips used to lead us to go on into Canada, to Ontario the most rugged and beautiful province but we haven't done that in a few years.

 

So many places, so little time...

 

Thank you for reading!

Norris

 

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Thank you for a great review Norris, I really enjoyed it. We are on our first Celebrity ship in June, Silhouette to Norway too so found it especially interesting. Though hope we have better weather. We spoke to someone on our last cruise who said his June Norway cruise had thick fog but I guess that's the luck of the draw. Will definately search out your next review though we have no plans at moment to try Princess cruises. Thanks again for taking the time to do the review. London is only 35 miles from us and our son lives in Streatham but we don't go up to Central London  nearly enough

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20 hours ago, Jasperdo said:

Norris,

 

Thanks again for another fabulous review. And as always, your photos are spectacular. Never been to Norway, and I doubt we ever will. But you brought me there. And your London photos brought back fond memories of the 2 visits we had to that incredible city.

 

Your Sky Princess review reminder is already on my 2020 calendar. See you there.

John

 

John thanks once again for gracing my reviews with your presence and support. I don't think you have ever missed one.

I was so glad to have those days in London, as was Carol. We avoided trying to cram too much in and I think the boat cruise soon after we arrived set the tempo and the riverside lunch at the Trafalgar helped slow us down too and reminded me how much I like those pubs  with their relaxed ambiance and their comfort foods.On that first afternoon we had already decided we had to come back and savor it some more. And we will.

 

Onward to the Sky Princess!

Norris

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17 hours ago, Werangels said:

Thank you Norris and Carol.  I have really enjoyed reading along.

 

Although we haven’t eaten at Hospital Road, we did dine at Petrus a couple of years ago and it still stands as our best meal ever. So, when next in London, I would suggest you go.  You do need to book in advance usually and booking doesn’t open until 6 weeks before the date you want.

 

Thank you for reading this. I'll go back and read it myself after a break.

 

I did actually look at Petrus while in Chicago and next time we are there with more time to spend will book a table using your 6 weeks lead-time. We have only eaten in more casual Ramsay restaurants ,one of them the pub in this review.

Cheers!

Norris

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7 hours ago, sgmn said:

Thank you for a great review Norris, I really enjoyed it. We are on our first Celebrity ship in June, Silhouette to Norway too so found it especially interesting. Though hope we have better weather. We spoke to someone on our last cruise who said his June Norway cruise had thick fog but I guess that's the luck of the draw. Will definately search out your next review though we have no plans at moment to try Princess cruises. Thanks again for taking the time to do the review. London is only 35 miles from us and our son lives in Streatham but we don't go up to Central London  nearly enough

 

Thanks for reading and enjoying!

The Silhouette is a great introduction to Celebrity and was ours in 2016.

Our first cruise together was on Coral Princess, August 2011, without me knowing much about her or Princess and was to Alaska, Southbound from Whittier. We had 5 days of drizzle but it didn't stop us whale watching from a  small boat, landing on a glacier in a helicopter and flying over Misty Fjords in a small plane. The rain in Norway similarly didn't stop our enjoyment of Norway and only harmed the ship experience at sea, so it could have been worse. I was glad there was no low-lying fog as the fjords are best seen from top to bottom.

 

I think you have picked a great combination of ship and destination!

 

I used to visit a couple in Streatham and once walked home from their place at 3 in the morning to my own place in Turnham Green, maybe 5 miles? Next day I called a driving school and began the lessons with a drive from Turnham Green down to Hyde Park Corner for a baptism by fire. I passed my test and got a cheap Fiat and never had to walk from Streatham again.

 

I had a blog called "Driving Adair" as driving is my favorite thing.

 

Yes please read my Sky Princess review and get a flavor of what Princess has to offer.

Most of my reviews have been on Princess ships.

 

Norris

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On 10/24/2019 at 11:17 AM, Bimmer09 said:

 

The weather on shore was benign for the most part and we only got wet on the boat to Lysefjord and I had no head protection and can't work the camera while holding an umbrella. The camera got soaked but kept shooting as it's weather-sealed. Since I came home I had two falls within seconds of each other on a muddy slope and the camera flew into the air and landed with a thud in mud just as I did. I cleaned the mud off as best I could with some Kleenex and wipes and kept on shooting even though my clothes were caked in black mud.

OH NO!!! Hope there was no lasting damage!

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Norris

Thanks so much for the wonderful photos and commentary. It gives us a taste of what to expect on our Norwegian Fjords cruise on Silhouette next June. We have booked the Lysefjord boat tour also, although I hope it will be dryer than your tour. I appreciate a good photographer's viewpoint. Hope to see your further adventures. Good sailing!

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