Oriana 6

A  peaceful nights sleep induced by the gentle rocking motion of the ship until we awoke bright-eyed and  bushy-tailed at 7.30am. Breakfast was taken with Barry and Jan (though I am not sure they wanted the company) before embarking early down the gangplank onto a sunny and warm Trondheim quay.
Most of the passengers leaving the ship queued for the transit bus that we were told would take 5 to 10 minutes to reach the centre. We walked over the road, over a pedestrian bridge and were there. I guess it would have taken longer to have boarded the bus than it did to walk it. But then  we are not 70+yrs of age with galloping arthritis.

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First visit was a large Catholic church that didn’t have much to register in the long term memory other than it appeared to be providing hot drinks for down and out vikings. We moved on to St. Olav’s statue, under neath was an open air market that was just being set up for the day (they do seem to get up late in Norway, they must love the 6 months of winter darkness). Trondheim Cathedral was next on the hit list followed by the monastery/palace next door, from there we ambled down the river to the old bridge. After taking a few photos we crossed to see the bike lift.

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We stood awhile wondering how it worked and were intrigued by a man setting pairs of students off in a race to the top of the hill. I engaged him in conversation as to why. In fluent English (I would have expected nothing less) he explained he was a teacher and it was part of their PE. Sue asked him how the bike lift worked and as he had a bike, he showed her and offered his cycle for her to have a go. As you will probably guess she volunteered myself and I immediately wished I had paid attention to his demonstration instead of taking photographs. Setting the controls to ‘beginner’, I sat astride the bike, placed my foot on the ground plate and waited. After a few moments my foot moved forward and of course so did I on the bike. Not easy keeping your leg straight on the plate and the wheels close to the kerb (you can guess the result if you let the gap widen). Pleasingly, I managed to get the bike and myself up to the top of the hill in one piece without the disaster expected by our friendly teaching benefactor. Whipping the bike around I freewheeled down the hill with brakes biting hard to prevent a runaway  catastrophe, to the applause of all those Brits watching. To the king of Norway; we gave your bikes a hell of a thrashing!!!!!

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We moved on down the river looking at the pretty coloured  houses to the next more modern bridge and then retraced our steps back on the opposite bank. Climbing the hill once again I now fully understood why the rather clever but obviously lazy Norwegians have installed a bike lift, both Sue and I were shattered when we reached the top. We found Trondheim Fort and spent a pleasant hour inspecting and photographing every inch of it.  On our route back to the ship we passed the Royal Palace and visited the Fish Market. I was tempted to book a trip to an island off the shore that was once a monastery and then a prison before becoming a tourist destination, but Sue wasn’t keen as she was hungry and eager to get back to the ship.

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We ate in the Conservatory Restaurant and chatted to our fellow diners. It is surprising the number of passengers who don’t actually get off the ship and visit the ports we stop at. Their reasons for not doing so are as equally surprising and diverse, though there does seem to be one common factor, and it isn’t age.
During the late afternoon, Sue found a nice quiet spot to read and then visited the cinema to watch the  film Breathe In’. I rested awhile after my Olympic cycle exploits and then visited La Fresco for coffee and a hotdog before going on deck to watch the ship leave the harbour. I found it fascinating how through a combination of side propellors and co-ordinated release of the mooring cables the ship smoothly slipped away from the quay then engaged the rear ‘big-guns’ to power into the channel. Fortunately for a flotilla of small yachts that were engaged in a race of some sort, we steamed around them rather than muscled our way through the middle, though I thought that would have been more fun and been a true test of their sailing skills if we had. Opportunity missed there.

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We met up down in the cabin, changed for the evening meal and then sat in the rear theatre and listened to the ship’s band play a selection of Glen Miller songs which were linked with a narrative of his life. I hadn’t realised before that Sue was a fan of this type of music and enthused at the start of each recognised tune.
We had the missing couple join our merry band for dinner. They were from Yorkshire which makes our table of eight a bastion of good taste and common sense! They seemed a pleasant pair and soon joined in with the light-hearted banter.
On route to the ‘Reel 2 reel’ dance and song extravaganza in the theatre I heard my name mentioned, looking round I saw a couple following who obviously recognised me but I am afraid I only had the faintest glimmer of familiarity. A brief chat about the cruise ensued as we walked but I was none the wiser (though I fished heavily for clues) as to who they were, We parted at the theatre doors. Sue was already inside saving me a seat. As I sat, they waved to us from acrooss the theatre. Sue was also none the wiser.  The show was superb and on conclusion we decided to wait in the entrance to meet up and discover how we knew each other.  Sue (tactful as ever), cleared the air immediately by asking who are you and where do we know you from? It transpired that she was a secretary in the office at the Meadows Primary school in Wigston. I had taught there some 25 years previous. We stood and chatted for quite a while and discussed what had happened to the staff members that I could remember and left promising to carry on the conversation when we met again. We left for another peaceful nights sleep.

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