Sunday, December 02, 2018

Norway with Hurtigruten - Journey's end and Oslo

The next day was thankfully much calmer and late morning we got the first glimpse of sunlight for five days, and what a relief that was too. 

I don't think we'd appreciated how much we'd missed the colour in the sky until it was there again:

Hats off to people who spend extended periods of time in locations with no daylight, i don't think i could do it.

The latitude made the 'day' a short one and we were soon enjoying sunset:

Just after sunset in the quickly fading light, we drew into Sandnessjoen:

A lone house was lit-up as we passed by:

It was our last night aboard, the ship docked in Trondheim early the next morning, we'd packed, ate and then dragged our bags the shortish distance to the train station.   While waiting for the train we found the voucher for the bus transfer.   Whoops!

The original train trip was booked for a 1pm departure, probably to give people a chance to spend more time in the city, however we'd explored sufficiently for us on the Northward journey so managed to get the train time changed to the 08:18.   This meant the majority of the trip would be in daylight.   We were back under partial or no cloud, the temperature had dropped and the landscape proved stunning.   All of the following images are taken through the glass of the train door while moving at between 30 and 80mph:

I was chuffed with the results of my experimentation though i do think the other passengers thought me mad and i did land on my backside a few times when the train went quickly round a bend.

We arrived in a very chilly Oslo at sunset, quickly checked our bags in and then headed out to watch the fading light across the harbour:

The next day, the last of the trip proper, we planned on seeing the key, for us anyway, sights of the city.   First up we took the metro across town to visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park.   It's an amazing place with the pinnacle being this monument which represents the human struggle:

And behind that stairs climb to another sculpture, the circle of life:

As well as the sculptures the park has formal gardens.   It looks like some late flowering roses were caught by the hard frost, i think it was about -8c when i took this:

Helen spotted these shades frozen on a bench next to the gardens:

From the sculpture park we then headed back across town to the Botanic gardens, Helen had read-up and it's supposed to be a good spot for Hawfinches.

Once in the gardens we located the centre of avian activity, a few trees still covered in berries, being rapidly devoured by Blackbirds:


And yes Hawfinches:

As well as the birds a couple of squirrels were chasing each other around and through the trees.   I crept up and was about to photograph one when it spotted me.  It looked down while trying to work out my intentions, before scuttling off and away:

After lunch we headed to Akershus Fortress back down on Oslo Harbour to take in the sunset.   It's free to explore, which we took advantage of picking a spot on the high battlements to watch the sun go down.  We were joined by a Herring Gull hoping for some food I suspect:

A few clouds would have lifted the sunset but it was still spectacular:

After the sun had set we headed back to our hotel for a ludicrously expensive dinner (think £100 for 2 veggie burger and chips and a couple of drinks each), however on the way the last of the light reflected off the water, but not the ice we'd been listening to creaking away from the Fortress:

Norway appears a very efficient and well run country, it was no surprise when the lighting illuminated to guide us back:

We really enjoyed our Norway trip.  We did get to see the aurora, we spent time in the Arctic Circle, we were buffeted by Hurricane-force winds, saw some interesting wildlife including a new bird species, Ross's Gull, met some interesting fellow travellers and enjoyed a proper winter wonderland.   Time to get ourselves ready then for our next adventure...


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