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Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:00 am

The Fabulous Finnmarken Part Two: The World’s most beautiful voyage.

Welcome to the very long second part of my trip report, this time focussing on the voyage itself and my trip from Kirnenes-Oslo-Frankfurt-Denver. This report mostly focuses on the Northbound Coastal Express Voyage I took from Bergen-Kirkenes onboard the MS Finnmarken. I have done my best to portray what is a very hard thing to portray, a unique cruise experience onboard a ship that makes 32 stops over seven days. To make it easier to follow geographically, i've listed all the stops along the way, along with the scenery i discovered in between those stops, afterall that's what this voyage is about, the scenery.

I hope you enjoy this, i hope it gives you a feel for Norway as a country and the Hurtigruten in general as a vacation.

Please note, there are no interior shots of the ship. With 1000 people onboard, I didn't feel it was possible to take pictures of the various public rooms without intruding on someone's privacy.

As always please feel free to comment.

Welcome aboard the Hurtigruten, rightfully called the world’s most beautiful voyage, but also perhaps the world’s most unique cruise experience. Over the course of seven days, the ship traverses hundreds of miles of the Norwegian coastline as it travels from Bergen to Kirkenes, making stops at 32 different ports along the way, including three of Norway’s largest cities, Trondheim, Bodo and Tromso. The vessels of the Hurtigruten, which continue a 115 year history of almost continuous service, are not unlike the 747-400 Combi, on the one hand providing comfortable accommodations for passengers, and on the other hand providing expedient and necessary cargo transport service to cities, towns and even villages that often have no other link to the outside world.

The voyage, for the tourists, begins at one of two terminuses, the modern terminal at Bergen for Northbound passengers, or the small terminal at Kirkenes for southbound passengers.

In our case, going Northbound, the voyage started at the Bergen terminal, a functional, modern building on the commercial side of Bergen harbor. Arriving at the terminal at six pm by bus from our hotel, we check in and receive our welcome packet and the card key to our cabin. Our baggage having already been collected from the hotel and taken to the ship, we need do nothing more than ride the escalator up to the second level and pass by offices and conference rooms before passing along a row of wharf side windows leading to the boarding bridge. If there is security it is opaque to the passenger and hassle free, no xray machines, no metal detectors, no stripping off of clothes or personal items, just walk onboard the ship and proceed to your cabin.

The cabins themselves are a wonder in compactness and efficiency of space. The two beds, sitting parallel to one another, fold up out of the way. A compact bathroom contains a small but spacious shower, plus a sink and toilet. A closet opposite the bathroom contains a small safe for valuables as well as room to hang up clothes and a storage unit between the bathroom and the bed on one side provides storage space for personal items.

By the time we get settled it’s six thirty and we go join a buffet dinner that’s anything but organized. The stern view dining room on deck four is crammed with people who form two long buffet lines. From the symphony of languages overheard we quickly realize that most of the passengers this time are European, consisting of some brits, a large group of Germans, some French and some Norwegians. The food, as always, is good, with plenty of choices to please everyone. In addition there’s a dessert station with ice cream and gelatinous desserts. Getting that food is a bit of a challenge as there’s no clear indication where the line starts, so people just barge in, getting nasty looks from people who think there’s a line and thus are standing in it.

People generally push and shove in an impolite way to get what they want, resulting in self service being rushed before we prowl around the dining room looking for an open table, of which there are very few, and none with a view. We finally find a table near the entrance to the kitchen. Waiters rush around but don’t provide much in the way of service. This is not typical of Hurtigruten, but more a result of the crowds.

Getting dessert requires once again pushing through lines of people.

With dinner finished, we leave the dining room and head up on deck to get some air and watch the departure, which, again, uncharacteristic for the Hurtigruten, is thirty minutes late thanks to a delayed flight into Bergen and the desire not to leave passengers behind.

By eight pm we’re standing along the railing of deck eight, the top deck of the ship, watching as more people cram on. At eight thirty, uncharacteristically late, the boarding bridge has retracted and we’re quietly pushing away from our berth and steaming into Bergen Harbor. Behind us, if we look off the stern, we can see the whole city of Bergen unfolding, bidding us farewell and a safe journey to Kirkenes. The ship would be back in 12 days to start the cycle all over again.
Sailing through the Islands on our way out of Bergen. It’s 930pm and the sun is beginning to set.

Now that we’re successfully underway, dad heads down to get the cabin organized while I stay up on deck to enjoy the last remnants of the day.

