Viking Ocean Cruise Into the Midnight Sun Post #5, Tromso

We were lucky enough to sleep in this day and had a later tour into Tromso, named the Panoramic Tromso. We met at 9:55 AM. Tromso is filled with exceptional structures and genuine charm, in this island setting of green meadows. We met our local guide and drove through the city known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”, a starting point for many Arctic expeditions. Tromsø possesses the largest concentration of wooden houses in northern Norway. These homes were built there until 1904, when wood construction was banned for fear of fire. Throughout the city, we saw classic architecture blended with contemporary buildings, including the stunning Arctic Cathedral. With its soaring white roof line, it has been compared to the Sydney Opera House.

 

View of the City from the Viking Sun

 

We had room service for breakfast and this was part of our view from or balcony. I love photographing cities from the ship when we stop at ports. It’s usually a unique angle that most people who visit aren’t presented with. The church steeple was obviously my focal point and Tromso was definitely more populous than Geiranger or the Lofoten Islands.

 

Ski Slopes and Local Street Art

 

Another view from the Viking Sun with Tromso’s ski slopes in the background above the city. Of particular interest to me was the very cool street art mural along the dock. I thought it was fantastic. Love when we have plenty of time to scope out the cities from our ship prior to going ashore.

 

RIB Tour Boats from the Viking Sun

 

One of the optional tours for the more adventurous souls was a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) tour of local waterways. You ride through the protected waters around Tromso. All the while viewing the region’s animals including Eagles possibly. Besides riding at warp speed, as evidenced by this photo, participants learn about the history of the city and see porpoises swimming in the harbor. Binoculars are very useful if you take this tour.

 

Joker Convenience Store

 

I love seeing unusual store names, architecture and decorations in cities, much less entering and taking a look at their products. I have to ask, would you really feel comfortable purchasing food goods from a store entitled “Joker”? I don’t think I could without breaking out in laughter.

 

Cemetery with World War Veterans Interred

 

Nazi Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940 unexpectedly. Regardless of Allied efforts the entire country was occupied by early June. All affiliated activity afterwards was restricted to special ops and raids. Air support for the Norwegian resistance groups was supplied by Commonwealth forces until Germany left in May of 1945. Even though are no Commonwealth cemeteries, many Allied sailors and airmen are buried in public cemeteries and churchyards. Many of these servicemen perished delivering supplies from the UK to north Russia around the North Cape.

 

By 1942 the fleets were being attacked heavily by German air bases in north Norway, U-boats and other German vessels stationed in Norwegian waters. The graves of many of those who perished are interred at the Tromso Cemetery. The graves of many who died at Hammerfest and Kirkences have been moved to Tromso from Artic ports. Also entombed are a number of Merchant seamen from the SS Chumleigh. It was bombed and ran aground at Spitzbergen in November 1942. Many of the crew died of exposure later on. The Commonwealth plot at Tromso, the most northerly in the world, contains 37 burials, three of them unidentified.

 

Wooden House in Tromso

 

Wooden House in Tromso

 

As we toured Tromso I was fascinated by the array of wooden houses, picket fences and gorgeous plant life. I can only surmise the continuous rain helps vegetation retain its green luster. Everything looks so healthy and alive with flowers and new growth. If it didn’t get so cold in winter and the cost of living was less it would be a fine place to retire.

 

Tromso Street Art

 

Regardless of which city, country or locale I am in I always notice street art quickly, especially if it isn’t tagging or trash. This art above is interesting because it depicts a group of small children playing in a tree with a cat and dog. I guess my only issue are the claws of the fowl holding on to the board. That seems a little scary.

 

Bibliotek Public Library

 

The main library building is located in the Fokuskvartalet area in the center of the city. The main street “Storgata” and the Cultural Center are within 55 yards from the library, which is also part of a complex containing the Town Hall and a cinema. The library collection is housed on four floors and a top gallery and shares the building with the City Archives. Because of its convenient situation and spectacular architecture, the library has become a natural meeting place for the local citizens, and a “must see” experience for tourists. The vision of the library is to be a model library in the region of northern Norway.

