#redmondtraveldiary18 · Courtney's Travel Tips & Tricks · Europe · Hurtigruten · Norway · photography

Honningsvåg, the North Cape, fish ice-cream & the Aurora Borealis

Day 20 – Tuesday 9/10

Each morning we woke up, to the slow rattle and roll of our beautiful ship, the MS Kong Harald pulling into port, we knew another incredible adventure was ahead of us. We chose to travel in Autumn, so the fact we had seen as much snow as what we had, was incredible. There were many hours where we would lay sideways in our bed and just stare out of our window, completely amazed by what we were looking at.

EUROPE - 7270It was hard to believe we had already reached day 5 of our trip. It seemed that this amazing adventure we had waited so long for, was going past so quickly. We wanted to embrace each and every moment and with relative whiplash looking from one side of Norway to the other, our eyes were drunk with beauty.

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Today was the day we would get to visit the North Cape, Nordkapp – the beautiful home to Honningsvåg. As awful as this is going to sound, the relief we felt when we were able to get off the ship and board an English-speaking bus away from the mass population of incredibly rude, pushy, eyes-for-Christmas people we had spent nearly a week within our small quarters, was invigorating!

Honestly, I think we had the best tour guide, he was so passionate and absolutely nothing on this Earth grabs my interest and inspires me than learning about a place from a local with stars in their eyes. It reminds me that although some people think that taking tours is not ‘authentic’ enough, I disagree with you completely. Having someone who loves where they are from, enough to share it with you is the epitome of travel and experience, really absorbing the location you are in.

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Nordkapp sits at latitude 71°10’21” N and safe to say it is the furthermost North I have ever been, or am likely to ever go! We knew that in terms of tourism, this particular location is known as a tourist trap, and it is expensive but it is beautiful. As I write this, I can see my beautiful Sami-made Christmas decoration on my tree and I have absolutely no issues with the cost we faced to visit this place. It was AMAZING. Our bus trip was around 30-45 minutes up the mountain to the visitor’s centre. We were still completely blown away to see snow wherever we looked.

Nordkapp was eye-opening and I would have loved to have spent more time in the Sami-district, but seeing as we only had a day in the area, that unfortunately was not an option. Grant and I made our way away from the crowd when we got off the bus – heading straight out to the point and avoiding the visitor centre and the actual monument. With hundreds of people up there, we preferred to enjoy the beautiful view, have a view moments without interruption and avoid the reality that it was definitely a tourist butterfly-net. It was worth it, completely. It was completely overwhelming to realise where we were, what we were experiencing and to try and imagine all of the people before us over hundreds of years who had visited the area.

We only had a short time in Nordkapp but I can honestly say, that as we exited the bus and headed back towards the ship, I was really dreading leaving such a beautiful place, the most northern place I had ever been to and one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. I think our kisses at the most northern point of Europe would stay with us for quite a while!

EUROPE - 6669This was also a pretty terrible day to realise that although my boots were great for hiking, they were 100% inappropriate for ice, I cannot count how many times I nearly completely stacked it!

So, some fun facts about Nordkapp, which we were told by our incredible tour guide:

  • Nordkapp is not actually the northernmost point of Europe, the neighbouring Knivskjellodden is 1457m further north.
  • In approximately 1664, the first tourist was reported to have climbed the plateau, he was an Italian Priest and it took him more than two years to make his journey.
  • The first group travel was arranged in 1875 for 24 participants.

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This destination is certainly expensive but it is absolutely beautiful and I figured that if we were going to travel all that way, only to stay on the boat and not go on the journey, it would have been a missed opportunity.

The entrance fee is 275NOK, which is around $45AUD – you will pay more to go on an organised tour, but the climb is steep and the tour guide is a local and is passionate – so well worth it if you can afford it.

Once we made our way back down the mountain and back onto the ship for our final leg of our Hurtigruten journey we finally tried the Brown Cheese and Stockfish flavoured ice-cream on board the ship (unusual, but not all that unpleasant), rugged up with warm drinks and waited for our chance to see the Aurora Borealis.

