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  • Writer's pictureSElliott

Day 05 - Snow, Rudolph Stew and Northern Lights

Updated: May 12, 2023

We awoke this day to find the ship docked at Harstad. This town flourished at the end of the 19th century when the “herring years” occurred. As the herring stocks dwindled, the town developed other industries such as shipbuilding. We only docked for short while here but Mum and I enjoyed the views as we started breakfast. During our breakfast the ship left Harstad and continued on its way to the next stop of Finnsnes. On the way there were some wonderful snowy “lumps” we could see out of the window.

Picture 1 - Snowy Mountains between Harstad and Finnsnes

Our main stop for the day, Tromsø, was not until this afternoon so we had the morning free. During our “free” time we attended a lecture on the Sami people. These are the nomadic indigenous people of Northern Norway, Finland, Sweden and a bit of Russia – the area known as Lapland. The lecture was interesting, as have been all the lectures on this trip.

Once the lecture was finished we only had a short wait until lunch started so we decided to go straight in. It’s definitely getting colder, you can see the frost on the banks, and we even sailed passed some ice! The views are spectacular though!

Pictures 2, 3 and 4 - Views from the Ship

After lunch we went up to the coffee shop (the lighting is better than in the Panorama lounge) before we reached the Rystraumen, a fast tidal current that can flow at up to 6 knots per hour.

Picture 5 - Rystraumen

We arrived in Tromsø just after two o’clock in the afternoon – it was already dark!!! Tromsø, known as the “Paris of the North”, is the capital of arctic Norway and the gateway to the Arctic Ocean. Tromsø was also once Norway’s capital city. This was during World War II in May 1940, when the King and the Norwegian government fled from the south where the Norwegian resistance was beginning to crumble. On the 7th June they had to flee to England and continue the fight from there. Tromsø has been used as a starting point for many epic Arctic expeditions.

We disembarked from the ship and started to walk towards Tromsø Bridge to the Arctic Cathedral. We had some lovely views across from the ship terminal building.

Picture 6 - Views across water to Arctic Cathedral

On our way we passed Roald Amundsens Plass with the statue of the famous explorer, the Troll Museum and the Polar Museum (which is about polar exploration not polar bears)!

Picture 7, 8, 9 and 10 - Sights of Tromsø

Once we got nearer the bridge we decided against trying to cross it as the ground was very icy. Instead we walked back to the start of the pedestrian zone on Storgata. This is the main shopping district and was really prettily lit up with fairy lights.

Picture 11 – Storgata

We continued along Storgata, with a short visit to a wonderful wool shop that seemed to have every type of wool under the sun, to the picturesque Tromsø Cathedral. It was built in 1861 in the Gothic Revival style. It was designed by architect Christian Heinrich Grosch. This is the only Norwegian cathedral made of wood.

Picture 12 - Tromsø Cathedral

From the cathedral we returned to the ship, ready for an afternoon tea of coffee and waffle (which was nice).

Dinner was a buffet style, I thoroughly enjoyed the beef bourgiugnon – well, I thought it was beef bourguignon. It was actually reindeer stew! I’d been eating Rudolf! And she tasted really yummy!!

Picture 13 - Rudolph Stew!

After dinner Mum and I went to get our things before settling down on the 4th floor to while away the time until the round up meeting at 8pm. We had just settled in, and found the charging points, when the announcement came that the Northern Lights had been seen off the starboard side. So everything was hurriedly packed up before making our way quickly to the outside deck on the 5th floor. I got a bit mixed up with port and starboard and went out on the wrong side but could see the lights at the front of the boat – and this time I got pictures! The first one was such a shock and surprise that I nearly went overboard in my excitement!!

Picture 14 - My First Picture of the Northern Lights

It wasn’t a particularly good picture – but I got colour. The following pictures got better and better.

Picture 15, 16, 17 and 18 - The Northern Lights

We stayed out watching (and taking pictures) until we got too cold - in my rush to get out there I hadn’t put on gloves so my hands were freezing! When we re-entered the boat we got some coffees and sat in the lecture room to warm up before the round-up meeting.

After the round-up meeting we went back on deck to see the lights – and they were even better than before!! You could see the green colour of them tonight whereas yesterday they were sort of wispy grey.

Picture 19, 20, 21 and 22 - The Northern Lights

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