 

Bibliotek Public Library

 

In 2006 the library was declared the Best Service Enterprise in Tromsø, an award given on behalf of the citizens of Tromsø. In 2008 the library was nominated as one of three for the award of “Library of the Year” in Norway, while in 2009 a general poll voted the Tromsø Library the best public library of the year. The building is constructed under the original roof of the old Fokus Cinema. The cinema was designed by the architect Gunnar Bøgeberg Haugen. Construction began in 1969 and the cinema was opened March 16, 1973. The extraordinary roof’s structure is based on the Mexican architect Candela’s structures, usually named as a Candela shell. Formed as four bowed arches it makes an hyperbolic paraboloid form.

 

Bibliotek Public Library

 

The Northern Lights planetarium show is a documentary and a stunning full-dome visual, featuring the Aurora in science, history and myth. It is shown at least once a day. All planetarium shows and entrance to the Science Center – hands on science for all ages are included in the admission fee. The Northern Lights Planetarium was the first planetarium in Norway open to the public. It is now the planetarium at Nordnorsk vitensenter, the Science Center of Northern Norway. They have daily all-dome shows about and with northern lights. They can also show constellations and journeys through the solar system and the distant galaxies.

 

Northern Lights Planetarium

 

The planetarium is located on the Tromsø campus of the Arctic University of Norway. The Planetarium has seating for 95 people under a 40 feet dome. The Planetarium is the largest in Norway. In the fall of 2008 the Planetarium was upgraded with new digital projectors from Sky-Skan. Ole Christian Salomonsen created his own Northern Lights universe at the Science Center of Northern Norway in Tromso. The city of Tromso received the world premiere of this film.

 

Thanks to the 3D dome theater at the Science Center Planetarium in Tromso, guests can now experience the Northern Lights as if they where standing just beneath it. The film also portrays Sami and Inuit people who tell their stories and their interpretations of what the Northern Lights have meant for their lives over the centuries. Salomonsen has been recognized internationally for his unique photos and films of the Northern Lights. But he is clear that this is the best he has ever created.

 

Circle K Convenience Store

 

Before my life as a travel blogger I was in the Convenience store business, in the operations and marketing end of the spectrum. I worked for Circle K stores for ten years and only left when they sold the Texas market. I was asked if I wanted to transfer to Phoenix, but declined as my family had moved enough over the years. Seeing this store brought back great memories of all the terrific people I worked with.

 

Tromso Turnabout Tunnel

 

One of the more unusual facets of Tromso is the Tromsoysund Tunnel. It is an undersea highway tunnel which runs under the Tromsovsundet strait. It connects the island of Tromsova with the mainland suburb of Tromsdalen. The tunnel is part of European route Eo8, whose northern end is on the island. It consists of two tubes with two driving lanes. One tube is 2.2 miles long and the other is 2.1 miles in length. The lowest point in the tunnels is 335 ft below sea level, and the maximum grade is 8.2%. The two tubes are linked by 15 service-tunnels.

 

Tromso Turnabout Tunnel

 

The tunnel opened on 3 December 1994 to relieve Tromsøya’s only other mainland connection, the Tromso Bridge. The bridge had been plagued by severe traffic congestion for more than a decade. The tunnel is located to the north of the bridge, on the island side. It emerges just below the University of Tromso and the University Hospital of North Norway. Both are major sources of traffic between the island and the mainland. On the mainland side it emerges at Tomasjord which is centrally located between the densely populated suburbs of Tromsdalen and Kroken.