Stops One and Two, Floro and Maloy are made in the middle of the night, at two and four am approximately, a time when any normal person is in their cabin sleeping. Being not quite normal, I do manage to make my way up to deck eight for the stop in Floro, where I watch a Volvo pull away from the ship with a trailer hooked to the back, and in the trailer is a flat screen plasma tv for someone. Once we’re out to sea again, I return to the cabin. I wake up for the stop in Maloy, but don’t quite make it up on deck, oh well, not much to see anyway. I go back to sleep.

When I awaken again, at around seven, we’re well on our way to Torvik, our next stop. Before dad and I go to breakfast, I’m up and out for my wakeup cigarette, watching as the scenery starts to unfold.

Stop Three: Torvik.
Standing on deck at eight in the morning, sailing between Torvik and Alesund, I’m struck by the glass calm waters and the mountains looming off in the distance. A shoal of rocks guarding the entrance to an inlet also catch my fancy.
A small village cascading down the hillside to the sea
I like the contrast of the tiny village up against the huge mountain.
Coming out into more open water, I walk back to the stern, this is what we’ve left behind
As is typical on this voyage the view can change from one side of the ship to the other, on one side, close in green mountains and villages, walk around to the other side of the ship and you’re viewing a vast open sea
Some of the scenery between Torvik and Aalesund
In between the various islands are inlets like this.

At eight thirty dad and I make the mistake of heading down for breakfast. The dining room again, is a zoo, with everyone having awakened seemingly at the same time and decided to go have breakfast. We fight our way through the madding crowds, get breakfast and find seats. Dad and I decide that from hence forth, we’ll come for breakfast when the dining room opens at seven, when the crowds of 85 year olds and families with children aren’t awake yet. The demographics are a surprising mix. There are lots of senior citizens, families with children, and at least three people in wheel chairs.

After breakfast, dad and I once again come out on deck, where we spend most of our time, to find we’re coming into our first major port, Aalesund.

Stop Four: Alesund.
During the summer, the northbound ship makes two separate stops here. One in the morning, assumably to drop off local passengers and cargo, and another in the evening to pickup local passengers and northbound cargo. The eight hours in between will see us make what’s arguably the most beautiful part of the voyage, the eight hour trip to Geiranger, a little tiny town at the end of a network of verdant fjords. Geiranger is also the first opportunity to take a shore excursion.
Having discussed the shore excursions available for Geiranger, both of which involve long, but admittedly scenic bus rides, we decide against it.
As we start the journey into the fjords leading to Geiranger, we’re sailing towards what seems like an impenetrable wall of mountains
As we get deeper into the fjords the mountains turn from grey and foreboding to green and verdant, revealing a network of waterfalls. The Fjord has gotten much narrower now. Everyone is either in the perennially full Panoramic lounge, forward on deck eight, or outside in the bow observation area, or somewhere along the open lido that is most of deck eight, taking pictures. The fjords leading into Geiranger are like a labyrinth of narrow green, mountainous, and water filled passages. Getting a forward view is difficult to say the least, as that requires being in the Panoramic lounge or up on the bow observation area, both of which are packed with people.
The weeping groom waterfall
The Seven sisters are directly across the Fjord from the Weeping Groom. Unfortunately, because the ship sails so close to the fjord walls, it’s difficult to get really good pictures.

At the end of the four hour inbound voyage that sees us snake through a series of passages before finally reaching the nine kilometer long Geiranger Fjord, we got a very cool surprise. There were three other ships anchored at the end of the Geiranger Fjord.
The Marco Polo, a vessel originally built by the Russians, then converted to a cruise ship, sailed under the banner of Orient Cruises for many years, providing one of the most upscale cruise experiences imaginable. With the advent of Radisson with newer, smaller ships, and the purchase of Orient by NCL, Orient has gone into the history books, but their sole ship lives on, doing budget cruises for Europeans, still named the Marco Polo.
The Costa Mediterranea. This is actually a Carnival ship built for Costa. The platform is called the Spirit Class, and while the colors and trimmings are different, and the onboard experience is tailored to the Costa Brand, the ship is outwardly almost identical to four other ships: the Carnival Pride, Spirit, Legend and Miracle.
Finally there was the Mona Lisa, another budget cruise ship, and one soon to be turned into a Hotel-Ship in Sweden. What stuck out to me about the Mona Lisa, what triggered recognition of the ship from one of its previous lives, was the very distinctive cone shaped funnel. Looking at the ship, I asked myself “didn’t that used to be….?” The answer, upon further research when I returned home was “yes, it used to be……” It used to be the Sea Princess.

