This post came from my older blog and will be adjusted to meet newer standards
I think, there is no better way to get familiar with the North of Norway, to see and feel the country, than to pass though the archipelago on a ship. My next major stop is Bodø and it is time to see all the amazing things along the way, especially the Trollfjord and small port cities!
After leaving Tromsø, I have overnight stops at cities of Harstad and Stokmarknes, short stop in the port of Svolvær. Between Stokmarknes and Svolvær there is a thin and very beautiful passage between the mountains, from there, the ship gets to the Trollfjord
Tromsø to Harstad
When I left Tromsø, the whole city was covered with the fog, I even had to use navigator to find the huge cruise ship.
At some point of the way, the fog started to disappear, slowly opening up the snowy tops of the fjords. The amazing thing is – all of this has the enormous proportions. The houses look very tiny against the background of wild and powerful nature.
Harstad and Trondenes
In Harstad, I made a stop for one day. It is a relatively young city, founded 1904. But just a few kilometers away from it, there is a the municipality of Trondenes, which played an important role in the development of the region.
The region worth visiting if you are interested in history. There is the oldest Christian church in Northern Norway and the Trondenes historical museum. They show role of the region in the Viking ages, including trade with Sami and religion spread. It also tells about the dramatic events happening during the World War II. If you happen to be in this ( Trondenes museum and church) area, go a little bit to the north along the lake. We found a nice picnic spot there, with many locals who seem to share our opinion.
The cool thing about the city of Harstad is that, is is ideal for short hikes, it takes about 20-30 minutes walk to get to the tacks from the city center. Also, in the same area there is a sky jumping tower, from there you can see the whole land around the city.
Few more things from Harstad
Stokmarknes and Melbu
My next stop is in the port of Stokmarknes, and I spend a night in the neighboring village – Melbu
Melbu – the rural Norway
Melbu, a small village, located on the same island with Stokmarknes. It doesn’t have anything special, but it was a great opportunity for me to capture, what rural Norway is like. The place is surrounded with a magnificent scenery.
Yes! That is the reason, why I made a stop in Stokmarknes. Since I am traveling along the Norwegian coastline, I wanted to know more about how this route was developed.
Making the regular transportation service was a very challenging task in 19th century. Because of the navigation difficulties during the polar nights, many skeptics thought it was not possible. Those, who want to make it work, had to struggle hard for investors.
When established, the regular ship service played a huge role in the development of the regions. Later on, the voyage along the coastline became one of the main tourist attractions.
The museum ticket includes the entrance to Finnmarken. This is an old ship produced in 1956, that used to go along the Norwegian western shore.
Interesting thing is, that it is not redone into a museum, instead, it is just left “as it is”. Being there is like having a walk into the past. You can explore all the cabins of first and second class, places of the crew and common areas.
Tip: the cruise ship I was using has an agreement with the museum, so you can visit it for free. But, the cruise ship stop is only for one hour.
Since I came before its arrival, I had to buy a ticket. Overall I spent there more than 3 hours in the museum and on Finnmarken.
Trollfjord and Raftsundet passage
Here I got to one of the most interesting parts of the journey, on the way from Stokmarknes to Svolvær
After leaving Stokmarknes port, the ship gets into a thin and very beautiful passage between the mountains.
In the end of the passage, the ship makes a turn to get to the Trollfjord.
This sidearm is even thinner than the passage, and the huge cruise ship passes very close to the mountains. The distance between ship and the mountain is about 10-20 meters.
It is difficult to show with photography how enormous this fjord is.
Next, we made a short, 2 hours stop in Svolvær. In the past it was an important fishing village, now in addition to that, is a hub for tourists.
In the city, there is a museum of permanent ice sculpture. At first I was a bit skeptic about it. I have seen many ice sculptures before. But eventually, I did not find anything else to do and decided to go. And, I was not disappointed!
Usually the ice sculptures are not designed to be permanent, and even if there is a completion, not so many details are added to them. In the museum, some of the sculptures took a week to make. And once in few months they are renovated and even more details are added.
Probably the attention to details, lights and sounds are the reason, why I liked the place so much.
Next stop Bodø
Feeling a bit sad to leave the archipelago, without visiting famous Lofoten, but that is the plan for the next trip.