Northern Most Point in Europe

The North Cape is a stone mass that sits high above the sea. It has a weather station above the restaurant that is part of the complex celebrating its geographical distinction. Further toward the sea is point that used to fix the spot.

That’s me at the sphere that marks the spot. I seem to making some point but heaven knows what.
Before getting to our destination we drove through acres of tundra and waterfalls and small lakes. There are no tress not even bushes or shrubs. The colors are shades of green and brown sometimes dotted with black. The drive was almost an hour from the ship though this sort of landscape.
This building housed a cinema, a restaurant, gift shop and toilets 🚽 b three floors. And it was warm and out of the wind. All good things.

All the way we saw reindeer often too far away to photograph with my iPhone. We did have two guys with bigass cameras and they might have been able to get photos of them. I was surprised to see single animals not in a pack.

A Sami woman coming to the shop located on her family’s land. That land is also where the buildings were and part of the permission included the need for visitors to shop in the handcraft store also owned by the family.
The boots are made of skins from the reindeer herded by the same family and other items such as hats and dresses far too few to think that exactly the right person would come in to buy. But they are beautiful.
More on this visit but need to focus on packing to prepare to leave the ship tomorrow. More on all this soon.
Whether our America Indians or this in Latin America the simply built teepee covered with the skin of whatever animal is in the territory is the refuge from the weather. The hole at the top allows smoke from any fire inside to leave the space and the skins are impervious to water and wind. Convincing proof that we are all related and need protection and warmth.
This photo was hacked from the film at the visitor center.
Seagulls facing into the wind and coming into to the less windy cove. Seagulls are not dumb.

As we drove back over a pristine road we saw many more reindeer some in tiny groups two or three and much tundra. We had been told that snowplows must keep any road plowed 24 – 7 if there are humans in residence but since the visitors center closes at least that portion does not need plowing and we saw films of the snow plows BIG babies going really fast. They obviously don’t expect traffic.

An important service for our ship is the transfer of cars. I met a woman at breakfast who was on her way to see her children and grandchildren in Kirkenes our last stop in Norway. Her children moved there for work. They were born in a small and most beautiful village where after university they could not find work. Her husband had fished but neither parent wanted their children fish for their livelihood. Her car was on the boat with her and that would save her hours of travel.

Memories of WWII

Norway was taken over by Germany after 50 days of resistance. Many German military were stationed at what was called the Polar Front. One man on the town began a collection of items from the war and although a personal collection, it is considered a very good collection of German uniforms and equipment. It even has a room dedicated to the Gestapo who were by leaders in the station.

Now located inside the museum the animal antlers are said to have been part of the original building.
The gallery owner claims that this watercolor was painted by Adolph Hitler because is signed AH. However it’s dated 1940 long after Germany began the war. His opinion is that Hitler never stopped painting and drawing. Behind this drawing was a collection of other drawings which are depictions of characters in Walt Disney films. The dwarfs are shown as pretty good replicas from the movie. I think now of Hitler and 4 of the 7 dwarfs. I tried to make out which were favored but my own dwarf history is not good.
Four good sized rooms are filled with manikins in uniform sometimes holding weapons that look like toys but are said to be accurate of the period. There are motorcycles and a can that I was told was a great invention called a “jerrycan” jerry being a slang name for Germans. My informant claimed it was a great invention.
The town with museum was reached after miles of water and mountains with tiny specs if villages reached only by boats. The ratio above of massive dark mountains with white fringe near the sea is classic. The sky sometimes had the promise of sun through the clouds but we actually never saw the sun all dat. And our midnight run to the museum was accompanied by a light rain.

This exceptional facade is the main building for the port and has offices for the various agencies connected to this administrative district. For a building in a place with very long nights- the façade is a fabulous idea. Note the broken notch on the far right to indicate a piece of ice – maybe a glacier. And the map is a pretty good replica of the shoreline. And the lines indicate various way finding techniques.

Crossing the Arctic Circle

We crossed the Arctic Circle at 7:36 AM with blowing whistles between the two boats one going north and one going south and crossing at the same time.

This is the sister ship going south. Less than a minute after this photo each ship saluted each other with their ships horns. They also celebrated crossing the Arctic Circle.
The skies remain overcast and the air is colder.
One of the ways to celebrate is to have the sea god who got on the boat as we crossed the Arctic Circle pour ice on. Those who want to celebrate with a local whiskey. I thought there would be few takers but I was wrong.
The Norse god is the guy with the cloak and beard and the pail of ice to dump on volunteers who wish to join the celebration. It must be a guy thing because many men in the group willingly sat down to have ice poured over their head and down their back, only to jump up and yell. And then walk over to the alcoholic libation.
We are docking at Bodo the administrative center for this part of Norway. We also learned that 3 of our group has COVID. Yikes. 3 out of 22.


