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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Views of the Coast from the Ship

Dear Family and Friends,

For me, the best part of the trip was seeing the views.  A lot of days the sky was very overcast and I did not take many pictures.  On the few days that the sun was shining, I enjoyed the beautiful scenery and took many pictures.

Some of the beautiful scenes:

A small town we visited.  Notice the waterfall in the left of the picture over the boat.

This sunset is at 10:30pm.  Long, long days.  

Going into a narrow fjord.

This lighthouse was built in 1880.  Before it was automated in 1987, the lighthouse keeper lived on the bottom floor.  Today, this lighthouse can be rented for vacations.  It is lit from July 21 to May 16 every year.  It is not lit during late spring and early summer due to the midnight sun.

Chuck and Andre checking out a boat coming to our ship to pick up tourists.

We saw waterfalls galore.

Looking back at the fjord we just came through.  Notice the waterfall on the right side of the fjord.

This scene is as we arrived back in Bergen.   Overcast and rainy when we left and overcast and rainy when we returned.  We were told that this is typical weather for Bergen.  

We finished our cruise up to the very tip top of Norway and back in exactly 12 days.  A very fun adventure.

We disembarked, hugged Ronnie and Andre goodbye.  They were heading to Spain for more travel. Chuck and I headed back home to Cuenca, but we did spend one day in a charming town in the Netherlands before we flew out of Amsterdam.  

I will share that adventure on our next post.

Have a great day.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Stops along the coast of Norway.

Dear Family and Friends,

We sailed all the way from Bergen to Kirkenes, which is at the top of Norway, and back.  

Here is a map of our route.

As you can see, there are many stops.  Most of these we did not get off the ship.  They were for only a few minutes, or they were during the night.  These stops were made because of cargo and ferry passengers.

In almost every place we stopped, the tourist shops had trolls.  

Sometimes the weather was nice and clear, but mostly it was overcast.

Chuck and Andre.  They look a bit cold and we are not even at the northernmost part of Norway yet. 

One memorable stop was at the North Cape.  On the way to the North Cape monument we stopped and visited some reindeer and people from that area.  They are Sami (Laplanders.)

This man is in the traditional dress and is feeding his reindeer.

I doubt they live like this anymore, but they had tents, much like the American Indians that lived in the plains.  Since they were nomad, these houses could be moved from place to place.

Here are Ronnie and Andre with a reindeer in the gift shop.

 A real nice picture of Ronnie.

Here is Chuck checking out the souvenirs in that shop.

This is the monument at North Cape.  

After the trip to the North Cape and to visit the Laplander, we were served reindeer for dinner.

When we finally got to the tip top of Norway it was a bit cold.  It was easy to forget it was early August.

Street scene in the extreme north.

Ronnie looking around in another souvenir shop.

 More Trolls.

Along the coast of Norway are many islands.  Almost every place we stopped had a bridge going over to an island.

I think almost everyone in Norway owns a boat.

Not a lot of pictures on land, but the real beauty was in the views from the boat.

Next time I will share those with you.


Thursday, August 29, 2019

About our boat, the Hurtigruten

Dear Family and Friends,

I am going to share with you about the unique cruise line, Hurtigruten.  As I said in a previous post, they operate a combination cruise, ferry and cargo ship fleet.  The company has been in existence since 1893.  There are 12 ships operating the same route (Bergen to Kirkenes).  Because it is a ferry and cargo ship it must sail every day.  It takes the ship 12 days to complete a round trip.

The name of our ship was MS Nordlys.  The ships come in different sizes and ours was one of the smaller ships.  It could carry 500 passengers.  

Although this boat is considered a cruise ship, it was different in many ways from a traditional cruise ship.  Our cabin was small, it had two beds (one that pulled down from the wall and the other made into a sofa.)  The rooms were only cleaned if you specifically asked by putting a green card on your door.  Otherwise, no service.  Clean towels were provided upon request, but they do not have wash clothes.  

There was one dining room.  Buffet style breakfasts and lunch and a sit down full service dinner.  When it came to dinner, no menu to choose from.  Just like at home, take it or leave it.  Luckily, the food was very good and they made special meals to accommodate for people's food allergies.

No nightly entertainment like on most cruise ships, but I can honestly say, the views off the boat was entertainment enough.  The ship never went out into open waters so there was always the coastline to view.

The boat made several stops each day and night.  They are on a schedule.  Some stops are for as little as 15 to 30 minutes, whereas a long stop might be a couple of hours.

So, let's take a look at the ship.

Some views of the inside:

On the top deck, was a wonderful lounge with large windows for viewing the scenery.  

A daily schedule was not provided to each room, but you could see a big display in the common area.

Another common area with the dining room entrance in the back of the picture.

There was plenty of open deck for sitting outside.

The dining room was not elegant, but sufficient.

Some lucky folks even had a table with a view.

 As I mentioned, there was no formal entertainment but people spent most of their time looking out the windows, reading, playing games, napping or knitting.

A lot of the passengers are Norwegian like this lady in the picture below.  I asked her if most Norwegian women knit and she replied yes.

Look at the beautiful pattern on the gloves she is knitting.

Although I said there was no formal nightly entertainment.  When we crossed the Arctic Circle we were visited by Neptune.  As part of the ceremony, people lined up to have ice dropped down their back.  

On the return trip, when we crossed the Arctic Circle, Neptune dosed people with cod liver oil.

They also provided information each day in a short lecture about where we would be stopping the following day.

After we boarded the ship and unpacked our luggage in our room, we went to the dining room to have dinner.  

There we found our travel mates, Ronnie and Andre.

The fun was about to begin.

On my next post I will share about some of the stops we made.  


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Norway Adventures

Dear Family and Friends,

Chuck and I have returned from a wonderful two week trip to Norway.  We had a great adventure touring the coast of Norway with our friends, Ronnie and Andre.  We cruised on Hurtigruten, a combination ferry, cruise, and cargo ship.

Chuck and I flew to Bergen, Norway through Amsterdam on KLM.  Bergen is where our cruise began and we arrived the afternoon before we were to board. We like to give ourselves a little extra time just in case our flight is delayed.  

We had a free morning in Bergen to explore.  We woke up to rain, but we were not daunted. We put on our rain jackets and headed out.  Our hotel was just a block from the famous Bergen fish market that is in the center of town.  So we headed there and hung out for a while.

We also took a tour of the Edvard Greig house. Edvard Greig was a Norwegian composer and pianist.  He is Norway's most celebrated human icon. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor and Peer Gynt (which includes Morning Mood and In the Hall of the Mountain King.)

Here are some pictures of his home.

The living room area.

I loved the closed in entrance porch.  

The weather and the flora reminded me so much of Seattle in the winter.  It was misty rain and incredibly green.  

The grass covered roof on the building below is where we were fortunate enough to listen to a piano concert of Greig's music.  

The link is to Morning Mood...when you hear it you will know it.  Click here: Morning Mood  I can certainly see how he was inspired to write such beautiful music, living in such a peaceful setting.

We were not allowed to photograph during the concert but here is a picture of the piano on stage with a large window and beautiful scenery in the background. 

We got back to our hotel, Clarion Hotel Admiral, about 3:00 pm.  Although we could have gone to the boat to embark, the receptionist at the desk said that the rooms on the ship would not be ready until about 6:00 pm.  

We chose to stay in the lobby of the hotel with good wifi, instead of sitting in a terminal for 3 hours.  

At 5:30 pm she called us a taxi and we were on our way for a big adventure.

In our next post I will share about the Hurtigruten, a very unique cruise ship.