 

Tromso Turnabout Tunnel

 

 

Tromso Bridge View

 

The Tromsø Bridge is a cantilever road bridge in the city of Tromsø. It is located in Tromsø Municipality in Troms county, Norway. It crosses the Tromsøysundet strait between Tromsdalen on the mainland and the island of Tromsøya. The bridge spans 1,132 yards and it is roughly 125 feet to the surface of the water below. Construction began in 1958 and it opened in 1960.

 

Tromso Bridge

 

Tromsdalen Church, also known as Ishavskatedralen (The Arctic Cathedral) was dedicated on November 19, 1965. Architect Jan Inge Hovig succeeded in creating a masterpiece. The church was partially motivated by the Opera House in Sydney Australia. Because of this, it has been called “The Opera House of Norway”. Despite its nickname, it is a parish church and not, in fact, a cathedral as it is commonly called. The church is an Evangelical Lutheran within the Church of Norway, and should not to be mistaken with the Tromso Cathedral. The Artic Cathedral is a landmark visible from the Tromsø Sound, the Tromsø Bridge and when landing at Tromsø airport. Construction began in April of 1964 and was completed in 1965. It is made of Cast-in-place aluminum-coated concrete panels. The 11 aluminium-coated concrete panels on each side of the roof produce the cathedral’s form.

 

Artic Cathedral

 

The main entrance on the western side is surrounded by a large glass facade with a distinct cross. The incredible glass mosaic on the eastern side was supplied in 1972. The glass mosaic is one of artist Victor Sparre’s most distinguished works. It depicts God’s hand from which bursts three rays of light: one through Jesus, one through a woman and one through a man. The mosaic pieces are 1.1 inch thick, so on sunny mornings the work becomes almost completely translucent. When the midnight sun radiates from the west, however, the colors become passionate and intense. During the dark months, the complete mosaic is eradicated although you can still see it from the exterior. The glass mosaic dates back to 1972 and was not actually a part of the architect’s conception. The original objective was to use common glass in the east wall as well. Strip lights have been arranged between the 11 layer panels that make up the walls and when darkness falls, the exceptional blueprint of the church is clearly conspicuous from all parts of Tromsø. The exclusive chandeliers of Czech crystal are inspired by icicles and advance the distinctively cool look. The Arctic Cathedral is a beacon in the town, for churchgoers and for travelers in the north.

 

The oak pews, the large prism chandeliers, the altar rail and pulpit are the most compelling fittings, all of which are in a style that agrees with the cathedral’s passion and simplicity. The church acquired an organ assembled by Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri in 2005, with three manuals, pedal, 42 stops, and 2940 pipes. It replaced the old opus nr. 12 organ delivered by Vestlandske Orgelverksted, Hareid, which had 22 voices and 124 keys. Midnight concerts are now held in the Arctic Cathedral all year long, often including the five choirs of the congregation. In the summer, however, the church is even more available, as the congregation is excited to welcome guests to midnight sun concerts featuring professional musicians. These concerts start just before midnight, so subsequently the audience can step out and enjoy the midnight sun. This has to be a thrill to the 600 people the church seats.

 

Statue of Running Girls in Tromso Park

 

As we headed back to the ship the bus passed this statue in a park of two girls running. I was enamored by its beauty and thought I would share this photo. It was a rainy day, but I was able to capture it through the bus’ window. Strangely enough when I looked it up on the Internet it was difficult to locate. I’m not sure if it’s new or what but it basically has no history.

 

Tromso Business District

 

A scene from the wet streets of Tromso as we headed back to the ship and dinner. I loved the solitude this photo displayed and the reflections in the standing water.

 

Fabulous Sailing Ship in Tromso Harbor Across the Tromso Bridge

 

 

Tromso Marina

 

We finally arrived back at the harbor and walked back to the ship. Thankfully the rain had ceased and all we had to be concerned with was stepping in the large puddles so as to not soak our shoes. Onward to the next port of Honnigsvag and what an adventure lay before us. I had no idea what lay ahead and how adventurous our next port would be!

