After calling at Belfast and Stornoway, Azura then sailed on to Iceland before returning to Southampton via calls in Shetland and Orkney.
This had been Azura’s maiden calls at Belfast and Stornoway; with maiden calls at Isafjordur, Lerwick and finally Kirkwall to come.
My reading for this part of the cruise was from this book.
The book is a collection of Icelandic sagas that tells of the lives of the good (and bad) Norse men and women who came to Iceland and traveled to both Greenland and North America.
Day 5 Thursday 23rd June 2016 In transit to Reykjavik
The day started with cloud and rain in the air.
Sunrise was around 04:20 and sunset at about midnight, so not many sun rises or sun sets as we get closer and closer to the Arctic Circle. After 3 miles backwards and forwards on the Promenade Deck, we went to the Sindhu restaurant to try out the ‘Nashta’. This menu is only served on sea days and is billed as ‘Indian tapas’ (small plates).
We choose a selection but had a few ‘duds’. The beef (Gosht ke kebab) in particular was dry and was like old boots, not impressed at all. The duck (Laal jal murghi) left a stinging taste in the mouth and half of the calamari (Mirchi makali) was chewy. Back to Glasshouse for us on sea days!
The day had patches of blue sky and a calm sea over the middle of the day.
But as the day went in the cloud returned. I took this picture of a sea bird riding the updraft created by the ship
These pictures were later in the day and hopefully you can make out the outline a submarine on the surface of the Atlantic.
The Captain’s cocktail party was held in the Atrium after 8 pm where he introduced himself and key members of his staff, while passengers listened and shared the free drinks. Dinner was one of my P&O favourites – beef stroganoff.
As we sailed North the days became longer and longer – here’s the view at 23:10.
Day 6 Friday 24th June 2016 Reykjavik
Azura approached Reykjavik in the early morning and docked next to another cruise ship from the Holland America line.
Reykjavik received its name because of the clouds of steam that were visible from the first boats to arrive on the island – smokey bay.
We were taken to the Old Harbour to catch a boat to go whale watching with Elding. Here’s a view of Reykjavik as we left the harbour.
It was very cold out in the bay and we did see fleetingly some harbour porpoises. There were lots of birds including puffins and skuas but unfortunately we didn’t see any whales.
We now hold tickets to go whale watching for free anytime in the next two years as the company refunds tickets if no whales are seen.
One of the things we learnt out whale watching is that Iceland is one of the few countries in the world that still hunts whales. Amazingly less than 3% of Icelanders actually eat whale meat, the 21 minke whales killed so far this season were to feed tourists. On the boat we were encouraged to not eat at any bar or restaurant that serves whale meat as in the long term aim to stop this barbaric killing.Tourists don't eat any whale meat in #Iceland 'Meet Us Don´t Eat Us' #OpWhales Click To Tweet
After we returned back to port we went back to Azura to dump my excess camera equipment and have a quick lunch.
Walking around Reykjavik
The port authority had laid on a transfer bus so we could go into the town for some shopping. We were dropped off at the Harpa Centre. Which is an amazing architectural building with lots of glass reflecting the traffic on the streets below at lots of different angles.
After a 5 minute walk we were on Austurstraeli
and then Bankastaeli.
We went into a small corner cafe, called Durum, for a drink and a piece of excellent apple pie.
As we walked along the pedestrianised street there was both street art and tags on walls and way up on the table ends of buildings.
Best of all here is this piece of street art.
Here is a more complete collection from along Laugavegur and back along the streets to the Harpa Centre.
Dinner was my staple of a steak.