Our Norway vacation started in Amsterdam/Haarlem, Netherlands. We spent the weekend there and went to the port to start our cruise…which was moved to Rotterdam. Once we made it to Rotterdam and on the ship we set sail for Hamburg. We spent the day walking around there. We found a Russian submarine turned museum that we entered. Justin gave me all kinds of fun submarine/nautical facts as we were inside.
Our cruise ship’s Norwegian itinerary is why we joined the cruise. It covered a lot of distance and went to some places we would not be able to get to otherwise. Since we had some distance to cover we were more or less on land one day, one the ship for the next, back and forth. Our ship days were us being lazy and spending lots of quality time in one of the ships many bars…the Tiger bar. It only occasionally got boring being at sea, but Justin loved not having anything to do, as he is normally super busy with work. Norway this time of the year is light 24/7. Some of the pictures you will see were taken around midnight, but I bet you’ll never know which ones! Mwuahahaha! We saw tons of islands and fjords and lots of scenic nature niftiness.
Our first port stop was Bergen, neat town. We spent some time wandering the pier area and seeing what all the little shops had to offer. We made a trip just south of the city to Fantoft Stave Church (Stavkirke). It is an old Norwegian church that combined old Norse religion feel with the newer Christianity. If you are a black metal fan, it was one of the churches burnt down by Burzum’s Varg Vickernes…and rebuilt or else we would not have been able to go to it.
Crossed the Arctic Circle at 66°33’44”!
The port of Tromsø we didn’t have anything we really wanted to do, so we just wandered about and peeped into the windows of Macks brewery…the northernmost brewery in the world. We went to an art museum, really nice paintings of the landscape, polar bears, ships, etc.
Moving closer to the Svalbard archipelago…in Longyearbyen! We did some Christmas shopping for you all…get excited. This town is really tiny and is a seasonal place. Since it is summer time it is open…still need hats and gloves. It was chilly. There are about 3 stores and 2 places to eat, a grocery store, and a post office. We went biking for about 4 hours/22 mile which took us out of the town for some nature seeing. Saw our first glacier and husky farm!
We cruised through the Magdalenefjord, which was perdy. Granite mountain chains permanently covered by snow and glaciers that reach the sea. It was a whale hunting operational base between the 18th and 20th centuries. 79° North…and about 50° F.
In Honningsvåg we went on another approximately 4 hour/22 mile bike journey…which we were really glad we reserved bikes from the ship because the town was tiny and mostly closed down. We saw about 10 wild reindeer here and there. The first reindeer we saw was just hanging out in someones back yard. The rest were in small groups munching on some grass. We stopped at a bar towards the end of our journey and had some coffee and Norwegian cake, which turned out to be cinnamon buns. At this bar there were a handful of reindeer watching us from the hill above.
Last Norwegian port before we ended again in Amsterdam…Geiranger! Probably the most scenic place as it is tucked away a the end of a fjord…the Geirangerfjord. After disembarking from the ship we walked around and found a kayaking hut…which interestingly enough, the guys working it were from Boston. We kayaked for an hour and wandered the town afterwords. There were tons of waterfalls in this fjord we saw as we were entering and leaving the fjord. Too many to count.
Made it back to Amsterdam/Haarlem and finally Naples. The airline lost one of our pieces of luggage and found someone else’s tagged as our missing luggage…a lost luggage reference number mishap, so not sure if we will be getting our bag back. One of your Christmas presents was in there as well as a library book, and tons of clothing. The worst part is to fit our stuff in our two bags (for some reason, don’t ask me why) 4 pairs of our shoes were split between the bags…so we have one shoe from four different pairs…what were we thinking?! I really hope we get them back…