The voyage's itinerary: from Helsinki by plane to the lake region, then by road to Kirkenes in Norway, where we boarded the ship Vesteralen, the "Fjord's mailman", for the long trip south along the Norwegian Fjords, around Cape North, through the Arctic Circle and then down to Bergen, from where we flew to Oslo first and then to Stockholm.
Our plane takes us to Helsinki, first leg of this voyage to the extreme northern regions of Europe; we will stop here only little more than 24 hours, barely enough for a quick round-trip of the town's main attractions.
Old houses in Helsinki's town centre
At dusk, we take a ferry to the nice island of Suomenlinna
(left) the - rather disputed - monument to the finnish composer Sibelius and (right) the Temppeliaukion kirkko, the "stone cathedral"
We take another plane to reach northern Finland, the "thousand lakes" region and the home of Santa Claus! By bus we ride the area heading for the Norwegian border and along the way we stop from time to time for sight-seeing and a bit of shopping.
(left) this is not called "the thousand lakes region" for nothing! (right) Baby admires the typical pullìovers on show in a shop along the road
(right) The interior of a Sami tent (right) Our ship awaits us in the port of Kirkenes; we are few kilometers from the Russian border
NORWEGIAN COAST AND FJORDS
The first of our many stopovers, the little town of Vardo and its small army base, now a museum
We disembark to ride to Cape North by bus, and along the way we stop in a traditional Sami settlement
A monument at Cape North
Sailing again, the fog hides the scenery near Hammerfest
The modern church in Tromso, were we listened to the local choir
(left) a foggy panorama along the Raftsundet and (right) the so-called "seven sisters" near Helgeland
It seems a bit strange to cross the polar circle...from north to south!
A nice church in Bronnoy, another one of the 30-odd stops of our ship
The impressive Trondheim cathedral
Storm-force wind in the Julsundet!
Sailing along the shores of Vestland
Another view of Vestland; our voyage by sea is near its end
Bergen, our port of destination
The harbour of Bergen
On our way back home, a stop in Oslo!
The Royal Palace
A view of the Oslo harbour
BYGDØY, THE MUSEUM-ISLAND
A short ferry ride takes us to the island of Bygdoy, home of the rich-and-famous, but also the site of some very interesting museums.
Reconstruction of a typical farmers' village of old
Bygdoy is also the host of the finds from two viking royal burial sites, including two well-preserved "drakkar"
Although the exact function of this object is still debated between scholars, the beauty of the handywork is undeniable!
Last but not least, the polar ship "Fram" that around the late '800s / early '900s served the three major Norwegian explorers, Nansen, Amundsen and Sverdrup in some of their enterprises
Airplane again, and another brief stop, this time in Stockholm
(left) the houses of the old city and (right) the Royal Palace
A modern building overlooking the harbour hosts the wreck, recovered from the waters of the port, of the "Wasa", a grand battle-ship that sunk rather surprisingly at the very beginning of its maiden voyage.
A model of the Wasa's interior; the reasons for its sudden sinking were not entirely clarified, but it is common belief that part of the blame rests with the king himself, Gustav Adolf Wasa, who demanded to increase the number of guns carried by the ship, therefore fatally spoiling the ship's precarious balance.
Last Update: 11/11/2014
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