Day 10 - Oslo, Norway

July 10th

Cruise Ship Log

July 10, 2007 - Oslo: The pilot embarked the Star Princess during the early hours of the morning prior to us begining our fianl now passage to Oslo. At 0707 with all lines ashore the Star Princess was laying quietly alongside on her berth in Oslo.

At 1400 the Star Princess was ready to sail with all lines onboard. The Captial with the aid of the pilot started to navigate throught the inside of Oslofjorden. After the pilt's disembarkation the Star Princess set her south-easterly course towards our final destination, Copenhagen.

Noon Position:
Alongside in Oslo

Pressure: 1001.7 kPa

Wind: S Force 2

Temperature:15° C

Sky: Overcast

The family meeting time was once again at 7 a.m. at the princess theater. We missed breakfast again, but while Chris held our place in line, I ran to the coffee bar in the lobby for morning fuel. I regret that I only discovered this at the end of the trip. Coffee in hand, we all waited in the theater for our group to be called. We were one of the last groups to board the bus, allowing Chris and I to sit further up on the bus, while the rest of the group found seats closer to the back. I had high hopes for our tour guide, when she started talking she was easy to understand. However, she was another one who talked non-stop, pointing out some of the buildings in downtown Oslo and the cities bike rental spots before going on and on about Norway and Oslo. (This is really a great system, for less than a dollar you can borrow a bike from any of the spots in the city and then return it elsewhere in the city.)

The bus left the city and drove into the countryside for about 50 minutes. Along the way we passed some large lakes, inlets from the ocean and very green mountains. The day was overcast and it was very similar to the colors of spring in Vermont.

Our first stop was the Hadland Glassworks, a “factory” where artisans created blown glass creations. Even though I have seen the process before, I thought it would be cool to see and I hoped there would be some very unique Norwegian gifts to bring home. We were the second or third bus to arrive at the glassworks. The fact that the tour company was disorganized quickly became apparent. Our group had to wait in the lobby of the factory while the prior group watched a demonstration. The lobby showcased some of the pieces and gave us hope that we would find a few cool things in the shop later. After about 20 minutes we were finally led into the demonstration room, but both our tour guide and the other group’s tour guides seemed to have disappeared. We sort of guided ourselves onto bleachers in front of one group of artisans work space. There was one guy with a headset on talking to the tour, explaining the process in English, and two others working on the piece of glass, directed by the artist as to what to create. Not what I expected at all. To see the work and to see the changes in the glass were very cool, but the structure of us all watching one group work meant that if we were not interested in that piece, we were stuck. The really frustrating aspect of the whole thing was that I kept thinking about the limited time I had in Norway. In less than five hours I had to be back on the boat, leaving the country.

the glass factoryAfter some time, it became clear that the demonstration didn’t have a stop time. There was no tour of the building or chance to see other projects at work and our guide was long gone. We slowly decided to leave and try to find our way to the build were we had been told a snack would be waiting for us. We asked a woman who had suddenly appeared at the front desk of the lobby and she directed us to another building, where SURPRISE, our guide was sitting chatting and eating with the other guides. All of us were not happy about the situation. We still had no direction on what we were invited to eat, and while this would be fine in a non tour environment, it was unacceptable in an environment we paid to be part of. However the world’s best Danish did help the situation.

While the coffee and Danish were beyond wonderful, after being at sea for so many days I actually started to get sea sick whenever I was sitting on land and needed to get up. I started to check out the shops with high hopes. There were several different buildings on the complex -- a Christmas discount glass shop and even a country cottage style shop with food. All were rather disappointing. I had really hoped to see artist glass pieces, but it was mostly mass produced glassware. One shop even felt like I was at Bed, Bath and Beyond. In all the shops we visited, I never saw any real artist glass for sale. I only found real handcrafted items in the Christmas shop. The disappointment with many of these items where that they had been made in other Scandinavian countries, not Norway specifically. All I ended up buying were a few small glass ornaments for gifts and our own tree before returning to the bus.

Back on the bus, Tina gave me my new “friend” Edgar, a little gnome. He was very fun to look at and had been in the Christmas shop with other more Christmassy looking friends. I laughed looking at him and set about giving him an appropriate name as we started to head back to Oslo. The guide went back to work chatting about historic fairy tales and the how they developed out of the culture. After this short history lesson she put played an audio tape of one of the stories for us to listen to. It kept the bus fairly quiet and was a nice change from her talking. The end of the story also sparked the beginning of the screaming. One of the families had, what we are assuming was, a three year old girl who decided to scream for a good 30 minutes before her parents decided to pick her up and bring her to another seat on the bus. When our bus reached the next location we were glad to be off the bus.