Under the constant rain of beautiful Bergen we headed to the port to board “The Hurtigruten”. This is a daily passenger and cargo vessel which travels long the coast of Norway beginning in Bergen and ending in Kirkenes. We opted to go all the way to Tromso just past the Arctic Circle.
We thought that this would be the relaxing part of our trip.. 5 days watching the views and taking it all in. Well this wasn’t to be for us! The majority of passengers on board were over 65 years of age with a small portion, about 10% being families. This put us in a minority and we spent most of the time on board shooshing the kids if they spoke too loudly or were being rowdy. Most of the fellow passengers were friendly but the select few who kept on rolling eyes or staring if the kids spoke too loudly made both John and I feel very uncomfortable.
Having said all that the views were spectacular when we were able to see past the fog and mist.
This fjord is surrounded by the steepest mountains on the entire west coast. It is very narrow and has no habitable shore area. for the precipitous heights rise in sheer and rugged strata almost straight out of the water.
The countryside we travelled is considered Troll country. The Norwegians have incorporated this mythical creature into their folklore and culture. There is always a story to be told as to how a gorge was formed or a waterfall created and this always included a nasty little troll.
Trollstigen is one of Norway’s top tourist attractions featuring both an impressive road construction and a spectacular landscape. We had the opportunity to travel on the Trollstigen pass. A very nail biting experience for me as I hate driving on cliff hugging roads.
Trollstigen is the road leading to a mountain pass on norwegian national route 63 between Valldal in the south and Åndalsnes to the north. The road climbs from the deep Isterdalen valley south of Åndalsnes town to the Stigrøra plateau, and includes 11 distinct hairpin bends. Halfway the road crosses the foaming Stigfossen waterfall (about 200 meter high). The current road (designed for cars) replaced the ancient horse & hiking path known as Kløvstigen, this old path is still visible.
The mountain area around Trollstigen is known as the Romsdal. Trollstigen is closed during the winter months.
Our next excursion off the boat was a visit to the Svartisen Glacier. Norway’s second largest glacier, stretches over 370 km2 and has a full 60 glacier arms. This was our first taste of the biting wind you can experience in this part of the world.
Our last stop off the ship was for a Viking Feast in the Lofoten Islands. I’m sure you can guess who put their hand up for that. Of course Lucas was very keen on experiencing a Viking food experience, so off we went. It was all a bit of fun and we ate dinner off the ship which was a blessing. ( Food on the Hurtigruten was basically “slop the hog”).
After 4 nights of cruising along the coast I think the whole family was very happy to roll our suitcases off the plank and last past the Arctic Circle in Tromso. Even though the air was crisp we were lucky enough to have sunshine, so we dropped off our bags at the hotel and off we went. We boarded the funicular to get a view of this lovely city in the most northern part of Norway. Situated just past the Arctic Circle we were walking back to our hotel at 11:30pm in pure daylight. Throughout this whole trip we haven’t managed to get to bed before 11:00pm as daylight never seems to fade.