Sunday, 29 May 2011

Scotland in the sun

In the early morning we reached Aberdeen, Scotland´s third most populous city. There are several nicknames for this town, but “the Silver City with the Golden Sands” is perhaps the nicest one.
The buildings in Aberdeen are built out of a grey Granit, whose mica deposits are shining like silver in the sun. And we had sun. A strong wind blew the clouds of the morning away and for the rest of the day we had sunny weather with dark blue sky. The passengers had time to visit the town by their own or with an excursion.
Some started with a walk through a little fishing settlement, which lied directly next to our berth. The village had a little bit from paradise, little houses with small gardens, playing children in the streets, cars haven´t been allowed. Behind the village there was a nice path along the coast. As it was Sunday even Aberdeen´s inhabitants enjoyed the golden sandy beach with their children or dogs.

Some guests visited “Chrathes Castle” in the surrounding of Aberdeen. The castle is one of the most beautiful and best preserved buildings out of the 16th century and it is famous for his old paintings on the ceilings.
 In the afternoon passengers had the possibility to enjoy “Pitmedden Garden”, which belongs to Scotland´s National Trust since 1952. 
Another excursion went along the river Dee to Balmoral Castle, summer home of the Royal Family. One highlight of this tour was perhaps, that the Queen herself has been in Balmoral at this time. Just before the passengers arrived, the Queen left the church, so that there was at least a little royal shimmer left behind.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Welcome to Scotland

In the morning around eight o’clock we sailed into the lock, that brought us to Leith, the harbor of Edinburgh. A big swarm of gulls greeted us during MV FRAM went alongside the pier. We had our place with MV FRAM directly next to the “Royal Britannia”, the old yard of the Queen, which is a museum now. Just before 9am the harbor authorities cleared the vessel in and we could leave the ship. Some passengers started directly with an excursion to visit the Castle Floors and several Abbeys in the surrounding of Edinburgh. 
Those passengers, which had a tour in the afternoon, used their morning to walk on their own through Edinburgh. A shuttle bus brought everyone directly to the center. From there it was easy to reach the highlights of this historical place. The panorama tour in the afternoon was not only for those guests which were not able to walk longer distances. The explanations of our tour guides gave us a better overview over the history of this old and interesting town. The weather was typical for Scotland; we had rain and sun nearly at the same time.
As we stayed in Leith until 11pm we had the possibility for dinner in one of the authentic restaurants in Edinburgh or Leith. The day, filled up with so many new impressions and information, made us tired. But nevertheless many passengers were sitting in the Panorama Lounge to discuss the day with other guests. Now we are looking forward to Aberdeen, which we will reach tomorrow morning around 8am.

Friday, 27 May 2011

A sea day – A relaxing day?

During the night we could feel already that we are at sea. The ship started to roll and to pitch; the wind was blowing with a Beaufort 7-8. But in our cabins we felt save, perhaps a little bit like a baby in a cradle. As we are heading forward to the west we had to set our clock last night one hour backward, that meant, that our first night aboard was a very long night with 13 hours. Most passengers have been happy about this fact. The travel day to the ship was exhausting and the first afternoon and evening aboard was exciting.
We thought we will have time for relaxing during the day, but we recognized very soon, that a sea day aboard FRAM is different to normal cruise liners. During the day our lecturers prepared us with different kind of lectures for our next destinations. We learned a lot about fish and fishery, about Scotland´s history and seabirds. But between we could find at least some time to relax in the sun on the open decks or in our Panorama Lounge.
The kitchen crew spoiled us during the whole day with buffets, waffles and a dinner menu. Some passengers decided already to throw the scale at home away. But good food can never ever be a sin!
In the evening our talented crew and our pianist Ralf arranged a very nice singing show for us. From now on we could relax really.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Leaving full of impressions - Coming full of expectations

We reached Hamburg our last destination early in the morning. Passengers are sitting with their hand luggage all around the ship, waiting for leaving the ship. There is still time for a last talk to new friends, remembering all the destinations of our wonderful trip. We have seen so much during this voyage, but all have been sure, that London, where Tower Bridge had to be opened only for us, was the highlight of our journey. We are looking forward to come home to share all these experiences with our family and friends. There are many passengers they have booked their next trip aboard FRAM already. It is easier to go, when you know, that you are coming back soon. 