Following our arrival into Geiranger and the offloading of half the ship for one of two shore excursions that leave from Geiranger, heading to either Alesund or Molde, and involving either a four or seven hour bus ride, dad and I headed down for lunch, and during lunch, the ship began doing the stern swing. My face was lighting up as I listened to the engine below revved up, then the whole dining room began to shudder in an oh so enjoyable way, while the ship made a 180 degree pivot, (I don’t care how luxurious and feature laden the mega boxes are, I dare any of them to do a maneuver like that!) then we came to a stop for several minutes, being held in place by the thrusters. What we were waiting for? Not that I was unhappy, I thoroughly enjoyed the shuddering and rattling of the Finnmarken as she chomped at the bit to get going. It wasn’t until I came back on deck after lunch that I realized we stopped because the Mona Lisa was pulling out. I was actually kind of sorry I missed this, but, that’s life, the coolest moments sometimes come when you’re not prepared for them.

Surprisingly, once we were out of the Geiranger Fjord, we began overtaking the Mona Lisa, ultimately leaving her far behind. The surprising part came because of the difference in cruising speeds. While Finnmarken manages an almost leisurely 15 knots, the Mona Lisa is capable of 19, leaving me to wonder if they were having some kind of engine trouble.
On the way out of the Geiranger Fjord complex

The trip back to Alesund followed the same route as the trip to Geiranger with the same scenery. Having already taken 79 pictures of that scenery, I needn’t take any more. I put the camera away. The next four and one half hours were spent lolling around, enjoying a rare seat in the Panoramic lounge, talking to dad, and generally not doing anything of import but relaxing. At six pm we were back in Aalesund, where we picked up our northbound vehicles and cargo, plus group one of shore exursioneers and headed to Molde.

Stop Five: Molde.
By the time we got here, it was too late to take pictures. The stop was just long enough to pickup the second group of shore excursionistas who were waiting by the pier as the ship came in.

Stop Six: Kristiansund.
I seem to recall this was a fast stop, less than fifteen minutes, not long enough for me to get out of bed and get up on deck. It was 145am when we rolled in here.

Stop Seven: Trondheim
When I awakened this morning, we were coming into Trondheim, the third largest city in Norway, behind Oslo and Bergen. The presence of the Richard With, named for the founder of Hurtigruten, meant we had to back into our parking spot behind her. Of course, it was during the walk down to breakfast that I noticed we were in fact backing up, and passing by another ship, but it was too late to go up on deck and capture the ships side by side.
Only twice during the 7 day voyage were two Hurtigruten ships in port at the same time. The Richard With was heading southbound, we were heading northbound.

By the time Breakfast finished and dad and I had gotten our act together to head out and do some exploring during our three hour and forty five minute stop in Trondheim, Richard was gone, leaving Finnmarken to fend for herself.

Once again, dad walked me to the bone. We spent two hours exploring the streets of Trondheim.

It’s no surprise, with her network of quiet canals, that Trondheim is called the Venice of the North.

Our walk through Trondheim also took us into a typical residential neighborhood
A cathedral sits at the top of the hill overlooking a cascade of modern housing leading down to the water
the gateway into the city.

Eventually, we meandered back to the ship and while dad went off to walk a little more, I took the opportunity to finally get some good pictures of Finnmarken.
The Finnmarken taken from the stern. The windows centered in the stern are the dining room.
The Finnmarken from the bow. She’s 457 feet long and 70 feet wide.
Deck five promenade, looking forward to the bow. The bow area, it should be noted, was tiered, with chaise lounges. This was accomplished by putting the mechanical equipment one deck below.
The city of Trondheim
Looking towards the island in the harbor. We were told by the cruise director, who made pa announcements in four languages (Norwegian, English, German and French) pointing things out as we went along, that this island once served as a place where the Vikings conducted executions, and later housed a prison. Currently it’s a tourist attraction.

Heading out of Trondheim we began the longest single stretch of the voyage, the nine hour trip to Rorvik, the traditional meeting point of the north and south bound ships.
very low clouds obscured the sun and the tops of hills
Take away the brooding clouds and the water and this could easily be Colorado or New Mexico, very similar greenery and terrain.
at times we were so close to shore we could have swam
finally some sun. This picture was taken for dad, who lamented the lack of the sun during much of the first three days.

Stop Eight: Rorvik 2045-2130
The traditional meeting place of the north and southbound steamers. Here I had a conundrum. On the one hand I wanted to go visit the Nordnorge, on the other hand Dinner, for dad and I began at eight thirty, and the Cruise Director made it clear we couldn’t come late for dinner. It was one or the other. A look at the menu made the decision easy, we skipped dinner. While Breakfast and Lunch are buffets, dinner is table service with a set menu and done in two seatings.
The Nordnorge arriving in Rorvik just ahead of us. When the ship comes in, the bow is at an angle to the dock, the stern will then thrust the rest of the ship in so she’s parallel with the dock.
Let the invastion begin! A group of passengers from the Finnmarken walk towards the Nordnorge. It’s a Hurtigruten tradition that at this point in the voyage, when the North and Southbound ships meet, the passengers from each vessel are invited to go see the other vessel.
The Fabulous Finnmarken in all her glory!
Both ships sit in tandem at the dock. Taken from near the bow of the Nordnorge.

