The morning of our third day in paradise started with a buffet breakfast at the hotel. Our checkout time didn’t correspond to when our shuttle was to transfer us from the hotel to the pier for our boat ride to our next island so again we had to sit and wait in the lobby area. Thankfully this was much shorter than before. Our shuttle driver turned out to originally be from Cali and had been in French Polynesia over 18 years but his daughter is currently going to school in Cali. The boat ride from Tahiti to Moorea took about 45 minutes. It was a smooth trip over and gave great views of both Moorea (ahead) and Tahiti (behind).
We were picked up by another shuttle bus and taken to our hotel (another Intercontinental) with a brief stop at the Hotel Manava to drop off the majority of folks. The trip took about 45 minutes overall. The day turned out to be very clear and beautiful but also meant the sun was very intense. At check-in I was just standing there and just dripping sweat. What I learned about all the resorts is that the main areas (reception, lobby, etc) are all open buildings (meaning there’s a roof to shield from rain but there are no walls/doors creating an open feeling overall but meaning there was minimal ventilation – ceiling fans).
A few months ago my wife emailed me about a deal to French Polynesia. Admittedly I had no idea where geographically this was. I of course had heard of Tahiti and Bora Bora before. We actually had been watching a show that was based out of French Polynesia and I thought how gorgeous it was. On a whim, I though “why not?” and we booked the trip.
After doing some research, I learned this set of islands was in the south Pacific (essentially directly south of Hawaii) and only an 8 hour flight from LA (not bad!). So a few months later in the middle of May we made our way to these tiny islands by way of LAX (stopped to see some family before).
Unfortunately our trip there (and back) were both redeye flights and I’m terrible at sleeping on airplanes. We had moved seats to the bulkhead thinking we’d have more legspace but in reality I couldn’t extend my legs fully and it was uncomfortable. I ended up sleeping maybe 30-60 minutes total and arrived exhausted. We landed around 5 am when it was still dark out. Luckily going through customs was smooth and our baggage came out quickly. They did have a small band set up as you walked to customs (they were just setting up when we deplaned).
Our last port of call was Bergen, which is also located on the west coast of Norway. This is the second largest city in the country. The forecast for this day called for intermittent rain. For the most part during our entire trip, we had mostly decent days of minimal rain. Luckily our dock was a short walk to the city center (I counted at least 3 or 4 other cruise ships in port the same time that we were there).
Day 11 of the cruise was a sea day. Not too much exciting stuff happened on the boat…mostly just relaxing and eating and exercising.
Our cruise had 2 stops in Norway. I didn’t realize how narrow the country actually is. It’s kind of interesting though that it has such an extensive coastline heading toward the north pole. Since we were cruising, the two stop were both port cities. Our first stop of Ålesund is on the mid-western coast of the nation. This city is known for its German art nouveau architecture. I didn’t realize there were different types of art nouveau. Many of the sights again required driving of some sort but we decided to just hoof it on foot and explore the small town.
Upon arrival it was overcast and started to rain when we disembarked. Luckily the rain was intermittent throughout the day so much of it was just gloomy and gray (I actually like this kind of weather).
I ran out of steam with my previous posting and took a long break from any new posts. Hopefully I can get back on track and finish our trip, which now was over 3 months ago. Here’s hoping!
I’m starting to sound like a broken record but we again decided to rent a car for our last port in Akureyri. Akureyri is at the base of Eyjafjörður Fjord in northern Iceland. Luckily I was able to make a car reservation from my phone before we left Ísafjörður. The water was fairly active on the way to Akureyri but turned foggy upon arrival in port.
They do like their hatchbacks in Iceland (and Europe). Here’s our little Kia that we used to traipse around the countryside.