Saturday, 16 June 2012

Sailing on the Hurtigruten

The Hurtigruten (literally 'fast route' and anything but fast) is a cruise ship that travels up and down the coast of Norway linking a number of coastal towns and villages.  While it carries some cargo between these far flung places, it is mainly a tourist boat filled with cashed up German retirees doing the whole stretch (and a few stragglers like me doing just a bit of the route). 

I did the afternoon/overnight section between Bodo and Harstad.  Bodo was flattened in WW2 so has since been rebuilt with almost only uninteresting high rise.  It looks better from the water than the street.

From there on the scenery becomes more and more spectacular.

To begin with the weather wasn't much good but neither that nor the snow capped mountains close by were enough to  stop some keen ones from an afternoon of sailing


There were a number of isolated places along the way

as well as a few pretty towns on the Lofoten Islands where we stopped to let down and pick up passengers

Note the racks for drying stock fish in the foreground of the picture below.  The stock fish trade has been flourishing along this coast line for about 800 years and it particularly took off once the Christians arrived as fish was (and is still) a food they could eat on all those days when meat's off the menu.  The weather is cold enough for the fish to dry naturally just on those racks out in the fresh air.  The harvest will be starting any day now.

Here are some of the passengers enjoying the trip

and here's some of the entertainment for the passengers (in case the scenery wasn't enough).  Yes, a visit from a Troll and a Troll maid who did a little dance and then served us Troll soup and a particularly odd Troll drink that could easily have been made from distilled Troll juice.

He looks sort of familiar I think.


As well as the Trolls, it turned out the prime ministers of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark were also on board but they kept themselves out of view.  Their security bods didn't though

The highlight however was the scenery.  I clicked off a ridiculous number of photos. These are just a few (which once enlarged throws out the formatting ... too bad!)

This is as close as I got to seeing the midnight sun - it's there, right behind the clouds

And just because they are so beautiful, here are some more shots of clouds, water and mountains.  The first two, with the buildings in the foreground, give you a good idea of the size of these mountains

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