Around Tuesday midnight we cruised past the Arctic Circle into the Arctic Ocean north of Iceland. Soon, the winter snows will dominate this part of the world. Wednesday was a great day at sea. Kathy has entered the Sudoku Challenges and is winning! I love walking the expansive deck 7; Randy and Melisa find the entertainers and enjoy the music. Kathy and I also attended a seminar on the “15 Artists You Need to Know.” We all agreed the hot tub in the cold weather was fabulous. We all joined together at the French Bistro for dinner and had an absolutely fabulous meal—mine: mussels in cream sauce; four mushroom soup; bouillabaisse and chocolate Napoleon. Presentation is amazing and service superb. After 2 1/2 hours, we pushed back our chairs fully satisfied. But then, the Beatles impersonators at the theater were very good.
Today, we were delighted to find the Orkney Islands and its capital, Kirkwall, quaint and charming. It was a cold, windy day, and it was rain and then sunshine, and rain and then sunshine, and so on. A part of Scotland, the Orkney’s were founded by the Vikings and long a part of Norway. St. Magnus Cathedral, now a Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) congregation, is known as the Light of the North. Large and impressive, it has a hallowed history. Built in the 1100s, ancient gravestones dot the cemetery that surrounds the building and also line the side walls inside the cathedral. Reading some of the stories of the people over the centuries who were members here was inspirational. The Earl’s Palace next door was equally impressive. Now a partial ruin, we learned how the palace was constructed and how the rooms were used. The main fireplace was easily 25 feet wide and 10 feet tall and deep. Large caldrons were hung over the fire for cooking purposes. All the building was a beautiful red stone. Back on the ship, we now head to Invergorden and Inverness, Scotland, to look for “Nessie” on Loch Ness, among other adventures. WEG