New incoming guests arrived around 3pm. There was time for a coffee or a first cocktail in the bar after the check-in process. Well equipped with our new blue jackets, we arranged our cabins so that we feel home aboard MV FRAM during our trip.

After the safety drill and a welcome cocktail by our captain Rune Andreassen most passengers went to bed early.




Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Happy Birthday Dear Captain!

Again a lovely morning with bright sunshine. The wind was blowing from the west about 7-8 m per sek.. The swell was quite heavy.
At 9.30 am two lectures were given. One by Friederike with the topic “One year aboard MV FRAM” and the other one by Klaus with the topic “Huge cod and enormous monkfish – Fish n` cips”.
At noon we could see the old lighthouse and a part of the white beaches of Borkum. We sailed along the south side of Borkum towards the Borkum Reede. The swell was much lower when we entered the strait between the Dutch Island Schiermonnikoog and Borkum . The Polar Cirkle Boats were lowered down, filled up with our guests and sailed quite a long distance to the old Marine Military Harbor. Everyone reached the island with dry feeds. Busses brought the guests around the island. Others were driven to the town center .
Borkum is the westernmost and, at 36 sq km, the largest of the seven East-Frisian Islands in the southern North Sea. Due to the Gulf Stream, there is a temperate maritime climate, which means that it is not very hot in summer and not very cold in winter. The island is partially car-free. The only town on the island is also called Borkum. Borkum is serviced by ferries from Emden and Eemshaven.

A double track narrow gauge railway still exists in Borkum. Many of our passengers got a special steam train ride between the town and back to the harbor. Everyone was happy for the stay on Borkum. It had been a wonderful trip to this unique island.

On our way out with the FRAM, our tour guide Benno gave interesting comments about the coastal
landscape over PA system.
At 9 pm we had the Farewell-Cocktail in the Observation Lounge were our Captain Arild Hårvik said goodbye to all passengers. After that, the famous MS FRAM Crew Show took place on deck 7.

A wonderful cruise with lots of interesting locations to discover ends tomorrow. Good night folks .

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


The sea was a little bit rough in the morning after the superb day on the Channel Islands yesterday. In the morning, Anja the expeditionleader gave information`s about the day in Zeebrugge and the island of Borkum in the Framheim hall. Also a lecture was given by Carolina with the topic: “Bruges and van Eyck”. At 3 pm the MS FRAM reached the city of Zeebrugge. Zeebrugge is the outer port of Bruges in West Flanders province. It is connected with Harwich, England, by a rail ferry. Zeebrugge was developed approx. 1900 to replace the silted-up port of Bruges. It is Belgium`s most important fishing port and the wholesale fish market located there is one of the largest in Europe. Hurtigruten offered a shuttle bus to the tiny seaside resort Blankenberge. The other guests participate in two excursions: Romantic Bruges & Canals, Bruges & Belgian Chocolate Demonstration and Outskirts of Bruges.
It took about 30 minutes by coach to reach the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. The historic city centre is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The city`s population is 117,000. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is referred to as “The Venice of the North”. The walk through the city was wonderful but the highlight was a canal tour along the serene waterways of this romantic historical city.
Do not forget, Belgium is also famous for beer, chocolate, waffles and French fries.
All guests enjoyed the stay in Zeebrugge and surroundings very much. We set sail again at 8 pm.
Later on our host Günther Meyer had an interview with the ship`s Captain Arild Hårvik, the Hotel Manager Bjørn Erik Julset and the Expeditionleader Anja Erdmann in the Observation Lounge.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Guernsey and Sark

During the night the MS FRAM was drifting nearby the Channel Island of Guernsey. The island is a British Crown Dependency in the English Channel off the cost of Normandy. The name of the Channel Island is of Viking origin. The second element of Guernsey `ey` is Old Norse for the Island, the first element is uncertain, traditionally meaning “green”, but perhaps rather representing a Viking personal name, possibly Grani`s. Today Guernsey lives off Financial services, such as banking, fund management, and insurance. Tourism, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, especially freesias, have been declining. Light tax and death duties make Guernsey a popular offshore centre for Private equity funds.
At 8 am we started with the transfer from the ship to town. It was still windy but all passengers were brought safely to a floating bridge in the harbor of St. Peter Port, the main city of the island. To excursions were offered. One was a bus round tour mainly on the southern part of the island and the other one was a walking tour in the city of St. Peter Port and to the Castle Cornet. Both excursions took place in really good weather conditions.

