Tables reserved for diners lined triple-paned windows splattered with sea salt. At 7am, most remained empty anticipating the arrival of groggy visitors ready for their morning caffeine fix. On deck six, a few chairs remained free for anyone to relax in during the remaining journey. We quickly sat down with freshly brewed coffee and fruit-filled danishes to take in views only available in one area of the world.
We were passing through Norway’s green-capped fjords en route from Copenhagen to Oslo on an overnight vessel. The previous afternoon we’d settled into our bunkbeds and found shelter within a cabin on the vessel’s fifth level. We’d passed the windmills which formed a perfect line in the Oresund Strait and laughed alongside other passengers at the strength with which winds cut across the top deck, as well as at its unfailing ability to lift both my hair and skirt sky high. Realizing the gusts’ strength, I quickly ran below to our room and changed into shorts: Modesty is the best policy, they say.
During our evening adventure, we’d found a quiet cranny in a set of benches nestled amongst safety boats hanging from tough ropes and swaying slightly as waves crashed below and seagulls circled above. Soon after we’d set sail, a familiar site came into view: Kronborg Castle from our night with Shakespeare passed on our left while Sweden waved goodbye on our right. Soon after, we watched the sun appear as a reflection upon the calm waters, interrupted infrequently by passing cargo boats, then slowly disappear into the horizon to greet a new day halfway across the world.
Preparing for an early morning rise in order to grab those coveted window seats, we snuggled into our bunk beds as we’d done as children and let the moon guide our way through the night. I laid in bed watching the moon’s reflection and wondering if it might be possible to catch a glimpse of greens and purples dancing their way through the Northern Light show so prevalent in the nordic sky. Despite valiant efforts, sleep caught up with our ship and my tired eyes closed before the question could be answered.
Waking early wasn’t initially welcomed by all members of our two-member party, but once we glanced out the porthole and noticed how near we were to land, enough energy was generated that we quickly dressed and hopped upstairs to grab our Wednesday morning window seat. The coffee we enjoyed that morning was actually created by mixing a packet of instant coffee with hot water direct from our bathroom sink, and the danishes eaten were brought onboard from the previous afternoon’s bakery trip in Copenhagen after realizing we’d spent several days surrounded by Danes without having yet tried a danish. It turns out traditional danish pastries are much different than those we in America believe to be as such, yet just as tasty and worth a try.
As we sipped our instant coffee, we were entertained by the ramblings of a nearby woman and her husband both well into their seventies, speaking eager stories of her first trip to Norway as if her other half had not been right alongside her during the original journey. Even though he played a major role in the original stories, her husband sat patiently during their retellings with a twinkle in his eyes and an upturned smile. Meanwhile, we casually listened to her tales and gazed out the salted window as brick red and mustard yellow homes passed by, sprinkled onto green lawns as if legos left strewn about on a green shag carpet.
The neighboring couple was about to embark on their second journey though Oslo, we on our first. Their stories whether previously told or only spoken for the first time were inspiration to explore the city to its fullest during a short stay. Within an hour’s time, the stories came to a close, we returned to our room to collect our belongings, and stepped out onto the land of lego houses and Viking discoveries.