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Sunday, Honningsvag

Honningsvag, the nearest settlement to the northernmost point in continental Europe, is north of the 71st parallel north, which is pretty far north.  For the first time in the cruise, the day was overcast and there was a cold breeze.  The town was . . . pretty much non-existent. 

Over breakfast I was forced to work.  I took my laptop and notebook and made lists of all of the used games that Kayce and Layla had been trying to buy over the last week.  It was a huge collection, but I made it through the list and was able to make an offer for them to pass along to the customer.  We were having internet problems though, so I didn’t get to send that e-mail until that evening.

There was a tourist shop right on the pier and we visited that and mailed postcards from there.  People back in the States should get postcards before we return . . . hopefully.  There was an indigenous peoples (the Sami) shop where Becca bought a reindeer bone on a leather thong.  And there was an ice bar. 

A large gift shop with a huge freezer in the back room filled with locally ‘mined’ river ice to form a large room coated and decorated with ice.  Bar made of ice, seats made of ice (with reindeer skin mat to sit on), tables made of ice, signs made of ice, an igloo made of ice that folks could crawl in.  I paid the $30 to go in and got my drink of watered down kool-aid in a glass . . . wait for it . . . made of ice.  It was kitschy, it was touristy, and it was fun.

So we came back to the ship and took a nap.  After that I went to the Thermal Suite (God, I love that place!) and relaxed for 90 minutes or so.  It was actually busy that day so I tried the steam room and the sauna.  I’ve never much cared for saunas, and this one didn’t change my mind.  The steam room was much the same, but more moist.  One thing that I really like about the place is that there is a cold misting shower that sprays scented water.  I asked what it was and they told me that it was scented with mint and camphor oils.

There was more Settlers of Catan and more mojitos.  I should probably squeeze one odd bit of information in here somewhere, and this seems to be as good as any place.  There has been a Bridge meet-up on the at sea days, but I haven’t gone to see how many people show up.  We have had one foursome steal our preferred Settlers table in the library.  There have been quite a few people playing Scrabble (in several languages!) and even one couple playing Carcassonne.  There have been many people stopping to work on the various jigsaw puzzles out on display.  Today we saw the first evidence that anyone else was sharing ‘our’ copy of Settlers.  But the most popular game on the cruise?  By far the winner is . . . Rummikub!  The ship has five or six copies of the game and I have not been in the library during sane hours and not seen someone playing it.  One night there were five simultaneous games going on!  That has been quite an eye-opener for me.

We ate dinner in the cafeteria and had plate after plate of prime rib . . . well, okay, only two plates of prime rib, but they were so good.  I’m so glad that there is no scale on the ship . . .

After dinner, Becca went to hang out with the teens (and there were actually a few this night) and I went down to the casino while Chris turned in early.  The poker game was very good and I quickly found myself up $20 or so playing 1/2 NL.  We had a 4th player join, and he was a much better player than the other two, and I quickly found myself on the losing side of two very large pots, which took my early lead away and left me $60 in the hole.  More careful playing over the next two hours brought me to exactly even after I gave the dealers a decent tip.  Despite the early losses, I felt triumphant at the recovery.

Becca and two other teens passed through the casino a little before Midnight, but she didn’t return to the room until long after I had gone to bed.  Needless to say, she would not be a bright and happy camper in the morning.  But that story will have to wait until tomorrow . . .

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