Wednesday, 16 December 2015


Norway Friday 4 December 2015

Up at 8.30am for a lovely buffet breakfast, but as we walked across the restaurant we all felt the 'deck' swaying and lurching!!!  Now we know the true meaning of sea legs and land legs!!
Really weird sensation and was even hard to balance our cups of tea across the room!

A peek from our room across a snowy Tromsø morning - love the way it's nestled between the mountains and the sea.  But, very sadly, this is our last day up here in the Arctic Circle . . .
 So it was time to explore the lovely Tromsø - all bedecked for Christmas
 spotted an old cinema
here on the right
 and a lovely contemporary library Bibliotek og byarkvic
 This great old bank building
 and Tromsø Domkirke (Cathedral) built in wood in 1961 on the site of earlier churches
loved these Nordic desgin bike racks
and that little alleyway conveniently led us to a lovely gourmet cafe and delicatessen, Mathellen, where we quaffed a welcome warming coffee
before going back onto the icy cold streets.  Time was closing in to catch our bus to the airport . . .
All the shops had little lanterns on the floor outside their doors - so welcoming
But dark was really setting in now as it was approaching 2.30pm
Time for a quick peek into a souvenir shop with all things Norway.
Loved how you get glimpses of mountains and sea between the streets - reminds me of Sheffield and Belfast - seeing glimpses of the hills between busy city centre roads.
And this eccentric little shop, Tromso bruktbokhandel, which we found down a side street, is said to have the best Lego and comic book collection in North Norway - but sadly no time to delve inside.
Anyway that was the end of our amazing adventure and we were whisked back to Manchester Airport through the dark skies.  We all just wished we could start all over again . . .

So THANK YOU sensational sixers - you are all amazing travel companions and it wouldn't have been the same without you all.

Here's a cheery song to herald our summer adventures now we understand a little more why those Norwegians so cherish the eternal summer nights up above the fjords in those magical wooden huts . . .

If you've missed the start - then just click here to go back to the beginning - we certainly wish the we were!!!

Monday, 14 December 2015


Norway Thursday 3 December 2015

And this proves the date!  From the lovely little church in Hammerfest - but more later
Another fabulous breakfast spread - particularly loving the hearty Norwegian porridge to start the day.

I was out on deck early with all the other camera fiends this morning!
the sea was very choppy and the wind was phenomenal - not easy to walk right around the decks for fear of being swept overboard!
but with a bit of patience, I managed to get the flag in the right position, as it whipped back and forth in the wind, to read what it said - 'Post' - isn't that lovely!!
This morning we witnessed the beautiful sun (not) rising effect and the lovely red skies reflecting on the dark water
 Just look at those choppy waters and look at the moon up there in the sky
 And we sail towards Hammerfest
 and closer
Then we're let loose on shore for a couple of hours, Yaktrax firmly in place and first stop the quirky Royal and Ancient Polar Beat Society
 which was signposted all over the town by following these footprints
The whole of Hammerfest was destroyed in WW2 so everything is refreshingly modern. We loved Hammerfest Kirke built in 1961, on the same sight as the previous five churches, all destroyed by fire over the years since 1620.  The architect was Hans Magnus from Oslo.
 The interior was bright and welcoming
 complete with model donkey and lots of schoolchildren rehearsing their nativity play
and we spotted this book at the back of the church - very apt for our voyage on the mailboat
Next we had a little flurry in the local shops and, on finding a great shop selling all things Christmas - got these fab angels to remember our adventure by.  God Jul means Merry Christmas.
Loved the modern Arktisk Kultursenter - right on the waterfront . . .
 . . . and opposite is the world's most northerly Catholic church!!  St Michael's
Which was on the first floor, tiny and very beautiful
but by now it's 1pm, the light is fading and it's time to return to the ship (via a trendy take away coffee from a fab bakery near to the dock).  But we're hurrying as the one blast funnel hoot blares out reminding us they are leaving in 10 minutes and latecomers are left behind!!
These were the techy aurora borealis forecasts shown every day on the boat.  Apparently a level 6 is absolutely outstanding and most will never even see this - let alone a 7, 8 or 9.
On Monday we saw a level 2 which was incredible.  Tonight they were predicting a 3.  On Tuesday it was a 4 but in fact we saw nothing because of the stormy low cloud and rain.
Sadly it was case packing this afternoon, but followed by the best of dinners (steaks this time) in the best of company.  The week has flown by so fast but it's been amazing - exceeded all my expectations - exciting and fun - a real sixer adventure.
We had a late aurora call again and witnessed a very feint and brief showing of the Northern Lights but not strong enough for good photos (aren't we getting blase!)

This was the blurry view from our cabin porthole as we sailed under the bridge at Tromsø at 11.30pm for our final disembarking.  You can see the Arctic Cathedral majestically lit up on the opposite bank.
And we were whisked by coaches up there to the lovely midnight concert by a talented trio comprising a frugal horn player, a pianist and a soprano.  No microphones and the acoustics in the building were magnificent.
 Then it's outside into the beautiful cold and icy night
 final backwards glance at this lovely building
and so to bed finally on dry land - at the Radissson Blu in Tromsø.  Comfy beds and lovely squishy pillows, but missing the sea . . .

Want to read about our final day in Tromsø?  Just click here . . .

Or if you've missed the start of our adventure - then just click here to go back to Monday