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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Filling the Bucket, Day 5 - Headed to Denmark

On the North Sea

The mechanics of writing this stuff is interesting, well at least to me it's interesting.  I'm actually 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time as I write this; my pattern has been to, after dinner and other evening activities, look at photographs and write the basic posting.  I then actually finish things up and publish the following morning, usually before breakfast (I'm a chronically early riser).  Someone might think that's an awful lot of work, especially on a vacation, but it really isn't for me.  If anything, I enjoy this process, as it gives me a chance to reflect on the day how incredibly lucky I am to be even taking this journey in the first place.

Speaking of that last point, when I was a kid, one time a more well-off family brought in their home movies from Disneyland (or whatever it is in Florida) for the class to watch.  Knowing then that I had no shot at such a vacation, I hated the experience.  Envy?  Sure.  I think about that experience as I write this, but I also realize that, unlike grade school, I'm not dealing with a captive audience. Or so that's how I rationalize things.

Stavanger, Norway
Today's port-o-call was Stavanger, Norway.  The town's claim to fame is the fact that it's something of the headquarters of Norway's oil & gas industry.  We got into Stavanger early around 7am and had to leave by about 1:30pm, so there wasn't much time to explore.  Ms. Rivers and I did take the provided tour, but I found it somewhat boring.  For the record though, I'd rather be somewhat bored in Norway than be at home.

The major portion of the tour as a visit to the Norwegian Oil & Gas Museum.  I didn't actually take any pictures.  There were some interesting ships docked near us, which did warrant some photographs.

The above ship is actually somewhat famous:  It was featured in the movie Dunkirk.  More information about this ship can be found HERE.

Since leaving at about 1:30pm, we've been in route to Alborg, Denmark.  Arrival is set for about Noon tomorrow.  The afternoon was spent mostly reading, although Ms. Rivers and I did partake in an official tea-time at 4pm with her parents.  While I've been drinking tea all of my life, I've never done an official tea-time.  To quote John Mellencamp, "Another boring romantic, that's me".

Given that I don't have any spectacular photographs to show or insights to offer, it feels as if this posting is, well, a bit short.  The best I can do is offer the following grainy photograph of a Norwegian harbor lighthouse, shot with a large zoom lens, with a ton of glare.

The day actually ended with about two and a half hour dinner that included my wife's family.  It was a busy place, and there are only so many Ukranian/Russian waiters to go around.  Dinner itself was nice and the company was good, so what's not to like?

I'll end this with a few observations:

  • Oil & Gas.  In Norway, the nation's share of profits from the oil and gas industry has been used to build roads, bore tunnels for highways, construct bridges linking remote coastal towns and other such things.  Seems like a good idea.
  • Happy.  The folks we've encountered in towns so in the locals...have seemed pretty happy.  That fits in with the data I've seen that shows the Nordic countries as being among the happiest places on Earth.  I'd provide a link to support that assertion, but I don't feel like waiting the extra 5 minutes for the Google search results to come up (and then for me to switch the language from Norwegian to English).
  • Passengers.  Ms. Rivers and I are on the younger side compared to most passengers on this cruise.  I'm good with that, for the record.  Most of the passengers we've spoken to have been extremely friendly.  About the only negative I can cite is an older (not shocking) gentlemen who I spoke to at lunch who went on about how forced busing ruined schools in Kansas City, Mo.  I'm okay with that statement provided that you can come with an alternative solution to the whole "separate and unequal" educational thing that existed prior to forced busing.
On that note...

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