Crossing the Arctic Circle (Days 5 and 6)

Trip Start Apr 15, 2003
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Flag of Norway  , Trondelag,
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our first stop this day was Trondheim, Norway's first capital city and a trading post for thousands of years.  Apparently the first ever export of American goods to Europe took place here around 1000 AD.  After the capital moved to Bergen (1217), Trondheim became Norway's religious center (actually, pilgrims started coming to the shrine of St. Olav 200 years earlier). Nidaros Cathedral, built from 1070-1300ish, is the highlight of the town now, although there is also an excellent military museum next door as well.

The rest of the day was spent in the Panorama lounge, watching the scenery go by.

The next morning we were up early to be on deck as we crossed the Artic Circle.  The globe sculpture marks the crossing point.  We were scheduled to go on 2 different expeditions (Chris and Melanie on a rafting trip and Jim and Martha on a glacial expedition), both of which were cancelled due to stormy weather.  The boat also had to change its course.  Although we were originally supposed to go to the Lofoten Islands (which Melanie was especially looking forward to since her Norwegian friend had specifically recommended it), the seas were too rough and the boat continued up the coastline.  

We stopped in Bodo, where we visited a modern cathedral (1956) and the surprisingly interesting Bodo Nordland Museum.  This museum contains exhibits of traditional Sami life and a huge collection of silver from over 1,000 years ago, among other things.  Bodo was heavily bombed in World War II (2/3 of the town's buildings were destroyed) so it has a very post-war feel to it.

Thanks to the diverted course, we arrived in Stokmarknes, home to the Hurtigruten museum, at around 8pm instead of 1:00 am. As a consolation prize for the change in itinerary, the museum was open until 11pm.  It was actually a very interesting history of the Hurtigruten line and the way that it has grown and evolved over the years.  It even included a decommissioned boat from the early days when travel was, at the same time, more luxurious and more rough.

Coming next:  Tromso and the most northern point in Europe
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