Tuesday 31 January 2023


 After my blog from yesterday, I didn't expect that today could possibly be as lovely, but I was wrong.

Bronnoysund is a little town that is in the exact middle of Norway, and there is a rock on the harbour with a plaque celebrating the fact. Our on board tour guide seemed to say that this was one of the highlights even though he said that it wasn't exciting.

True, it wasn't an exciting rock, but behind the town is a lake that was amazingly beautiful. 

To get to it we had to walk over a little inlet from the sea. The water had iced over and then the tide went out a little leaving the ice above the water. 

We arrived at the lake just as the sun was setting and the water completely still.

The reflections were wonderful and we were the only people to see them. Around a corner it got even better, with a frozen beach where I paddled in my boots.

There was a little jetty that looked like a walk to heaven.

I carefully did the heavenly walk, trying not to slip over, and then dangled my feet over the side.

The water was so clear I could see right to the bottom of the lake, and I was really surprised when my boots hit the water as it looked much further away than I expected.

We walked right around the lake and then arrived back at the boat just as it was getting dark. Totally amazing outing.

We have found the sun

 Whoo hoo! Here is the sun! Made an appearance at last!

And once we saw it it stayed for quite a while as we slowly cruised through the fiords in the Arctic Circle.

At one stage the ship cruised through a narrow channel that had been dredged around 100 years ago. This came about because the founder of the Hurtigruten Line lived there, and the channel was very shallow and ships could not cross it. Instead they dropped off people and goods in the shallows, and they had to wade ashore.

One day he slipped over on some seaweed and broke his arm. He was so angry about it that he started to lobby the Norwegian parliament and after ten years of asking, they dredged the channel, and here it is today.

An incredibly beautiful place.

Monday 30 January 2023

Struve Geodetic Arc

We are at Hammerfest today and the weather is awful. The snow is flying sideways in the gale, and our boat had to miss one of its stops this morning.

However, not to be discouraged, we have come to see the stone tower that was put up around 1845. It was the northern most point of a line of structures over 2,800 in distance, that were erected to try to measure the size and dimensions of the earth.

I can't say that I understand how they achieved the measurements, but it was something to do with triangulation.

We also fought against the wind down to the seashore to a little building that we think is a lighthouse.

During the second world war this area was occupied by the Germans and in 1944 as they withdrew they operated a scorched earth policy where they destroyed almost every building, apart from the occasional church.

However, this cannon looks as if it is a survivor from a much earlier time.

Sunday 29 January 2023


Kirkenes (or rather Chirk-e-ness as it is pronounced), was our stop for today. 

It is right at the very top of Norway, and only a few miles from the Russian border. We stayed from 9am until 12.30pm which accidentally coincided with the current daylight hours. 

There is a small town to visit, but instead we wanted to go to the beach.

We started along the road and straight away passed a frozen inlet.

We are near to the shoreline, which is made up of little icebergs, and beyond them is the frozen sea.

Around the corner we reached a residential area with lots of cute bungalows that were brightly lit.

The road dipped down and we found a little path that took us down to the beach, although it was not the kind of day for a paddle.

Our destination was a barbecue hut that the crew on our ship had told us about. They were going to do an organised trip to it and roast sausages for us, but not enough people signed up.

I think that sausages would have been nice, but we had just as much fun on our own.

The snow must have been quite deep as the rope swing was only just off the ground.

It seemed as if we were the only people in the world as we followed the shoreline round to a lookout bench.

Back on board we checked the weather reports and it was due to be clear, and there was also a good chance of seeing the northern lights.

After dinner and a drink at the bar we had a quick walk on to the top deck, and a strange snaking cloud appeared across the sky. We looked at each other in amazement and realised that the lights were appearing just for us!

It quickly grew brighter and started to swirl, although it looked white. Darren took a photo and to our surprise it came out bright green. 

At that time there was no one else around, but then the captain made an announcement over the tannoy and loads of passengers started appearing.

The lights grew stronger and then dimmer for ages, but to our eyes they were mainly white with hints of green. 

We watched for ages and it may have gone on all night, but there is a limit to how long you can stand in the cold and eventually I reached it and went back inside to warm up.

Saturday 28 January 2023


We are getting very close to the top of Norway and the daylight hours are short. There are surprisingly more smalls towns and settlements here than you would expect, and we stopped at one called Honningsvag.

Most of the tourists are going on a trip to the Nordcapp - the northern most point in Norway - but we aren't.

I love this Lowry-esque shot of them all carefully heading over the ice and snow to their coaches.