With only forty five minutes in port, the self directed tour of the other ship had to be quick. Coming onboard the Nordnorge, we were given visitor passes, and for a few minutes we made the rounds of their public areas. While I didn’t take any interior pictures, because I didn’t want to disturb their paid passengers, I managed one pretty unique picture of Finnmarken parked behind her smaller sister.
The Finnmarken, taken head on from the top deck of the Nordnorge with the Norwegian post flag in the background.
Back on the Finnmarken, looking at the stern of the Nordnorge. Considering how cold it was outside, I thought that guy crazy to be running around in nothing but swimming trunks! Not even a shirt on!
The starboard side of the Nordnorge as we pull out from behind to continue our northbound journey

The Nordnorge, it turns out, has a special place in the hearts of many. As some may (or may not) know, during the winter, one Hurtigruten ship is dispatched to South America to do Antarctica cruises. It was during one of those Antarctic voyages that the small exploration ship Explorer hit a submerged iceberg and began to list and then sink, there was an international rescue effort, involving a number of other vessels, with all the passengers and crew from the Explorer being taken aboard the Nordnorge for transport back to Argentina. Having looked around on the Nordnorge, it’s amazing they were able to bring onboard an additional 154 passengers, it’s not a big ship. It is a testament to Hurtigruten that they did this.
It’s almost ten pm and the sun is beginning to set, turning the sky pink.

Stops Nine, Ten and Eleven: Bronnoysund, Sandnesjoen, Nesna were once again middle of the night stops.

The sun casts a wide swath on the water in the early morning hours as we traverse between Nesna and Ornes. We’ve officially crossed the Artic Circle.
Just your typical Locally Centered Weather Phenomena
The southbound Trollfjord. Three years ago, I was on that ship doing this same voyage.
It’s interesting to note that the Trollfjord and her sister the Midnatsol are three meters shorter, but over 1000 GRT larger than Finnmarken

The Trip to Svartisen Glacier
Shortly after we passed the Trollfjord we joined the crowds and descended to deck two to embark for the one shore excursion we had decided to take. From deck two we boarded a high speed boat for the trip to the glacier. Getting to the boat required we wait in the rather empty cargo bay and once the two ships were connected together, we descended the gangway (we did this at sea) and onto the smaller boat, which then peeled off and headed one way, while the Finnmarken continued towards Ornes. One hour later and we docked near the glacier, unloaded ourselves, and walked approximately a kilometer to the glacier.
Svartisen Glacier
Svartisen is the second largest glacier in Norway, and is fronted by this glacial lake.
The fjord we came into to get to the glacier.

The walk to the glacier was scenic as we passed pastoral farmland with a large population of sheep, cattle and goats. For those who don’t want to walk, there is a tourbus that runs between the pier and a lodge near the glacier. It was strange to see a large, expensive tourbus driving up and down a one lane dirt road.

Once we had seen the glacier, we went to the lodge nearby where we enjoyed beverages and a breakfast snack before walking back to the dock and reboarding the boat.

The second part of the excursion took us to the village of Stott, total population 47. Frankly, there wasn’t much to see here! The story went that the town was built on two islands connected together by a traffic bridge, they told us people work on one island and live on the other. At one time, in the late 70s, Stott had a population of 77, as there were thirty children, enough to enable the town to build a school for them and hire a teacher. We walked around Stott, stopping for a moment at a fish processing plant to watch the employees process fish, and stopping at the general store to get an ice cream before heading back to the boat for the ride to Bodo, which took about an hour and a half. If I take another trip on the Hurtigruten, I probably would not go to Svartisen again. We arrived in Bodo in time to reboard Finnmarken and continue our Northbound journey
While we went to Svartizen, the Finnmarken went on to Ornes before continuing to Bodo.

Stop Eleven: Ornes. What’s funny is that even though this is a daylight stop, I’ve never actually seen this port, as I’ve taken the Svartisen excursion twice.

Stop Twelve: Bodo.
The Bodo skyline, as seen from the Finnmarken
Leaving Bodo we came across this rather interesting scene, with rural, farm type houses in the foreground and a fish processing plant in the background.
Coming out of Bodo, the sea is more open, and the landscape more barren.

The next four hours were spent crossing an open stretch of sea that didn’t offer much in the way of scenery.

Stop Thirteen: Stamsund.
I like this contrast
Note the painting on the terminal roof, very cool.

