Norweigen Fjords and Vikings

Trip Start Dec 23, 2012
Trip End Jan 23, 2013

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Where I stayed
Ship Hurtigruten

Flag of Norway  , Troms,
Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Temp 0C to 3C

Today is one of the best days so far on the ship.  Reason being that I got to go on a 4hr shore excursion via bus, ferry and lots of walking.  It's so good to be walking again.  Yesterday I mainly kept walking around the deck.  There is especially nothing better than walking on new pristine snow that has no other footprints on it.

Our first stop was Harstad, a predominent fishing and agricultural town.  It has some beautiful wooden houses built in the beginning of the 1900s, and surprising not burnt down by the Germans in the war.  It's an area with extensive history from the stone age, to the Vikings to War occupation.  It's also known as the Viking coast, or part there of.

Our first proper stop was at Trondenes Church.  A medieval stone church dating back to the 1300s, but originally there was a timber structure on the site which was the first Christian church in the north.  Apparently the Vikings at the time were pretty pissed off by the intrusion of this religion, but eventually the King of Norway persuaded them in definite ways.  Originally it was a Catholic church, but during Reformation it turned into a Protestant, and all the Catholic artefacts were destroyed except for the ornate altar.  Probably had something to do with the gold it is covered in.  Recent restorations though have uncovered original oil paintings and patterns on the walls from the Catholic times.  Even if you're not religious it's amazing to see such a solid structure that has survived hundreds of years.

Not far from this church, which is located on the foreshore, there is a museum of the area.  Quite interesting but not very interactive.  Many of the people in the tour stayed there for quite some time particularly in the gift shop and cafe.  I bought three glass beads which are hand crafted in the area.  The lady in the shop was quite excited by them, telling me who the person is that makes them and that they are fashioned on actual Viking designs.  She then wrapped them up in a special bag.  As soon as I walked off, I thought what an idiot I was for not buying more because they only cost 10 krone which is equivalent to 1.70 Australian dollars.

Anyway while the others stayed in the comfort of the warm building, I went for a 30min walk along the coastline.  No one else had walked there that morning so the snow was new and crisp for me.  At one point I looked out to the water and saw something dark bobbing up and down.  I stopped walking, because it makes too much noise, and I quietly watched.  First the head disappeared, but a minute later appeared closer to the shore.  It was a Sea Otter, extremely cute!  I think it was as interested in me as I was of it.  We watched each other for a few minutes, then it dove under and appeared again further out.  This definetely was a highlight.

Oh and then we stopped at some old World War 2 fort with some big gun sticking out, but I didn't pay much attention.

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sonia72 on

I'm actually typing this at 2am as I have insomnia or probably because I've drunk too much bad coffee. I'm also living in hope of seeing the Northern Lights at this hour but it's looking unlikely.

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