Despite the continuation of the global pandemic, we chose to continue traveling, albeit cautiously. For the past several years we would schedule a trip to the North Sea, especially to see the Faroe Islands. As luck would have it, the cruise would be cancelled and we would re-book it for the next year. This year, it finally happened. We, along with some of our dear friends, decided to extend the cruise by booking a pre-cruise tour in Edinburgh, the cruise's point of departure and return. The cruise was 12 days and the land trip added three days. And after getting tested before we left the U.S., we managed an uneventful trip across the pond. The four of us, along with a handful of other couples from our cruise, enjoyed a wonderful exploration of Edinburgh and it's surrounds. While the weather was off and on, there was much to see, do, eat, and photograph. I am very impressed with Scotland as a photographic destination.
Finally, on the 4th day, we tested again and we were allowed to embark the ship, where we received some bad news: we would not be able to go to the Faroe Islands, due to a massive Atlantic storm. They added a stop in Invergordon, Scotland, which didn't make up for the Faroes, but at least, they didn't scrub our stop in Shetland. Invergordon is rather off the beaten path, so it was interesting to see an "un-tourist" spot. But, it did treat us to some genuine Highlands weather: dark, low skies, high winds, and intermittent drenching rain. I got to test the weather resistance of my Fuji gear, along with a newly-released Tamron 18-300 lens. I'm happy to say, both survived the tough weather of Invergordon.
After a day at sea, we arrived in Lerwick, capital of the Shetland Islands. For those who follow this blog, you will recall that we spent two days there waiting for our ship after we missed it in Dublin, back in 2019. It was, and still is, one of my favorite places to photograph. We got so see some new places on this trip and the weather was only mostly dark. Someday I really need to just spend a couple of weeks in Shetland.
We sailed across to the coast of Norway, where we visited four ports: Haugesund, Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Oslo. We were treated to absolutely beautiful weather for the last three of these. In fact, photographically ,the weather was almost too good, because often, there wasn't a cloud in the sky! I had never been to the first three before. Of those, Stavanger was the stand-out. The town was charming and photogenic location with a great combination of old and modern. But it's greatest claim is as the gateway to Lyse fjord with it's magnificent, sheer walls, waterfalls and frightening Pulpit Rock. The photo page has a series of shots showing the wide view, showcasing it's almost 2,000 foot (604m) vertical face, followed by two shots of the rectangular protrusion from the top, that gives it it's name. If you look closely, you will see people sitting on the edge! I hadn't been to Oslo for about 20 years and was amazed to see how the city has grown and matured. It has become and even more beautiful place with so much to see and do.
Our next stop was to a place I had never heard about before: Lysekil. It is a port on the West side of Sweden, on the opposite coast from Stockholm. Like the latter, there is an archipelago of small islands that protect the city. Unlike the ones leading to Stockholm, these are smooth, barren, light-colored rocks. They are visually amazing. While I was able to get some great shots from the tour boat, "run and gun" shooting on this kind of subject isn't ideal. You really need to charter your own boat to get the best shots. Unbeknown to us, this would be the last time we went ashore until the end of the cruise.
The next day, we were sailing into Copenhagen, and my wife became ill and she tested positive for COVID. So, we were both immediately quarantined in our stateroom for the remaining ports. I'll spare you all the gory details, but the ship's medical staff took good care of us (I never got COVID) and they ship made us as comfortable as they could. But it was a dramatic end to our journey. I was able to get a couple of pictures from our balcony in Copenhagen, Skagen, and our final day at sea, crossing back to Scotland. We got home without incident.
While I have posted a couple of photos above, from the trip, I hope you will click on this link to see a selection of shots from this trip. As always, you are invited to view my site by going to: https://www.markpollittphoto.com/
Until next time, Stay Safe!