A Travellerspoint blog

Day 72

Hurtigruten

sunny

Firstly, thanks so much to everyone for donating to Cancer Research on our page at http://www.justgiving.com/edandjames
The amount we have raised so far is very encouraging.

We awoke to the bright sunshine and some of the most amazing views we have ever seen. We had traveled around 100miles over night through some of the many islands just off the Norwegian coast. As we enjoyed breakfast, we took in some of the beautiful scenery of the snow capped mountains lining both sides of our route. Not a bad way to start the day!

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As mentioned previously our boat is relatively small (we later found out that it is in fact the smallest in the fleet and the oldest, having been constructed in 1956!) so there is no sauna or jacuzzi to help us while away the hours on board. So a good old fashioned bit of reading was the plan for most of the day, interrupted by the odd trip outside and various scheduled stops in ports.

Just after lunch we docked at Stokmarknes where there was a Hurtigruten museum we could all have a look round. We almost held the boat up departing as we were too busy using the free Wi-Fi in the museum to write and send days 70&71!

We have also acquired a Yahtzee set and managed to get through quite a number of games in amongst all the reading! The shouts and whooping maybe starting to annoy some of the other passengers, but it keeps us entertained!

There was a planned excursion at one point in the afternoon which took anyone who wanted to pay to go aboard another smaller boat to go and see some Sea Eagles, we were a little bit tight to pay but fortunately the smaller boat came in to view at one point dragging an Eagle along with it. So we managed to see one anyway!

For dinner we once again disembarked from the boat, this time in Svolvær and found a nice restaurant to enjoy a rather expensive meal in. About 58quid for two main courses and two beers! As usual we left it until the last moment to get back on board! I think the crew have now clocked us and will be advising us we should be back 10minutes earlier than everyone else!

Up to bed time we continued with our Yahtzee championship and enjoyed a couple of beers. (not the price though!)

Posted by EdAndJames 04:10 Archived in Norway Comments (1)

Days 70 and 71

Tromsø

Tromsø, being in Norway, is very expensive, so we tried to find some supermarkets for lunch and dinner, but it being Easter Sunday there wasn't much open! In fact, there wasn't much of anything open. What we did find was an exhibtion centre called Polaris (I had the Megadeth song of the same name in my head most of the day) which kept us entertained for the day. Did you know that Scott took ponies with him on the expedition to the south pole? No wonder they failed!

The centre also had an aquarium with some bearded seals who were being fed, entertained and examined by a couple of rather scrumptious handlers. If it wasn't for the fact that the water was 4 deg C we'd have bally-well joined them! (I think all the Blackadder we watched in Stockholm has affected us!)

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No sign of the northern lights yet - a friendly local last night told us the air had to be cold and dry. The cold had arrived but not the dry yet!

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The northern lights - a lovely photo someone else took!

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The following day we were at a bit of a loose end and the bar lady in the local pub must have got bored of the sight of us, but we found the cinema and watched Slumdog Millionaire in English!

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We boarded the boat in blizzard conditions in the evening and sadly it was considerably smaller than the one that had docked the other evening that we looked around, so there was no jacuzzi and only about 10 other people! We settled down in our cabin above the engines and were shaken to sleep!

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Posted by EdAndJames 05:50 Archived in Norway Comments (2)

Fwd: Norweigan plan

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You can just about see the points on our plan here. We left the bikes in Stockholm and took a train then a bus up to Tromsø (the red pin). From there we are taking a boat down the west coast to Bergen and then a train back to Stockholm via Oslo. Then we get back on the bikes and set off for Gothenburg to continue the route.

Posted by EdAndJames 15:50 Comments (1)

Day 69

Tromsø

sunny 8 °C

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This morning we bought a couple of tickets for the coach trip up North to Tromsø. As we had lunch and waited for the bus we also made a detailed plan for our final few weeks on the back of a receipt.

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On the bus we bagged our seats, unfortunately within smelling distance of a rather startled looking smelly bearded bloke. It looked like he was a tramp, so maybe he'd found an open door and made the back of the bus his patch and this evening finds himself 150 miles North!

Narvik looked very impressive as we left in the glorious sunshine twisting around the waters edge in the shadow of mountains and the views just got better as the journey progressed.

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Despite the comfort and views we missed being on the bikes as this was the section we could have ridden if we'd have been able to get them on the train the other day. We felt a little like we'd lost our identity and were just another number on the bus.

Anyway, we got to Tromsø which is a small island in the middle of a valleyed sea inlet and the world's Northern-most University town. We food our apartment quickly and headed our for food and a drink. Hopefully the Northern Lights will be on in between bars!

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155 miles (on a coach).

Posted by EdAndJames 15:40 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day 68

Narvik

Woke up and looked out to see a black and white view of snow, trees and fog. Words like Tundra and Permafrost sprung to mind.

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As it brightened up a little the clouds had that snowy yellow/peach colour to them. Halfway through our journey North and there's no way we could have tackled it on the motorbikes without studded tyres, a side car or a very long time indeed. Which got me thinking, how is the train running then? Back in the UK the trains stop if the temperature approaches zero and here we were tearing through the tundra. Well, when we stopped to change trains we saw that they have big snowploughs on the front and presumably other tricks.

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Anyway, it's an extremely civilised way of doing 988 miles in 20 hours!
Further North still in Lapland people were getting around using either skis, snowmobiles or husky-pulled sledges and the terrain opened up to reveal huge frozen lakes and impressive peaks, some of which had lifts and skiiers on.

We alighted at Narvik and in typically organised style had nothing booked, no idea which way to walk, no words in the local language and no local currency. We looked for a hotel but a lot of them were closed for Easter (hotels closed for Easter? Eh?) but eventually we found a really expensive one at the foot of some ski slopes and stopped there. We immediately used the Wi-Fi to book a much cheaper place for the next two nights!

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Had a couple of lovely pizzas in town and went over the road for some beers in a pub with a guy playing some Neil Young tunes.

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Posted by EdAndJames 17:05 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

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