Archive For The “Europe” Category

Trondheim Arrival

Trondheim Arrival

Trondheim was Norway’s capital during the Viking era and currently is the country’s third-largest city with a population of just under 200,000. Our arrival there represented the mid-way point of our six-month trip through Norway, where we would return to Seattle for a couple of weeks before continuing south to explore the rest of the…

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Svartisen Glacier

Svartisen Glacier

Svartisen Glacier is the second largest in mainland Norway, after Jostedalsbreen, and one of the most dramatic sights on the coast. Ending at only 65 ft (20m) above sea level, it’s the lowest of any mainland European glaciers and among the most accessible. And if spectacular glacier views aren’t enough, nearby is the trailhead for…

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Bodø

Bodø

Bodø, Norway was the ultimate destination of American pilot Gary Powers’ ill-fated U2 flight that garnered international attention in 1960 when he was shot down and captured over Russia during a high-altitude surveillance pass. The exceptional Norwegian Aviation Museum there has a vast collection, including a U2 spy plane, that we’d been looking forward to…

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Kiruna, Sweden

Kiruna, Sweden

The Swedish town of Kiruna, with a population of about 17,000, made headlines in 2004 when it was announced the center would need to move 3 km east due to ground settlement resulting from mining operations nearby. The mine, operated by LKAB, is the largest underground iron ore mine in the world and has a…

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Narvik

Narvik

Narvik is ice-free year-round due to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream that run along the west coast of Norway all the way to Svalbard. This makes it an ideal shipping port for exporting Swedish-mined iron ore. The scenic Ofotbanen railway that transports the ore from Sweden to Narvik is one of the reasons…

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Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten

The Hurtigruten (meaning ‘Express Route’) is a system of coastal ferries, founded in 1893, that run between between Bergen in southwest Norway and Kirkenes in the far north near the Russian border. The ships operate as both cruise and local supply ships, making nearly 70 stops on their 11-night round trip to transfer cargo and…

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Svalbard

Svalbard

Svalbard, lying 600 miles from the North Pole, is about as far north as a person is likely to get without being a polar research scientist. Despite the thousands of visitors who arrive annually in cruise ships and by plane, the area still has a real wilderness feel. The scenery is spectacular, with little evidence…

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Storsteinen

Storsteinen

1,381ft (421m) Mt. Storsteinen dominates the skyline east of Tromsø. An easy half-hour walk from the guest harbour leads to the cable car Fjellheisen, where we rode to the top for sweeping views of the area. Below are trip highlights from June 13th, 2018 in Tromsø, Norway. Click any image for a larger view, or…

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Tromsø Polar Museum

Tromsø Polar Museum

Tromsø was the starting point for many polar research expeditions during late 1800s and early 1900s and the Polar Museum there has excellent displays on the topic. On our second day in Tromsø, we spent the afternoon at the Polar Museum and explored the town more on foot, both from high above and along the…

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Tromsø Arrival

Tromsø Arrival

A couple of years after first planning it, we finally arrived in Tromsø, Norway. At 69°39’N, Tromsø is the most northerly destination we would bring Dirona this year. With a population of 67,000, the city is the largest in northern Norway, with the highest number of pubs per capita than any other in the country—our…

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Continental Shelf

Continental Shelf

The continental shelf runs within five miles of the Norwegian coast off the island of Andøya, 25 miles north of Stø. As we crossed, the sea bottom plummeted from 350 feet to 1034 feet in a short distance and continued down to over 3,000 ft (900 m). The deep cold water at the continental shelf…

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Dronningruta

Dronningruta

Dronningruta is a strenuous (for us) 9-mile (15km) mountain loop walk between Stø and Nyksund with exceptional scenery. Dronnigruta means “The Queen’s Route”—the trail was named in honour of Queen Sonja of Norway who walked the trail in 1994. The pictures we’ve seen of the trail in the summer look beautiful, but the previous night’s…

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Finnvågen

Finnvågen

With some calm weather in the forecast, we departed Eidsfjorden to cruise the dramatic west coast of Langøya. We anchored for the night at spectacular Finnvågen, where we hiked ashore and toured the area by tender. The Norwegian scenery continues to impress us. Below are trip highlights from June 6th in the Vesterålen islands, Norway….

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Eidsfjorden

Eidsfjorden

Eidsfjorden lies along the south side of Langøya in the Vesterålen islands. From Stockmarknes, our plan was to cruise the exposed west coast. But with several weather systems in the forecast, we stopped for four nights in Eidsfjorden, first at scenic Oldenfjord and later at snug and beautiful Nordvågen. We woke up one morning to…

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Stokmarknes

Stokmarknes

In 1893, Norwegian ship captain Richard With founded the Hurtigruten coastal ferry service in Stokmarknes, where he lived and worked. At that time, no year-round scheduled ferry existed in northern Norway. The Hurtigruten pioneered the service and became a vital link between northern Norway and the rest of the country. A century later, when the…

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Trollfjord

Trollfjord

Spectacular Trollfjord is 1.5 miles long and only 100m wide at the narrowest point. The fjord is a major tourist draw—tourist boats were running here from Svolvær several times a day, with more gearing up as the height of the season approaches. The large Hurtigruten coastal express ships also visit, turning around inside such that…

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