Even though the 2015 Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural
Cruise on the Seabourn Quest was coming to an end, there still were more events
and more to see as we return to the more “civilized” parts of Norway.
Bergen, Norway
As soon as we arrived in Bergen, Norway it was time for our
Private Shopping with the Seabourn Chef. 
Chef Jes, properly adorned wearing the 2015 Goldring Travel Food &
Wine jacket I gave him as a small “thank you” (and which he did wear during his
zodiac trip later that day!), took us for a short walk to the local fish
Shopping with the Seabourn Chef Jes Paskins
holding a King Crab 
We were able to sample side-by-side smoked wild and farmed
salmon.  Never was the flavor, texture
and fat difference so striking.  Aside
from the health benefits of eating wild salmon, every other aspect from a
culinary perspective is better too.
 Fresh and smoked sea trout was also sampled as well as
marinated salmon (gravlax) and more. 
Chef Jes purchased some sea trout which he prepared for us that evening
as an “off the menu” selection.
One of the fishmongers explained that King Crab is not
actually native to Norway, but was introduced into Russian waters from the Alaskan
fishery.  Who knew something so “Norwegian”
is not actually “Norwegian”?
After a quick coffee it was time for Chef Jes to head back
to the Seabourn Quest to head out the much larger Shopping with the Chef…and
that led us to the sweetest strawberries I have ever eaten.  There was a stand selling Belgium
strawberries and Norwegian hot house strawberries.  While you might think the farmed ones would
be better, it was not even close. 
Extraordinary…and unexpected!
Our group went in various directions with Diane and I heading
out for a walk along the quayside. 
Eventually we wound up at the Bergen Aquarium.  While it was a bit of a disappointment if you
don’t venture out you will never know…as you will soon see!  We meandered back to the market for
lunch.  I had seen a giant, but empty,
paella pan earlier and I am a sucker for paella.  Many of the vendors and fishmongers are,
curiously, not Norwegian and at this stand, Age Sorenson, they were from
Barcelona.  However, since we were in
Bergen, Norway we did order some grilled King Crab with garlic and herbs…and it
was delicious.


Earlier in the day I was looking at the tourist map you pick
up in each port.  I saw the LeprosyMuseum and said, “We gotta see that!” and so, after lunch, that is exactly what
we did.  Our first impression was of a
miniature Alcatraz.  The building was a
long rectangle with tiny rooms (just big enough for two small beds and a shared
bedside table) with single windows on two levels with a catwalk.  While it was a bit creepy, it actually did a
wonderful job of explaining the disease and assuring you left knowing each
patient was a human being with a story and a life ending in sadness.
From there we headed back to the ship, exploring a castle
along the way, and another beautiful sailaway.
A very lively Bergen, Norway waterfront
Our last port was Stavanger, Norway.  I did not expect much, but it actually was a
very interesting port.  
Historic Part of Stavanger, Norway


We headed out
looking for the Canning Museum, where those little keys on the side of sardine
cans was invented.  (How could we not?)
Without getting too humiliated, as we tried to find this little
gem I used my male instincts and an app on my phone convinced I could locate
the museum.  Under this road, around that
bend, up this driveway and then we see bottles in a window (It had to be
close!), as we reached the crest of the hill there was a concrete wall and, peeking over it, I
triumphantly said, “Here we are…at the Shell gas station!”  Ugh.
We eventually found the place (I let Diane take over) and
the museum was actually quite interesting. 
But there were two bonuses: 
First, the cashier saw my Goldring Travel Food & Wine jacket that
also says “Seabourn Quest”…and with that he said since we were associated with
the ship we got free entry (and free entry to all of the museums in Stavanger!). 
The machine that made those little keys for sardine cans
is at The Cannery Museum
The second bonus is that while the sardine cannery has long
been closed, they still smoke sardines (actually sprat) for the visitors.  Right out of the ancient smokers, still warm…and
Smoking sardines the old fashioned way

From there we headed back to the quay and visited the truly
outstanding Stavanger Maritime Museum
The history, artifacts and dozens of super high quality ship models was


And then it was off to the Norwegian Petroleum Museum.  The first floor is all about the technology
of drilling for oil, but the other areas have a very interesting simulated oil
rig where you can sit in the control room, try to maneuver equipment and try an
escape slide.

Norwegian Petroleum Museum
More importantly, there is a significant area devoted to the question of how to balance the use of fossil fuels against the negative impact upon the environment.  I was surprised to see such a well-balanced presentation; especially in a country whose wealth is so strongly linked to oil revenue.
After a bit of a stroll it was time for lunch of moules frite Norwegian style, a really good spicy hamburger with salami and jalepenos (who thought of that winning combination?) and, of course, another beer tasting.
It was then  back to the Seabourn
Quest for a final sailaway in the hot tub on the bow.  I looked on the television screen and it was
empty.  Perfect…except when we arrived
moments later there was a party going on with a guy wearing a plastic Viking
hat with faux horns.  As that was not
exactly the sailaway we were looking for, we headed to the hot tub after on
Deck 5 aft of The Club.  It was actually better
as we were sheltered from the seriously increasing wind plus we had a great view of
Stavanger as we sailed out.
Our last day was then unfortunately upon us, but there was
still one Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Cruise event left:  The Private Cheese & Wine Tasting in
Restaurant 2.  This was to be a small
farewell event, but…Seabourn made it very special.  
Goldring Travel Cheese & Wine Tasting
on the Seabourn Quest
Chef Jes had gone cheese shopping in Tallin,
Estonia and found some incredible cheeses (truffled, herbed, soft goat and an old Amsterdamer). I added a firm goat – from Flam, Norway.  We paired the cheeses with a ruby port, a tawny port, a sauterne (as a wild card) and an Inneskillin ice wine from Canada which Soko, the Assistant
Seabourn Sommelier guided us through…with lots of charm and information.
Seabourn’s Soko and Chef Jess take a well deserved bow!
And with that came the end of the 2015 Goldring Travel
Culinary & Cultural Cruise…so I thought.  
When we disembarked we couldn’t find our luggage.  A guest with a large group simply swept up
every bag with a blue tag and sent them to his private jet.  While Seabourn advised me that the guest
eventually realized the error and returned the bags to the ship, it is not
Diane and I setting sail on the Seabourn Quest for another week…it is our
luggage.  Not fair!