Sunday, 24 December 2017

The World's Most Beautiful Voyage - The Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage Part 2

Day 3

Had a lovely breakfast as we headed up Trondheim Fjord towards the city of Trondheim, Norway's third largest city. Once we docked we left on an organised tour of the city. Trondheim used to be
Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim
called Nidaros and is over 1000 years old. The cathedral bears the old city's name and is not at all of the  usual Scandinavian style, it is more Italianate in style and it is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world. We went inside and had a short guided tour which was fascinating. We then went on to a viewpoint that looked out over the the city and the fjord. We saw the brightly coloured warehouses along the banks of the River Nidelva that are now exclusive homes and shops. Trondheim seemed a lovely city and I really enjoyed the tour.

We went back to the Nordnorge and set off along Trondheim Fjord and ever northerly. Later in the afternoon Natasa gave an interesting lecture on how the Norwegian landscape was formed. I've always been interested in geology and so really enjoyed the talk.

Later Bjorn and David gave their talk which was as entertaining and informative as usual. After another delicious evening meal we just chilled in the panoramic lounge on deck seven, love this life!

Day 4

 Awakened at 7am by the intercom telling us we would be crossing the Arctic Circle in 20
minutes. So it was a mad scurry throwing on clothes and heading up to the outside area on deck seven. It was still dark but we knew when we crossed into the Arctic as there was a lit golden globe marking the line and the ships horn was sounded. I had a glass of wine to celebrate, think it's
Champagne after entering the Arctic
the earliest I've ever drunk alcohol! Later the winner of the competition to guess the exact moment we entered the Arctic was "baptised" with ice put down his back! The winner also received a Norwegian flag signed by the crew. Others could also be baptised and got a free glass of cloudberry wine. It was a bit of fun and was just one of the onboard events that made this trip such an easygoing, fun eperience.

Funnily enough after entering the Arctic the landscape became more dramatic, snowcapped, jagged mountains and huge monolithic-type mountains jutting out of the sea like huge whales. Our main stop today was Bodø, Marian went on another hike and I walked into the town to explore. To be honest I wasn't very impressed, there wasn't a lot to see there. I wandered about for an hour before returning to the ship. Marian returned from the hike which she had enjoyed.

When we returned to our cabin we found a certificate confirming our passing into the Arctic signed by the captain who was called the wonderful name of Roar Winther. I later went to a lecture about Vestfjord and Trollfjord given by Natasa, then the usual information talk by Bjorn and David which included eider ducks, and snowart. Each of their talks finishes with some Norwegian music and art, which so far has been lovely.

Our evening meal was fabulous tonight. Each evening the meal is comprised of specialities of the area we are passing through. Today we had the tenderest beef I've ever had from Trondelag. Dessert was chocolate parfait with a rhubarb compote, sounds like a strange combination but it worked perfectly. Rhubarb is one of the first crops to start growing after the snow melts so it is viewed as a reminder that the winter is passing and summer is ahead.

We had a longish stop at Svolvær in the Lofoten Islands so, even though it was dark, we decided to go ashore and explore. There was a boardwalk that skirted the water so we walked along that passing lovely looking bars and restaurants. After a while the heavens opened and the rain poured down, I could hardly see where as I was going as my glasses were full of water. Luckily my coat was waterproof and long but my boots were sodden in no time. It was a relief to walk up the gangway and get out of that rain and feel the welcoming heat of the Nordnorge.

We dried out and went up to our favourite lounge to relax. We stayed there until we reached Trollfjord which we could not enter as it is too dangerous to do so at night  as much of it is very narrow. But the captain went into the mouth of the fjord and shone spotlights on the sheer cliffs so we could see a little of it. The rain was still pouring and we could see waterfalls running down the rocks. The entrance to the fjord is very narrow and it was an amazing feat of steering to give us a peek of this place.

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