Thursday, 4 March 2010

Northern Lights by Bridget Keevil

On 15th February we took a group of eleven on a Hurtigruten Voyage in search of the Northern Lights. We set off from Heathrow having to endure two flights to get to the North of Norway, and then onwards to meet the Kong Harald in Tromso.

The Hurtigruten Fleet that operate up and down the coast of Norway is a lifeline to the many small villages that would be otherwise cut off during the winter months. They deliver the post, as well as dropping off and collecting supplies of all sorts. They have developed to include tourists as part of their cargo, and bearing that in mind the accommodation onboard is adequate but not luxurious.

The ports of call are many, some being for minutes only, some for up to three or so hours. The excursions available include the North Cape, snowmobiling, dog sledding, visiting a snow hotel as well as just being able to wander around the quaint little villages that were razed to the ground by the Germans just before the end of the war.

We visited the Snow Hotel – and saw the exquisite head boards of every bed carved out of ice as well as snow carvings on the wall. What an experience to stay here the night!

On the last night before disembarking we got the call through the pa system – the Northern Lights are to be seen off the back of the ship! Every passenger quickly made their way outside – after putting on the several layers necessary to stave off the cold – and what a show we saw! The sky was alight with swirls and whirls, and lasted for over half an hour. Just seeing this was worth coming all this way.

When we arrived back into Tromso we all went dog sledding – and what an experience! It was a fantastic way to end the trip, being pulled at great speed through trees and snow fields by Alaskan Huskies.

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