The far north of Norway in winter. Vast, snow shrouded mountains soar skywards like ancient monoliths, clawing at an eerie, pearly white glow in the sky that hangs just above the horizon as your ship surges through a gunmetal swell. The cold air is as sharp as a knife.
As your ship rounds another headland, a cluster of little houses cling to a hillside, as if seeking refuge from the encroaching blanket of snow that lays siege to it. In the centre, a Norwegian flag hangs, limp in the still, early afternoon air.
Sailing on, and a sudden blizzard throws itself across your path; a roiling, blinding white mass that is every bit as irresistible as any desert sandstorm. It clears just as quickly to reveal the land again; a carpet of petrified pine forests and fir trees, groaning under the weight of the snow that presses down on them. They stand, gaunt and skeletal, on the edges of ravines that plunge right down into the waters of the fjord itself.
Inside the Hurtigruten ship, all is warm and welcoming. Floor to ceiling windows allow passengers to absorb the fantastic scenic smorgasbord unfolding all around them in comfort. Some sit picking at waffles with fresh cream from the cafe; others are more than grateful for the piping hot coffee.
A strange sense of peace pervades your passage into these surreal northern wastes. It truly is a voyage like no other.
Over the next series of blogs, we’ll take you into this special, spectacularly isolated landscape. Welcome to the wonders of winter time Norway…..