Peter Knego’s southbound journey aboard Hurtigruten’s dowager LOFOTEN concludes with a nocturnal rescue at sea and visits to Trondheim and Bergen.
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All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2014.
Sunday, August 24, 2014.
I raced up on deck to catch our 6:30 AM arrival at Trondheim but the pastoral setting on either side of the ship indicated otherwise. We were running an hour late, which didn’t make much sense since the seas had been calm since we left Rorvik the night prior.
I soon learned that Captain Lande had to alter course at approximately 12:15 AM when the ship received a distress call from a small boat that had struck a reef. When LOFOTEN arrived on the scene, a zodiac was launched, rescuing two people and their dog from the chilly waters. Sadly, the boat was lost but it could have been much worse, were it not for the LOFOTEN’s speedy response. Fellow passengers mentioned seeing the crew give the dog no less than three baths to remove the oil from its fur before our unexpected overnight guests disembarked. This type of incident would have caused a stir in the States had it happened in Alaska or the Caribbean but it was all in a day’s work for the Hurtigruten.
Monument for the merchantmen who lost their lives in both World Wars, Trondheim.
Even though we had arrived late, departure was still at 10:00 AM so that LOFOTEN could maintain the rest of her schedule. I decided to set off on foot for a quick exploration of Norway’s third largest city (population 169,972) and first official capital, having been founded as a Viking trading post in 997.
Bryggen reflections on a Sunday morning.
Trondheim’s main attraction is the Nidaros Cathedral but I chose to wander into Midthyen, which is bordered on three sides by the winding Nidelva River and a canal. As it was early on a Sunday morning, the streets were empty but the lighting was splendid.
At the Gamlebybro, or Old Town Bridge (originally constructed in 1681), I circled back along the river, returning to the Hurtigruten terminal at 9:00 to catch the arrival of one of LOFOTEN’s modern fleetmates.
As soon as the handsome, 1997-built,, 11,384 gt NORDNORGE disembarked her guests, I exchanged my LOFOTEN ID for a visitors’ pass at her gangway and “Decked!” the newer ship over the next forty five minutes.
Working ship at Trondheim.
When I returned to LOFOTEN, the staff were loading the last of the morning supplies. Within minutes, we were backing from the quay and sailing past Monks Island into Trondheimsfjord. Next stop, Kristiansund!
I was thrilled and honored to have been granted a visit to the engine room that afternoon. Young chief engineer Kristian wasn’t even born when LOFOTEN’s sturdy B&W diesels first banged their way into operation in 1964. Nonetheless, he is rightly proud of their excellent condition and the fact that they can still muster up the required 3,325 BHP to maintain a 15 knot service speed for Hurtigruten’s “express route”.
From what I could see through the coach window, Kristiansund looked like another gorgeous Norwegian hamlet and well worth exploring on a return visit.
Beginning of the Atlantic Road.
I was off on “The Atlantic Road” afternoon excursion, named for the 8.2 kilometer section of highway just outside of Kristiansund noted for its magnificently engineered bridges and majestic scenery. The Norwegian infrastructure must be one of the finest in the world, especially for such a vast, yet sparsely populated nation.
Stave Church at Kvernes.
We had plenty of time to visit the Stave Church, located on a hillside in Averoy and dating from approximately 1300.
Serenading the pews.
Our hostess, a jovial Norwegian Dawn French, serenaded us upon arrival and then conducted a tour of the church’s ornamental innards.
Bacalao, Norwegian style. More sauce, please!
Appetites whetted, we stopped at the Bjartmars Favorittkro, which is renowned for its Bacalao (processed, heavily salted cod in a dreamy olive oil and tomato sauce with olives and pine nuts).
Our meal capped off with caramel pudding and a cup of coffee, we were soon waving to our fish-draped hostess and on our way for a twilight rendezvous with the LOFOTEN at Molde.
Monday, August 25, 2014.
MV LOFOTEN Port Boat Deck, facing aft.
Starboard promenade to the sea.
With my luggage placed outside the cabin door at 10:00 AM, I spent my final morning aboard LOFOTEN eating breakfast, savoring the inner sanctum of the gloriously paneled Panorama Lounge (which was equipped with decent wifi) and strolling the outer decks on yet another brilliantly sunny day along the Norwegian coast.
End of voyage at Bergen.
At 2:30 PM, the voyage officially ended when we tied up alongside the Hurtigruten terminal in beautiful Bergen. I bid farewell to newfound friends and the grand little LOFOTEN, rolled my luggage off to the nearby Scandic Hotel and spent the afternoon exploring one of my favorite European cities.
With daylight still lasting well into the night, everything was in full bloom in Norway’s second largest city. I walked past the famed Torget (fish market) and Bryggen, the UNESCO world heritage site known for its colorful, gable-topped facades.
After lunch in a cafe and a gelato-to-go, I wound my way back along the Vagen, the bay in the center of the historic quarter. This time, I would have a chance to get up close to some of Bergen’s magnificent preserved ships.
SS STORD I.
Of particular interest was the 1913-built, 469-gt SS STORD I, a classic steamer that operated on the Bergen-to-Stavanger route until 1969. Since 1980, she has served in various stationary roles and has been undergoing longterm restoration after being gutted by a fire in 1987.
LOFOTEN begins another voyage.
Slowly, I worked my way to the park at the end of the Nordnes peninsula where at 8:15 PM, I bid farewell to my old friend LOFOTEN, which sailed past at the beginning of a northbound voyage. On time, of course.
End Of Catching Up With The LOFOTEN
Special thanks: Mindy Bianca, Anja Erdman, Elliot Gillies, Captain Eivin Lande, Snorre A. Pedersen
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
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