 

 

 

 

 

*** Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking Ocean Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

Viking Ocean Cruise Into the Midnight Sun Post #4, Lofoten

As we sailed into the port of Leknes with Viking Cruises, this magnificent church was on the shore and caught my eye. Lofoten (Norwegian “lu:fu:tn”) is an enclave of islands and a long-established district in Nordland Norway. It is infamous for its astonishing rugged mountains, protected bays and a pleasant summer conditions. Even though it’s located within the Artic Circle it encounters a warmer than expected temperature range.

 

Small Community with Church on the Way Into Leknes

 

The Lofoten Islands were settled approximately 11,000 years ago and the earliest archaeological sites are only about 5,500 years old, at the period from early to late Stone Age. Agriculture, livestock, and significant human habitation can be traced back to the Iron Age or roughly 250 BC. The islands extend from Norway’s coast into the Norwegian Sea or approximately 118 miles. These waters were outstanding for Norse communities and the waters have produced massive quantities of Cod as they spawn in the waters around the islands. 

 

Viking Tour Guide Lollipops

 

Every tour begins with what regular passengers label a tour guide with a Viking lollipop. This way whether you are wearing a headset or just listening close by you can always locate your specific guide as they each have their own number. This was actually the first time I was able to capture this equipment in a photograph. I thought it unique.

 

Lofoten Welcoming Troll with the Nomadic Texan

 

Of course as soon as I turned around we faced the obligatory Norwegian troll portside. Kim and I were novices in Norway and weren’t aware we would encounter a myriad more of these adorable creatures. Seriously how can you not love each and every troll you have seen, if you are following my posts? We each took our solo portrait with the Lofoten troll and moved on.

 

Kim with the Lofoten Welcoming Troll

 

We had occasion to witness several fish drying racks as we toured Norway. They were discussed in our pre-port discussions and we drove by a few outside of Bergen.  Stockfish is unsalted fish, especially cod, dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks along the shorelines. They are called “hjell” in Norway. The drying of food is the world’s oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years.

 

Cod Fish Drying Rack

 

We drove over a back road under construction and were stopped at the island’s only stoplight. This light dictated which one way traffic could proceed across the one-way bridge. It was kind of hilarious give traffic patterns in major cities all over the world. Finally we proceeded to a wharf type area with various boats, ships and structures surrounding the harbor.

 

Ship in Village by Grocery Store

 

Village Houses Across Bay from Grocery Store

 

Along the harbor was what I am guessing is the only grocery store within miles beside a ship maintenance facility. I try to explore grocery stores in every country I visit since I was in the industry before. It’s always amusing to see the offerings and prices. It gives one a feel for what items appear to be important to cultures and which ones don’t. The conversion rate for Norwegian Kronor to US Dollars is ten to one with a Kronor equaling about $.10 in US currency. The blue labeled Cruesli on the middle shelf is $49.90 Kronor or about $4.90 US Dollars. That seems reasonable to me.

 

Village Grocery Store Muesli Section

 

The brownies on the top shelf are $68.90 Kronors or about $6.89 in US Dollars. This seems rather expensive. Of course being located in a remote area probably motivates one to purchase this type of goods. It looks like Toro has a monopoly on sweet cookies and treats.

 

Cookie Section at the Village Grocery Store

 

Beer in Norway has up to 4.7% alcohol or has to be purchased in a state owned Vinmonopolet. Beer between 3.7% and 4.7% ABV (alcohol by volume) is taxed at an astonishing 22.4 kroner per liter, while beer above 4.7% ABV is subject to 5.01 kroner per percentage point per liter. These rates are applicable to all alcohol, which goes a long to explaining why spirits are so expensive.

 

Village Grocery Store Beer Section

 

I walked by the fruits and vegetables aisle and saw something I have never seen before. Remember I’m from Texas and we eat peppers with just about everything. Depending on the dish, mild peppers may be used or extremely hot ones depending on who you are cooking for. As I walked down the section I spied these red peppers that I thought were a red Chili peppers. Lo and behold they were actually Paprika peppers. I can honestly say I have never seen these prior to this cruise. I have used the spice forever, but this was a new phenomena to me.

