Day 9 looks like it could be a little boring when we review the day’s events and instead it turns out to be the complete opposite. The day starts off a little misty and slightly cooler than it has been but there’s no rain until much later and then it only lasts for a very short time. We really have had the most perfect weather. In fact the staff on board tell us that the self same journey two weeks ago saw rain virtually every day. The people on that trip must have very different photographs to ours.
The Autumn colours completely surround us on this part of the journey. There are swathes of red and gold, outlined by swathes of dark green evergreens. Each one looking like it would make a perfect Christmas tree.
We stop at a small port and as usual the fork-lift truck driver roars up ready to unload today’s cargo. On route we’ve seen roofing insulation, office stationary supplies and food deliveries amongst other things being loaded on and off of the boat, but more exciting are the people jumping on and off along the way. Today we see a man reunited with his family, his son jumping up and down in anticipation as he sees his father walking down the gangway. He rushes forward to give him a big hug at his arrival home. Such scenes warm the heart.
The weather decides to get better and once again we find ourselves under blue skies and glorious sunshine. We make a short stop at Sortland and from the ship see a church that looks interesting. Once off the boat, we realise it is further away than we thought, but it has led us to a small gallery on the outskirts of town that is hosting an opening. We are welcomed by a smiling face and a glass of sparking apple juice and are invited to browse the artist’s work. The pieces remind us of covers from Pink Floyd albums in the 70s and 80s but it is an interesting exhibit and fun to be part of. We sign the guest book, thank our hosts and return to the boat.
Our next stop today is Stockmarkness. We wander up the main street and join the locals out doing their Saturday shopping. It seems that we are destined to see these small towns in their best light as the sun continues to shine. Today is dog day it seems as we pass several people with dogs. There is an adorable, white fluffy husky pup who is stretched out on a park bench taking some rays with his owner. Also on the other side of the street is a pup straining at the lead and very excited to be out and about. But my favourite dog of the day is Esmelda – the white and black French bulldog who runs up and greets me enthusiastically when she realises that I am bending down to muss her. I’m not sure if it is very expensive to keep pets in Norway, but we have not seen many on our travels.
We continue down the main street. It seems that all the towns we’ve stopped at have an indoor shopping centre. It makes sense and will be needed once snow lines the sides of the streets and temperatures plummet.
Also at Stockmarkness we do a quick tour of the Hurtigruten museum. Here you will see archive photographs and reconstructions of bunk rooms and the like. It is a fascinating review of the Hurtigruten history including information about the fact that once upon a time there were three classes on board. First was for luxury passengers and we see fine china, cutlery and linen. Second class was for regular travellers and third class – well there weren’t many pictures to see, so I’ll leave this to your imagination. The museum is well worth a visit and our only disappointment is that we would have liked more time in the town to explore more, enjoy a coffee and do the museum justice.
Back on board, we find ourselves once again able to enter the Trollfjord due to the good weather and this time we get to see just how narrow it is in the daylight. In addition, we are joined by some sea eagles soaring up in the thermals about the mountains near the boat.
We think that our journey into the fjord is dramatic, but then we hit the wall of mountains that make up the Lofoten Islands. This part of Norway is a definite return to destination. I’d love to get up close and personal with the Lofoten Islands and explore the area between Trondheim and Tromso in more detail. It is beautiful countryside.
We watch the sunset over the Lofoten Islands from the hot tub and reflect on the beauty of the day.