Stop Fourteen: Svolvaer.
Svolvaer was my dad’s next chance to get some exercise. Svolvaer’s claim to fame is being the home of famous Norwegian artist Dagfin Bakke. While I stood on deck and enjoyed the night air, dad got off and walked around the port a bit.

After we left Svolvaer we were told that we’d sailing into the Troll Fjord. By this time it was almost dark, making taking pictures (for me) out of the question, as we came closer to the Troll Fjord, which is tiny, just three kilometers long and 300 meters wide, everyone gathered on the foredeck, crammed in like sardines, watching as we sailed into this impossibly narrow fjord with walls that seemed to go straight up. Everyone was oohing and aahing at the scenery, what of it we could see in the twilight, some people took pictures, and we could hear the pretend howls of trolls from the shore. Getting out of the fjord required incredible precision as we had to do a 180 degree turn in a fjord we were told was only 900 feet wide. Very little room for error with a 457 foot ship. As dad pointed out later, we could not have gone in there without powerful stern thrusters. Very slowly we did the turn, with spotlights shining on the walls of the fjord to help the bridge crew gauge the distance for the turn. I was so impressed I went down to reception and asked them to thank the bridge crew for taking us in there.

With the excitement over, most people went to bed, including my dad, and I spent some time up in the panorama lounge thinking I’d stay awake until we got to Stokmarknes, but alas, in the end, I gave up, as the journey seemed to take forever, and there wasn’t much to see, it being dark and all, I went to bed.

Stops Fifteen, sixteen and seventeen: Stokmarknes, Sortland, and Risoyhamn happened in the middle of the night.

Stop Eighteen: Harstad
A view of the port taken from deck five.

Stop Nineteen: Finnsnes.
Out of finnsnes, heading for Tromso
Idyllic Rural North Norway
An abandoned looking fish processing plant.

Stop Twenty: Tromso, the Paris of the North.
Downtown Tromso.

The four hour stop in Tromso gave dad more time to walk on shore while I lounged around, watched some tv in the cabin, and generally did nothing worthwhile.
Stop Twenty One, Twenty Two and Twenty Three were all night stops: Skjervoy, Oksfjord, Hammerfest

the vastness of an open Fjord on the way to Havoysund.
The landscape was still green, but much more barren
The grass is too sparse to hide the rocks
A large fish processing plant set against the barrenness of the hillside. This processing plant was adjacent to the Hurtigruten terminal in Havoysund.

Stop Twenty Four: Havoysund

Stop Twenty Five: Honningsvag
The main attraction for tourists in Honningsvag is the North Cape, the northern most point in Europe. The shore excursion there, which mom, eric and I took in 2005, puts you on a bus that takes you to a visitor’s center, you than walk to a placard marking the spot. There’s also a commemoration of a recent world children’s day, where seven children from different continents were brought in to dedicate individual pieces of the monument depicting the various continents. The site is completed with a stylized globe and a statue of a woman and child. The North Cape, so we were told, draws up to two million visitors a year from all over the world.
Heading out of Honningsvag, the landscape is much more bleak.
Church Rock, on the way to Kjollefjord

Stop Twenty Six: Kjollefjord

Stop Twenty Seven: Mehamn

Stop Twenty Eight: Berlevag. Another cool surprise.
We were told today that we would be passing the Kong Harald, named for the king of Norway, on the way into Skjervoy. Peter then went on to say there was something we were to do. At eleven o’clock in the evening, we were to come up to deck eight with a white towel. Later in the day, he once again reminded us to come up on deck around eleven with our white towels. So, it came to be eleven o’clock and even thought I felt I’d look like a fool walking around on deck at eleven in the evening with a towel, I just couldn’t stand the suspense of all this. Leaving the cabin, I headed up to deck eight, following a large number of other passengers, who all had white towels. What was all this about? A large number of passengers had gathered on deck, many with white towels, and we all proceeded to line the railing. While Finnmarken turned in towards Skjervoy, Kong Harald finished its business and came out, since the port was too small to handle both of us at once. Then, the craziest thing happened, as the two ships passed, and traded horn blasts, the Finnmarken People and the Kong Harald People, who were lining their railings, started waving towels at one another like crazy. Everyone was laughing, shouting, waving hands or towels. Those that had flash were taking pictures of this whole crazy spectacle.

It lasted only a moment, but it was the craziest moment I had ever seen, then we turned in and they turned away and it was over.

Pumped up with excitement, I stayed awake as we came into Berlevag, contenting myself to watch a dredging ship at work on the other side of the pier.

Once we were on our way to Batsfjord, I retired for the night.