 

Village Grocery Store Paprika Peppers

 

 

As we left the harbor we encountered several groups of wooden row houses. It’s fascinating to me since they are in different colors, but don’t necessarily line up in the same color or have a pattern for rotation. I do think they are well constructed and appealing to the local masses. We saw similar housing in Bergen and afterwards.

 

Village Wooden Row Houses

 

We then moved on from the small community of row houses and drove into the countryside. This was on the way to the lakes with “beautiful” beaches the tour guide told us about. Of course we were all wearing jackets and sweaters but what the hay! This house particularly appealed to me with its cellar door on the front side. I am not entirely sure if this was for storing canned goods or a place to ride out severe storms. The ones my paternal grandparents had was used for both actually.

 

Country House in the Lofoten Islands

 

We then passed this group of Sea-houses on stilts. They are called Rorbus in Norway. A family, couple or individual can lease them and fish directly off the deck of their house. absolutely ingenious in my opinion. Most offer either shared kitchens and bathrooms or private facilities. They have apartments also which have seating areas for relaxation, and all have great views. The bedrooms have between 2-4 beds, while the apartments have 3-6 beds spread across multiple bedrooms in each apartment.

 

Pier Houses Called Rorbus Locally

 

Once we left the area with the Sea-houses we came upon this view as we headed into the “beach” areas. It was a beautiful country road with hardly any room to pass. At times the bus driver amazed me with his skills and knack for forecasting oncoming traffic. I’m not sure how this was accomplished.

 

Country Road to Lake Region of the Lofoten Islands

 

Then we came around a corner and I thought I was in the Caribbean. The Haukland beach lay before us and it was truly gorgeous. I don’t know if my photo does it justice. I seriously wonder when the temperatures warm up how people manage to swim in the cold waters. The bay was very protected and hardly any waves were present. Probably a great place for snorkeling, if underwater fish are present.

 

Haukland Lake Beach near Leknes

 

We only drove by this beach and didn’t stop for taking outside photos. The bus driver did halt his driving for a minute or so in order to take a few photographs of these wonderful beaches through the buses’ windows. On the way to Uttakleiv beach we passed this guard house below that the local ranger inhabits according to our tour guide. I’m not sure I could really live in such a desolate place. Of course if you consider the tourists that visit daily it might not be all that bad.

 

Beach House Near Uttakleiv Beach

 

Then Uttakleiv beach appeared and it was gorgeous also, but had a multitude of large boulders on the side. The stone appeared to be either a lava product or some type of granite. The entire side of the mountain appeared to be of this substance and over the years erosion had chipped away and strewn stones and boulders down the side and into the ocean.

 

Uttakleiv Beach Near Leknes

 

Uttakleiv Beach Near Leknes

 

One of my favorite photos was this naturally sculptured heart shaped rock at Uttakleiv Beach, along with a heart formed with small stones from the beach. When they were combined it was a very romantic gesture in this old man’s opinion. I have always favored romanticism in human beings!

 

A Naturally Sculptured Heart Shaped Rock at Uttakleiv Beach with a Manmade Heart of Stones

 

This plaque on the beach represents a very important piece of Norwegian history of this portion of Northern Norway. In 1814 the long distances meant that Northern Norway was not represented at Eidsvoll. Eidsvoll is mentioned in Old Norse manuscripts. In the 11th century, it became the site of court and assembly. Elections were held, but everything happened too late for anyone from the north to join the National Assembly.

