posts for march 2014.
finally, after arriving in bergen, we were lucky to spend one full sunny day in bergen! this is quite extraordinary, since in bergen it is usually either winter or its raining. and since it wasn’t winter, we were quite surprised to see such a huge amount of sunshine.
we took the chance to visit ulriken, bergen’s largest mountain (643 meters over sea level) which can visited without walking up by yourself.
the next day, we had the chance of exploring the vesterålen island by bus. we first visited the trondenes church, where also the weather began to get worse: it started snowing. and later, hailing. both with a lot of wind, and sometimes pretty much horizontally. the island is really beautiful, eventually we have to go back and explore the nature in more detail. some hours later, we arrived in stokmarknes, where we had a chance to visit the hurtigruten museum. part of the museum is the complete ms finnmarken, parts of which can be freely explored. below, you can also find a photo from its bridge.
the next day we again crossed the arctic circle, this time southbound.
again one day later, we visited the (surprisingly) beautiful town of rørvik. it is quite a nice little town, with some quite beautiful places:
from rørvik we proceeded south, straight to bergen.
the next day, we visited the island magerøya, the northernmost piece of the european continent. after boarding in honningsvåg, we were brought by bus to the north cape, the (almost) northernmost corner of europe. on the trip, the weather was awesome, but when we arrived it began to be cloudy. but well, that’s magerøya, where you can have all four seasons in one day, as our (excellent!) guide said. here are some impressions:
i took the last photo from within the bus driving back, when the wind was blowing snow over the road, enlightened by the sun. it was a great view, and we were happy that we didn’t had to drive!
the next day, we visited kirkenes. from there, we took a bustrip to the russian border. there’s nothing much to see, except a cute husky cub. from there, we continued to bjørnevatn, a mining town close to kirkenes, hosting one end of the northernmost railway (which connects kirkenes and bjørnevatn, and which main purpose is to transport iron ore, workers and tools). afterwards, we took a closer look at the langfjord, before we returned to kirkenes to get a view over the town:
the day after, we approached hammerfest. the weather began to get better, and we had a good time on the sun deck:
finally, we had a chance of visiting and exploring hammerfest. in hammerfest, we found among other things a nice bookstore, cramped to the top with books with narrow paths between them. such a great place! we could have spend days going through there (well, me somewhat less, as most books were in norwegian)!
the night after leaving tromsø, we finally had proper and fully awesome northern lights!
here are also three videos i created. they consist of 1316, 496 and 433 single photos, respectively, each with an exposure time of one second (the first video) respectively two seconds (the last two videos). sorry for the jumps here and there, sometimes my camera makes a little break after rapidly taking a bunch of photos.
the next day, we left the ship early to explore harstad a little, a small town on the vesterålen island. there, we finally had a lot of signs of winter: icy roads. while the snow itself was mostly gone, all the melting and freezing created an icy cover of especially the side roads (the main roads were mostly clear). in harstad, we also met another hurtigruten ship, the ms polarlys.
while leaving harstad, we saw the grytøya mountains, covered in snow; you can see them on the right in the first panorama. the second panorama shows the southern part of senja with lemmingvær covering the right front side.
from vesterålen, we proceeded to our next big stop, tromsø. while approaching tromsø from the south, we came accross kvaløya, an island west of tromsøya we’ve been driving on last year. here is a photo of the coastline:
in tromsø, we took the chance to take the fjellheisen cable car up to the storsteinen. last year, the cable car didn’t operate due to a mechanical problem. up there, there was enough snow (and ice!) and we had a really good view over tromsøya, tromsø and the surrounding mountain ranges:
the next day we crossed the arctic circle. despite being in the far north, there still weren’t too many signs of winter, except a bit of snow higher up. nonetheless, with beautiful weather, it was really beautiful.
we also visited bodø’s railway station, being the end of the line: to get further north, one has to take the bus (or boat or plane).
finally, another shot of our boat:
this day, i also had the chance to photograph the sun diving into the ocean:
the third night in a row there was an announcement of northern lights being visible. this time, there actually was something to see. still not as bright as i’ve seen it before, but beautiful nonetheless:
afterwards, we explored the beautiful city. it was a sunday morning, and whence quite empty, except for all the hurtigruten tourists:
during the afternoon, we went through the stokksund strait:
during the night, there was an announcement that northern lights are visible. well, they weren’t much more visible than the previous night (in fact less), but the light area was much larger, spanning over half of the sky:
the ship offers quite some comfort, including two whirlpools in the arctic pool area on top of the ship. it’s quite fun to sit in the warm water while it’s cold and windy outside!
we left bergen on a late evening, when it was quite dark on the outside:
the next morning we landed in torvik, a little town on an island. also, for the first time on our stay in norway, the sun came out:
the view of the sea is gorgeous:
later the day, we had a longer stay in ålesund:
on early evening, we arrived in molde. there, we took a photo of our ship:
on the late evening, we visited kristiansund for a bit longer. there, we walked a bit around in the harbour:
somewhen later, there was an announcement on the ship that northern lights could be seen. when we reached the sun deck, we only saw the leftovers, which were essentially only visible by camera and very high sensitivity settings. here’s a photo of people waiting for the aurora to become stronger (again):
later in the night, while back in our cabin, i looked out of the window before going to bed, when i saw something which looked a bit like northern lights. i put on my clothes again and went outside, and there it was: an aurora! not very intense, but it was there, and for some moments even visible to the plain eye!
quite a different job than before, but still a very nice and friendly environment, and a very noble objective in my opinion :-)