Category Archives: Norway

Lofoten, Svolvær and the Fishery Museum

We went to bed late yesterday and had to get up early for some tea and our shore leave to Lofoten. We arrived before Svolvær and through anchor at 8:00 am. We took a shuttle boat at 8:05 and met our guide for Svolær and the Lofoten museum. The guide was originally from Sigmaringen, supporting the narrative that Suebs can be found everywhere on the globe. He settled in Lotofen this very January. He left Germany after a tour through Norway because it loved how relaxed Norway is compared to hectic Germany. It is even more relaxed than Kiel.

He toured with us through Svolvær and we had some time to shoot photos from Svolvær, its harbor and the Svolvær goat. The latter is a rock formation with two pointy ears. The story goes that in the past when a couple wanted to marry, both had to climb up one of the ears of the goat, one for the bride and one for the groom and then the latter had to prove his courage by jumping over to the woman’s pillar, I mean ear. The distance between both pillars is approximately 150 cm make a jump possible, but in case you miss, you fall to your demise. Under these conditions, I would have stayed unmarried.

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Our next stop was at the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum in Sørvågen. The building ensemble was a fishing village in the past until the village owner went bankrupt and the town Sørvågen took over. They transformed it into a nursing home and then more recently into a museum, because of all the tourists roaming the islands in the summer.

The museum comprises an old main house where the administrator and owner lived, living quarters for fishermen, repair shops, a blacksmith hut and boat sheds. The owner’s house was painted in white. White indicates a rich owner, as the white paint had to be imported which was expensive. Some people only painted one side of their homes white. Usually the one facing the sea, as the sea was the main road in the past. The sheds were all painted red. In the past they used fish blubber and fish blood to mix the paint resulting in a reddish color of the sheds and houses.

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Inside the museum, they illustrated how the people lived on the Lofoten in the past and worked in the past. It displays the development from early fisheries in Lofoten up to the early 20th.

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The interior of the owners’s house illustrates how those fish barons lived in comfort, while the fishermen usually had little to nothing, as they had to sell their fish to the owners and use their facilities. Looks like private monopolies are not a good idea. Later this monopoly was broken up by the state, but the fish village owners built fish factories where the fishermen had to sell their fish.

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On our way back to Svolvær, we came across the Lofoten Cathedral. A lovely wooden church. The present day implementation is the third version of the church at this place. The predecessor was dismantled and reassembled at another village.

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We concluded our trip in Svolvær with a visit to a local bakery where we sampled some local coffee specialties and bakery products. Finally, we hopped on one of our shuttle boats back to the cruise liner. On route to our ship, we were able to take pictures of the local fish drying facilities.

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Neptun’s Empire and Svartisen Glacier

On August 1st, we will have crossed the Arctic Circle. Neptun appeared on deck at about 11:00 am and requested obedience. We all have to get baptized or else … Some refused. They will become fish fodder, eventually. The rest of us were allowed to proceed and discover moose later that evening. As you can see below the ritual was very human. Quite different then we had expected. Based on Neptun’s introduction, we thought we had to be baptized in the cold basin of the aft deck pool, but instead we just had to drink some vodka. So most of the passengers managed. See below our souls after the baptism.

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After the baptism, we continued our journey without incident and reached, in the evening, the Svartisen Glacier. The mighty glacier reached down from the highest mountain range to the shore. At least almost, it had retreated approximately 2 km from the shore line.

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We lowered our tender boats and shuttled to the shore. We had heard that in the local forest, we could see some moose and maybe reach the glacier tongue. When we set foot on the shore, it was already 20:00. Therefore, we restrained ourselves to the moose visit and took pictures of the glacier, the little birch forest at its bottom and the frontal moraine.

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There are images of the glacier from several decades ago when the glacier reached down to the sea, and later to the location where we found the rubble bump stretching through the forest from one side of the glacier bed to the other. We found one public domain picture from 8 years ago, where the glacier was wider.

The rubble stretch, we found, looks like an frontal moraine. However, it is very small maybe two meters high. They cut through the frontal moraine for a road which allowed us to examine its structure a little. While I am no expert when it comes to glaciers and geology, I have at least the impression it is an frontal moraine. In case I am mistaken, I am eager to hear and read a better explanation for the rubble stretch.

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We took quite a few glacier pictures and on one we marked a waterfall of meltwater running down the mountain. You can also see that in the glacier’s bed that there must have been ice in the past, which is now gone. Yes, this is only one glacier, but this one is retreating rapidly. You can see that the area beside the glacier do not show any larger vegetation, which would usually enter the area very quickly, as water is available and also minerals from the surface.

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We also visited the moose couple with a little moose. I had the impression that they are smaller then those I saw 27 years ago in Canada. However, this is a long time ago. And things seem to increase in memory.

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Moose are apparently the biggest wild living animals in Europe, according to a sign beside the moose park.

One our way back, we encountered a minion and a herd of smilies beside the road and we learned that we could have rented bikes (they were hidden, by a large bus when we arrived). Anyway, it was too late so we shuttled back to the ship and had a nice farewell from the fjord.

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