December 2017 - January 2018
  • Day24

    Sixth Port : Kirkeness

    January 10, 2018 in Norway ⋅ 🌙 -14 °C

    Today we disembarked from the Hurtigruten Spitsbergen Cruise. We had a wonderful time although I am over fish and mushy food. Kirkeness looked so pretty, just like a Christmas card. We took the airport bus from the cruise terminal to a very small airport. The airport security checks were very detailed. I had bags searched and John had to keep taking belts and shoes off and emptying pockets until their very sensitive metal detectors were not set off. Outside the airport there was very pretty snow everywhere and an incredible sunrise. Once on the plane we headed off to Oslo for a stopover before our second flight to Copenhagen. Oslo looked so pretty from the air, another Christmas card shot, maybe Oslo should have been on our agenda.Read more

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    Sunrise at Kirkeness from the plane as we set off to Oslo.

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    The view from the plane as we were arriving into Oslo.

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    Another view of Oslo as we arrive.

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  • Day23

    Fifth Port : Honningsvag

    January 9, 2018 in Norway ⋅ 🌙 0 °C

    Today was an early start and we went on a tour to two fishing villages including a Christmas shop for morning tea and a gallery. Honningsvag is just like a Christmas Card, lovely coloured homes in the snow with twinkling lights. We took a bus to the world's northern most fishing village Kamoyvaer in the North Cape. Along the way a short photo stop at Tufjorden with the North Cape behind us. The scenery in Honningsvag is simply stunning with the ocean, snow and fjords. Once at Kamoyvaer we went to the Christmas House where the owner Heidi treated us to lovely homemade goodies and watched a short film about fishing for cod and king crabs. The next fishing village was Skarsvag where we walked amongst the fishermen's ropes, lines and buoys before going to a gallery. What makes this a different gallery is the owner collects paper form newspapers and magazines and makes her pictures from cut-outs from these. They were truly amazing and very clever. During the early evening we sailed around Continental Europe's most northerly land mass. Then something special happened, we finally saw the Northern Lights. They did not look like much other than weird looking clouds with a touch of green but when you look at their images through the lens of expensive cameras they a very green. My phone does not do justice to the lights so we have asked a co passenger to email us some of her photo's. Hopefully they arrive and I can share on the blog before we get home. Otherwise I will put them on facebook when I receive them.Read more

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    Photo stop at Tufjorden with Continental's Europe's most northerly point in the background. It was quite warm at the time, only 1C, so there was no need for jackets.

    1/9/18Reply
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    Honningsvag: the worlds most northerly city.

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    The landscape on the way to the fishing village.

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  • Day22

    Fourth Port : Tromso

    January 8, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ❄️ 1 °C

    Not much this morning, breakfast, a talk on Hunters and Trappers and lunch. In the afternoon we docked at Tromso for a few hours. Tromso looks like a pretty town but it is a little difficult to tell as it is 2.30 pm and already dark and lots of snow. We walked a short distance to the Polar Museum, it was very interesting and took about 45 min. We then wandered through old town and then into the main city centre. We had our usual coffee and cake before heading back to the ship. After dinner we went up to the top deck where the Captain was preparing some dried fish for us to try. The fish is caught then gutted and left to dry by the wind and snow on the racks on the top deck for a few months. We tried a little bit and both think we would need to be very hungry to eat it on a regular basis. We then came to the room to relax when there was a Northern Lights announcement so we then put back on all the layers of clothes and proceeded to the top deck for a viewing but alas it was very weak. So still no strong coloured Northern Lights.Read more

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    Carol with a hunter in the Polar Museum.

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    Carol could not bear not to help this bear lift the log.

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    Old town building in Tromso

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  • Day21

    Third Port : Bodo

    January 7, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ -1 °C

    Today was a little different to the other days on the cruise nothing seemed to go to plan but we did have the best dinner so far on the cruise. Just after 7am we crossed the Arctic Circle again, first time on land in Rovaniemi and this time at sea. To commemorate this event King Neptune appeared on board and we participated in the Arctic Circle Crossing Ceremony which involved 2 large scoops of ice being dropped down your back, it was a very cold and wet experience as you can see by the photo I captured , John actually missed by turn. After getting changed into dry clothes it was time for lunch. After lunch we disembarked for a walk around Bodo, however, as it was Sunday, everything was shut, even the tourist information centre. We walked for a while and then came back to the ship. In the evening we docked at Stamsund for only 30 min so we did not bother to get off the ship. During dinner we docked at Svolvaer but as the stop was only for 1 hour we did not have had enough time to visit a WWII museum which was on our list to do, so we just went for a quick walk into the township for fresh air. Later in the night we sailed through the narrow straight of Raftsund into the Trollfjord where we celebrated outside on the top deck with hot fish soup and a hot spicy vodka and fruit drink. Unfortunately we could not see a thing because it was so dark and snowing quite heavy. Still no Northern Lights.Read more

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    Crossing the Artic Circle ceremony.

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    King Neptune arrives for the ceremony.

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    John feels the ice cubes and water being poured down his back inside his clothes.

