cabin was small, even though classified as a 'large' outside cabin,
but well appointed, light in colour with plenty of storage space,
even if you were on a 2 week or longer trip. We only had 4 nights, so
hardly filled one of the cupboards. One berth & a sofa bed, both
of which were very comfortable.
bathroom was a decent size, with heated floor, shampoo/shower gel
and soap was in dispensers. There was an hairdryer of the not very
powerful type, but will do. The shower was big enough not to have to
fight with the curtain & good water pressure.
the time we had unpacked and got settled, which took all of 10
minutes, it was past 12.30am. We weren't due to sail until 1.30 am
and after such a long day we were both tired. Dave went to bed &
I stayed up just long enough to watch our departure from Tromsø
which was delayed until 2am. Had I stayed up longer on the stern I
would have seen the Northern Lights.
2 - 15th Nov 2002 Overnight we had stopped in Finnsnes
but we had been dead to the world. We arrived in Harstad just
after 8am & departed 8.45. I only managed to see a glimpse as we
left & of the Trondenes church - dating back to Viking times.
breakfast we set about reading the daily program of the places we
would be visiting, and wandering around deck or sitting in the
Panorama Lounge viewing the scenery.
before arrival at Risøyhamn at 10.45 we sailed through
Toppsund Sound & then the narrow & shallow Risøyrenna
Channel: a 3 mile-long man-made channel opened in 1922 by King Haakon
VII. You are supposed to be able to see the sandy bottom through
'Crystal Clear Emerald Water!' but it seemed a bit murky to me.
a 15 min stop in Risøyhamn & then on south towards
Sortland. Arrived in Sortland, the Capital of Vesterålen, at
12.15pm for ¾ hour. Mainly a fishing village, with a large
fleet and processing industry. Then we sailed on through the
Sortlandssund Sound with the 1,262 - metre high Møysalen
Mountain on the port side & the change in landscape to the jagged
peaks of Lofoten ahead.
Finnmarken & Dave
my Photographs of M/S Finnmarken
arrived in Stokmarknes at 14.15, a trading post since 1776
& the birthplace of the Norwegian Coastal Voyage. This is where
Richard With founded the Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab AS operating
company in 1881. On Sunday July 2, 1893, at 8am, D/S Vesteraalen left
Trondheim as the first ship in Hurtigruten traffic, with 11 ports to
visit. Capt. Richard With was at the helm.
Museum M/S Finnmarken
[1956-1993] is in dry-dock. Unfortunately they were having some
problems with the electricity supply at the time and we were unable
to go aboard. The normal fee for admittance to the museum is NOK 70,
but reduced to NOK 50, with no access to Finnmarken. We didn't go as
that was the main attraction. However one could see the ship from the
exterior and you can view my photographs here.
had an hour in port, so wandered up the main [only] shopping street,
buying a few trinkets & some soft drinks in a supermarket. It was
beginning to get dark by the time we departed at 15.15, and it was by
15.30. One felt nearly ready for bed by 6pm as it had already been
dark for so long.
Stokmarknes we sailed through narrow Raftsund Sound [past
Trollfjord] arriving in Svolvær, the capital of The Lofoten
Islands at 18.30. A fishing village & very pretty - by night
anyway:) It is identified by the towering Svolværgeita Mountain
which we couldn't see much of. We wandered along the quays and found
a shop that was open!
departed at 19.30 whilst having dinner and shortly afterwards were
able to wave, albeit it unseen, to another Hurtigruten ship,
Midnatsol, going northbound.
stopped at Stamsund, one of the largest fishing stations in
Lofoten, built into the rock, at 21.00. It then took 3 hours to cross
Vestfjord to Bodø arriving at 1.30am. I just viewed
from the cabin window. We departed at 4.00am for Ørnes
where we arrived at 7am, but only for a 15min stop before travelling
down Helgeland the rest of the day.
3 - 17th Nov 2002 Around
8.15am we passed M/S Nordlys going northbound and at 9.20am we
crossed the Arctic Circle, marked by the globe. We were given a
certificate to mark the occasion. Saw the Hestermannen Mountain on
the island of Hestermanna & the archipelago of Træna.
[People 1st settled here 5,000 yrs ago.] Onto Nesna, where we arrived
at 11.00am. An old trading post on the island of Tomma.
