Joined December 2019 Message
  • Day16

    Welcome to Kristiansund (Norway)

    July 20, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Our tenth port-of-call ... new to us Kristiansund, Norway.

    We were greeted with blue skies and sunshine as Nautica made its way to its berth on Kirkelandet, one of the four main islands on which Kristiansund is situatedRead more

  • Day14

    Honningsvåg: Here & There on Magerøya

    July 18, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 48 °F

    Our Nordkapp tour with Blue Puffin took us to places around Magerøya Island. In some places we spent quite a bit of time. Other stops were photo-ops that caught our eye.

    We wrapped up our tour with a stroll in Honningsvåg, which translates as “Honey Bay.”Read more

  • Day14

    Honningsvåg: Nordkapp ... Northernmost?

    July 18, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 46 °F

    Even the postcards I picked up at Nordkapp — North Cape in English — describe the massive rocky plateau that rises some 1,000 feet above the surface of the sea as the northernmost point of Europe.

    And yet, the Knivskjellodden Peninsula, which is visible from the overlook at Nordkapp clearly reaches further north ... even to the naked eye.

    Turns out there is a caveat to Nordkapp’s claim. Located at 71°10’21” North, it is the northernmost point in Europe reachable by car!
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  • Day14

    Honningsvåg: Nordkapp Tour ... Skarsvåg

    July 18, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 46 °F

    Our second stop en route to Nordkapp was Skarsvåg ... which claims to be the northernmost fishing village in the world!

    Monika took us to the king crab tanks here. Apparently, king crabs are not native to Norwegian waters. They were brought here from Murmansk initially ... and from Alaska later.

    They have flourished to the point of being pests. In fact, in some areas, there are no quotas on hunting them. Regardless of the abundance of king crabs in these waters, however, they continue to fetch high prices due to their popularity around the world!
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  • Day14

    Honningsvåg: Nordkapp Tour ... Kamøyvær

    July 18, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 46 °F

    While Honningsvåg’s status as Europe’s northernmost city might be questioned, what can’t be disputed (sort of) is Europe’s northernmost point ... Nordkapp (North Cape in English).

    On our way to Nordkapp, our private tour with Blue Puffin first stopped at the tiny fishing village of Kamøyvær ... also the hometown of our guide, Monica.

    Despite the dreary overcast, we enjoyed a stroll around the picturesque village along Kamøyfjorden on the island of Magerøya. We also learned a bit about the fishing industry that is the bread and butter of the region and met Monica’s cute ‘lil son, Tony.
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  • Day14

    Welcome to Honningsvåg (Norway)

    July 18, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 46 °F

    Our ninth port of call ... new-to-us Honningsvåg, Norway ... where we were greeted not just by trolls, but also by Bamse, the Sailor Dog.

    [The story of Bamse is at this link:https://dogs-in-history.blogspot.com/2017/02/bamse-norwegian-sea-dog.html.]

    Like Hammerfest, which we visited on the northbound leg of our cruise, Honningsvåg claims to be the northernmost city in Europe. I looked up the latitudes and indeed Honningsvåg might have a slight edge ... thanks to a loophole that allows any place that has a population of at least 5,000 to consider itself to be a city.
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  • Day8

    Sailaway from Hammerfest

    July 12, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 57 °F

    A short day ... an early sail away ... a relaxing afternoon at sea! Perfect after a delightful time sightseeing in Hammerfest.

    Going up on the top deck as Nautica left its berth, we got a glimpse of the Meridian Column which marks the northernmost measure point of the Struve Geodetic Arc ... the first technical and scientific object to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

    We also caught glimpses of some of the places we visited ... which was fun to see from a different perspective.
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  • Day8

    Hammerfest Church

    July 12, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    Although Hammerfest did not receive its charter as a market town until 1789, its first church was built in 1620. The first five churches that followed were all destroyed by fire.

    This sixth one, which we checked out today, was built in 1961. It was part of the post-war building effort, with a triangular shape that makes it rather unique. The shape is said to represent the traditional fish-drying racks.

    In fact, it was the shape of the church, which we saw from a distance when we were at the Salen Viewpoint, that caught our attention. It reminded us of the beautiful chapel on the grounds of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the very modern church we checked out in Tromsø, Norway several years ago.

    Two things inside the rather simply decorated church struck me ... the beautiful stained glass window and the 1782-pipe organ, the latter designed to mimic the steeply-pitched roofline of the church.
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  • Day8

    Hammerfest: Meet Hvaldimir!

    July 12, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    After the museum, we hurried over to one of the piers in the harbor to meet Hvaldimir, who the volunteer at the visitor center said would likely show up for his noon meal and training to hunt for his own food.

    Hvaldimir is a male beluga whale that is a fairly new “part-time resident” of Hammerfest. He apparently showed up nearby a little earlier this year. He was wearing a camera harness that supposedly had a reference to St Petersburg, Russia. His behavior indicated that he was used to human interaction. Even though the harness was removed, he remained in the area, making frequent visits to the harbor.

    The story goes that he was a “Russian spy whale.” Thus, he was named “Hvaldimir” ... a play on words consisting of hval = whale in Norwegian; and dimir = Vla”dimir” Putin 😉.

    (I later read that he left the area sometime later in July, showing up in Hammerfest infrequently after that. More info at this link if interested ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hvaldimir).
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  • Day8

    Royal & Ancient Polar Bear Society

    July 12, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    On our way to the harbor area, we took a peek inside a one-room museum with a grand name ... the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society.

    There’s really nothing royal or ancient about the museum, which is free to visitors. Its significance lies in the fact that the polar bear is the town mascot and is also featured on the heraldic crest.

    It took us all of 15 minutes to check out the few artifacts and historic photographs from the early days of Hammerfest, and take a quick peek at the stuffed animals ... from birds, to seals, to — of course — a polar bear.
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