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  • Day20

    Second Port : Trondheim

    January 6, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ -4 °C

    This morning we docked in Trondheim it is the 3rd largest city in Norway and founded in 997. We walked for about 15 minutes from the dock to the city in -2 temp. When you are all rugged up you don't feel the cold. First stop was the Gothic Nidaros Cathedral, the sculptures are impressive. While walking through the cemetery we saw a woodpecker, I have never seen one in real life. It was interesting watching it peck away at the tree bark looking for the insects. We continued walking through the village and onto Old Town and by now it was snowing and looked pretty everywhere. Bakklandet (Old Town) was small but the houses along the riverside are painted in lovely bright colours. Back on board we sailed past Munkholmen an islet just out of Trondheim, it has been used a place of execution, a monastery, a fortress and a World War II anti aircraft gun station and now a recreation site and tourist attraction. A few hours later passed we by Kjeungskjaer Lighthouse it is 20 metre high and helps fishermen and sea travellers stay on course as they approach Trondheim Fjord and the North Sea. John then went up to the top deck for the local food tasting, this time mussels. When we reached the open sea it became very rough, even the wardrobe doors kept opening and apparently at the first dinner seating people had their drinks spill. After dinner we went to the bar and some very noisy Norwegians decided to have a trivia game. They are actually the music entertainment group for tonight, which is to start in a few minutes thank goodness.Read more

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    Carol can hear the sea.

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    Nidaros Cathederal

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    Old town

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  • Day19

    First Port : Alesund

    January 5, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 0 °C

    This morning we hit open sea and as there was a big swell a few people were not very well. The cruise along the Norwegian Coast is different to a River Cruise, not much greenery, vineyards or old houses, just scenic icy mountains. After lunch we docked in Alesund where we walked around for a while as we only docked for a few hours before heading back to the ship. Once back on ship there was a tasting of cured meat (a local delicacy) on the top deck. This was followed by a short documentary film about the Northern Lights. Fingers are still crossed that we see them in the next few days. As I write this we are just having a glass of wine while we wait for our dinner seating.Read more

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    The sun rises on the passing icy mountains.

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    One of many Norwegian coastline townships

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    Another township closer to our passing ship.

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  • Day18

    Hurtigruten Cruise Bergen

    January 4, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ☀️ 1 °C

    This morning we had a lazy morning as we did not leave the hotel until 2pm. Once checked out we took a taxi to the Hurtigruten cruise terminal. When we first arrived it was weird as no one else was around. Very unusual as when we have boarded other cruise ships people are everywhere. I guess as the vessel is a working ship and pulls into a number of ports along the way, it is much smaller than other cruise ships we have been on . We only disembark at certain ports as some of the port stop are just to drop items to the towns along the Norwegian coastline. Surprising our room is quite large so we can actually unpack everything and move around without bumping into each other. There was even a bottle of bubbles in our room, which was a lovely surprise, especially as the alcohol is quite expensive on board. As I write this it is after 10pm and we have just set sail out of Bergen port.Read more

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    Our ship at port in Bergen.

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    Another view of the vessel.

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    Our cabin

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  • Day17

    Gamle Bergen Museum

    January 3, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    Today we took the local bus to Old (Gamle) Bergen Museum. There we found small wooden houses which have been relocated to form a little village. During summer the museum comes alive with re-enactments of the various trades and residents from a village of past times, however, as it is now winter, nothing is open but you can walk around the village and take in the history of the dwellings and the surrounding views. We then returned to the city centre and took the Floibanen funicular to the top of Mount Floyen. It was icy up on the peak and the views are spectacular.Read more

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    Main street of Old Bergen

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    More village houses

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    Floibanen Funicular ready for boarding.

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  • Day16

    Walking around Bergen

    January 2, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 2 °C

    Today was a lazy day we actually slept in to 9.45am, so we had a quick dash to breakfast as it closed at 10am. We then went for a walk to the information centre to work out our plans for the next few days. Under the visitor information centre was a very small fish market which had some nice size lobster, crabs and some very ugly fish. Bergen is a small town and appears most activities close down over winter, which is a shame as some of the tours seemed quite good. With all our information brochures in hand, a warm place to read and have a drink was next on the list. Afterwards we came back to our room and John researched the sightseeing options and I read for a while. After about an hour or so we went out for another walk through the old town which is only a few blocks from us.Read more

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    Some of the wooden Old Town buildings.

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    Monkfish in the fish market at around A$90 per kilo.

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    More wooden buildings in Old Town.

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  • Day15

    Arrival in Bergen

    January 1, 2018 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    Today marks the middle of our Scandinavian trip. We left Stockholm around lunch time and arrived in Bergen this afternoon. Bergen looks like a very quaint small village.We checked in and discovered that the room was tiny. Fortunately we met some other guests, who were also from Sydney, and they advised that they had changed room due to its small size. We checked with reception and we were moved to a larger room. We went for a little walk but nothing is open other than McDonalds, a few restaurants and Starbucks which is where we ended up having a hot chocolate. This Hotel is a little different to many other Hotels in that it offers a light dinner which is included in the price. So as almost everything was shut we decided to give it a go. Surprising there was a selection of a very nice Norwegian vegetable and meat soup, breads and very fresh salads and fruit. Back in the room now so we can research the activities for the next few days.Read more

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    Flying in from Stockholm

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    Lounge Area

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    Street view of Bergen

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