I am sure that it would be a good trip, but they only see a little monument and café, and we pass by it on the boat on the way back so should see it from the water.

Instead, as soon as the ship was quiet, we put on our bathers and ran to the stern of the sixth floor and into the hot tub.

The steps up to it were covered in ice, but once in the water was lovely. 

Eventually we got out and went ashore ourselves.

We didn't go far, just enough to enjoy the view, visit a gift shop and make a show angel.

I forgot to say that yesterday when we stopped at another small town we saw a sea eagle circling around above the boat. 

Not the best wildlife photo unfortunately, but we weren't ready so couldn't switch fast enough into David Attenborough mode.

Friday 27 January 2023

Tromsø floodlit hike

We arrived this afternoon in Tromsø, the unofficial capital of the Arctic. I had studied the map in advance and decided that we should walk up through the town to a floodlit skiing and hiking track.

It was quite steep and the snow was powdery and deep, and I realised that I had put way too much clothes on  At the top we found the track and set off along the trail around a frozen lake.

It was getting dark by 3pm end the track was busy with school children heading home or to the floodlit park, lots of walkers, and we were passed by cyclists and cross country skiers. We both got out our cameras to take a photo of this skier and I shouted out to apologise and that we were tourists, so he changed to his best sprinting style as he went by.

As it got darker we looked out for the Northern Lights, but there was no sign and instead it clouded over.

On the way back into town we took a shortcut over a huge mound of snow and of course I fell over and then really struggled to get back up as I kept sinking back into the soft snow.

We had intended to have a walk around Tromsø once we got to the bottom of the hill, but within a couple of minutes a blizzard started so we took a quick photo of the church and hurried as fast as we could back to the ship.

Thursday 26 January 2023


We stopped for a couple of hours at Bodø this afternoon. Very surprisingly I read an article in The Times this morning about the top ten undiscovered beaches in the world, and one of them was at Bodø!

What a weird coincidence, however, it was pouring with rain and a bit too far to walk to.

Instead we turned our attention to the small town, which even more surprisingly is going to be the joint European Capital of Culture in 2024.

Naturally we set off to see its highlights, and one of them is a row of seven granite rocks set into the harbour wall. They have holes drilled through them and when the wind blows they are supposed to play music.

Another interesting fact about Bodø is that it is the windiest town in Norway, but not today and the rocks were silent.

Beyond them was two small lighthouses at the mouth of the harbour.

It has an interesting looking church tower which I am afraid has no world famous attribute, not that I know of anyway.

Finally, we tried to find the graffiti murals scattered around the town. We only found two, and this one is painted by a British guy, with the unappealing title of Phlegm.

Wednesday 25 January 2023


We arrived in Trondheim for a four hour stop, and the cruise in at dawn was scenic but very overcast.

Long thin clouds were all around and we sailed through one, out the other side and suddenly Trondheim appeared straight ahead  We then docked in the industrial area on the outskirts of the city.

I insisted that Darren take the following photo, and it is actually in colour and quietly beautiful, although everything in the view was various shades of grey.

We decided to go for another run and stop to take photos, but we are further north than yesterday and there was a lot more snow and ice on the route, so we had to stop and pick our way through it.

We found the main sights, the cathedral - also very grey

The bridge - feeling very cold by then

And various old buildings. 

We thought that we had seen the best of Trondheim, although we had to spend a lot of time staring at the ground to avoid accidentally running on ice.

However, chatting to another English couple we found that we had missed the Royal Palace, the main square and various street art.

Never mind, we will try harder tomorrow.

Monday 23 January 2023

Run around Alesund

We caught a flight to Bergen yesterday, and then boarded a Hurtigruten ship for a journey to the top of Norway and back.

Surprisingly we got off the plane to find that it was quite a few degrees warmer than London.

The boat set off from Bergen and arrived this morning in Alesund. The weather forecast was for 8 degrees Celsius and raining all day, but we decided that the best way to see the town was on a run.

We set off towards the west, over a bridge and then retraced our steps, and on towards the famous hill with 418 steps to the top.

We had to march quickly up the steps, and by the top it was blowing a gale and freezing cold.

Good view from the top, but we didn't hang around to admire it. We started following a footpath downwards and suddenly the paths were covered in ice and snow. 

I went a bit fast across the ice and took a sort of careful slow motion fall, and then took it a lot more sedately the rest of the way.

Back at sea level the rain was really coming down so we cut the route a bit short and headed back for a hot shower and a shot of spiced rum.