Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

It is, or at least it was until 1 minute ago, Earth Day, so I decided to write some more from my trip, where I felt very close to nature. Hurtigruten travels 365 days a year, and the trips during different seasons are nothing like each other. My spring coastal journey was called “The Arctic Awakening” which is exactly what it is. Up in the North the darkness is beginning to let go and will soon be replaced with the midnight sun, which dominates from May 13th to July 31st. You really need to benefit from the sun which after this will be gone for 6 months. And when spring starts to kick in, like it is now, it’s like watching an entire frozen civilization coming alive. The climate, the people, the wildlife. The mountains will their caps decorated with snow all year round, but in the middle of icebergs you see little islands where trees, bushes and branches wake up and force their way up and forth, pushing the intense cold back.

On the third day we crossed the Arctic circle. Tradition says that when you cross that line for the first time you need to be baptized. So we all gathered at deck and had a ceremony where we toasted in- oh yummi!- pure fish oil. If you are not a fan of eating fish this might make you want to throw yourself over board. If you do like the taste of fish you might only want to make funny faces for a few minutes. But hey, once we were vikings right? Tourists may find it terrible, but Norwegians stay tough. *tries to convince herself*

After Arctic Circle we went into Temperate Zone, and it was like turning off a switch. Goodbye icebergs, hello mountains. Farewell white, welcome green. We simply went from winter to spring, with nothing left from the Arctic than wonderful memories, hopefully captured on film. And of course with the taste of  fresh fish oil.

Traveling alone is nice. You get to plan your own day and do exactly what you want to do, whenever you want to do it. I love it. And I didn’t feel lonely for a second on the trip. While sailing through nature so powerful and breathtaking like this, you sort of feel small and, well, just happy and most of all honoured to be there to witness it all. However, during meals there are reserved tables, meaning you will eat your lunch and dinner at the same table each night. At “my” table I was so lucky to end up sitting next to some wonderful people, a Norwegian couple in their 60’s and a Swedish daughter and father, where the father is close to 90 years old. My new friend! Conversation never ran dry, and the food… oh the food was simply wonderful. Norwegian local specialties, fresh from ocean or forest. Mmm.

Although the boat has wireless internet on board, it’s slow and uploading pictures takes about same time as a full walk around deck. But by all means. In the middle of the nowhere, at sea. I wouldn’t even expect to get wi-fi what so ever. The ship arranges several excursions, slightly more on the northbound route than the south one, because we arrived quite a few ports late at night. I signed up to snowmobile trip in the middle of the night, where we would get training in driving one before we’d drive into the white desert and hunt for northern lights and wildlife. Extremely exciting I think, but they called me the night before it was due to tell me that bad weather and potential landslides made it too dangerous to drive. Weather is to be respected at all times. So I had no choice but to go back to bed, after taking off the 4 layers of clothes I was wearing. Speaking of clothes, they were all frequently used (often all at once!) till we crosses the arctic circle. After that I could leave some of them in cabin, and by the time I reached Bergen I was back to normal citywear. I quite enjoyed wandering in the cities up North dresses like ready landing on moon. Traveling on Hurtigruten is not about looking hot, as long as you are not cold everything goes. Fashion did not seem to exist there, and I loved it.

An excursion that was not cancelled was eagle safari, a fishing boat came to pick us up and we went near icebergs and rocks to look for eagles. Sea eagle is Northern Europe’s largest bird of prey, with wings that spread out can be more than 2 meters. Gliding above your head, well aware of its majestic position, combining grace and strength. It chases annoying seagulls away before diving the sea, like a rocket, catches a fish and flies away to consume its newly caught lunch. To me, she (because the ones we saw were females), symbolises freedom. And to witness her was magical.

That’s it for now :)Happy Earth Day!