We had a lecture about the Vikings. Their reputation looms large but their actual existence was a period of only 250 years 850 to 1000. They used runic letters and carved their presence in many places include the Hagia Sophia!

Using axes or blades the Vikings wanted to leave their mark wherever they went and the went all over the place reaching around the Iberian peninsula to the south and west as far as Canada.
Looking good was important.
Found and preserved as found in the local museum the Viking boat looks almost frail. However the wide berth and shallow draft allowed great stability even in heavy seas. For me when I look at it I wonder how they managed to row, sleep and eat as they crossed the seas to Iceland, Greenland and further. One of the things we learned was that men were sleeping under the deck while the same number were downing. The boat never stopped until they reached a necessary destination. A model built in one of the museums showed how it worked.
Each bench held two towers operating one oar. The boards in the middle could be raised using a finger hole in the board the allow the person to get under to sleep. You were either sleeping or rowing.
Construction technique
Tools were iron and simplest and most wide spread was the ax with a wooden handle. The sword required more skill to make as well as more skill to keep sharp.
Red color was difficult to make and eye catching and became the color used by royalty. When crew could be standing because of.calm waters or no need for speed they wore dice the rowers on deck.
Using the same construction techniques the stave churches were built, but upside down. This is looking up at the stave church we saw last week.


Once the capital of Norway it is now the third largest city in the country but the capital is now Oslo. As we approached the city the landscape flattened.

Approaching Trondheim.
The departure area where we each must have our tags entered so that they know that everyone is aboard before they leave
We were headed to the Nidaros Cathedral built on a site that has had stone church buildings since approximately 1000. It is believed that the body of Saint Olav was buried at this site and therefore became the site for the religious buildings.
Inside the museum located on the site the remains of the original church foundation walks have been preserved. Since granite is everywhere that is the stone used for construction.
As usual in the medieval period the church became the central place for protection, for markets, for temporary buildings and animals. Now it us super clean.
In the museum there is a remarkable painted screw that tells the story of Olaf which has an uncanny connection with Christ. the Saint died and a year later his body was exhumed and he was remarkably preserved making his sainthood absolutely certain. Also a pool of water miraculously appeared and the water had healing properties. It became a pilgrimage site for centuries.

Quite a nice cover for the septic system.

From the cathedral we went to the fort built in the 16th century. It is now a city park and used for recreation and a viewpoint for visitors.
The houses are all wood including the piles that line the river. There are street after street for blocks around that have more or less the same form.
Colorful patches of garden pop up at street corners and in window boxes. In a place where grey skies abound this is a blessing.
This oddity is a bike lift. It is free to use to get your bicycle up the hill by linking your Nike the a continuous moving chain, much like a cable car in San Francisco and the bike goes up to the top of the hill where the schools are. Housing is on the blocks below where we have been walking.

A lecture on the Vikings this afternoon was great and I will try to give some idea of it tomorrow morning.

A factory, a funicular and onto a ship

This has been a very full day and now at 10 PM I realize I might finish this tomorrow morning. At the moment I am supine in my cabin 550 on the ship Nordlys plying our way north to famous fjords.

The funicular runs to a spot above the city where various restaurants and cafes allow for a respite for those hiking and a lovely spot for folks just wanting to see the city panorama.
The funicular moves in tandem with its twin going downhill. Through the curved ceiling you can see the city’s house arranged up the mountain. The man in the mask was the only mask we have seen since we arrived.
A really sunny day. Cheers for the weatherman.
Amen for this part of the day.
After the funicular we got back on our bus and traveled to the first factory to use local designers and labor. After the 3 original owners outgrew their space in another factory they renovated an abandoned factory building along a river. It had been abandoned for 40 years. This is the renovated building today.
Photos taken before the renovation began. The building structure is basically intact. The windows have all been replaced by triple glazing. There is air conditioning and a eco-conscious garbage program aimed at re-cycling and composting.
This is the genius who programs the looms. Each loom is programmed to produce whole garments or parts of garments. Each loom hums away as directed without supervision. Any kinks or problems are discovered in the lab before the program is placed in the production unit.
Some pieces are joined by a system that looks like a zipper in which a thread joins the pieces going from one side to the other. The whole process happens in a trice!
The loom to be programmed.
Threads of merino wool 75% and silk 25% of many colors.
Final exam by a repair specialist. When a problem is found it may be able to be cured, but there are garments where the repair can be seen and they are discounted and sold by other vendors.
My friend Joan Pont has a baby programmable loom and I sent hers photos to her.

Fish Farms in Norway

The rain did not stop our trip about an hour outside Bergen to a fish farm raising salmon. Our guide said that anyone uneasy about climbing onto 19 passenger boat riding low on the water can stay in the pontoon building that is part of the monitoring station.

