notyourmonkey: (if I held my breath)
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After I reboarded from Bordo around three, I totally took part in the Arctic Circle Crossing Ceremony, in which some poor crew person was roped into dressing up as Neptune, God Of The Sea (complete with spiffy cardboard crown and scepter, not to mention a deeply creepy mask and rather impressive beard), and Neptune welcomed us all to his domain. To truly be “one with the Arctic,” though (and in order to get one of the glasses of wine), we had to be “baptised” by His Nordicness. Basically, this means that we knelt on the aft deck of the top floor of the ship, being buffeted by sub-freezing winds, and voluntarily let Neptune shove huge handfuls of ice down our backs, being sure to rub it in, of course.

People were hesitant at first (I wonder why), but I was in it for the full experience, so I was one of the first ten or so to go. I have to say, it was nice to have friends aboard who recognized me and shrieked, “Emily! You crazy fool; what are you doing?!” while laughing hysterically. (That was Michelle (not Melissa, as I wrongly assumed for two days ::facepalm::), and she totally got suckered into getting “baptised” as well.)

Two things in compensation for the misery (although, truth be told, the ice really wasn’t any colder than the wind) of melting ice leaking through your sweater and dripping down your butt: an “official” certificate stuck on my door last night to document my Arctic crossing, and the discovery of the magic of the jacuzzi on the back of the sixth floor deck. There’s nothing quite like watching the mountains unfurl behind the ship, lit by sunset, as you’re neck-deep in hot, bubbly water.

(Hm. That sounds good. Maybe after dinner tonight?)

Dinner was smoked salmon of awesomeness, tasty lamb, and panacotta. I brought my mug of “tea,” and quite frankly my “tea” was better than their house wine, not to mention far less expensive. I have a glass or two left for tonight, and Ella has offered to spot me some “tea” for tomorrow, as she’s got three liters to get rid of by Friday.

At nine, we stopped in Rorvik, and even though its dockside location ended up being far more dubious than originally suspected, I ponied up the fifteen bucks to stick my nose in the “ice bar and gallery.” Now, I’m spoiled from having watched all those Food Network specials on a lot of these places, but those are always the really posh kind, whose clientele are celebrities, not Hurtigruteners. My first moment of disappointment came with the attached gift shop.

Still, in for a penny, in for a pound, and when am I going to have the next chance, etc etc. Michelle went with me, and she was deeply enthusiastic, so that raised my own appreciation. Basically, it was a bunch of ice sculptures in a chilled warehouse, one of which was the bar. Some of them also included artistically frozen herring (I am not making this up), and there were several ice benches covered in reindeer hide for seated contemplation of the art. (Reindeer? Surprisingly good at keeping out the wet and cold. They may be the perfect animal - cute, fuzzy, useful, and delicious.) My favorite was the naked lady bench, where you sat on her lap and, I don’t know, reclined against her bare bosoms?

I scraped up thirty-three and a half kroner, which was enough for the hopelessly bored college dude behind the counter to take pity on me and pour me an ice-glass of local blackberry liqueur. (Normally goes for thirty-five kroner.) It was tasty if not ravishing, but the novelty of drinking out of a version of those little paper pyramid cups found at water coolers everywhere made entirely of ice was totally worth it. My glass kept sticking to my gloves!

Okay, the glass ultimately lost structural integrity when I brought it back on board after having to sprint for the boat (apparently we spent a whole hour there - who knew?), and it dumped the remains of my liqueur all over me, and then I was foolish enough to not actually figure out what was wrong, so I tried pouring whiskey in there next, and naturally it gushed everywhere, and now my gloves smell alarmingly of whiskey. I waft booze fumes as I walk now. Tres classy.

Back on boat, we had to stay awake for another hour (not really a problem for me; I make it past nine-thirty, no matter how sleepy a belly full of lamb and a nice red “tea” from Italy, and I’m up until one unless I work at it), because we entered the Trollfjorden around eleven. Michelle and I bought tickets at dinner, so we were due a “special local drink” and a fishcake to, I don’t know, honor the history of the battle at Trollfjorden. Trollfjorden is also supposed to be crazy narrow and crazy steep, which was one of the main draws, but unfortunately this was a classic case of “this would be so beautiful if only it were daylight!” Dark is dark is dark, and the northern lights did not oblige me by appearing to light the way.

The fishcake, however, was very, very tasty. It was haddock, and it was just this little patty of perfectly grilled/pan seared(?) fish. Honestly, the outside texture reminded me of a latke. I really wanted a little lemon juice and tartar sauce for dipping. (Also, giant fish cake at eleven pm after a huge dinner? Not so much.)

The “special drink” was, indeed, special. White rum and tea, which tastes like…rum and tea. You can clearly taste the rum, and you can clearly taste the (very, very sweet) tea, and it doesn’t really meld to become something new and exciting. Two great tastes that taste weird together.

We found a better view on deck five, away from the lights, but it was damn cold, and my gloves were still wet from the Whiskey Incident, so I called it a night and retreated back to the warmth of my cabin.


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