In the afternoon just before 2 pm the MV FRAM reached the nearby tiny island of Sark. The island has a population of about 600. The economy depends primarily on tourism. Sark consists of two main parts, Greater Sark and Little Sark to the south. Again we had to use our fantastic Polar Cirkle Boats. The landing side is a tiny natural harbor with high cliffs to all sides. Tractor-busses drove the passengers up to the village. Many guests went aboard a horse drawn carriage for a tour of the island. There are no cars on the island, only superb scenery. Some guests enjoyed an independent cycle tour to see Sark`s parish church, the beautiful garden of Seigneurie and the spectacular coastal scenery with numerous bays .

It was a particulary nice visit on Guernsey and Sark.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

stormy weather

Today we reached the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, around 5 km off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by the strait called the Solent. The island is well known for its sailing based at the town of Cowes , for its natural beauty and its resorts, which have been holiday destinations since Victorian times. The island has a rich history, including archaeological sites. These range from prehistoric fossil beds which include dinosaur remains, to dwellings and arte facts of the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman period. In 871 the King of Wessex, Alfred the Great defeated the Vikings after they had “ ravaged the Isle of Wight”.
The weather forecast was bad for our visit on the Isle. Strong wind and rain.

In the morning Anja informed about the Isle of Wight, Guernsey and Sark plus landing with the ships owned Polar Cirkle Boats. Friederike had a lecture about seabirds.

At 12 pm the FRAM reached the town of Cowes which is situated in the northern part of the island. Cowes is a gateway town for the Island of Wight with a population of about 9.500 inhabitants.

The MV FRAM anchored in the Strait. The wind was blowing more than 20 m per second from west . One Polar Cirkle boat was lowered just for to see how it will behave in this stormy weather. The forecast was increasing wind in the afternoon. A decision was taken not to land on Isle of Wight. Safety first.

The anchor was pulled up and we set sail towards the east cost of Isle of Weight, where interesting rock groups could be seen. Friederike informed the passenger over the PA system about this geological phenomenon. At 3 pm Klaus gave a lecture about ships in distress. “Change the perspective“ was the title of a lecture given by our photographer Barbara.

In the evening our guest lecturer Captain Langbein was interviewed about ships and seafaring in the Observation Lounge.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

under the TOWER BRIDGE

Yesterday evening the MV FRAM was announced to pass the narrow TOWER BRIDGE in the city of London at 4.45 am. A lot of guests were early up this morning to watch that exciting moment from the observation deck or from the front part of the ship. The weather was excellent this morning. No wind, warm temperatures. The sun was just before horizon. You could hear the voices of the blackbirds from both sides of the Thames River. A mile before we reached the TOWER BRIDGE, the MV FRAM turned around and a tow boat towed our ship backwards toward the bridge. The TOWER BRIDGE slowly opened its wings and we could pass this historical monument.The MV FRAM went alongside the old battleship HMS Belfast.Early in the morning at 7 o clock all passengers easily entered a sightseeing boat which brought them to the other side of the river, where excursions started. Four excursions were offered: Panoramic London, Highlights of London, Pub lunch & Covent Garden, Royal Windsor, River Thames & Westminster Abbey.

At 4 pm all guests were back on board. One and a half hour later many guests were standing on the back, waving with a glass of champagne or soft drink in their hands while we set sail and passed the TOWER BRIDGE and further on Greenwich on our way back to the North Sea.

Later on, the fanny MV FRAM fashion show with the fantastic models of the crew and expedition team took place in the observation lounge.

Friday, 20 May 2011

A day on sea

What a very nice day with bright sunshine, mild temperatures and calm sea.

Today is a sea day with lots of activities. At 9 am our bridge tours for passengers started. At 11 am Carolina had a lecture on “Treasures of the National Gallery London” in the Polhøgda lecture hall. At the same time a lecture with Klaus started in the Framheim lecture hall. The topic was “London – the town of the Romans, Vikings and the Hanseatics.
In the afternoon the Countess Leontine of Schmettow gave a lecture with the topic “Insight into the Britis
h Royal Family. All lectures were repeated during the day.

At 9.30 pm the host Günter Meyer invited for a small talk round about ”Everyday life on an expedition ship” together with the Hurtigruten Hamburg Gerneral Managers Kasper Berens and Stephan Handwerker .