 

Uttakleiv Beach Plaque Near Leknes

 

Christian VIII was the King of Denmark from 1839 to 1848 and, as Christian Frederick, King of Norway in 1814. During the dramatic events of 1814, the whole of the northern part was in constant deficit with regard to knowledge on what was going on in political Norway. The long distances and a problematic postal service brought news only weeks, or months, after the proceedings themselves. When ballots were cast all over the country for a constitutional assembly, the distance became crucial for Northern Norway. The messages reached Nordland, Troms and Finnmark too late for anyone from there to show up in Eidsvoll. Keep on reading and my next post will be in reference to Tromso.

 

 

 

 

*** Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking Ocean Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

Viking Ocean Cruise Into the Midnight Sun Post #3, Geiranger

I have traveled many places over my 56 years of traveling this world. I have to admit that none have been as strikingly gorgeous as Geiranger was with Viking Cruises. Obviously never having been to Norway and beginning with a Bob Dylan concert, I had no idea what to expect as we sailed into this small port in Norway. We cruised from Bergen north and along the coast we were close enough to see many structures and small communities such as this below. I have an 80 to 200 zoom lens for my Sony camera, so it was nice to pull these small towns into view.

 

Coastal Town Between Bergen and Geiranger

 

Along the coast we passed so many waterfalls it was staggering. I’m guessing it was about 6:00 AM to 6:30 AM and we were having breakfast in our room with room service I believe, or taking advantage of the in room coffee maker. I couldn’t believe how stunning the coastline was. I’ve never seen this amount of waterfalls located close to each other including our many visits to Hawaii.

 

Waterfall on the Way to Geiranger

 

Just as we began to enter Geiranger Bay we passed this small village on the corner. I love European architecture related to farming and small townships. It brings back memories of my youth and helping on my Grandfather’s farm in Kansas. That was most assuredly very hard work, but there is a rewarding feeling when you complete this type of physical labor. I had no way of knowing as we turned into the bay what lay ahead or how beautiful the bay and Geiranger Fjords were going to be.

 

Small Town Going Into Geiranger Fjords

 

This would be our first of several Tender experiences while aboard the Viking Sun. I have to be honest and say how unsettling my thoughts of riding these water taxis into shore were. The mind plays games with one and I was concerned I might be claustrophobic or become seasick by the rocking of these small boats. My fears were soon belayed as the process was totally organized and without issue.

 

Tender to Shore in Geiranger

 

There it was. Geiranger Bay appeared to be a very lovely port and one that photographers would drool over. How little did I realize how oversimplified my thoughts were. Each evening prior to the various ports, the cruise director and ship operations managers would convey their knowledge and views of each port we would be touring the next day. This was invaluable to Kim and I as we combined this with the daily newsletters to resolve our plans for each days’ itinerary.

 

View of Geiranger from the Viking Sun

 

The primary focus of their talk for Geiranger was the eleven switchbacks that everyone riding the buses to the top would endure. I was actually fearful that the constant turning might make me sick to my stomach. I am very hesitant to ride in the back seat of an automobile, especially on very warm days. I tend to become deathly sick at my stomach. We disembarked and went ashore without any unpleasant consequences.

 

Moose and Whale Sausage for Sale in a Geiranger Gift Shop

 

We had to wait a few minutes for our tour bus and for the guides to set up. We decided we should visit the gift shop and see what was available. With thoughts of stuffed animals for our two year old grandson we entered the store. To our surprise it was filled with different Norwegian foods and the traditional wool winter clothing from Dale of Norway. Their designs are fairly well known throughout the world. I was dumbfounded to discover the shop sold both Moose and Whale sausage. I am comfortable experimenting and tasting new foods, but without a method of maintaining refrigeration we couldn’t think about buying any moose sausage. I don’t think I could eat the whale sausage!

 

Faux Fur Hats for Sale in a Geiranger Gift Shop

 

Given the pricing, which in all cases was extreme, I am pretty sure the fur accessories were all faux goods. As a rule in Norway goods of all kinds are very expensive as Norway has the fourth highest cost of living country in the world behind the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Switzerland in that order. We were astonished by the pricing structure in this country.

