Homebound

Added 16 Feb 2013

Early this morning we visit Torvik, Maloy and Floro. After breakfast we do our final packing and leave our cabins for the last time. Main luggage is collected by the ship crew and Richard and Dawn look after hand luggage. An early but comprehensive lunch is enjoyed by all. This may be the last opportunity to enjoy our daily smoked salmon for some time!

Sadly we're soon docking at the Hurtigruten Terminal and getting ready for disembarkation. We take our time, collect our luggage and join our two private coaches. A number of other ship guests (no names mentioned) seem to be in somewhat of a rush as though their lives depend on getting their luggage first. However when they get outside the terminal, their coach transport hasn't yet arrived. Oh dear. Naturally we take our time and we're met on schedule by our two coach drivers and two local guides. Our holiday certainly isn't over yet! We're about to enjoy an excellent (and complimentary) tour of Bergen. Bergen is a pretty city, surrounded by seven mountains. Our tour takes in many highlights: Hakons Hall and the Rosenkranz Tower, the University area, the Grieg Concert Hall, Fish Market, the Royal Residence, inner harbour and, of course, the Bryggen - the wooden buildings once home to the Hanseatic League. Following a most enjoyable tour we head out to Bergen Airport to check in for our British Airways flight home to London Heathrow. Initially there's only one BA staff member but she does a good job and after some assistance from her colleague we all head up the escalator to the International Departure Lounge. The duty free shop seems to offer Norway's cheapest prices on a range of goods so we celebrate by purchasing the Norwegian equivalent of KitKat for every guest. Whoopee!

Once all on board, the aircraft is de-iced before take-off and we're soon heading south-west towards London. There are no air traffic hold-ups and we land on time, speed through passport control and walk to the very quiet luggage carousels. And we wait. Terminal Five is normally pretty quick with luggage so Richard asks the BA team if there are any problems. A couple of minutes later the BA manager advises Richard that there is a short delay due to a lack of resources. We think this is BA speak for not enough staff? Richard and Dawn update our guests (and some other passengers too) to keep them informed. Five minutes later, BA makes an announcement with a similar message! Of course nowadays travellers want their luggage as soon as they get off the aircraft and we all have very high expectations. To be honest we didn't wait that long.

After lots of goodbyes, we head off in different directions: to taxis, to family, to car parks, to hotels. A few guests travel back to the Furlongs office to pick up their cars and head home. Unfortunately a tyre on one car is discovered to be well and truly flat, so Richard goes into mechanic mode and changes a wheel. All part of the service.

Many thanks for joining our Northern Lights extravaganza everyone.