15mins there before sailing on to Sandnessjøen
on the larger island of Dønna. To the west of here is the
Dønnamannen Mountain, 858metres above sea level, & to the
east Helgelandsbrua Bridge, which has a span of some 400m. We berthed
right in the centre of town at about 12.30pm and went for a walk
through the centre of town & back along the quay. There were 3
Norwegian Navy small patrol/missile [Penguin] craft, a couple of type
207 Class Diesel Subs & a Coastal Mine Layer further along the
quay. Some passengers from Polarlys went aboard the subs, but not
sure if they went inside or not.
the Arctic Circle
my Photographs of Sandnessjøen
& S305 Submarines
was a demonstration in the city concerning the cuts made in
education, with everyone congregating around the statue of the
poet/priest Petter Dass. Who? I don't know. Had a look around a
supermarket & bought some cheeses & sweets for the children!
Nothing else to buy as presents.
walked back along the waterfront. Lots of boats of all types. After
departure at 13.30 the Capt. announced we would be doing some
emergency test manoeuvres, slowing, going fast & turning. But if
he hadn't told us I don't think I would have noticed anyway.
picturesque Skerries continued. We past the Seven Sisters &
Torghatten Mountain. The story about how they came to be such unusual
beautiful sisters ran away from their father, Suliskongen, and
danced naked in the waters of the fjord. Vågakallen, who lived
in Lofoten and was in search of womenfolk, rode through the night to
reach the 7 girls. Unfortunately, the sisters forgot that when the
sun rose they would all be turned to stone. Now they stand there all
in a row, as captivating & lovely as never before."
of The Seven Sisters
3pm we had a visit to the bridge, that was very interesting [See The
Ship for further details]. We
arrived in Brønnøysund at 16.15 for ¾ hr. A
narrow harbour and then headed south again past the 500m yr old red
mountains of the island of Leka. In 1932 here a 3yr old girl was
taken by an eagle to its eyrie .in the mountains, but was fortunately rescued.
arrived in Rørvik at 20.30 for an hour where M/S
Nordkapp was also berthed on her way northwards. We departed under
the bridge, which was lovely at night - but yet to see the Northern
Lights:( Kept popping out but it was snowing in patches. Some people
stayed out until nearly midnight but didn't see anything.
Nordkapp in Rørvik
my Photographs of the Trip from Tromsø to Trondheim
Bybro (Old Citybridge)
Archbishop's residence & the Nidaros
Cathedral (the oldest Gothic
building in Scandinavia) where we were given a tour of nearly an
hour. A very good guide, who managed to make the place interesting.
Vigleland did some work here too; carved the Baptismal font. Visit
the Cathedral's official
There are two organs the first being built by Joachim Wagner and was
completed in 1741. But it didn't work until 1930 when it was returned
to Germany for restoration. It is said that Johann Sebastian Bach
played on it when it was being built.
returned to Polarlys at 10am, a little late and as soon as we were
aboard the gangway was raised. Northbound Hurtigrute M/S
Vesterålen was berthed astern of us. We passed by 'Monk's
Island' to starboard shortly after departure. This was Trondheim's
execution ground in ancient times. Benedictine monks built a
monastery on the island very early in the 11th century, probably one
of the first two monasteries in Scandinavia. In 1658 it was converted
into a prison fort, later becoming a customs house. Today this is a
popular recreational resort, with good bathing and a restaurant.
4 - 17th Nov 2002 We
arrived in Trondheim
not long after 6am. At 8am we set off for a 2hr sightseeing tour of
the City, and a lovely one it is. Just about everyone came on the
tour. 200NOK each.
were taken around most of the city. The new Sports Complex with its
8/9 pools! The old narrow streets. The new broad ones. The River
Nidelv, up to look over the City, the old folk-museum with state
church & miners & engineers houses dating back 200yrs, made
of wood. The Palace with its architecture & 140 rooms. 150,000
people live here, of which 1:6 is a student. The largest
scientific/architecture University in Norway is here and we drove
through the main campus. The old quays-now modernised & expensive
appartments. Stiftsgården, Gamle Bybro (Old Citybridge),
bicycle lift - the first and only? one in the world. 2 Burger Kings
& 1 McDonalds.
through the Trondheim Fjord along Trondheimsleia Channel was very
picturesque even though the weather was very misty. The large islands
of Hitra & Frøya are linked to the mainland by sub sea
tunnels. We passed a couple of lighthouses: Agdenes which was manned
until 1984 before being automated & Terningen. Also saw a third
on Grip where only 135 people live. A holiday destination now for
people from the mainland - famed for its fishing. Smøla a
large flat island (starboard) is surrounded by thousands of smaller
islands. Prime agricultural land.
