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Anticipation Builds...

Hello and welcome to our Hurtigruten trip along the coast of Norway. We made this trip in September 2012 and during the course of the 12 day journey, I wrote a journal talking about our experiences on board as we travelled from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again.
These posts reflect our personal journey, what we saw, who we met and what we did each day. We, being me, Angela and my husband Andy. If you want to know about the cabins and the food and how it all works on board, this is not the blog for you. It does not focus on the practical elements. But follow the link to www.hurtigruten.com and I'm sure you'll find everything you need to know there. 
We made a very last minute decision to take the trip and in fact secured the very last cabin - cabin 658 right at the back of the boat. The benefits of this were two fold.  Firstly it was a mere skip and a jump to the hot tub, which we luxuriated in every day bar one . And secondly, we were very quickly and easily able to get up on to…

Bergen and arriving on Board the Norge Norge


Friday 21st September - Day 1
After a day of start-stop travel, we arrive at the Hurtigruten Terminal in Bergen to board the ship. We are travelling on the NordNorge – a boat holding about 600 people. After a short briefing we get the keys to our cabin and board the ship. We are like small children arriving at a play park – where shall we head first? What ride shall we go on next? We get the keys to our cabin and naturally head there first and do the sensible thing of unpacking and getting sorted, knowing then we are free for the remainder of the evening to explore the ship.
Our cabin is compact and yet somehow spacious, with ample space for coats and sweaters and cold weather clothing. There are two single beds, one pulls down from the wall and the other is a sofa bed. Romantic it isn’t, but that probably isn’t the reason that you’re on this trip.
And then onto exploring the ship. There is the panoramic lounge – which does what it says on the tin. Windows on each side provide fabulou…

Floro to Molde with a stop off in Alesund

Saturday 22nd September - Day 2


We awake to pink fluffy clouds, which disperse after a couple of hours leaving beautiful blue skies and sunshine. It is a warmer day than we have experienced for most of our own English summer. Up on deck, passengers are like sunflowers, moving their chairs to face the sun and make the most of the brightness and warmth.

We are advised that we will sail into Hjorundfjorden this morning. This is the very first time that Hurtigruten have made this trip and as a result we are treated like local celebrities. A helicopter flies above and around the boat taking footage of our trip and in many of the small hamlets and villages that we pass, locals gather to wave Norwegian flags at us, children jumping up and down and clapping their hands in excitement as this big ship passes through.

On route we discover that many of these tiny places have no road access. They can be reached only by boat. I think about what life must be like – no overnight Amazon deliveries, no lo…

Trondheim to Rorvik

Sunday 23rd September - Day 3



This morning we awake just before we arrive in Trondheim. I have no expectations and we are charmed by the delights of this beautiful city. It is the third largest in Norway. We are blessed with another absolutely glorious day and more blue skies and sunshine. A short ten minute stroll from the boat and we find ourselves in wide shop lined avenues, selling stylish Norwegian goods.

I tell my husband that I’m sure I was Scandinavian in a past life as I love the window displays and feel an affinity for the warm browns and copper tones of the clothing layered on the models, scarves draped decoratively over shoulders and lace up cosy waterproof boots to keep out the snow when it falls. Interspersed amongst the clothes shops, we find shops selling cups, saucers and large jugs for flowers in Farrow and Ball hues and heavy fluffy blankets that I can easily imagine throwing over my shoulders on a cold Winter's night. We are saved from ourselves by it being a Su…

Bronnoysund to Svolvaer including Bodo

Monday 24th September - Day 4



We wake this morning to an announcement that we will be crossing the Arctic Circle. It is almost 7 am and we quickly throw on some clothes and head on deck. We are two of only a few people who have come to mark the occasion with a photograph or two, most preferring to say in the warmth of their beds or the ship. A globe on a small island marks the spot and it suddenly feels like we are in new territory. The weather is misty, but has it’s own beauty. The mist hangs over the mountains and the light reminds me of an episode of Wallender.

