10.07.2011 - 10.07.2011 17 °C
We had a planned early start today as we spent the morning off the boat on a “scursion” to Sortland. The journey began in Harstad and had us take a coach through the town to the Trondenes Cathedral. The Trondenes is one of the oldest cathedrals in Norway and was first constructed in the eleventh century. The church actually held a service for us this morning which was interesting as it was held in three languages (Norske, English and Deutsch). The church is really beautiful with walls close to a meter thick, stained glass windows and three large alter cupboards/ idol paintings. It was a really pretty church with a really “nice” feel. (Sorry I don’t like using the word nice but I’m not sure how to describe the church..)
We then briefly visited the Trondonese Museum which shows the eras that the church has withstood after which we returned to our bus to continue the journey.
Our journey took us across two of the islands in Troms which are really picture postcard. Small villages perched on the sides of mountains that lead down into sparkling fjords. Totally what you would expect to see in any Norwegian travel magazine. On one of the crossings we had to take a car ferry which was a nice break from the bus and on another we walked across the bridge to enable us to see mussels growing in the river!
We ended our “scursion” in Sortland another beautiful fjord town… Gosh this area is just beautiful!
Straight after lunch we headed out back off the boat to Stockmarken. Stockmarken is the home of the Hurtigruten fleet and so we headed into the Hurtigruten museum to understand the history of the fleet. It was first started in the late 1800s as the first “fast liner” ship from Bergen to Trondheim. It has now grown to be the largest fleet in Norway and probably one of the larger fleets in the world. It has always been the “mail” run here in Norway, connecting each of the tiny fjord villages with the major cities. Now I would estimate that it makes a lot more by being a tourist boat that ferries tourists up and down the Norwegian coastline. It still performs the “mail” run services but I’m certain (based on the fact that it is a floating hotel) that it makes heaps more out of tourism!
Not long after our stop the boat entered the Trollfjord. By now the temp had dropped and we are back in jeans, jumper and wind jacket! The Trollfjord is famous in that it is a very narrow fjord that only the Hurtigruten boats enter. The fjord is just majestic. Huge cliff walls on either side with waterfalls and the occasional house or yacht. Really beautiful, so beautiful that we spent the whole afternoon out on the deck watching the passage through the fjord. Bookie and I are certain that we’ve seen trolls so the Trollfjord is well named!
Pulled into Lofeten this evening and spent an hour walking around a WW2 museum. It is a private collection but what a collection! The owner houses the museum in a small house. It is absolutely chock-a-block full of memorabilia. It feels like every square cm is covered in some sort of relic or memento from the second world war! He has heaps of interesting relics but the most interesting (in my opinion) was paintings supposedly by Adolf Hitler, Eva Brawns hand bag and a photograph of the largest cannon ever built. The cannon supposedly needed 1500 people to operate and needed two sets of train tracks to enable it to move! 20 odd trains to pull the cannon! Incredible! It was deployed against the Russians and dismantled after the fall of Stalingrad. Another interesting fact that I learnt was that Kirkenes was the second most bombed town in the war and that more than 1000 Norwegian’s turned to the Nazis and fought in the war for Germany!
Spent the remainder of the evening back on board reading and filling out my blog!