Stop Twenty Nine and thirty: Batsfjord, Vardo were once again night stops.

Stop Thirty One: Vadso
Turtle Rock between Vadso and Kirkenes
Goodbye to the Finnmarken at Kirkenes.

At ten thirty on the eighteenth, we arrived in Kirkenes, the northern terminus. The time had come for us to leave the Finnmarken and begin the long journey home. First we’d fly to Oslo, spend one more night. Amidst a bevy of personnel working like crazy to clean and ready the cabins we had vacated at eight thirty this morning. dad and I left the ship, picking up our luggage, and boarding a bus for the airport where I got a surprise, Kirkenes in the three years since I had been here last, had gotten a brand new terminal.

Compared to the pervious terminal the new one was a veritable mansion, no more waiting outside fretting, hoping you don’t miss the flight as a fellow passenger chortles “they can’t leave without us, we are the passengers!”

We now stood in line inside, following the signs for SAS, checking in and almost immediately proceeding to our waiting plane, which was already in and ready to go. The airside of the terminal was large and spacious with several gates as opposed to just one with the old terminal. Gate twenty two, where we boarded was on the far right side.

Flight: SAS 4473 737-705 LN-TUA
Amazing, you’d never know this plane was the 33rd Next Gen 737 off the line, it was immaculate inside and out. Our seats this time were further back in the bus, and there really wasn’t much to see as we flew over Sweden, lots of cloud cover, but not much turbulence, before finally arriving back at Gardermoen for one more night in Oslo.
we pulled into gate 17, next to LN-RRO, which I believe is a 737-600.
LN-TUA, having just brought us from Kirekenes. The plane looks brand new even though it’s going on ten years old, clearly Braathens has well taken care of it.

It’s amazing to think that an airplane can cover in two hours the same distance it takes a ship a week to cover.

On the train to Oslo, we threw around the notion of going to Sarpsborg, my grandfather’s home town, but, after seven exciting days on the ship, we were both tired and traveled out. Our hotel in Oslo once again proved to be within walking distance of the train station, thus we walked. Dinner tonight was at a café near Karl Johan’s gate.

We considered walking up to the Royal Palace, but with the questionable weather and an early departure, we contented ourselves to returning to the hotel.

It was up bright and early, like three a.m. early as dad and I checked out of our hotel and walked to the train station. One more ride to the airport on the modern Flytoget and we were checking in with Lufthansa. While dad wasn’t necessarily pleased with our five hour layover in Frankfurt, he understood we were better safe than sorry.

Flight: Lufthansa 3137 A320-211 D-AIQH Oslo-Frankfurt
The ride to Frankfurt was short and smooth. I think breakfast was provided, but I probably didn’t eat it. I spent the short two hour flight looking at my pictures, deciding which to get rid of and which to keep. I liked the leather seats and I didn’t even mind that we weren’t entertained during this short flight. Arriving at Frankfurt put us into the A concourse. With five hours to kill, I had plenty of time to spot, and have a smoke at the very smoker friendly Frankfurt Airport, while dad went on to our Denver gate, located in the same terminal, but one level above.
The 747-400 head on. What a beauty.
A340-300 D-AIGL in the rain.
A Lufthansa 747-400 taxying in the rain. One great thing I’ll stay about the A concourse, and especially the third level sequestered US departures area, it provides a great view of the active runway.
LH A321 being pushed back. Seen from the sequestered US departure area of terminal A.
LH A330 going to seattle, taken from the third level USA departures area for the A Concourse. Notice the reflection?
LH A300 being pushed back.
LH A340-300 being towed from her parking position further down the concourse.

Finally, it was time to get going. First, I made the long walk to the sequestered US departures zone, getting my passport stamped and taking the stairs up to the third level. Having done more smoking, and spotting, as witnessed above, dad and I finally regrouped at A-58, which, it turned out wa
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
Topic Author
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:39 am

whoops, here's the rest!

which, it turned out was an airfield bus gate. I knew this the moment I saw the gate, saw the position of the single jetway, and the distance between the building and the grass. There was no way, I told myself, they can get an A340-600 into this alley, it was way too narrow. I was right. So, having hooked up with dad, after we had both done our own thing, we commenced to stand in a very long line, boarding passes in hand, when we had a stroke of good luck, one of the gate agents canvassing the line, decided our passports hadn’t been properly processed and beckoned us to the front. While we stood near the podium, he processed our passports, but didn’t make us go back to the end of the line, so, when the gate lounge opened, we were among the first in.

One thing I will say about the Frankfurt airport, I like the way they’ve done away with the traditional long rows of seats and replaced some of them with tables, it makes it much easier for people traveling together to stay together as a group.

