Blogs from Northern Norway, Norway, Europe

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Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Tromsø August 13th 2019

Maria Chiara agreed to marry me last time we visited Norway, so the country is very close to both of our hearts. Now three years on we came back as husband and wife. Appropriately it was to attend a wedding... we're still at that age where most travel plans are based around a wedding - ours or someones else's! The groom was an old friend of Maria Chiara's from her year attending university in Trondheim many years ago: "Magnus" by name, and by nature. She used to massage this particular viking by walking across his back. That was a very formative year for my wife: most people at university are relatively short of money, but if you choose to study in one of the world's most expensive countries it makes for a lot of nights in. ... read more
Xave in Kvaloya
Tromso from above
A shaft of sunshine at 12:30pm

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Tromsø July 26th 2019

Cruise day 12 Tromso, cable cars, seals, lots of walking and very expensive drinks in a rock bar 26th July 2019 Over £15 for a beer and a coke!! Okay so the rock bar was pretty cool with dishes named after the Ramones, The Clash, Motorhead and Dead Kennedys for example, but I’m glad Claire had offered to pay! There were posters of many great bands as well as framed records etc but the music they were playing was dreadful!! I have no idea what it was but if I ever hear it again it will be too soon. Prior to that we had done some walking around Tromso. The time before that we came here it was Winter so everywhere was covered in snow. This time the sun has been out and Claire is glad ... read more
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Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Tromsø July 26th 2019

Arriving in the morning, Glyn quickly spotted the Arctic Cathedral through our porthole - we had arrived In Tromsø, the largest northern settlement in Norway. The sun was shining, the sky blue and the breeze welcoming. We walked to the nearby Polaria which like most (if not all) attractions in Tromsø is all about cold stuff. This began with a panoramic film about Svalbard, featuring very cute polar bears but no blue foxes. We walked through informative yet depressing displays about the glaciers melting and why the arctic ice is required to reflect heat off the planet on which we reside. Maps illustrated the shrinking ice over the decades and marks high in the walls displayed how much thinner the ice became each year (47 cms). They explained how arctic ice gives scientists information on climate ... read more
Seal
Polaria
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Europe » Norway » Northern Norway July 25th 2019

Cruise day 11 Whales, whales everywhere and British night 25th July 2019 With no alarm set we still made it in time for breakfast and were joined by Andy and Mo. I really am surprised how many super people there are on this cruise so honourable mentions also to Richard, Sonya, Cathy, Pat, Clive, Veronica, Trevor and the Orca gang. There are more but, sorry, I don’t know your names! Our tribe are great and have really helped make the cruise so special. Today has been a sea day as we head to Tromso and we have seen many whales and, the highlight, a dolphin leaping compeletely out of the water. I’ve seen a fin whale, a blue whale and many humpback whales so it’s been pretty special. We haven’t always sat or stood outside as ... read more
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Europe » Norway » Northern Norway July 24th 2019

Cruise day 10 Pyramiden, a blue fox, a smurf factory and possibly the best guide in the world July 24th 2019 Today we saw the most northernmost piano and drum kit in the world, the latter of which Robert Plant had a bash on just three weeks ago. And they weren’t the highlights of the day! Imagine a day that good that the most northernmost piano and drum kits aren’t the highlights....go on....try.... You can’t can you? Exactly. So, after breakfast our tour gathered in the Neptune Lounge before being shepherded downstairs to our tender. The weather was warm (for here!) but it was quite nippy on the boat so I went mad and zipped my coat up. Crazy days. Not too far away was Pyramiden, named after the pyramid shaped mountain behind it. It was ... read more
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Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Longyearbyen July 23rd 2019

Cruise day 9 Longyearben and Svalbard July 23rd 2019 It’s been a long wait but today we finally set foot on Svalbard which is as far north as you can go without being on an expedition. The town of Longyearben is the northernmost permanent settlement with over 1000 residents on the planet. We’ve been waiting a while and spent some money to get here! We had booked a private tour to get the most out of our day and were a bit worried when the guy we had been in contact with told us he had left the company. We were going ashore earlier than anticipated so Claire messaged him and luckily got a reply giving us our guide’s name. The shuttlebus into town took ages to set off and just a few minutes to arrive ... read more

Europe » Norway » Northern Norway July 22nd 2019

Cruise day 8 Getting humpbacked out with the ocra gang and our tribe 22nd July 2019 The plan was to get up early but when you don’t set an alarm there’s always a chance that you will oversleep. And we did. Luckily one of the restaurants carries on doing breakfast until late although it’s only a buffet one so you can’t order kedgeree for example. There was plenty of smoked salmon though so it’s all good. The rest of the day has pretty much been spent whale watching and mostly outside. The weather, not surprisingly, has got colder and a bit rainy at times but we have seen lots of whales. Two pods of humpbacks have gone past, maybe a minke, as well as some fin whales with a distant blow possibly being a blue whale. ... read more
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Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Honningsvag July 21st 2019

Today we arrived in Honningsvåg, which is a port on the island of Magerøy (Meagre Island), or the Nordkapp (North Cape), the most Northern place in Europe - depending on who you talk to. Others may argue this point really is 2000 km north in Svalbard and my money’s on them to win this heated debate. Someone tried to say that this is the most northern part of mainland Europe, but actually it’s an island, so they got that wrong too - although connected with a tunnel. The name came from some sailor (Richard Chancellor) trying to find a northeastern passage through to India in 1533, who named it the North Cape. He never made it to India, so a failure all round. We disembarked at 8am to an incredibly quiet town except for the noise ... read more
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Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Honningsvag July 21st 2019

Cruise day 7 North Cape exploring, giant crabs and reindeer hearts July 21st 2019 We ventured ashore again today as we had arrived in Honnigsvag. There had been a few Fred Olsen tours but none we really fancied. Claire had looked on Tripadvisor and found a company called Blue Puffin which sounded like something more our style....and they had good reviews. After breakfast we got off the ship and had a wander until our guide turned up. It turned out there were only four of us and we were in a minibus which was great and so much better than a big coach. This meant we could stop when we want to get photos and go to more places as well, giving it more of a personal touch. We got lots of information on life here ... read more
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Europe » Norway » Northern Norway » Honningsvag July 20th 2019

After staying up till gone 2am waiting for a sun that never arrived, I woke around 10am to find it was back. Phew! It’s still warm in the arctic circle but when the sun goes behind the clouds, it can be a little breezy and maybe time to put the shorts away. Glyn and I have yet another favourite spot, now the back of deck 10 where the fjord and landscape drifts by as we gazed at it. We had a few visitors but I was able to blog, take photos and read! Afterwards I took the many flights down to deck 3 where our cabin is situated, changed into warm clothing, then climbed back up to Deck 10, where it got really hot again. I passed a man on the stairs who uses them for ... read more
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