Blog based on Facebook posts made by Alex Reid during a cruise along the coast of Norway in Jan/Feb 2023

Click on any image to get a higher-resolution version.

Map of the cruise route, from Bergen to Kirkenes and back to Bergen

Friday, 27-Jan-23:
Flew via Amsterdam (Schiphol) from London (Heathrow) to Bergen, to join the Hurtigruten ship MV Nordlys, which set sail from Bergen Friday evening.

Here's a photo of the MS Nordlys (berthed at Alesund):

Our first daylight sighting of Norway was as we departed Norvik (after a brief stop there) at breakfast on Saturday:

Saturday, 28-Jan-23:
We docked in Alesund for a few hours. I went ashore (alone) and climbed the Aksla Viewpoint (189m), and walked about the Art Nouveau area (dates from 1904 when a fire demolished the whole town, rebuilt in this style). Managed to avoid the rain, hail & sleet, though the wind was strong & bleak:

View from Aksla Viewpoint.
Zoomed View from Aksla Viewpoint.
Art Deco houses.
Art Deco houses.

Sunday, 29-Jan-23:
We spent a couple of hours today (Sunday) in Trondheim. One of the attractions of Trondheim is its abundance of Bryggene (wharves) sporting brightly-painted warehouses. Here are some we passed on walking from our ship into town. Also, the Bakklandet area of old cobbled streets, and the Old Town Bridge (Gamle Bybru):
Trondheim warehouses (Bryggene).
Trondheim warehouses.
Trondheim warehouses.
Bakklandet cobbled street.
The Old Town Bridge (Gamle Bybru).

Whilst in Trondheim, and since on our previous visit the place was closed, and today being a Sunday it was not, was a visit to the Nidaros Cathedral, where we attended a part of the service (though we understood not a word, we were able to follow the service, and even joined in the Kyrie Eleison). On the way back to the ship, we walked through the town square, under the impressive statue of Olav Tryggvarson, who founded the city in 997:

Statue of Olav Tryggvarson.

On leaving Trondheim today (Sunday) we passed the iconic Kjeungskjaer Lighthouse. I'm told there are 107 lighthouses on the Norwegian coast, and you can book accommodation in many of them. I'm not sure choosing this one (at least in weather like this) would be my first choice for a holiday let!

Monday, 30-Jan-23:
Cruising up the coast of Norway, just into the Arctic Circle, absolutely stunning scenery!!

Tonight (Monday) we saw our first Aurora Borealis. Not overwhelming, by any means, but possibly a prelude to more!? Photo courtesy of a friend (using an iPhone with no special settings), as I was unable to photograph it.

On the way up the Norwegian coast, past Ornes, really spectacular, beautiful scenery, albeit in monochrome (though one house didn't get that memo!)!
This householder didn't get the "Monochrome" memo...

Tuesday, 31-Jan-23:
Today (Tuesday) we arrived in Tromso, and spent 3-4 hours there, from 14:15 to 18:00 (sunset was at 14:27, but there was a prolonged twilight). We were taken by coach to a Husky site about 30 mins away, then had a truly magical 30-min ride on a sled, pulled by 10 Husky dogs. They were such lovely creatures, warm and friendly, and soooo eager to pull the sled. Here are some photos, including of Tromsø itself (and its lights in the background of the dog sled ride):
This dog seemed sad at not being chosen to pull a sled this time.
The Huskys' kennels.
Several sleds coming to a halt (Tromso lights in background).
On board our sled.

Tromso Cathedral in centre of photo.
Wednesday, 1-Feb-23:
Today (Wednesday) we stopped at Honningsvag, which is the most Northern city in mainland Norway (and Europe??). Very pretty with its snow-covered coloured houses. We walked around for a while, encountering the following: 1. otter running up main street! 2. world's Northernmost roundabout; 3. statue of Damse, a heroic dog adopted by the free Norwegian Armed Forces as their mascot in WW2; 4. Zimmer-sleds; 5. church with chimney (when the Nazis left in the middle of 1945, they burned down every house in the town, leaving only the church standing, which became a symbol of hope for the returning locals, who used it as a kitchen, dormitory and meeting house till other buildings had been erected - hence the chimney!).

Otter crossing the road.
The northernmost roundabout (covered in snow!)
Famous wartime dog Bamse.
An elderly local with her "zimmer sled".
The church, with its chimney.
Thursday, 2-Feb-23:
Today (Thursday) we visited Kirkenes (pronounced Chirkinez). About 25km from the Russian border, and close to the Finnish border. It's the point in our voyage where we turn around and head back to Bergen. Kirkenes is quit a lovely city, and today we were blessed with some actual sunshine (sunrise at 09:37, sunset at 13:51), with mostly clear skies (maybe portends well for the Aurora tonight!!??). Here are some views of Kirkenes:

Note the icicles hanging from the eaves.

In Kirkenes, we booked an excursion to the Ice Hotel, which included visiting a Husky "farm", as well as some Reindeer. These were Alaskan Huskies, but of mixed breed, including most breeds except poodle, the guide reckons.
This husky had one blue and one brown eye.
The Husky kennels.

