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Bergen and arriving on Board the Norge Norge

Friday 21st September - Day 1
After a day of start-stop travel, we arrive at the Hurtigruten Terminal in Bergen to board the ship. We are travelling on the NordNorge – a boat holding about 600 people. After a short briefing we get the keys to our cabin and board the ship. We are like small children arriving at a play park – where shall we head first? What ride shall we go on next? We get the keys to our cabin and naturally head there first and do the sensible thing of unpacking and getting sorted, knowing then we are free for the remainder of the evening to explore the ship.
Our cabin is compact and yet somehow spacious, with ample space for coats and sweaters and cold weather clothing. There are two single beds, one pulls down from the wall and the other is a sofa bed. Romantic it isn’t, but that probably isn’t the reason that you’re on this trip.
And then onto exploring the ship. There is the panoramic lounge – which does what it says on the tin. Windows on each side provide fabulou…

Floro to Molde with a stop off in Alesund

Saturday 22nd September - Day 2

We awake to pink fluffy clouds, which disperse after a couple of hours leaving beautiful blue skies and sunshine. It is a warmer day than we have experienced for most of our own English summer. Up on deck, passengers are like sunflowers, moving their chairs to face the sun and make the most of the brightness and warmth.

We are advised that we will sail into Hjorundfjorden this morning. This is the very first time that Hurtigruten have made this trip and as a result we are treated like local celebrities. A helicopter flies above and around the boat taking footage of our trip and in many of the small hamlets and villages that we pass, locals gather to wave Norwegian flags at us, children jumping up and down and clapping their hands in excitement as this big ship passes through.

On route we discover that many of these tiny places have no road access. They can be reached only by boat. I think about what life must be like – no overnight Amazon deliveries, no lo…

Trondheim to Rorvik

Sunday 23rd September - Day 3

This morning we awake just before we arrive in Trondheim. I have no expectations and we are charmed by the delights of this beautiful city. It is the third largest in Norway. We are blessed with another absolutely glorious day and more blue skies and sunshine. A short ten minute stroll from the boat and we find ourselves in wide shop lined avenues, selling stylish Norwegian goods.

I tell my husband that I’m sure I was Scandinavian in a past life as I love the window displays and feel an affinity for the warm browns and copper tones of the clothing layered on the models, scarves draped decoratively over shoulders and lace up cosy waterproof boots to keep out the snow when it falls. Interspersed amongst the clothes shops, we find shops selling cups, saucers and large jugs for flowers in Farrow and Ball hues and heavy fluffy blankets that I can easily imagine throwing over my shoulders on a cold Winter's night. We are saved from ourselves by it being a Su…

Bronnoysund to Svolvaer including Bodo

Monday 24th September - Day 4

We wake this morning to an announcement that we will be crossing the Arctic Circle. It is almost 7 am and we quickly throw on some clothes and head on deck. We are two of only a few people who have come to mark the occasion with a photograph or two, most preferring to say in the warmth of their beds or the ship. A globe on a small island marks the spot and it suddenly feels like we are in new territory. The weather is misty, but has it’s own beauty. The mist hangs over the mountains and the light reminds me of an episode of Wallender.

As we progress further North today, we travel past the dark jagged wall of mountains that mark the Loften Islands. This continues for 100 km and seems impenetrable as the pointed caps rise up on either side of us. It’s a dramatic part of the trip with a stop over in Bodo (pronounced Buddha – which I like) during the afternoon.

We disembark for a walk around Bodo. There’s not much to see here. It has a modern town centre and p…

Harstad to Skjervoy including Tromso

Tuesday 25th September - Day 5

On day 5, we wake up in Harstad and once again it is a spectacular day. The sky is completely clear and blue and the sunshine is glorious. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the trip so far in my opinion. We sit on deck and take in Autumn as she parades her copper, golds and vibrant reds in the trees on the sides of the mountain. White houses dot here and there amongst the mountains and powerful snow-capped peaks show off their grandness in the background.

In the afternoon, we arrive in Tromso. We head along the brightly coloured pier to the Polar museum and are regaled with tales of bravery and heroism of the polar explorers. Afterwards we head into the town and again wander the shops in search of lovely things.

The shops predominantly line one main avenue, but there is plenty to see and coffees to be had in the relatively short time that we are ashore. Tromso cathedral sits over the bridge in another part of town. We don’t make it here this time,…

Havoysund - Mehamn

Wednesday 26th September - Day 6

The landscape today has changed dramatically, as has the weather. It is a grey day, with overhead cloud coverage although remarkably mild. The Autumn colours have disappeared and too the snow capped mountains. The scenery is barren and somehow fits with the weather.

The staff on board announce that we have arrived in Finnmark, which is the same latitude as Alaska and Siberia. Only 78,000 people live here and you can understand why when they advise that temperatures can drop as low as minus 64 in Winter and there is no light during the Winter other than the moon, the snow and the Northern Lights.

Today we reach the North Cape and many of our fellow travellers take the excursion. We get off the board at a small town called Honningsvag. The harbour area is filled with fishing boats and the usual clapper board houses. We head out of town into a more residential area. We meet an inquisitive dog straining at his lead outside, keen to meet someone new. This town…