After another lazy breakfast in the cabin we finally decide that we really should go ashore and see Alta. Especially as we didn’t bother yesterday. It’s not every day that you’re within 100 miles of the end of the European mainland after all.
We’ve decided we will head for a local gift shop and see what it has to offer – Linda wants a pair of woollen mittens because she forgot her gloves. So it’s down to Deck 4 for security and on down to Deck 3 (which is apparently known as ‘Holiday Deck’) to board the tender. There are just 20 people on board, suggesting that everyone else did their onshore visit yesterday. The ride is quick and smooth and we have minimal problems getting the scooter on and off the small boat.
Apple Maps said that the gift shop was 1.8 miles away, but upon landing at Alta Ferry Terminal it is suddenly 2.6 miles. After navigating the rutted, gravel strewn, ice puddled environs of the terminal, we begin a long uphill trek. The main road into Alta winds round the side of the hill, a constant climb for most of its length. Great if you have a mobility scooter but quite a trek otherwise. Especially as the footpath is covered in hard packed ice and snow…
Top tip: One of the local companies offer shuttle buses into Alta town centre at a cost of $20 USD per person. However, should you decide you want a cheaper option, and you don’t want to make the long trek on foot, there is a bus stop just outside the Europris supermarket next to the cruise terminal. Be warned that there appears to be just one bus on that route each hour, so plan accordingly.
Eventually we arrive at the shop (after being stopped briefly by a red squirrel). We then discover that it is a cook shop, not a gift shop. Great if you want to bake a cake, not so good if you want woollen mittens.
After scrolling Apple Maps for a little while, I discover a nearby fabric shop called Kilden which may have the mittens we seek. It has to be close by because the first scooter battery is already well into the ‘red zone’.
Thankfully they do have mittens, knitted by one of the ladies who works in the shop. They are not cheap, but they are very high quality – and Linda assures me they are warm too. It’s a lovely shop with loads of wool, crafting materials and souvenirs and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Linda says she could have happily spent a fortune in there.
Afterwards we cannot find anywhere for a beer, so we make the long trek back to the ship. The uphill section of the return journey isn’t as strenuous, but the long downhill section is treacherous in the ice. We also have to change scooter battery – I think it lasted about 3.5 miles today. However, travelling downhill seems to be much more energy friendly because the new battery isn’t showing any depletion by the time we get back to the ship.
Back on board, two things happen. First, the Captain informs us that due to a lack of pilots, we won’t be leaving Alta until 4am. Apparently this will have no effect on arrival at Gravdal on Friday.
Second, it starts snowing. Sideways. This is awesome – and the crew who have never seen snow all rush out on deck to snap selfies, which is fantastic.