Soon enough we were directed to descend the stairs once again to the underground roadway where buses were waiting. We crammed onto a bus like sardines and headed for the A flightline where D-AIHA was waiting. Looking over the driver’s shoulder, standing near the front, I finally realized how they knew which airplane to go to, there’s a small digital display for the driver. Interesting that when the bus approaches the aircraft, it will pass around the right side of the aircraft, then go behind it, then up the left side, before stopping near the boarding doors.

Again, we waited seemingly forever before the driver was finally given the all clear to let us out, we tromped through the rain and up the stairs. If I didn’t realize it before, the A340-600 is a huge plane! Of course, being smart we went for the covered stairs at door two. Door one, presumably where first/business class would board, was closed and the stairs pulled away. With the large crowd on the tarmac and the ever present rampers, I wasn’t comfortable trying to take a picture.
The courteous LH cabin crew greeted us as we came aboard, directing us to our seats.

Our seats this time were row 24, further forward, but still on the wing. So no airborne scenery shots.
The inboard engine is just visible. Also visible, a Swiss A319

The trip back was uneventful, we got lunch, and I once again tried out the entertainment system, watching some of the movies I hadn’t watched on the way over, including my first Bollywood movie, a strange movie about two brothers and horse racing, and in the middle of the movie, a song and dance number! Is that normal for Bollywood? All in all it was just strange to see people dying, and horse races and car chases and in the middle of it all, everyone breaks into song and dance!

Lunch this time was unmemorable, I had pasta again, but it turned out to be something completely different than what we had coming over, I didn’t really like it.
D-AIHA, Lufthansa’s first A340-600 has arrived in Denver. Ironic that the plane is named Nuremburg, as that’s where I’m going in November, on another free trip to Europe, paid not through an inheritance from Grandma, as this one was, but by my company.

Interesting that we all deplaned through door number one. Walking through business class, I noticed one of the differences between business and coach for the first time, their entertainment options filled an entire magazine, so I’m guessing that Avod for business class has many more options. Interesting too that they don’t tell those in coach what the options for business class are. For coach, the options are listed at the back of the inflight magazine.

Would I fly LH again? Yes. They’re good. The food is excellent and the service is courteous and efficient. For the time being, I’d probably limit myself to the A346 and A330 until the rest of the long haul fleet has been fitted for Avod in coach. I really have become spoiled!

Upon deplaning we walked along the mezannine than then crossed the bridge, finding our way to customs, which was packed thanks to UA 939 having come in not long ago. Customs was easy, I got my luggage and came out to find mumsy waiting for me. Dad and I bid our farewells, he was heading down to parking to be picked up by his wife, mom and I headed out for the drive back to Boulder.

All in all, it was, once again, a marvelous trip. The Hurtigruten for me is like one of those amusement park rides you take as a kid, and you like it so much, you want to get off, get back in line and go again. I’m now thinking about taking the southbound voyage, but alas, that will probably be not unlike my round the world trips, I’ll be going by myself, as my parents have both indicated once is enough.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:03 am

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Thread starter):
A cathedral sits at the top of the hill overlooking a cascade of modern housing leading down to the water

Small correction: It's not a cathedral, it's the old main building of the university.
Ignorance kills. :tombstone:
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:20 am

Quoting SpeedyGonzales (Reply 2):
Small correction: It's not a cathedral, it's the old main building of the university.

correction accepted. You have a beautiful city there, i hope i did Norway justice.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:48 pm

Massive report!!
Simply stunning!
I like the way you set up the report, although a lot pics are included. It makes it a long read, but for me it was worth the time  Smile
My parents made the same trip last year, I think also on the Finnmarken, but not sure about that. It even ment my mom's first flights ever! At 62 this is quite a achievement, if you didn't dare to fly up till then.
Also glad you liked the product LH offered to you, this airline is a special one for me
Thanks for sharing, and hope to read more about your travelling soon!

Joost ( D-ALCE )
flown: F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,763,744,77W,788,319,320,321,333,AB6.
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:20 pm

Hi, Scott,

wow, stunning story and superb pix.
Needless to say, I love the nordic countries.
While I´ve visited some of the stations around your trip, there is a special
Hurtigruten reminder about:

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Thread starter):
Stop Eighteen: Harstad

Staying in that hotel in the upper left corner, awakened at 2.00 am with heavy activity
by the harbour when the Hurtigruten arrived for the short stop.
And only some minutes later the ship departed and it was nightly calm again.

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 1):
Ironic that the plane is named Nuremburg, as that’s where I’m going in November, on another free trip to Europe

Wish you a good time in Nuremberg.