One of the six pens filled with salmon being fattened for market.

The ride from the pontoon building located a 5 minute ride from shore was a taste of Mutiny on the Bounty. Our guide was a young man who apologized for the fact that he was new in his job having been with the company only two months. But he said if we had questions he could not answer he had immediate contact with others.

Our young guide actually knew far more than any of us about the whole operation but was very modest. And very tall.
This is Kat out OAT guide looking smashing in her outfit. We were all outfitted in life jackets and given a safety briefing prior to getting on board a launch from the platform pontoon building to the actual pens.

The ride back from the pens took us back to the port where our trusty bus was waiting warm and dry. None of were either warm or dry.

Soggy and Interesting Day

The town square shows the main newspaper for Bergen in forefront and the church at the entrance to the university in the far distance. The rain for which The city is noted accompanied us all day. My waterproof shoes were spectacularly successful.
A column under a glass overhang on the main avenue in the city.
The story of the Vikings in the Main Square impressed in bronze is the focus of the main square. Norwegians are proud of this connection to their history.
The dark block centered in the city center has been set up for a free concert to be held this evening. Audience is expected to endure and rain or wind that might accompany the music. The program consists of Grieg pieces. Greig is Norway’s gift to music in the last century. As we returned this afternoon the the Bergen Philharmonic was rehearsing in this structure. The sound of the rehearsal was spectacular.
The eighteenth century part of the port is undergoing another renovation. This area has gone through many fires but has managed to survive due to continuous ownership by families who were key to shipping interests that were responsible for the economy of Norway.
The renovation has managed to preserve the original building techniques which are unique in my experience of cities.
Part of the Port of Bergen being preserved by the city government.

Heading to Bergen

We are continuing north to Bergen where in a few days we will board our ship to go further north to Finland. But before we leave we will visit some locals – two local families.

Unique. A robo mower plies it’s way around the garden in front of the hotel!
The wife feeds the sheep who have come back early from the mountains that surround the town. She also makes various potions from wild flowers and plants and knits with wool from her sheep. She also makes jam.
The husband’s family has had the land for many generations, like many others in the village they intend to maintain their farm even as the life of their farm changes. The couple operates the farm with little outside help. They have a son at university who they hope will retain the land but they l know they must change the nature of the farm. Instead of growing much of their food they now only raise sheep who spend months on the mountains and they build and rent small houses to people who want to experience nature. The farmer has become a builder and entrepreneur.
Their house is part of the heart of the town and some of the family land was given to build the church.
This is the new family house finished last year with two rooms and bathrooms that they can rent to visitors. The area attracts people from cities who want to hike, bike and fish. The farmer is becoming more and more an entrepreneur with ideas for milling speciality woods for builders after having invested in milling equipment necessary for the buildings he has added. He is ambitious and enthusiastic.
Our next stop after lunch in an outdoor dining room owned by a couple who purchase only quality lambs like those raised in the mountains which meat is flavored from the new growth available in Spring and summer. Lambs raised line this are more but also can bring a high price from high quality restaurants and quality markets. After our lunch we went down to the station to get on a train the took us further up and through the mountains to a long distance train. This short special train gives a unique view down into the fjord.
The force of the water makes one think it will always be there, but even here there is a worry about shrinking rivers where water gets to the flat rivers that flow into the towns and cities.
The picturesque train took us to the large train that took us from the hinterland to the city of Bergen 3.5 hours away throwing countryside that was bring back down to sea level.
As we descended the skies darkened and rain began. And somehow I fell asleep.

Heading North

Our Oslo hotel where each room featured a bathroom which was a shower with a toilet in it and a basin on the only other wall. Our guide said proudly that Norwegians are very frugal and never use any more space than absolutely necessary. My necessities may be unfrugal ( not a word I am warned).
Once we left the almost empty urban streets we entered a long ride through hills near water. The weather so far has been benign. Blue skies and about 70 degrees at the warmest part of the day.

From that scene through a long tunnel we began an ascent that included the famed granite mountains and the sinewy waterfalls from the lakes above.

The gadget array at the small ski resort where we had lunch of wild mushroom soup (delicious) and raw vegetables which were OK but not remarkable. The ice cream that followed was pretty good. Please note the the gadgets can be used for free and are attached to a steel frame by sturdy wires. As advertised the user can adjust or repair baby carriages, wheel chairs, bikes and whatever else. Great idea.
We never ran out of the river.
Some roofs covered with soil as a means of insulation, this one at a small farm we passed.
My bedroom at the ski resort where we spent last night. Wow opulent!

We are heading to Bergen today with a stop at a farm where we have been told we may be required to do chores. Given the condition of some of my fellow travelers getting on and off the bus is a chore.