26th - 27th May 2012
Days 5 and 6 ( 26th/27th ) on the Hurdigurdi voyage took us from Trondheim to Bergen via several other places. The weather was beginning to get warmer and the sea remained calm. The ship stopped at Tronheim early morning. I stopped in bed...getting lazy. I found someone had left my ‘certificate’ for re-crossing the Arctic Circle outside my door. A document to be treasured I’m sure. I gathered at breakfast from those that went ashore that Trondheim has a nice cathedral, and that the streets were covered in litter following some celebration or other the previous evening. There were probably racks of stinking cod drying there too.
Left: This little islet was somewhere of the coast south of Trondheim and had what once was a fort on it. It is now a popular place to get married. Lots of these sort of places to view and of course they all had names and histories attached, but I didn’t take enough notes and anyway I’m not in the business of writing a definitive guide book ( get one if you are that interested ). I merely wish to give you a flavour of the journey, and myself a reminder.
Right: Like this ex-lighthouse called Agdenes, built in 1804 and closed in 1984. So I must have been paying attention at this point. Before I forget, I wish to correct a statement from a previous Hurdigurdi blog. The toothless reindeer on parade at the North Cape was, someone told me, 14 years old not 40!
Left: Our ‘Table 16 Gang’ at lunch. From left to right; Helen, from Stirling, married to Iain. She is a very jolly lady who at one point worked for that excellent publishing company in Dundee, DC Thompson. They are the outfit which produces, amongst other publications, the Beano and runs the Dennis the Menace Fan Club of which, many years ago, I was a staunch member. Bill, a retired Political Science lecturer and historian who writes books. He is now a ‘trustee’ of his home town Brockport in Noo Yawk State. A very erudite man and good company. Pamela and Chris, now living in Spain, who had been big in coffee and did rather well selling their company. Pamela had also been a nurse and Danair hostie. She was suffering from a bad cold and a broken wrist and later on a broken toe. Despite that they were most cheerful and amusing and, along with me, enthusiastic conveyors and consumers of illicit drink. They had purchased a couple of ‘ship’s coffee mugs’ which on one or two occasions even contained coffee. Iain, married to Helen, is a retired architect and kept us highly amused by his staunch Scots Nat enthusiasm and invective directed against the English and, for some reason, Terry Wogan.
Right. Kristiansund, into which we pulled in that afternoon. It has ‘Kristiansund’ emblazoned in big white letters on the left-side green hill. We went ashore there and wandered. Not really much to see. A pleasant enough place I suppose.
Left: A curious statue in Kristiansund. I don’t suppose there is much of the year when this sort of dress is appropriate.
One of the useful features of this ship is that it has a laundry room with free use of simple to operate washers and driers. I made full use of it with quite a backlog of dirty clothes.
We also encountered a family, mother and two daughters, whom we christened the Californian Vikings. They somehow became loosely attached to the 'table 16' gang. The mother, Anastasia, had been a parachute rigger in the US Navy in Hawai and the Phillipines as well as a sportswear model and her two daughters, Alexandra and Karina, had recently completed university in Berkely near San Francisco. They have Norwegian relations and connections and were very tall and blonde; hence the Viking moniker. They were most entertaining company too.
It was our last night on board and nothing out of the ordinary except that the Eurovision Song Contest was being shown on wide-screen TV at one end of the Piano Bar, and the England v. Norway footy match at the other. Between them they attracted quite a few watchers. Our new American friends ( Bill and the Californian Vikings ) were fascinated by the Eurovision Song Contest in all it’s awfulness. I think, with a few drinks breaks, we saw it through to the bitter end with United Kingdom and Norway fighting it out for last place. The Norwegian commentator was rather a let down, not least because we couldn’t understand him. Iain does not approve of this contest because Scotland is not ‘individually’ represented, yet. It’s bad enough without bagpipes as far as I can see.
Right: Another large rock. It is surprising how many of these things there are around the area. The zig-zag route these ships take often through narrow channels demands skilfull navigation especially in the winter months when it is always dark. I suppose it is made easier nowadays with accurate GPNS systems, but imagine the difficulties in years gone by, in bad weather, in pitch dark and only a chart and compass to guide you.
The next day, Sunday, the weather was getting warm and sunny. There is a salt water swimming pool ( left ) on the back end of the ship. I didn’t see it being used much. There are also two outdoor jacusis ( one to the left of this swimming pool ) which were surprisingly well used even in the earlier Arctic conditions often by half naked and substantially built women who wandered shamelessly around the deck before plunging in and virtually emptying the thing.
It became sunny and quite warm ( I kept a light sweater on ), but to the Norwegians it must have seemed like a heat wave. Right: Some cod drying in the sun.
Left: On approach to Bergen harbour, the final destination of our Hurdigurdi cruise. Still no mention, let alone sighting, of the famous Norwegian Blue parrot. I received a comment that it does not exist! The commentator said that there are puffins in Norway which are sometimes called 'sea-parrots'. Nonsense! You could not do a dead 'puffin' sketch. They would laugh at you.
Recalling M Python again, I suppose someone will now tell me there's no such thing as 'Norwegian beaver cheese' either.
Right: The remarkably warm weather had brought out the Bergen citizenry en-masse to sunbathe. This sunny weather is indeed unusual for this place where they boast of getting 250 days of rain a year. This view is of of some club or restaurant by the harbour. They were scantily dressed and hard at it.
Before we approached Bergen we had been given lots of instructions of how to disembark without causing crowds and with maximum efficiency by our irrepressible ‘Tour Manager’ ( don't call me a courier, so we did ) Peter. How we shall miss his jokes.
Our luggage was taken ashore for us and it all worked seamlessly.
So that was the end of the 6 day north to south Hurtigruten cruise. I think it was a worthwhile experience; comfortable, enjoyable and even a bit educational. It would be even better if they reduced the price of their drinks, but I think that is a penalty you pay wherever you are in Norway.