Posts Tagged ‘Hurtigruten ships’


Our guild was realm first to get I’m on a boat (25 player). ANd that is the only World of Warcraft referance I will do for some time. I thought about that because it is exactly what I am right now, on a boat I mean.

I have been to 34 countries in my life, but seen very little of my own country. So I figured Easter holiday was a good time to change that. And all I can think of now really is; why haven’t I done this before? My trip strted at home where I flew from Oslo to Kirkenes, which is right on the Russian border. For the record I really hate flying, something that’s become worse and worse for the last few years. And no, serving statistics about how much dangerous it is to get into a car does absolutely nothing, rien, nada for me. It’s like telling someone who’s scared of snakes that he should be scared of hippos instead, since they are a lot more dangerous. Or telling them hey, more people die from being hit by cocoanuts rather than snakes bites you know. Yeah I’m sure that information will make them all zen next time they see a snake.

I have this little book that’s supposed you to feel better, and author keeps saying you should tell cabin crew that you are scared of flying. Never done that before, but this time I did, went into plane, said hello to the smiling air steward   and mumbled something like, “eehhh oh and by the way, I’m scared of flying”. Felt like an idiot, but she didn’t seem to think I was and was extremely professional and friendly Thank you, Norwegian Airlines. A few minutes into the flight she came to my seat where I sat with tears in my eyes, squeezing my coffee mug, asking if I would like to come into the cockpit to meet the captain. I felt a bit silly, last time someone offered me to see the cockpit I had milk teeth and pigtails. However, I think it was really nice being introduced to the pilots who were funny, sweet and really reassuring. When people ask me why I am scared of flying, and what exactly it is that I am scared of.. well I can only say afraid of plane going down I guess. It has happened to people I know, another reason why the whole car statistic thing doesn’t do it for me. Turbulence freaks me out, and when that happens it’s like someone grabs my heart from inside, twists it, tears it apart and throw the pieces further down my stomach. Anyone who is going to fly with me needs a lot of patience, but on the other side, will be fully rewarded once we are safe down on the ground. Which we were, this time also.

After the two hours of me biting my lip we arrived Kirkenes, airport was about size as an average diningroom. Good for me, could instantly pick up my suitcase and found Kirkenes’ only taxi, driven by an x-oslo inhabitant who moved here some years ago and fell in love with the light / lack of light, the people and the nature. The city is right on the Russian border and 400 km above the arctic circle.  I got the grand tour from the car, we saw the snow hotel, Andersgrotta, an underground bunker from WWII frequently used at that time since Kirkenes is second after Malta on having the largest number of bomb attacks in Europe, with more than 1,000 alarms and 320 air attacks. Not many houses are left from that time.

Near Kirkenes three different time zones meet, and I was hopelessly confused to see my usually ever-so-trustworthy Iphone going bananas, switch time back and forth, making me have to look at my actual wrist watch!

The ship I am on is called Hurtigruten which translated means the  fast route.  The official English name is The Norwegian Coastal Express and is a fleet consistant of  ships, 11 have routes in Norway while the newest ship, MS Fram, sails in Greenland and Antarctica. Hurtigruten sails from Bergen in west to Kirkenes in the north, a roundtrip Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen takes 11 days. One ship leave Bergen everyday, and visits 34 ports on its up way up to Kirkenes, same on the southbound route, which is the route I am currently on.

Hurtigruten started sailing in 1893 and was mainly sailing mail and cargo and could reduce a letters travel time from 3 weeks in summer and five months (!) in winter down to seven days. The fleet expanded quickly, and in the early 80’s the company started focusing also on tourism and upgraded ships to be larger and more comfortable. All together 70 ship has been in use for Hurtigruten. The ship I am on is called Finnmarken and was built in 2002. She can carry up t 1000 passengers, has a gym, several saloons and an outdoor pool area with a heated swimming pool and two jacuzzies.

I was happy to get upgraded to upper cabin deck when I checked in, I have lots of space and a nice starboard view. People asked me if I was going to get seasick, where I laughed and was like “please! I’m like Neptune!” Well. Two hours after leaving Kirkenes we came into rough, open sea and Neptune had to kneel for the toilet. Yuck. But after that I have been fine and I now know why they call it “World’s Most Beautiful Sea Voyage.” It really is.