As we progress further North today, we travel past the dark jagged wall of mountains that mark the Loften Islands. This continues for 100 km and seems impenetrable as the pointed caps rise up on either side of us. It’s a dramatic part of the trip with a stop over in Bodo (pronounced Buddha – which I like) during the afternoon.

We disembark for a walk around Bodo. There’s not much to see here. It has a modern town centre and p…

Harstad to Skjervoy including Tromso

Tuesday 25th September - Day 5





On day 5, we wake up in Harstad and once again it is a spectacular day. The sky is completely clear and blue and the sunshine is glorious. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the trip so far in my opinion. We sit on deck and take in Autumn as she parades her copper, golds and vibrant reds in the trees on the sides of the mountain. White houses dot here and there amongst the mountains and powerful snow-capped peaks show off their grandness in the background.



In the afternoon, we arrive in Tromso. We head along the brightly coloured pier to the Polar museum and are regaled with tales of bravery and heroism of the polar explorers. Afterwards we head into the town and again wander the shops in search of lovely things.

The shops predominantly line one main avenue, but there is plenty to see and coffees to be had in the relatively short time that we are ashore. Tromso cathedral sits over the bridge in another part of town. We don’t make it here this time,…

Havoysund - Mehamn

Wednesday 26th September - Day 6



The landscape today has changed dramatically, as has the weather. It is a grey day, with overhead cloud coverage although remarkably mild. The Autumn colours have disappeared and too the snow capped mountains. The scenery is barren and somehow fits with the weather.


The staff on board announce that we have arrived in Finnmark, which is the same latitude as Alaska and Siberia. Only 78,000 people live here and you can understand why when they advise that temperatures can drop as low as minus 64 in Winter and there is no light during the Winter other than the moon, the snow and the Northern Lights.

Today we reach the North Cape and many of our fellow travellers take the excursion. We get off the board at a small town called Honningsvag. The harbour area is filled with fishing boats and the usual clapper board houses. We head out of town into a more residential area. We meet an inquisitive dog straining at his lead outside, keen to meet someone new. This town…

Vadso - Kirkenes - Berlevag

Thursday 27th September - Day 7

Today we arrive in Kirkenes and we have reached the turnaround point of our voyage. There is definitely change in the air and you can feel a different energy on the boat this morning. Some people will leave us here to catch their plane home or to continue their journeys elsewhere. Later in the Library I notice that the American domino-playing women are gone as is the Dutch man that joined them most days. We get off the boat at Kirkenes to find that we are once again surrounded by the colours of Autumn. As we walk from the port into the town centre, we pass tree-lined avenues filled with the usual clapperboard houses that we have become accustomed to seeing. The trees still have their red, orange and copper leaves on display and many also have bright red berries. The day is a crisp, bright cold one and it is the sort of day that you feel glad to be alive.



We discover that as it is the last Thursday of the month, there is a Russian market in town. Ten or tw…

Havoysund to Skjervoy including Tromso and Hammerfest

Friday 28th September - Day 8



We awake this morning to some blue sky, but this quickly passes and we find ourselves in misty grey. It feels moody today and the mists hang over the mountains blurring their edges.
Our mood is lightened by our regular announcer, Eskild advising us of a birthday on board. He tells us that the lady who works in the cafĂ© should be wished a very happy birthday if we are passing through and in addition, she is very open to birthday hugs from gentleman that are willing to oblige. As I grab a mug of tea on my way through to the library, one gentleman has taken up the offer and she embraces him warmly.

Hammerfest is today’s major stop. We have only an hour and a half here and the guide books tells us that we can walk up the hill in town and reach an observation deck with a restaurant on top and see views of Hammerfest. It sounds good until we arrive and take a look at the weather. It looks like rain and so we decide against the walk and instead stroll through the …

Harstad - Trollfjorden - Lofoten - Stamsund

Saturday 29th September - Day 9


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, …