I had already been asleep for an hour when G came and woke me up once they were showing, I had the wrong lens on the camera and was totally out of it. However, you can see my very very amateur shots below!

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

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#redmondtraveldiary18 · Europe · Hurtigruten · Norway · Travel

Travel Diary (Day 19) – Hurtigruten Day 4

Day 19 – Monday 8/10

IMG_7688Today is our Wedding Anniversary!!! Two heads married today and to start it at midnight, hunting for the Aurora Borealis could not have been a better way to begin!

Sadly the cloud cover was pretty heavy last night, as was the rain so our chances of seeing the Northern Lights, although at 55%, was drastically lessened by the weather itself. I am convinced that at some point my beautiful camera, Dotty certainly picked up on a greenish hue to the skies, however this didn’t last long and again with the cloud cover these photos hardly demonstrate the beauty these lights are known for. They were also completely hidden to the naked eye!

We woke up this morning around 9am, I think our gorgeous room attendant had the fright of her life when she came in to clean the room and I was, in the words of my husband not covered by the blankets with my bum facing the door (in undies, but still unsettling I am sure!).

F1CTXgl3RB6AHBxtX0yAagDragging ourselves to breakfast, the tango dance which is navigating yourself through the buffet of 50 people who are 100% in a different age-bracket to you. G and I are quick. We get in and we get out. we like to stay out of people’s way, we are polite – we generally are pretty mindful of others and personal space. Even though this is our fourth cruise, we seem to have absolutely forgotten that 80% of the population are NOT like this. It is so hard to ignore the habitual rudeness and gang-mentality of people without even the most basics of courtesy, but we are trying!

I have to say the staff on this cruise are amazing. Hurtigruten is professionally and beautifully ran and we are having the trip of a lifetime, so sometimes we can be quite horrified at how others conduct themselves.

During the night we docked at Stokmarknes, Sortland, Risøyhamn, Harstad (Hársttákcode), Finnsnes and we arrived into Tromsø at 2:15pm. Tromsø is a place which has been on our radar for a long time so we were chomping at the bit to get off of the boat. Unfortunately our budget does not allow for any more paid activities and we have had a pretty good run, so we were looking forward to taking a wander around town on our own.

When we got off the boat the first thing we noticed was the snow and how low down on the mountains either side of our ship it was! The snow fall is currently only 30m above sea-level, which is such a stark contrast to when we started in Bergen!

I wouldn’t say we lasted too long out in town, it’s certainly beautiful but it is very cold! We did what we do best and found a cute little pub and enjoyed a whiskey together (Grant is doing his best to get me on that Whiskey/Whisky train) ahead of our arrival into Scotland shortly! Now, about this pub – whilst our Norwegian is poor, we worked our pretty quickly that this place was basically a bar and served a variation of baked potatoes. It’s almost as though this place was made for the Redmond family. Seeing as we our shouting ourselves to a fancy dinner tonight for our anniversary at the a-la-carte restaurant on board, we refrained from the potato’s.

We made our way back on board ahead of the crowd which will be the returning optional activity crew, made our way to our room and decided on the whole Netflix & Chill approach to our afternoon. It’s 4 degrees outside and the view from our room is spectacular. So having some down time with one another is always the best.

Hurtigruten on its voyage north and south along the Norwegian coast will have on one night each a King Crab night, which happened to be on our Anniversary. Grant ordered the full King Crab experience, I on the other hand can only eat crab once it is out of its shell, otherwise I feel like I am breaking apart a giant scary spider (no thanks!).

img_0859It was definitely our fanciest meal of the cruise and it was nice to get dressed up and order a beautiful bottle of wine and just enjoy our anniversary. The staff also gave us complimentary champagne, which is really lovely!

It was a really unique and gorgeous way to spend our anniversary, I doubt we will spend it that far up north in the world ever again!

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