Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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!



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.

Day 8 in Blog Challenge is things you don’t know about me. 10 of them, even! Since a picture says more than thousands word, I found pictures and a few words, in a mix of WoW related things and…well, just me things. Here we go!

First reaction when logging in to WoW

Someone asked me if I had forgot to mention it since I usually write about patches when they come out. Yes, I have noticed. No, I haven’t forgotten to mention. Thing is, I have been away, had a mini-holiday, and of course my trip and patchday happened the same day. Means today is the first time that I could actually install the patch, and see how horrible my screen looked when I logged in. My lovely, well organized (from my point of view they were!) spells gone, new icons all over, addons a total mess and error messages pop-pop-popping up aaall the time.

I will not complain though, I had a great time, all thanks to lovely Heidi and her also lovely friends. There were shopping, food, chatting and some tons of beer and other C2H5OH’s (aka alcohol)  involved. Some things seem clearer than others, but all in all it was a good trip!

Back to patch 4.0.1, the big patch before Cataclysm comes out. I was going to write about the resto (who knows what happened to other specs? Definitely not me!) shaman changes, but since my knowledge about those at this point is mostly putting up a confused look and push random buttons, I might wait just a tiny bit. However, I haven’t been forgetting. Stay tuned 🙂