 

Seven Sisters Waterfalls

 

After maneuvering several switchbacks in the bus we stopped a pullout and were able to take photos of several waterfalls. One of the more popular set of falls is the “Seven Sisters” waterfalls. They are among the most photographed waterfalls in Geiranger Fjords. They have a fall of over 800 feet a year. Legend has it that that the “Seven Sisters” were all unmarried, and the waterfall on the other side of the fjord has been called “The Suitor” after several unsuccessful attempts to court the sisters. The Seven Sisters falls are about 6.5 kilometers or four miles west of Geiranger and are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Waterfall Around the Fjord from the Seven Sisters Waterfalls Pullout

 

This support under a free flowing waterfall near the Seven Sisters Waterfalls, was very interesting with its platform that flowed over the glass structure. It was constructed to insure soil erosion was kept to a minimum. I thought it was unique and warranted a photograph and inclusion in the blog post.

 

Queens Chair

 

Queen Sonja of Norway is the wife of King Harald V since January 1991. The Queen was awarded a chair to recognize her work in Fjord tourism with both personal and private visits to this area. This is highlighted in the verbiage on the chair’s plaque above. She and I have something in common. We have both sat in the chair only once!

 

Geiranger Bay from the Queens Chair Overlook

 

Queen Sonja is a passionate mountain hiker and HM Queen Sonja’s Panoramic hiking trail was named in her honor. This is one of her favorite hikes in the Hardangerfjord region. The trail is in the soaring mountains between Kinsarvik and Lofthus. It offers magnificent fjord views. The hike is both long and difficult with an extreme decline in to Lofthus. You will walk through forests, mountains and plush orchards. Follow the dirt road from Røte up to Heng at 750 meters above sea level. From here the trail is marked with blue Ds, The Norwegian word for Queen is Dronning.

 

View from the Higher Up Geiranger Fjords with the Queens Chair on the Right

 

From the Queen’s chair we drove a little farther up the mountain. We stepped off the bus and walked to an overlook. What I saw literally took my breath away. It is, without a doubt one of the most magnificent views I have ever seen. Looking out over the Geiranger Fjord bay was mesmerizing and I definitely knew this was a special place. I fought to keep my emotions under control. I know that everyone who has experienced this view will agree. It rewards you with a memory of a lifetime. I think I was actually drooling all over my beard at one point. I will never forget the view!

 

Ice Pools on Top of Geiranger Fjords

 

Ice Pools at the Top of Geiranger Fjords

 

We drove another few minutes to the top of Geiranger Fjord where a cafe and gift shop exists. We finally were above the tree line and the snow was evident across the mountains of slate. Behind the cafe was a frozen lake with beautiful waves of ice and snow combined. Hopefully it is translated through my photos. It was gorgeous, if not blinding!

 

Ice Pools on Top of Geiranger Fjords

 

As we were sailing to Lofoten, the cruise director made an announcement. She told us to look to the Starboard side and grab our cameras. We were passing this globe, which represents the Artic Circle. I was thrilled to have captured the moment with my zoom lens. The small structure alongside the globe is a lighthouse I assume. We passed several of these along the coast of Norway. I would not want to navigate these treacherous waters without the aid of lighthouses after dark.

 

Passing the Artic Circle After Geiranger Fjords

 

There is a ceremony on cruise ships that initiates one into the Blue Nose Society as is illustrated below. You have to get into the freezing water and emerge having a blue slushy concoction placed on your nose. After a bad experience exiting a Sauna in the Men’s Spa and getting into the mandated freezing water I declined. This act almost caused my second heart attack and I didn’t want to take any chances.

 

Blue Nose Ceremony for Crossing the Artic Circle

 

I may have not communicated this well enough, but this particular port was definitely one of my favorites on our Into the Midnight Sun cruise. Onward to Lofoten home to breathtaking jagged peaks and sheltered bays!

 

 

 

 

*** Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking Ocean Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

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