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June 1999: the Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Express)

Part 2 - The Return trip

Part 1 of this story left us near the Russian border ready to board our ship and head south again ...

Day 8 Saturday 3rd July 1999

Our wedding anniversary.

Up very early for the trip to North Cape. There is no sun but at least it is not overcast or misty like Thursdayís trip and we can see for miles. Excellent breakfast, informative video then wander around at leisure until coaches leave minus 2 Germans. On the way back visit Sami with his reindeer, tent and souvenir shop. Lots of reindeer everywhere.

Long trip via coach, through the newly opened tunnel from island to mainland. Most odd not seeing trees around the landscape, but after turning inland very nice to be on a road without the view of the sea!

Arrive Hammerfest, but no time to visit Polar Bear museum. The large Polar Bear on the edge of town stands with his back to the town because the council would not pay the sculptor for his work so he turned it round and told them to look at the bear's backside !

Wine and flowers in our cabin when we arrived back. Drank the wine during the afternoon, more wine and drinks so feeling a little merry again. As the weather was very misty during the evening we cancelled the cable car trip at Tromso at midnight.


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This Sami (more commonly known to us as a Lapp) makes his living from being photographed and selling souvenirs. Hidden behind a hillock we found his Volvo Estate car!
Allan and Debbie by the globe on the tip of North Cape
The latitude marker at North Cape, more than 71 degrees North

Day 9 Sunday 4th July 1999

The ship was decorated with flags, as were several others that we passed. The Americans insisted that the flags were celebrating Independence Day, we found out that in fact they were celebrating Queen Soniaís birthday.

We had a very lazy day, didnít go on any of the trips. Hundreds of people came on the ship for the day, including a choir.

Weather is nice and sunny again, so visited the new steamer museum. The museum shows the history of the Hurtigruten. Although it is not quite fully finished is still very interesting, including an old ship, now in dry dock as part of the future exhibits.

Visited the Trollfjord again. This time we watched from the stern of the ship, and they didnít serve soup! Again the walls of the fjord seemed within touching distance.

Spent a very enjoyable evening with Gary, after which Debbie demonstrated the sunís movements to an idiot American and sent everyone else on the back deck into hysterics. The midnight sun was glorious for our last night above the Arctic Circle.


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Two pictures showing just how close the cliffs are to each side of the ship in Trollfjord

Day 10 Monday 5th July 1999

Woke late. Missed crossing the Arctic Circle. Debbie had a sauna Ė not very successful. Wandered round Sandressjoen during the morning and Bronnoysund during the afternoon. Again the weather is very hot and sunny. The Captain again played hooligans to allow us to see and photograph the Troll's Hat from all sides. Again we were on the back deck and had a better view. Slept on the back deck in hot sun before dinner which was very posh and nice being the Captainís Dinner Ė so we dressed in our finery.

After dinner drank and talked with Tove, her husband and cousin, Maureen.


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The island of Trollhatten (the Troll's hat) The hole is where the gods shot an arrow right through it

Day 11 Tuesday 6th July 1999

Woke to find ourselves back in Trondheim, but didnít go ashore this time. Very tempted to leave Nordkapp and join Harold Jahr to go north again. How long would it take before anyone realised we werenít supposed to be there?

Lots of day people aboard. The bars and decks are crowded with virtually no where to sit.

Passed Midnitsol near Molde.

After dinner packed our bags, paid our bar bills not as bad as we had expected, then spent a quiet evening drinking with Gary.

Day 12 Wednesday 7th July 1999

Something unreal about today. We finish our holiday aboard Nordkapp this afternoon, but in the meantime have to occupy ourselves this morning, find a deckchair on rear deck, one or two more beers. Our cabin is clear by 12 noon, with our cases removed and our hand luggage packed. Lunch for the last time. We are going to miss all the seafood we have eaten. Hello Bergen. Onto deck to watch everyone leave the ship. When itís a little clearer we leave the ship, a coach takes us to the Neptune Hotel in the middle of Bergen for our last night.

We take the cable car to the top of the mountain. The views from there are quite magnificent. We can see Nordkapp clearly at her berth waiting for all her new passengers to join. We see a little more of Bergen by taking the little sightseeing train. We also walk all around the old buildings.

After a drink by the harbour we find a small restaurant for a meal, then back to the hotel for a couple of drinks and bed.


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Looking down on Bergen we can just see the ship we have left
The menu tells you which country we were in

Day 13 Thursday 8th July 1999

After breakfast we walk to the Aquarium where we see baby penguins that they have bred. The rest of the aquarium is very interesting, lots of unusual fish Ė most of which we have eaten over the last couple of weeks! After another look at the penguins itís time to walk back to the hotel so the coach can take us to the airport for our flight home.


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Beautiful old wooden buildings in Bergen
Trust Debbie to find some of the world's most northerly penguins, at Bergen Zoo

What a fiasco. We are not registered on any flight out of Bergen. After what seems like an age we are told to report to the Braathans desk as they have room for us! We are put in first class to make up for the problem but it is still not as good as SAS, but at least we arrive in Oslo half an hour earlier. Another long walk from one end of the airport to the other, but have time to visit duty free shop. This time we buy cigarettes for mum and Cointreau and Drambuie for Allan.

Eventually we board our SAS flight back to Heathrow. Again we have salmon salad for lunch, with lots to drink, but this time it all seems an anticlimax. The weather over England is cloudy so donít see much until almost landed.

Another long walk to find our luggage, go through passport control, customs and out to find Chris waiting for us.

Itís wonderful to be home, but wouldnít it be lovely to be back aboard ship amid all the wonderful mountains, fjords, islands and straits, and with the very friendly people of Norway.

Oh well, maybe one day ...


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