Now you know I am married to a train fanatic so no trip is complete without a train journey. Today we caught the local train from Trondheim to Hamar and then a fast train from Hamar to Oslo Airport. It was actually snowing as we left Trondheim. Train travel is relaxing for yours truly as there is no map wrangling to check the gps is really telling you the best route and you get to see the countryside.
Norway in winter is just all those Xmas .Snow scene cards……lots of snow,bare trees well you get the picture. The houses are mainly wood construction and generally are red, mustard or white.If you don’t remember borrow The American version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or watch SBS on demand Lilyhammer series. Enough babbling I took lots of photos so you can make your own mind up.
Ps knitting count: Mike’s socks completed( took awhile) and 3 baby beanies. Tomorrow we fly to Dublin so see you in Ireland.
Leaving the ship in a practical heatwave of -3 degrees, we trudged to the hotel to deposit our bags. There was no wind, so although it is cold it feels just a bit colder than our winters….you do need the down jacket,scarf ,hat and gloves. We headed up through the oldest parts of the city to the fortress. Old warehouses and workshops once part of a thriving ship building and repair industry have now been converted to restaurants,shops and residences. New buildings have been added but are sympathetic in design.
Above the harbour,high on a hill is the Fortress. This was built in 1691 and has withstood many sieges. If the steep hill didn’t defeat you, ( it was difficult for cars let alone us poor unfit pedestrians), then its granite stone walls and metal gates might cause you to rethink your battle plans. It has been used by military continuously up until the end of World War 2. The Germans used it particularly for dealing with Norwegian Resistance members.
Below the fortress was a park. The soccer oval has been converted to something else.
Little children do need exercise. These preschoolers were out for a walk, all happily hanging on to circles on a rope.
You will never guess where we went next…..the railway,no, the harbour……..you are close……yes, the Maritime museum. It is tiny being in a building that was once the first jail for criminals and slaves. It then became the custom house , a warehouse and other roles until its present role.
Norway has had such a history bound to the sea and trade.
The street scape is a mixture of old and new. The oldest building is Stittgarden which was a royal residence. Sculptures are an important component of the streets as is the use of lights in trees,windows and doorways.
Today,like yesterday, is a day of short visits to ports….some only fifteen minutes, so I am sorry I did not stir myself to don the layers and check them out. We did venture out in Brønnøysund. This towns claim to fame is that it geographically in the middle of Norway. They even have a stone sign in the middle of a beech grove……..well I believe they have. I saw the grove ,the walk to it and the sign that said it was there , but it was raining and the ice was turning into an ice skating rink. Careless of me I know but no skates , no ability to use skates and a fear of a broken limb kept me from the proof.
As in Australia, there are stories attached to some mountain ranges. Here the mountain range above appears to disappear in the mist. In summer there are 7 distinct waterfalls down the mountain and into the fjord. Opposite these is a single waterfall. The legend goes that a king had seven, of course beautiful, unmarried daughters. They were pursued by a suitor and the king mistook them for trolls and turned them to stone. Now they will forever taunt their suitor from the other side of the fjord.
Here in Norway, the geographical line where you enter or leave the Artic Circle Is marked by a metal globe on a small rocky island. When we entered , we were blessed by the “God Njord” now as we leave , we are encouraged to have good health. This was to be achieved by a dose of cod fish oil and a teaspoon of Akvivit, a type of alcohol. I am not sure which was supposed to give you the best health ,but I got to keep the teaspoon so all good. It wasn’t much of a sacrifice to drink the oil as I was dosed everyday as a child. Joy? Blahhhhhhh.
We are back to Trondheim tomorrow to check out the fortress for you.
Thanks for the comments as I wasn’t sure anybody was out there and I miss hearing from you.
Today was Tromsø, Finnsnes,Harstad, Risøyhamn, Sortland, Stokmarknes, Svolvær and Stamsund. In most cases , we were in port only 15-30 minutes. By the time you put the scarf,hat,gloves and coat on( the thermals are a permanent fixture), negotiate passengers leaving, and those who need a breath of fresh air , it’s time to get back onto the ship. We did get off at Harstad, Stockmarknes and Svolvær. But first the last of the Northern Lights for us as the clouds are now coming and we won’t be able to see them.
Sunrise was just beginning as we arrived in Harstad. As it was Sunday, everything was quiet.They have an amazing sea fountain that looks like a sail on a ship. Many expedition into the Artic and Antarctica started from this port.
Stockmarnes is the birth place of Hurtigruten. It was started in 1893 by Richard With . He combined with other local sea captains and businessmen to create the postal, freight and passenger transport between the islands that make up this part of Norway. Local people still use the ships in Winter to go from Island to Island as the roads are often impassable with snowfalls and ice. Today there is a museum, the second Finnmarken ship and a university all linked with the Hurtigruten trademark.
Now I know you are curious about the ship so here is a whistle tour.
We arrived at 4.00pm. The only people around were from the ship. -17degrees seems to keep people inside.
Clear skies! We saw the Northern Lights. Looking with your eyes,you just see white streaks across the sky. Take a photo and magically colours appear.
Today we head for Hammerfest,the northern most town in Norway. I am sure it was named for some Viking who was able to break a block of wood with a single blow of his hand……😄. When we came a few years ago we visited both the Polar Bear museum and the Museum showing the reconstruction of the town in 1946. This time we just crunched through the snow and enjoyed seeing the town in a different way.
Ps. Don’t forget to let me know you are out there reading the blog and what you like or I will just think I am being self indulgent . Leave a comment……or just say hello. The ship below used to be in Australia as an accomodation ship for the LNG plant on Barrow Island and Mike piloted it.
We arrived at Kirkenes through ice floes . The fog was forming little funnels above the ice. It was cold! Now I don’t know about you, but I haven’t really the right clothes to go walking too far in -20 degree temperatures. It was a winter fairytale scene you see on Christmas cards.
We made it as far as the local supermarket for vital supplies , such as chocolate, and to see what they stocked. Most of the food, surprisingly was refrigerated. Mangoes were the same price as at home.Tomatoes were $2 a kg.
On the way to Northcape , the furthest land before the sea in the Artic circle, we visited Havøysund. This is a tiny fishing village. It was -13degrees and the moon was low in the sky. Although it looks light, sunrise will not be for another two hours and sunset will be at 2.30pm. A tunnel has been constructed Across the strait to link this island,called Finnland to the mainland.
From here we headed to Honningsvåg. This town was the site for a fish factory and also where the first tourists to Northcape landed. The tourist would then hike to the Cape. During World War 2 , Honningsvåg was bombed by the allies and then burnt to the ground by the retreating German troops. It was rebuilt and the evacuated inhabitants returned. There is a small museum explaining the history of the area back to its first settlement in Stone Age times.