Finally the last installment of our French Tahiti trip (previous islands here & here). It almost feels like a lifetime ago that we were lounging in the paradise. It’s been busy (mostly work) since returning from the trip.
We arrived at the Moorea airport from the Intercontinental Moorea. I don’t think I’ve ever been a smaller airport. There was no security. We literally walked up to the desk, gave our passports, checked our bag (which involved throwing all the luggage onto carts to manually take out to the plane) and got our tickets. The waiting area could maybe hold 50 people comfortably. D had done some research and said we should sit on the left side of the plane because then you get views of the islands (including Bora Bora) as you’re approaching. We boarded a 2 prop plane that probably held 100 people for the 45 minute flight.
They served some pineapple juice on the short flight. The highlight of course was seeing Bora Bora from the air.
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).