On Monday, we stopped in Harstad and toured the area by bus and met up with the ship at Sortland. (We were told that ‘Sortland’ means ‘black land’ in Norwegian, but the town is trying to find a modern claim to fame, so the town council encouraged everybody to paint all the buildings blue. Today it’s known as the bluest town in Europe. Not sure what that gets you…)
The first stop was in the village of Trondenes and its church, which is the most northern Christian gothic church in the world. A lovely little church which is today Lutheran, but it certainly doesn’t look like any Lutheran church I’ve ever been in. Decidedly medieval, the gothic door has Norse ruins carved in it. The alter pieces looked to me to be about 14th century. The floor of the chancel area was black and yellow flagstone. The church had quite an extensive burial ground; the oldest graves dating back to the 1790s.
The afternoon saw a brief stop in Stokmarknes, where we popped into a Norwegian grocery store so Brian could buy hot chocolate (which is apparently contraband on the boat).
As an aside – I continue to be gobsmacked at how outrageously expensive Norway is. Ten packets of hot chocolate came out to about $9 dollars. The evening cocktail approaches $22 each.
About five o’clock, we took a detour through the Trollfjord, a highlight of the cruise. (Typical of Hurtigruten, there was a cocktail created for the occasion which could be purchased at an outrageous price…) The fjord is approximately 3 kilometers long and 100 meters wide, so a bit of a snug fit for the boat, but it provided some great scenery as promised. I’m playing around with the black-and-white feature of my camera, but Ansel Adams I’m not.
Today is mostly at sea, but we did cross the Arctic Circle on our way south. I’ll of course buy the requisite t-shirt to commemorate the event (although we both got certificates).