The Kirkenes Ice Hotel is regarded as the "coolest hotel" in Norway. Our visit included a crowberry drink from the Ice Bar, and a hot berry drink afterwards. Amazing ice & snow sculptures. I tried out one of the beds (waterbed), and you are given a huge sleeping bag to ensure you don't get cold overnight.

Corridor down the middle of the hotel.
A side entrance.
The Bar.
Reception, manned by a bear.
Giant reindeer head.
A double bedroom.
A bedroom for 4 people.
Not a real fire!
Bedroom decoration: Bear's head.
Bedroom decoration: Viking head.
Santa Claus and sleigh.

Friday, 3-Feb-23:
Today (Friday) we stopped in Hammerfest for an hour or so (the only prolonged stop today). Hammerfest is a major support point for gas production (I was going to say mining, but not sure what the right term for extracting it from the seabed is). Huge volumes (rivalling NW WA??) and huge profits (10m Euros/day profit). In common with many towns up here, it's quite a pleasant place, and we went for a brief walk from the ship to see the Meridian Marker. Lots of snow about, but clear skies (beautiful sunrise (09:11) and sunset (14:08)). Note that we are quite a long way East here, level with Crimea.
Sunrise near Hammerfest.
Hammerfest houses.
Hammerfest church.
Oil-laden tanker near Hammerfest.
The Mail Flag - even though Hurtigruten no longer carry the mail, they are allowed to fly it in recognition of their long service doing so.
The Meridian marker.
Frames (Stocks) for drying cod.
Baby lighthouse.
Rotating chairs.
Hammerfest houses.
Sunset as we depart Hammerfest.
Sunset as we depart Hammerfest.

Still Friday, 3-Feb-23:
Currently sailing South from Skjervoy, towards Tromso, at about 9pm, and the best displays of the Aurora we have seen. Comes out really well on these iPhone photos. A little bit of "dancing" too - so excited! PS that diagonal line is part of the ship, not a shooting star!

Saturday, 4-Feb-23:
We continued sailing South down the Norwegian coast, calling into various small towns (all quite picturesque) on the way. Photos show Harstad (dawn); Risoyhamn (where you can see a fork lift loading supplies (or general cargo) through the car door); Sortland (with one of many bridges between islands, and where we waved to 2 coaches bringing passengers back from an excursion as we went under the bridge); Stokmarknes (where Hurtigruten was founded 130 years ago, and has a big museum about the shipping line; I went ashore here and saw nothing but EVs and PHEVs!); finally the narrow passage between islands leading to the extremely narrow Trollfjord (the entrance is quite narrow, but still navigable, and then opens out as you enter; we didn't enter - in Winter the danger from snow/ice slides down the walls of the fjord is too great).
Leaving Harstad at dawn.
Loading provisions on a forklift via the Car Door at Risøyhamn.
Departing Risøyhamn.
Arriving into Sortland, meeting up with the buses that took some passengers on an outing.
A church in Sortland.
General view of Sortland.
The Hurtigruten museum in Stokmarknes.
Near the entrance to Trollfjord.

Sunday, 5-Feb-23:
Today (Sunday) we had a fairly quiet day. We stopped at 2 towns where I took photos - Sandnessjoen and Brønnøysund. We passed the Arctic Circle at breakfast. Sandnessjoen seems to be one of the more industrial towns we've seen. Then we went onshore for a walk at Bronnoysund; everything was shut (Sunday), even the pretty church. In Bronnoysund we saw a stone that marked Norway's half-way point.
Sandnessjoen bridge.
Sandnessjoen general view.
Bronnoysund bridge.
Bronnoysund church.
Bronnoysund: Norway's half-way marker.

Monday, 6-Feb-23:
Today (Monday), our last full day of the Hurtigruten cruise, we stopped in Trondheim at breakfast-time and witnessed passing our sister ship MS Trollfjord as we departed. Nidaros Cathedral in the background. No further stops till later in the day, but plenty of nice scenery to see...
Passing sister ship Trollfjord in Trondheim harbour.
Nidaros Cathedral dominates the Trondheim skyline as we depart.
Buildings on the outskirts of Trondheim.
Scenery near Volden.
Small settlement and ferry near Volden.
Isolated church near Volden.
Mountainous scenery on the mainland near Volden.

Last stop today (Monday) was at Kristiansund (not to be confused with Kristiansand, on the other side of Norway). Some lovely buildings; the statue of Klippfiskkjerringa (cliff fish woman), the symbol of the town (here they dry their cod on cliffs, rather than on stocks); and the small waterfall, Byfossen, also a symbol of the town (though its origin as such is probably a mistake!).
Kristiansund bridge.
Kristiansund church.
Kristiansund houses.
Kristiansund: Klippfiskkjerringa statue (fish seller).
Kristiansund: boy fish seller.
Kristiansund: steamer.
Kristiansund: Byfoss waterfall.
Manhole cove showing the symbol of Kristiansund, Klippfiskkjerringa.

Tuesday, 7-Feb-23:
Final day of our Norwegian cruise was Tuesday, when we sailed into Bergen, mid-afternoon (where, of course, it was raining). Then flights to England (a little bit of excitement/stress, when one flight was cancelled and then we were re-ticketed from SAS to KLM, but we got home!). The next day, sunset over Wittenham Clumps...
Arriving into Bergen.
More of Bergen.
Home: Wittenham Clumps at sunset.

Alex Reid