Daily Archives: 2009-05-09

Shipmate Changeover – Harwich, England

I felt sadness mixed with a tinge of smugness the night before all others were to depart. It was the end of a two week journey for most who were debarking in Harwich, England. Luckily, I had the foresight to book the extra four days up through Amsterdam into Oslo. It was nice not to have to get off as I wasn’t quite ready to leave yet, as one never is at the end of a holiday.

It was hard to say goodbye to tablemates Tom and Lois who were great company. I had become quite fond of them and their mannerisms. By the end of two weeks, I realized I knew a lot about them, their kids, and their views on life. Plus they were able to track down a cherimoya which gives them extra points.

Our games group got together one last time and played Balderdash into the wee hours of the night. After several laughs, we hugged and promised to keep in touch. I was amused at how attached I had let myself get to these people.

The next morning, I slept right through the announcements which would corral everyone off the ship. I sleepily wandered to breakfast, then moved my room as they had directed. The crew were all in turnover mode rushing about to ready the ship for the next batch of cruisers. I overheard the cruise director congratulating the staff on the trans-atlantic passage. He gave informational stats and offer snippets of encourgement for the next segment. Evidently, the ship would be primarily Brits so I readied myself for the accents.

I spent the day taking advantage of the barren gym which I could pretend was all my own. I thought about climbing the rock wall again but no one was there to spot me. I snacked a bit which I discovered the newly renovated Windjammer finally open. This is the casual buffet area which had been closed for the last two weeks. It was a nice change to have somewhere new to explore.

I continued my adventure to one of the upper decks to sneak into some of the suites and balconies. I wanted to see what I was missing and if it seemed worth it. Standing outside in the bitter cold of England, I realized that it would be pretty much useless to have a balcony if you were on an itinerary which was too cold to appreciate it. This next leg would be one of those. Already it was chilly for me and we were only going more Northernly.

I wrapped myself up in my big wool sweater that makes me look like a polar bear of sorts and hunkered down. While I read in the lounge, I noticed the steady trickle of shiny new cruisers curiously making their way onboard. I wondered if I would connect with any of them in the short but sweet four days I had left on this part of my journey.

Grateful for emptiness.

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