I have been home Norway for over a week and am finally getting around to completing my final post for this trip.
Our last day was only on the ship until we reached Bergen. We had to put our luggage out by the elevator by 10:00 am. Because we were in the astronomy group, we were able to leave our backpacks in the lecture room so we didn’t have to carry them around the shipl
At 10:30 we were invited to the lounge on Deck 8 to hear Norwegian music. I took a photo of the program listing the music. It will help me remember.
The music was beautiful and it was wonderful to relax while we watched the scenery through the windows.
When the concert ended, Marty, Ellen, and I decided to do a few laps around deck 5. It was really, really, windy so on one side of the ship we had to push through the wind but on the other side we were being assisted by it.
Departure time was 2:30 and we picked up our backpacks and headed out to deck 5 to watch the docking. Jane and Sue met up with us and I asked somebody to take a last photo of us as we approached Bergen. When I tried to open my camera (the brand new Lumix DX 80), it only made this grinding sound and would not open the lens. Well at least it made it to the last day. It is under warranty and insured although dealing with it since I got home is a pain. Anyway, I pulled out my iPhone so we could get our photo taken. No selfies for us.
They announced our landing and the same person who taught the folk dancing class lst night asked everybody to not try to get off the ship until the equipment was attached. He didn’t want anybody in the water. I think I forgot to write that he came onto the ship a couple of days ago and took over for the original person who made all of the announcements because she left for vacation. He has been very funny to listen all along. Anyway, we stayed in line and watched them attache the ramp.
We also saw them unloading the cars and our luggage. We were to pick it up on a carousel just like at an airport.
Now for getting to the airport. We had each purchased vouchers to take the Hurtigruten bus to the airport but we learned that a taxi might save us money and we could go straignt to the Comfort Hotel near the airport. So we returned our vouchers to Hurtigruten the day before departure day. It turned out that we couldn’t find a taxi that would take all of us at once. We watched people get on the airport bus and others getting into taxis. Just as I was getting one of the taxi cab drivers to call for a larger taxi, a bus driver in an empty bus asked Jane, Sue, Ellen, and Marty if we needed a ride to the airport. He thought we had vouchers. When he found out that we didn’t have vouchers, he said that he was going there anyway to pick up people who needed to come back to the Hurtigruten dock and he would take us for free. We had an extra tour of Bergen from the bus and the best part is that he told us the stories about his life adventures, how he met his wife, and how they ended up in Norway. His stories were fascinating and he managed to take us right to the street below the Comfort Inn. What a guy. And we saved about $150 that the bus and or taxi would have cost.
After checking into our rooms we walked over to the airport to check things out and look at the shops. It was only a 2 minute walk. At the airport we saw this sign.
We asked at the tourist information office why there was a question mark on the Bergen sign. The woman said that if she knew, she would tell us. Neither of the women working at this office liked the sign. The man at the Comfort hotel told us that it may have had something to do with the fact that there is a city in the Netherlands that was also named Bergen but he really didn’t understand it. He told me that about half of the people in Bergen liked the sign and about half hated it.
After dinner at the hotel and headed to bed since we had to be at the airport at 4:00 on the 8th. We were headed home.
Since this is my last post about this trip I am going to review some things to help me remember.
Our ship, Finnmarken, made many stops in the last 12 days, but most of them were either in the middle of the night or were only for only 10 – 30 minutes. Sometimes local passengers departed or embarked and item (like mail) were loaded or unloaded. On the 10th day of the trip I found a book in the gift shop. The title is The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage and it was produced by Hurtigruten. The book had a map of each day’s route. I wish I had seen this book from the very beginning of the trip because it would have been very informative as we were traveling. I took a photo of each map and listed the places where we had enough time to get off of the ship included the length of time we had in each place. The doted line is our route.
Day 1 We were traveling at night.
- Ålesund 9:45 – 10:15 (nobody left the ship)
- Hjørundfjorden 12:15 – 15:45 (This is where I did the hike)
- Alesund 17:50 – 19:30
- Trondheim 10:00 – 13:15
- Bodø 12:40 – 15:00
- Svolvær 21:00 – 22:00
- Tromsø 14:15 – 18:30
- Honningsvåg 11:15 – 14:45
- This is the day we were supposed to get off in Kjøllefjord where they were supposed to stop for 15 minutes; go visit the Sami people; and get back on in Mehmamn. But the seas were too rough to make the stop in Kjøllefjord.
- Kirkenes 9:00 – 12:30
- Vardø 15:45 – 16:45
- Hammerfest 10:45 – 12:45
- Tromsø 23:45 – 1:30 This is the time we attended the midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral.
- Svolvær 18:30 – 20:30
- Brønnøysund 15:00 – 17:30
- Trondheim 6:30 – 9:45 . Day we toured Trondheim by bus and went to Nidaros Cathedral
- Our only stop was when we docked in Bergen.
Recap and reflections on traveling in Norway:
- We had a great time in Oslo and Bergen. Two days + in each were adequate to visit the places we wanted to see. Getting clearer info on how to get to the Airbnbs before we booked them would have been a good idea but it all worked out in the end.
- I am happy we took 3 days to do Norway in a Nutshell. Wish we had known about the possibility of taking the train from Flam back up to Myrdal and doing the walk back down to Flam. We heard about it as we boarded the boat out of Flam. I just read about it and it sounds amazing. 13 miles long and goes from 886 meters (2900 feet) to sea level but we would have had all day to do it.
- Probably should have done the Breakfast at the North Cape excursion from Honningsvåg. But it left at 5:30 in the morning and we were going to the midnight concert that night in Tromsø and it would have cost 2100 NOK or about $230. Looking back with the benefit of hindsite, I could have pulled off the early morning and late evening.
- Traveling with Jane, Sue, Ellen, and Marty was wonderful.
- Three nights of seeing auroras was spectacular. The best way to end this post is with just a few photos of the auroras The first one of the ones that was taken by Barbara Beck. She is the woman from Utah who allowed me to view her camera as we were watching the fantastic display. I believe she took this with a fisheye lens.
- The rest of the photos are just a few of the ones that John Mason put onto the flash drive that I purchased. I think that maybe one of the shadows of the people in this first one is me.
I feel so blessed to have been there to see these.
… and there were many, many more. How lucky we were.