Shetland Islands, at sea, en route to Kirkwall

Today was a much needed at sea day. With this whole 24 hours of sunlight thing, my brain is just very confused, since it doesn’t register night anymore, so having a day to catch up with sleep was a wonderful thing. And I sure did catch up with sleep. I think I slept until 11 am. I find I am able to fall asleep with the twenty-four hours of sunlight thing, my issue is more staying asleep, it’s like my brain senses the light outside and just wants me to wake up every few hours, so I don’t sleep through the night, I get up several times throughout the night… If you can even call it night.

Tomorrow we’ll be in Scotland, in Kirkwall, Scotland, also known as the Orkney Islands. Orkney consists of approximately 70 Islands off the coast of Northern Scotland, of which only 20 are inhabited. The biggest of these islands is called “The mainland”, which is where Kirkwall, where we’ll be docking, the largest town and capital is located. It’s our first of two ports in Scotland. I’m excited for Scotland because a great deal of Harry Potter was filmed in Scotland such as the location they used for Hogwarts in the movies.

Anyhow, after my very late wakeup, I went up the buffet for lunch. The theme today was “Indian Cuisine,” and I love Indian food so I was very excited. I had some yellow vegetable curry and butter chicken, and it was really good.  I also had Kahlua rice-pudding, which was tasty, and some cheese. I had a bowl full of chocolate chip cookies and triple chocolate chip cookies, which I was intending to take down to the room with me for my secret cookie stash, though it’s really not a secret, I just like calling it that, that I have for long excursions without food, or for a quick snack. Nelson, our head waiter, saw the bowl of cookies and started freaking out and worrying because I have a nut allergy and he was worried they contained nuts, I assured him I’d been eating the cookies all trip [and my allergy is tree-nuts, not peanuts] and I was fine, but I appreciated him doing his job and being concerned. For part of lunch, we sat with a couple, and the woman was originally from Houston, so when she found out I was from Houston, she asked me a lot of questions about Houston and how it’s changed since she lived there and how it compared to NJ, where I’m originally from.

After lunch, I went back to the cabin, and I read till my kindle ran out of battery. I finished two books today, and I started a third. I do most of my reading during sea days. Then I played some more 3ds, and I finally beat the Birthright storyline of Fire Emblem Fates, there was a lot more death in that storyline than in the conquest one. Now I just need to beat Revelations and I’ve beaten them all, although I really like Awakening better than Fates, but Fates is a good game.

At around five I went to the gym. Tonight was formal night, and the earlier dinner seating is at 5:30, the older population of the cruise tends to attend that dinner. We have the second seating, which is later, at 7:45. Since on formal nights, people tend to get gussied up, five was the perfect time to go to the gym, it was basically deserted. I got a good hour on the treadmill and did some reading and then did the weight machines, and then I came back, showered, and it was time for dinner.

Yesterday I had ordered a Shirley Temple for dinner because I love Shirley Temples and Vesko our junior waiter, had remembered, and had one waiting for me with extra cherries. Yay. Seriously, we have the best waiters on this cruise. Nelson, Martin, and Vesko are all so nice. Pierre was at dinner today, it was the first formal dinner he’s shown up at since the cruise started, Martine didn’t come through because she wasn’t feeling well. But Pierre is really nice, so we had some good conversations. I had a fruit platter and a chef salad for dinner, and then mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. Formal night food is usually to fancy for my palette.

That’s really it for today. Sea days are boring days, yet relaxing days. So Day 12 wasn’t anything exciting, but there’s a new port tomorrow, so that means new adventures to be had. Hard to believe there are only 4 more days of the cruise! Tomorrow is Kirkwall/Orkney Islands, then Dundee/Edinburgh, Scotland is the day after that, and there’s one sea day, and then it’s London, where the cruise ends. It’s hard to believe this adventure is coming to such a rapid end! It’s been a lot of fun and seeing the world has been fascinating, I’ve done things I never thought I would do like… cross the Arctic Circle. But it will also be nice to be back to NJ, where I have internet and Skype and can use my cell phone and things like that.  And that is all for now.

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