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February 2017

Posts from March 2017

Why I Decided to Cruise Norway's Coast With Hurtigruten

Kirkenes-2068920(1)

The above photo was taken from a scenic view while in Kirkenes, Norway.

In February 2017 I decided to cruise Norway with Hurtigruten.  The ship I was on is named the Finnmarken.  This was a 12 day round trip cruise this started in Bergen and ended back in Bergen after making many stops as far north as Honningsvåg and Kirkenes which is not far from the Russian border.

The first thing I should tell you about going on a cruise with Hurtigruten is that their ships are working ships.  That is why they make so many stops.  It is also more of a ferry.  New passengers get on and off the ship in various locations quite frequently.  People in Norway use these ships to get from one area the country to another.

I have been on 12 cruises in the past five years.  I have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise lines, and Holland America.  Cruising with Hurtigruten was such a different experience.  Many people go on cruises for the entertainment and to party.  I know because I have done so in the past ;)  There was no entertainment such as singers, bands, and speakers and t is also very expensive to party as one glass of wine is 14 USD. 

In spite at the lack of entertainment on the ship, this was definitely one of the most fun adventures I have ever been on.  One of the best things about this cruise was the scenery.  The ship is never far from the shore and it makes frequent stops.  I also got to see the Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights because of the time of year I went. 

I have written three posts about this cruise.  Here they are:

Visiting the Famous Snowhotel in Kirkenes Norway

Visiting the Beautiful City of Trondheim, Norway and the Nidaros Cathedral

Visiting the Top of the World: Honningsvåg, Norway

I will be writing more in the coming weeks.

 

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Visiting the Top of the World: Honningsvåg, Norway

In January 2013 I visited the bottom of the world also known as Antarctica which I absolutely loved.  I desperately want to return now that I know how to use my camera better.  I came very close to booking a trip this year but decided to go to the top of the world instead.  Honningsvåg is the northernmost city in Norway and maybe the world but this is disputed by several places such as Barrow, Alaska.

Click here to see my posts about Antarctica.

I had always wanted to visit Norway and had been eyeing the Hurtigruten cruises that start in Bergen and travel all the way to the top of Norway and back to Bergen.  I feel like a made a great decision as I've never seen anywhere similar to the country of Norway - especially the northern section.   Once we got to the Arctic Circle I felt like I was in another world!

Norway-2083189I visited this area at the beginning of February.  They were only expecting about six hours of sunlight.  I noticed that everyone has their lights on and the middle of the day when our ship stopped.  I also began to wonder if many of the houses were painted bright colors because it is dark for so long during certain times of the year.  The moon was also visible all day which I thought was very picturesque.  These people don't see the sun for a whole month during the winter.
Norway-2083189I found myself wondering a lot what it was like to live in such a small town whose population was only a few thousand people.  Then I remembered that I am from a very small town in Vermont.  I doubt it's much different than the area I grew up in.
Norway-2083189Fishing is a big part of the economy.  Although it was very cold this time of year I did see people out on fishing boats.
Norway-2083189Like almost all of the towns our cruise ships docked in Honningsvåg was very beautiful.  You can see a tree farm growing on the mountainside.
Norway-2083189All around Honningsvåg the landscape becomes very rugged with craggy mountains like the one below
Norway-2083189Hurtigruten's Finnmarken is not only a cruise ship it is also a working ship.  It stops in this and many other towns to drop off and pick up supplies as well as passengers.
Norway-2083189
Here are a couple more views of the town taken from the ship.  We were allowed to disembark but we didn't have a lot of time.  I did get off the ship but you will see below how long I stayed on shore:
Norway-2083189

DSC02932-1It was very cold for this Floridian so I walked into town and started my way back almost immediately.  I like the photos I can get from the ship's deck and and in spite of my Vermont upbringing I am not used to temperatures hovering around 0°F.

DSC02932-1Here I am again looking like a Scandinavian snowman.  My winter coat is very warm but I am also wearing two heavy sweaters underneath it along with a scarf wrapped around my neck, a thick winter hat and some heavy duty winter gloves.  You will need these things if you visit Northern Norway in the winter.  I was much colder visiting this area then I was visiting Antarctica (you can only visit Antarctica when it is summer in the southern hemisphere).  I did, however, find the temperatures to be similar to that of when I visit Vermont in the winter.
DSC02932-1I didn't pack a tripod.  That was one of my biggest mistakes going on this trip.  One of the main things I wanted to see was the Northern lights also known as the Aurora Borealis .  We got to see them several nights in a row - we were very lucky and they lasted a long time while putting on quite a show.  These 10 second exposure photos were taken handheld so they are not the best. 
DSC02932-1Although I didn't come away from this trip with great photos of the Northern Lights, I got to see them with my heart and my mind.  Even if I had had a tripod the ship was moving and I'm not sure they would've turned out a whole lot better.  If you want to get some great shots of the Northern Lights I recommend being on the ground or on a ship which isn't moving when the wind is minimal. 

DSC02932-1Hurtigruten gave us this nice certificate showing that we head across the Arctic Circle.  I crossed so many items off of my bucket list on this trip.  I got to see the beautiful country of Norway, the Northern Lights, and crossed the Arctic Circle.
DSC02932-1
 Are you interested in visiting Norway?  Would you consider going on a cruise with Hurtigruten?  Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope you all have a terrific week.  Thank you for visiting!

~Michelle

 

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Travel Notes & Beyond