Best regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:48 pm

thank you for the kind words, i appreciate it

as for the size: yeah, it's probably way too long with too many pictures, i just didn't think i could convey the true nature of the voyage without alot of pics.

Also, i'm glad you liked the format, i thought by doing it that way, it would give the trip a sense of continuity that's hard to portray in another way.

Joost: congratulations to your mom on her first plane trip. Hopefully now that she's experienced the joy that is flying she'll want to venture further afield, but making your first plane trip is a big milestone no matter how old or young you are!

Markus: One observation i made was that when we came into port at those wee hours of the morning, the ship didnt blow her horn. given the small size of some of these towns, it would literally wake the entire town up if they did that.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:35 am

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Thread starter):

Yes, it is a B737-600!

Great report. I enjoyed your pics a lot!

My mother lives in Norway ( between Alesund and Geiranger)so I get to see a lot of this great country! I havn´t been on the Hurtigruten so far but I need to change that soon.  Smile
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:42 am

Fantastic to se the pictures. What was the temperature like? Looks cold and wet.
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:52 am

Quoting OHLHD (Reply 7):
Great report. I enjoyed your pics a lot!

My mother lives in Norway ( between Alesund and Geiranger)so I get to see a lot of this great country! I havn´t been on the Hurtigruten so far but I need to change that soon.

thank you, and it's worth doing if you haven't done it.

Quoting Semsem (Reply 8):
Fantastic to se the pictures. What was the temperature like? Looks cold and wet.

I'm glad you liked them, as for the temperatures, it was cold! i'd say between 10-14degrees celcius on average, and during the first part of the voyage, it was quite windy as well. The wind actually caused us to bypass another highlight of the voyage, sailing into a small strait called the Stoksundet, where you sail under this very low bridge, then pass through a narrow sound, with the wind the way it was, the bridge crew didn't feel it safe to navigate the Stoksundet. I don't recall much rain, other than in Oslo and Frankfurt on the way back, but it was overcast for probably the first three days of the voyage.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:38 pm

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Thread starter):
Finally there was the Mona Lisa, another budget cruise ship, and one soon to be turned into a Hotel-Ship in Sweden.

Well, Mona LIsa nearly sunk this spring in the Baltic See...

Are you sure with this hotel project?! German tour operator "LORD NELSON" is still selling tickets for cruises in 2009...
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:39 pm

Nice to see the rest of your journey NorthstarBoy, and nice to see some pictures from my home town!

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Thread starter):
Our walk through Trondheim also took us into a typical residential neighborhood

This is from what is one of the older parts left in Trondheim (several city fires during the last few hundred years have destroyed much of the oldest parts of the city.) It was built during the seventeenth century, is called Bakklandet, or the other side of the city in English, and it's a very quiet and idyllic part of the city.
It was in fact planned to demolish this part of the city in the seventies, since it had been the poorest part of the city for some decades, and since it had been in a state of decay for a long time. IIRC, the plan was to build a four lane highway through that part of the city. Luckily, it did not happen, it was renovated instead, and it is today a lively and fashionable part of the city.

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Thread starter):
A cathedral sits at the top of the hill overlooking a cascade of modern housing leading down to the water

As already noted, it's the main building of the university in Trondheim, NTNU, where I work and study!

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Thread starter):
Looking towards the island in the harbor. We were told by the cruise director, who made pa announcements in four languages (Norwegian, English, German and French) pointing things out as we went along, that this island once served as a place where the Vikings conducted executions, and later housed a prison. Currently it’s a tourist attraction.

It's called Munkholmen (Monk Island.)
As you write, Vikings conducted executions here, their head were put on poles on this Island, and everyone that visited the city by sea had to sail by this island and mock those who had been executed :S
The island was later turned into a monastery, that was well known for its brewing, so well that the archbishop was anxious that the monks on the island were more busy brewing bear than worshiping Big grin
It became a fortress and prison in the later part of the seventeenth century, and was used by the Germans during WWII as an AA base and to protect the city and the major German u-boat base that was there called DORA.

That was enough history for today  Wink

Thanks for the tour!
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RE: Norway Part 2-The Fabulous Finnmarken (119 Pics)

Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:58 pm

Quoting Brendows (Reply 11):

thanks for the interesting information, i'm glad you enjoyed my TR

Quoting Debonair (Reply 10):
Well, Mona LIsa nearly sunk this spring in the Baltic See...

Are you sure with this hotel project?! German tour operator "LORD NELSON" is still selling tickets for cruises in 2009...

well, i'm not sure of the time frame, but i seem to remember reading on wikipedia that the ship was going to be sold to a Swedish entrepreneur who planned to restore it to it's original appearance when it sailed as the Kungsholm and turn it into a hotel ship, i could be wrong however
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!

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