Sunday, 13 September 2009
a jazzy costal voyage
Autumn has barely started, and here I am; fast forwarding trough the whole season to the next by posting winter photos. It's not that I don't like autumn, I do - I'm an October girl after all. But winter is great too. I'm already looking forward to another fun season of downhill skiing. The reason why I'm posting these photos is because I realized that I haven't told you enough about my wonderful (work) travels with Hurtigruten - the Norwegian costal express. I've only written this little post and uploaded some photos to my Flickr.
First a little background information to set the tone.
Hurtigruten has been an important part of the costal area of Norway for 115 years. It was originally intended as a weekly daylight service from Trondheim to Hammerfest, delivering mail, cargo and passengers, but soon the service was extended to travel both day and night, winter and summer. For 90 years the Coastal Express became the most important communication link between the north and south and it is from these pioneering voyages that the Hurtigruten tradition stems. Translating as "fast route", it was the quickest and most reliable passage into the remote lands of northern Norway, regardless of weather conditions. Indeed it was not until 1983 that the mail delivery was finally entrusted to road and air routes.
The latter years of the 20th century saw Hurtigruten’s role change, as cars became more popular and the ship's original remit changed. New ships were built with passenger comfort in mind, with more cabins and panoramic lounges being included to accommodate a new kind of traveller.
I have borrowed the history text above from Hurtigruten's website. You can read more about the history here.
There are several ways to experience Hurtigruten and the Norwegian costal line. The classic voyages are the 12 days voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes and back south again to Bergen, the 7 days voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes, and the 6 days voyage from Kirkenes to Bergen. There are also a couple of theme voyages and several excursions. Take a look at Hurtigruten's website for a lot more information.
The Hurtigruten voyage has been named the "World's Most Beautiful Sea Voyage" and it's recommended by Lonely Planet Bluelist - with good reason. Words can't describe how beautiful the Norwegian costal area is. (Yes, I'm deeply in love with my own country.) I think even the most urban hipster can get hooked on nature on a trip like this. And the risk of becoming a weather nerd is alarming. The weather is everywhere and there might be a lot of it. Embrace the storms and praise the (winter) light - it will make you religious! Clichés can't describe the beauty of it all, so you better just sit still and watch.
One last thing; in one month, on October 13th, there will be live jazz onboard MS Finnmarken from Tromsø to Bergen. The main orchestra will be Hot Club de Norvège, know for their intepretation of Django Reinhardt and his Hot Club de France (my kind of jazz!). Bjørn Vidar Solli, Kåre Nymark jr., Wenche Gausdal, Even Kruse Skatrud and Per Frydenlund are among the other artists that will play on this four days jazzcruise. More info (in Norwegian) here.