After the very late night last night, our alarm was set for 8am. Nevertheless Micha woke up just before 7 and briefly headed out on deck to take some pictures of Harstad which looked very picturesque. It had definitely cooled off overnight to about -3C, possibly due to the clear skies or possibly because we are now quite far north. It’s still incredibly warm for the season. Just a few minutes out of port we passed the northernmost medieval church.
After breakfast the ship briefly stopped in a small town called Finnsnes, where Micha and Dana hopped off to play in the snow. Then it was onwards to Tromsø through the ever present picturesque Norwegian landscape, getting more and more snow covered the further north we headed.
By the time we reached Tromsø it was already getting dark again – and it wasn’t even 3pm yet! So walking rather quickly we headed to the cathedral which was on the mainland. Tromsø itself is on an island, connected to the mainland via quite a tall bridge. So up up over the bridge we went and soon found ourselves at the cathedral, another modern building which was all roof. Again Micha wasn’t overly impressed by the modern architecture, he definitely prefers medieval style churches and cathedrals.
So quite soon after we decided to head back into town, foregoing the cablecar up the mountainside due to the remaining light fading even further into twilight. We had a casual stroll through the centre, found a square with some snow sculptures on it, and eventually found the Mack brewery.
The brewery pub is beautifully decorated and we found quite a collection of other german passengers from the boat in there. So with a nice dark 7% beer in hand, we joined the group and had a jolly evening before heading back to the ship.
Tonight our dinner started early, as we had taken aboard another 250 passengers so from now on there were 2 seatings for dinner. In fact, the ship hadn’t even left port yet by the time we sat down to our food.
After dinner we chatted to a local fisherman who was taking the ship from Harstad to Hammerfest for his next job. He told us he works 3-5 months a year, earning as much in that time as most other people do over the entire year. The rest of the year he enjoys fishing in Norway with his wife and dog.
Partway through our second cup an announcement came up that northern lights were visible! It was quite funny to see everybody drop everything and head out onto the deck, us included. The lights were rather faint though and it turns out they looked pretty much exactly like the lights Micha had seen the night before.
The captain then invited everybody up onto Deck 7 to taste some stockfish. This looked just like crisps and tasted fishy. Not quite what we were expecting, although one of the crew explained that stockfish comes in all sorts of guises, from these crisps to actual pieces used in cooking.
Just as we were tucking into bed another announcement came on for more northern lights. Micha headed onto deck again, while Dana stayed in the cabin. Just as well, as there wasn’t much to see this time either and a dark cloud soon came overhead with some icy rain. Still, the deck was absolutely packed – can definitely tell that an additional 250 people are on board!
So it was back to bed, and when an announcement came at 3:45am that there were more northern lights visible, both Micha and Dana decided to ignore the call to action and kept snoozing..