And here comes my own personal dream trip! Since I was a child, I always wanted to make a Hurtigruten tour. Why – I do not know! But to drive once with these historical ships through the narrow fjords seemed to be more interesting than anything else. In my early thirties I finally did it. Cast off in Tromsø – the gateway to the Arctic!
I took a plane to the northern Norwegian town yesterday and now I am cycling with the hotel bike around the city – we have 20 degrees! Even in June, the heat is unusual in these latitudes. I cross the bridge from the old town over to the famous Arctic Cathedral and make a trip to the valley station of the cable car Fjellheisen, which leads up to the huge “Storsteinen” mountain. From here I enjoy a magnificent view over the harbor and suddenly the MS Trollfjord runs in. That ship will bring me to the North Cape!
After a snack in the old quarter I cycle back to the harbor and return my bike at the hotel. In a distance the black-red-white colored MS Trollfjord is already arriving. Excited I roll my suitcase to the wharf and wait with some other travelers for my floating home.
The ship will be in port until the evening and I take part in the first excursion. A van drives us out of the city and then we paddle in comfortable two-person kayaks along the Lyngenfjordfjord. The high mountains of the northern Norwegian coast form a beautiful backdrop and totally relaxed I breathe in the fresh, oxygen-rich air.
In the evening I finally refer my little cabin overlooking the sea and I’m happy. The rooms are simply furnished, but my plan is to enjoy the view over the fjords and not to make no spa vacation. The MS Trollfjord takes off and makes her way north.
Late in the evening we stop a quarter of an hour in Skjervøy for loading and unloading. At the harbor of the small fishing village it is hectic for a few minutes and small forklifts bring packages along and unload post and even a small motorcycle. Then the MS Trollfjord cast off and I am waving excited to the people on the shore.
During the stops in Øksfjord at two clock at night and in Hammerfest, the northernmost city in the world, at shortly after five I was unfortunately still asleep. But after breakfast I hurry back on the deck, watching the modern postal ship stopping in Havøysund. Colorful wooden houses are scattered on the big island, some guests disembark the MS Trollfjord for 30 minutes.
Around noon we arrive in Honningsvåg, the gateway to the North Cape! The small town is one of the largest fishing villages in northern Norway and more than 100 cruise ships stop here each year. I get of the ship, jump into the bus and we drive 44 km to the North Cape Plateau, a 307 meter rock reaching out of the North Sea.
Here and there a crowd of reindeer wander across the barren tundra. Every spring the Norwegian bring them from Karaskoj near the border with Finland by truck and marine boats to the North Cape island Magerøya, in autumn the animals swim the two kilometers back to the mainland. During the two and a half months of midnight sun between mid of May and late July the region comes to life: In the short Arctic summer over 400 different plants sprout on the island. Tiny pink roses crowd on the ground, the reindeer nibble kilos of the whitish reindeer moss. The people in the region live from fishing and benefit from the warm Gulf Stream: In summertime the salmon comes, king crabs are caught in autumn and during the winter there is cod, which will be dried for a few months in large oak frames and sold as stockfish, that is a special form of dried and salted cod.
Shortly before the North Cape there are some wooden fences near the road. “Here the reindeer jump over the slats until they can fly,” grins our Swiss tour guide Esther Amman. “Finally they have to be able to pull the sleigh of Santa Claus at Christmas!” The 3000 inhabitants of the island Magerøy truly have a special humor. And when they are in a bad mood the stockfish helps: With a hammer they crush the bone-dry fish into small pieces and eat them with bread and white wine. But: “In wintertime we drink alcohol only after sunset.” That’s great, because in the polar winter the sun does not rise for two and a half months. Esther Amman has really been settled.
At the end of the world’s northernmost road with access to an international network of roads the North Cape, the northernmost point of Europe achievable through official roads waits on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. The European route E69 leads directly to the 307 -meter high plateau with a small post office and a chapel. Since 1978 a globe on the cliffs symbolizes the end of the world and like everyone else I make a selfie at the North Cape.
We are really lucky, the weather is perfect today. Small fair-weather clouds decorate the blue Arctic sky. Of course I buy postcards with stamps of the North Cape and throw them into the red mailbox at the entrance of the North Cape Hall. Then we return to the port of Honningsvåg. The MS Trollfjord is ready to start, the horn gives a loud sound and the ship is heading for the turning point of the Hurtigruten route at Kirkenes near the Russian border. I slip into my bathing suit and jump on deck nine in the hot tub. While sitting in the bubbling water I enjoy the passing arctic landscape, because tomorrow we will arrive Kirkenes and a plane will bring me back to Germany.
Further information:Hurtigruten GmbH Burchardstraße 14 20095 Hamburg Internet: www.hurtigruten.de
This text has been translated to the best of my knowledge into English.
Note: This trip was supported by Hurtigruten GmbH. The report represents our own opinions.