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::: Nordstjernen :::

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    “Yes, that’s the opera house over there…”
    “Have you been inside the church yet?…”....
    Not being herded around but strolling through the village, it was nice to come across others from the ship, exchange a few words, and moments later be similarly speaking with local people and encountering everyday Norwegian life.



    Nordfjordeid is an ordinary place that is at the same time extraordinary, it makes one think about what the concept of “community” means, and there could not have been a more fitting end to Nordstjernen’s journey.

    In the next and last instalment:- final farewell.

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      Re: ::: Nordstjernen :::

      Thank you so much Bengt for your appreciation and encouragement.

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        …finally, farewell.

        Returning to the ship by the Polar Cirkel boats… dinner… the familiar routine, low-key, understated, a slow drift towards departure.




        At ten in the evening, a drink in the aft lounge, and a cheery sing-song.

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          But even as the drinks were being poured, the shop was being packed away.







          It looked more and more like a goodbye.

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            Our luggage too was packed. Instructions for the morning were displayed on the screen, the English version, as if reluctant to return to Bergen, insisting on locating us at Alstahaug and Vega!

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              But next morning, Nordstjernen had indeed reached Bergen. It wasn’t quite raining, but grey, a little dismal.





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                There were no bands, no water cannons, no waving crowds to greet her as they had on her last return in regular service; just the by now familiar photographer waiting, and now, already, photographing the line of luggage being lifted from ship to quay.

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                  Along a deserted corridor…




                  ….and disembarking. The squeek of luggage being wheeled along the quay to the waiting bus. Sit on the right for a last look at the ship, at her scars from her adventures, and then we are gone, and in no time at all the bus has whisked us to Flesland airport, and our flights to far-away.

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                      A hotel at London airport. Not quite “away” nor quite “home”. Time to reflect.

                      In the parallel universe of the personal, different thoughts, other moments and memories linger from that last evening and that last arrival. Memories less melancholy, optimistic, positive even, contented-happy…

                      The images that capture and encapsulate those memories are the ones with which I want to end.

                      I might still cry, just a little, but only because of the beauty of the moonlight zig-zagging across the water, and the dear comforting ship sailing into the enfolding blueness of that last nightfall.

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                          Was there even a night? For now recollection shifts and it is already morning in the cabin, and, out of the corner of my eye, I’m aware of a white ship beyond the porthole. I reach for my camera, hurry outside, and then that extraordinary experience, again, just like the epiphany of recognising Nordsternen at Geiranger. First the seeing … then the recognition.

                          Discovery! It was actually Discovery!

                          As I was not staying in Bergen, I had not looked at the port calls for that 1st of September, and so it came as a complete surprise to see the only non-Hurtigruten cruise ship I have ever sailed on right beside me. Like Nordstjernen she is no youngster, and so many shapely ships of her generation have recently been lost to us. But Discovery is about to start a new life serving another company.








                          As these two dear ladies headed into Bergen together, as if they had by chance met and were taking an amicable companionable stroll, I felt the encounter seemed a good omen for the Star. It most certainly made my morning…

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                            …though my morning had in truth already been made, one hour earlier, as I stood on Nordstjernen’s deck and watched the sunrise.

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                              My story of this last voyage comes with hope for the ship’s future
                              and with my sincere thanks and good wishes to Spitzbergen Travel, Hurtigruten, and to all aboard Nordstjernen.

                              Dedicated to Jan-Olav Storli, who encouraged me to write and share it here in his forum home.

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                                Re: ::: Nordstjernen :::

                                Thank you to Lady C for the amazing journey and sharing her wonderful photography to what must have been a great ship to sail on.
                                The first photo was taken from DISCOVERY as we came into the port. Perhaps moments, or hours, after Lady C left the NORDSTJERNEN.



                                And a closeup of what I knew was an old ship, but knew very little about her.
                                Last edited by Captain RJ; October 26th, 2012, 21:22.

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