3.45pm, Oddbjørn, the tour guide on the ship who is very
knowledgeable, speaking 4 languages, Norwegian, English, German &
French, gave us a lecture on The Northern Lights: Aurora Borealis,
which shouldn't be the name as Aurora was the Goddess of the morning
& the Lights are only ever seen at night.
also passed Fosen Mek Shipyard, where the newest Hurtigruten ship
being built could be seen; M/S Midnatsol, who will replace the
current Mid-Generation ship of the same name in April 2003. The World
of Residensea was also built at this yard.
arrived in Kristiansund for a short stop at 16.30. The
harbour is at least 8000 yrs old; the home of dried fish production.
About 17,000 people live here & the town is spread over 3 islands
around the harbour, which has been there since before the late Stone
Age. We only had a 30min stop & it was a fair walk to any of the
shops which although looked as though they may have been open,
probably weren't, seeing as though it was a Sunday. So rather than
rush about we stayed on board & took a load of photos of the
lights on the water. Exceedingly pretty!
Polarlys in Molde
Kristiansund we crossed Hustadvika. Actually felt some movement of
the ship here. Some had asked to see a video of the full Hurtigruten
trip, which 'Odd' had, so we watched that on departure. Time for
dinner, during which we passed by M/S Finnmarken going northbound.
One of the brand-new Hurtigruten ships. Arrived in Molde at
20.30 for an hour. The quay was very icy & one newspaper shop
open. We had a quick look around and did notice the main (largest)
hotel was a Quality. Also espied a Comfort Inn.
to see the Northern Lights we all stood out on the stern most of the
night. Quite a party. The skies were clear most of the time, and when
a few wispy ones appeared the moon shone through with a strange red
glow around it. We arrived in Ålesund at 23.34, when the
majority of us went to bed. The next morning we discovered, those who
had stayed on deck to see our departure from Ålesund at 00.45
got to see the Lights at 1am. Nothing dancing or spectacular, just
some green stripes: but they saw them. They stayed on deck until 2am
but nothing further appeared. After midnight the Lights are supposed
to be 'wishy-washy', not strong colours.
crossed the Stadhavet which takes about 2 hours, from 3 am onwards,
didn't see anything of it. Nor of Torvik or Måløy,
and only a little bit of Florø where we stopped for a
short while, leaving at 8.15am. We then sailed through the Skerries
and the narrow Steinsundet Sound at the mouth of Sognefjord [down
which we went on Braemar last year]. If we wanted our cases to be
taken ashore for us, we had to leave them near a lift by 10am. Cabins
had to be vacated and key cards handed in by midday. We then sat in
one of the lounges just watching the passing scenery.
the island of Fedje, Norway's most westerly point and then west to
the oil refinery at Mongstad. Past Askøy [starboard] and
Radøy [port], and under the Salhusbrua pontoon bridge
[Nordhordland Floating Bridge] which spans 1246 metres, with
abutments 180m high. Soon after passing under the bridge the fog came
down and then we didn't see a lot, but prior to that it had been a
beautiful sunny day. We passed many salmon farms in the fjords.
high level cable-stayed bridge acoss the ship channel
Bergen we docked to the south at 14.30, it was shrouded in mist so
we didn't see too much. We disembarked almost immediately after
docking just as a bunker ship was coming alongside. The cases were
already ashore and the coach was waiting to take us to the airport. A
few people took a small coach to a hotel in Bergen as they were
staying on for a few days. The airport is quite a way out of the
city, so we saw a fair amount of Bergen on the ride through.
my Photographs of the Trip from Trondheim to Bergen
SAS flights back were not uneventful, with one cancelled, delays and
then -5 mins to catch the next in Copenhagen. Caused by a baggage
handlers strike in Copenhagen earlier in the day. But arrived at
Heathrow only 1½ hrs late. Straight home, arriving just after
midnight to relieve the Grandparents who needed a week's rest!