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5:49pm on Saturday, 8th July, 2017:



Today our port of call was Trondheim, which is substantially larger than any of the other places we've visited o our trip so far. It appears to be solidly tourist-indifferent as a result of its city status, with few gift shops: just normal shops selling normal items at normal, staggeringly-high prices.

Given that it's a Saturday, there were remarkably few people abroad. The photo below is of the market in the main square, which boasts a whole four stalls: one selling tat, two selling strawberries and onions, and one selling just onions.

Trondheim is famous for its cathedral, which is built on the site where the country's patron saint (Olaf, the king who christianised Norway) was originally buried. I don't know where he was reburied, but he was originally buried where the cathedral now stands. Apparently, he annoyed so many people by christianising Norway that he was overthrown and exiled, but two years later he returned to reclaim the throne and was heartily killed in battle failing to do so. This, coupled with not rotting in his coffin, qualified him for sainthood. I'd show you a picture of the cathedral, but as it looks pretty much the same as the one in Truro I wasn't ll that impressed. Also, it cost £9 each to enter and they were as hostile to taking photographs as the ship's captain is to flushing objects that are too large down the toilet; I don't see that I should reward it by encouraging people to visit. It does have a very nicely-coloured rose window, though, I have to admit.

Normally, I'd climb to the top of the cathedral for a spectacular view of the city, but today I didn't. This is because it was raining. It's our first day of rain on the cruise, and hopefully the last. The rain wasn't all that strong, but it was sufficient to ensure I'd be climbing to the top of the cathedral carrying a wet umbrella in order to take photos of a rainscape in Cornwall. They'd probably have charged another £9 each, too. All the museums and interesting sights seem to have £9 as their standard fee. It's maybe like 90p to Norwegians, but I regard it as excessive. They also seem to have unnecessary guides: to get to the cathedral tower, for example, I'd have had to have gone in a group of 20, led by a guide in case we get lost going up the spiral staircase.

As it happens, we were sitting down in the cathedral when a different guide materialised to start of the Engish language tour. We had no intention of going on it, but we had no intention of vacating our seats, either, so we just sat and listened to his opening remarks. This is why I'm so knowledgeable about Saint Olaf (see above). Not all of the people on his tour were native English speakers, but you could tell the ones who were because of their reaction when the public address system announced that would-be guidees should assemble "beneath the large organ".

There are some shops in Norway that are seen in other countries, but they usually have local rivals. I particularly like the fact that as well as 7-11 grocery stores they have a 7-23 in Trondheim. There are plenty of other shops, but fortunately the dismal exchange rate prevents my wife from buying anything and everything she likes the look of.

There are some nice, ancient buildings made of wood in the old part of Trondheim. I expect they haven't burned down because it's always raining. Suspiciously, the same few buildings appear on postcards, framed photographs and jigsaw puzzles wherever you look; come to that, it's the exact same image of them, too. Rather than repeat what you can easily find using your favourite search engine, I'll show a more unusual example. Trondheim really is at times quite picturesque, in a well-if-it-weren't-raining kind of way.

Elsewhere, the royal residence (guided tour every hour, on the hour, cost £9 each) is opposite a Burger King.

We walked around for quite a while, but eventually the weather got the best of us so we returned to the ship to queue for a table in the café behind everyone for whom the weather had got the better of them ten minutes earlier.

Every day of the cruise so far, there has been an advertisement for the Norwegian Market that would be opened on board today at 5pm. We, along with everyone else, decided to check it out. The throng around its one-and-only table was three or four people deep. When we finally caught a glimpse of what was on offer, it was the exact same stuff that we've been seeing in every tourist shop in every town so far. I knew this was a possibility, as the ship's newspaper this morning illustrated the event with a picture of the ubiquitous long-nosed trolls that I showed yesterday. Sadly, the prices were as authentic as the goods: £127 for a sweater that might have attracted a tag of £25 in the UK (£20 closer to Christmas).

Anyway, I did like Tronheim, and there's still plenty more of it to see should I get to return some time.

Maybe I'll come in Winter next time. At least the rain will be snow then, and therefore pretty.

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Copyright © 2017 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).