Claire Wade


Claire Wade

I started these blogs as a record for myself- something to read and comfort me when I'm old, cold and broke, wondering where all my money went...

With time, my blogs have developed as it turned out other people were reading them! This has inspired me to improve my writing (well I try) and add more photos. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs and please do leave comments.

The photos in the blog are taken on my phone, but when I return home, I always have lots of images from my DSLR, that I upload to Flickr:

Europe » Norway July 30th 2019

Today is the last day of the cruise, as we disembark at Dover tomorrow morning. It is also a sea day, but being far from the coast it is quite windy so cool despite the sunshine. We did the usual deck walking after breakfast and wondered if the directional arrow ever changed. Glyn went to a cookery demonstration. He actually enjoyed it and didn’t fall asleep! I spent the time reading in the sun. Lunch was an executive buffet which meant a fancy display with fruit carvings, swan shaped bread and huge ice carvings. It was mostly fish and meat, so all I could have was bread and cheese, but it was very nice cheese. The afternoon was spent doing very little. Most holidays I go on, I’m absolutely shattered by each evening and knackered by ... read more

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Stavanger July 29th 2019

The announcement on the tannoy said that Stavanger is the most expensive city in the world. I don’t know on what evidence they base this, but after a day there, I’m not going to argue! I’d seen a photo of Sverd i Fjell (three swords) in the cruise brochure, but didn’t wants to pay £££s to see a statue, no matter how impressive. So we walked. Passing through some very impressive residential areas of sparkling white houses, each one a different design with porches, balconies and large gardens. The roads were tree lined with an abundance of lush parks and public areas, all with well maintained and colourful flowerbeds. Any graffiti seen was mostly street art rather than the scruffy scrawl of non-existent words you often get. Family groups cycled by, all sensibly wearing helmets and ... read more
Øvre Holmegate
graffiti in Stavanger
Old Stavanger

Europe » Norway » Western Norway July 28th 2019

After my super long sleep I felt excellent! I’d just showered as the captain announced we were shortly arriving somewhere interesting. - yes the announcements are even in your cabin. I left Glyn showering and leapt up to the front of the ship which was jam packed on all decks and no bugger was moving. We were entering Trollfjord, a narrow fjord with high cliffs either side plus a skinny waterfall. Our ship only just fitted into it and soon no ship will be allowed to sail it for conservation. Some dipshits had graffitied a few rocks which was sad. At the end was a tiny cove with a few small boats moored plus some campers with kayaks. I presume the only way there is by water as I couldn’t see any paths up the steep ... read more
Sea bird for Andy and Mo.

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Tromsø July 26th 2019

Arriving in the morning, Glyn quickly spotted the Arctic Cathedral through our porthole - we had arrived In Tromsø, the largest northern settlement in Norway. The sun was shining, the sky blue and the breeze welcoming. We walked to the nearby Polaria which like most (if not all) attractions in Tromsø is all about cold stuff. This began with a panoramic film about Svalbard, featuring very cute polar bears but no blue foxes. We walked through informative yet depressing displays about the glaciers melting and why the arctic ice is required to reflect heat off the planet on which we reside. Maps illustrated the shrinking ice over the decades and marks high in the walls displayed how much thinner the ice became each year (47 cms). They explained how arctic ice gives scientists information on climate ... read more

Europe » Svalbard » Spitsbergen July 25th 2019

Today is a sea day which is an opportunity to relax.... unless you are whale spotting. Then you get to stand in the cold looking for spurts (or ‘blows’) in the hope of the spurter appearing out of the water, albeit brief. We spent sometime outdoors and Glyn saw a blue whale spurt (the Orca gang confirmed this due to spurt shape and size). We also saw two large pods of humpbacked whales - one time we were surrounded by so many spurts, it was practically an ambush! Christine was chuffed to bits to get a mother and calf photo. Today is a deep water day, so there was a lot of anticipation of some big beasts. Time was also spent in the observation deck to get warm and still view possible whales through the large ... read more
whale, Barents Sea
Dolphin, Barents Sea
Dolphin, Barents Sea

Europe » Svalbard » Spitsbergen July 24th 2019

The plan last night was to stay awake so I could gaze at the passing landscape as we cruised from the Tuna glacier to Pyramiden between 11pm and 1am. But I gave up at 10.30pm. All the clean, cold and crisp air was making me sleepy; my body is missing some good old Stokey pollution. Plus the constant daylight is extremely disorientating too. Yes I have been sleeping with the port hole cover open (just because the sun not setting is so bizarre and I don’t want to miss it) so that doesn’t help. We woke up around 7am, Pyramiden visible through the portholes, set like everything is set here: at the base of brown, arid hills with little to no vegetation, plus ugly and rusty industrial stuff. Pyramiden is now a ghost town, populated mostly ... read more
blue fox

Europe » Svalbard » Spitsbergen July 23rd 2019

So the good news there are cats in Svalbard, the bad news is that I didn’t see any. Apparently they were smuggled illegally into the Russian communities and have become a little feral. One ginger cat has managed to get itself registered as an Arctic Fox, which is cunning because the latter are indigenous and therefore allowed. Despite being white in the winter, the foxes are red in summer, so it’s a very clever disguise for a ginger cat. Svalbard is an archipelago of a few islands, most of which are uninhabited by humans and Spitsbergen being the largest where Longyearbyen is the capital with a steady population of 2000. It was originally inhabited by whaling communities until after a hundred years or so, when they almost hunted the whales into extinction. Then came the coal ... read more

Europe » Svalbard » Spitsbergen July 22nd 2019

Ever since I’d heard of Svalbard, I’ve dreamed of going. The whole point of this cruise was to see Svalbard, with everything else being a bonus. So even after the build up, it was mind blowingly magical to see the coast from the sea. I’m fortunate to have seen some awesome places, but none have made me feel so awestruck as this. I’m not sure why - could be the knowing that so much of the land before me is untouched by humans or because it is so inaccessible. Perhaps it’s the snowy, blue beauty or the fact that as far as I know, people hadn’t roamed there until quite recently in human history. Whatever it was, despite the cold, I stood staring at the coast for a very long time. Despite it being full on ... read more
Fin whale
Fin whale
.Fin whale

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Honningsvag July 21st 2019

Today we arrived in Honningsvåg, which is a port on the island of Magerøy (Meagre Island), or the Nordkapp (North Cape), the most Northern place in Europe - depending on who you talk to. Others may argue this point really is 2000 km north in Svalbard and my money’s on them to win this heated debate. Someone tried to say that this is the most northern part of mainland Europe, but actually it’s an island, so they got that wrong too - although connected with a tunnel. The name came from some sailor (Richard Chancellor) trying to find a northeastern passage through to India in 1533, who named it the North Cape. He never made it to India, so a failure all round. We disembarked at 8am to an incredibly quiet town except for the noise ... read more

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Honningsvag July 20th 2019

After staying up till gone 2am waiting for a sun that never arrived, I woke around 10am to find it was back. Phew! It’s still warm in the arctic circle but when the sun goes behind the clouds, it can be a little breezy and maybe time to put the shorts away. Glyn and I have yet another favourite spot, now the back of deck 10 where the fjord and landscape drifts by as we gazed at it. We had a few visitors but I was able to blog, take photos and read! Afterwards I took the many flights down to deck 3 where our cabin is situated, changed into warm clothing, then climbed back up to Deck 10, where it got really hot again. I passed a man on the stairs who uses them for ... read more

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