Sunday, July 29, 2012

Norway 2012

Friday 1st June

In a couple of days our cruise would end. We were heading south and there was more sun but it was still cold outside. That did not deter these brave sun worshippers.

One of the most interesting features we passed was Torghatten, a gigantic rock with a hole right in the middle, apparently about 150m in diameter.

The crew were very obliging and put the boat into a 360 degree turn so that everyone could see it.

Saturday 2nd June

We left the Nordnorge in Trondheim to continue our journey by train to Oslo.

But first we had to get Robyn to hospital. All through the cruise the crew were very particular about hand cleanliness and there were washing stations all over the boat. We had to wash our hands coming back on board from excursions and before every meal. This was all very well but there were so many passengers who neglected to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing that, in the last 5 or 6 days of the cruise I could see flu-like symptoms spreading through the boat. Inevitably Robyn caught it, and I got a lesser dose. We have to be careful when Robyn gets a cold, even though it is rare for her, because it gets into her lungs and becomes pneumonia before we know it.

So off to the emergency section of Trondheim hospital where we got some antibiotics. Right outside the emergency dept's entrance is a bear with a sore head. Appropriate.

Sunday 3rd June & Monday 4th June

We travelled by train from Trondheim to Oslo, overnighting in Roros. It was a cold, drizzly, misty journey, so even though we passed through some beautiful countryside, it was pointless trying to take photos.

We stayed overnight at the Bergstadens Hotel in Roros.

We had a couple of days relaxation in Oslo before the next, and most important, stage of our trip to Norway. We will be spending a week in Svelvik meeting my Norwegian relatives for the first time, and exploring my father's hometown.

It was always going to be interesting, enjoyable, emotional but turned out to be far more than I expected.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Norway 2012

Thursday 31st May


A bitterly cold day, but today was to be our best excursion: the Sea Eagle Safari.

We disembarked and boarded the small boat, Orca Safari, all rugged up, thermals, gloves, beanie, heavy coat. Yet it was still cold.

The seagulls were obviously familiar with this excursion and hung around for some food.

 We went into Trollfjord, a narrow keyhole shaped fjord.

And following us in was our mothership, the Nordnorge.

It turned around in Trollfjord. It looked magnificent.

It was on this excursion that I took what I think are the two best photos on the entire trip.

This one is the second best:

Past some more beautiful scenery enticing the sea eagles out to eat.

This one managed to avoid the gulls that were trying to protect their meal ticket and swooped down to retrieve a fish.

We continued in our small boat to Svolvaer with the Nordnorge following in the distance. I could see it through the surrounding islands as we entered the harbour and I knew I had only one chance to get a good shot.

I rushed up to the bows and pointed my camera, hoping for the best. And here is, in my opinion, my best photo on the entire trip:

We jumped off the Orca Safari in Svolvaer and walked around the corner to get back on the Nordnorge. What a great day out.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Norway 2012

Wednesday 30th May


Continuing our southbound journey we called into Hammerfest mid morning.

It was still snowing and for us warm weather Aussies, this was a fascinating delight.

Those passengers who went out to explore Hammerfest came back looking like popsicles.

More dramatic and stark landscapes.

This time we made it into Skjervoy.

Later that evening, about 10:30 or so in the land of the midnight sun, a small fishing boat delivered the sweetest prawns I've ever tasted. Consumed outside on the top deck we were all rugged up but loving it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Norway 2012

Tuesday 29th May


Kirkeness is only 10 minutes drive away from the Russian border. Everyone on both sides of the border get along very well and visit quite often. It was interesting learning about what happened in Norway during World War 2. It was occupied by the Nazis and Kirkeness had 30,000 occupying troops in it because of its strategic location near the Russian port of Murmansk.

You can read more here:

We went on a tour of the town, past the iron ore mine (Australian owned) and through some pretty countryside to the Russian border.

Back on board we saw this fishing boat coming back in with hundreds of birds eager to get the leftovers from the cleaning process.

Some big waves heading south,

along a stark coastline.

In one of these small fishing ports we had our first ever encounter with falling snow.

One of Hurtigruten's sister ships went past but it was difficult to make out its name, and it was getting cold outside taking these photos.

This is the midnight sun. This was as low as the sun got for the next few days.

And to prove that it is indeed a small world. We met Ken and Ann Brown. They came on board at Kirkeness for the southbound trip back to Bergen. I worked with Ken at Perth Airport for 20 years or so. A few beers were consumed.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Norway 2012

Our dining companions:
Meals on the Nordnorge were very good. Breakfast and Lunch were buffet style and we could sit anywhere; on a table for two or with others if we chose to.

Dinner, however, was a set menu with allocated seating. When we heard this we were quite sure that we would end up sitting with people who couldn't speak English and had bad manners. The last thing we wanted was to endure our meals with a sniffer, or a cougher, or someone eating noisily.

Much to our delight we were given a table for 6, but with only two other people on it. A lovely couple from Bundaberg in Queensland.

Tom and Lyn were great company.

Sunday 27th May


It was getting colder and windier as we headed north. 

Here at Finnsnes we went outside to see what was happening but it was very cold.

This guy had hopped a long way to deliver some goods.

It was cold and very windy outside at Tromso.

Further north with a very strong tailwind, the ship had to turn to starboard as it aproached Skjervoy and heeled over when the wind became a crosswind. It was a huge lean and I heard some furniture tumbling about. We didn't get into Skjervoy that day.

Monday 28th May


Yesterday we had hurricane force winds (145kph) and they were still that strong today. We passed a southbound Hurtigruten sister ship, the Vesteralen, and it was heading into wind.

Honningsvag was our next port and here we disembarked for our North Cape excursion.

It was a howling gale with driving sleet lashing our faces. Robyn got half way up the stairs to the North Cape monument but almost got blown off. We decided a photo at the base was safer.

For a few days before this I agonised over buying this jacket in the ship's shop. The cost was outrageous. But right now, I'm glad I did.