I have set up a new page which is www.planetranger.com/moiraromer08. This is so as not to confuse my last year's visit to Australia.
This page will stay up - pictures are cool! I leave in October 08 from Heathrow.
Hello to all who follow me and my travels - well I went to Florida in July to the Lakeland Healing Outpouring. It is a Christian gathering and revival where the Holy Spirit of God is being poured out over the people. When I was there the meetings were going on with different speakers and worship leaders each morning and every evening with between 900 and 9000 people there. There were amazing healings happening and it was a wonderful experience to have been there. The Services are still going on in Lakeland into September at the Ignited Church in Lakeland and people from all over the world are still gathering to worship and receive healing and ministry.
Previous day there was a competition going on on the ship and everyone filled in a form to estimate the time that the ship would cross the line. Sitting with people in the bar we all had a go and my estimate, considering that we were running about half an hour late at various ports, was 07.24.22 and I was awarded 3rd prize! The Ceremony of the Arctic Circle was at 10 am on the top deck and was attended by some of the ships company and King Neptune! Then the prize giving the three of us had to go up and get a large soup ladle of ice cubes poured down our back (inside our clothing) and we were presented with a little gift and a small glass of Norwegian drink! Ouch! Then all the passengers had a go too! It was ice baptism!! Of course little bits went down my back and even into my trousers so I went and changed but about a bowlful fell out into my cabin! My prize was a very nice china mug with the name of the ship on and some pictures.
The rest of the day was lovely and relaxing. The ship went through some really amazing places and the sun came up and sky was blue. I sat on the top deck chatting with another passenger and taking photos of snowy clad mountains etc. I was quite surprised that there was so much sun as I had imagined that it would be fairly dim. We arrived in Bodo at around lunch time when some people went on excursions etc. I had a roll for lunch which I had saved from breakfast and then went for a walk in the town centre. There were no shops open but it was interesting. The snow was thick and the roads were still covered with ice very like the villages in the mountains high in the alps. Of course all systems go, not like in uk when everything comes to a standstill with one or two flakes! At Bodo there is a military base and an airport ( I think only for military aircraft)
At 3.pm the ship left port and we headed across the Vestfjord over to the Lofoten Islands stopping at Stamsund which took about 3 hours. Some of the passengers went for a Viking evening out but I stayed on board. I happened to be in the lobby by the reception area when the Captain was standing around so I shook his hand and thanked him for his amazing work getting us all through the storm. He was very nice and then told me that the weather was going to be very good and the evening should be fine and there was a very good possibility that we would see the Northern lights.
At supper time the call came that the Lights were visible on the left (port) side of the ship and there was a mad dash from the dining room to the deck 6. We saw the green cloudlike thing some people were taking flash photos ( why I dont know!) so it got annoying so I went back to my dinner!
After dinner was over I was very keen to see more so I went and got coat and gloves and went out on deck where there was very little light distraction and I stayed there until we arrived at the next port - Svolvaer and I went with a few other people to an Ice Museum with sculptures we had drinks in ice glasses! Very unusual but slightly touristy! We walked through the town and then back onto the ship at 10pm. The lights were dancing round again ad I stayed out on deck watching them until after midnight.
It was really freezing cold and we went through a very narrow channel in between the islands and under a bridge linking the islands. It is the Raftsound. We called into another port but by that time I was tucked into my cabin and asleep.
Last day today. 28th Jan. 08.00. There are a few ports to visit before arriving at Tromso this afternoon at 14.30. I will have to go to the airport to catch my flight at 17.30.
Location: Northern Norway, UK
Well, I have had to miss a day so we begin now and as I write on day 2 of my trip -I am looking out of the front window of the ship at a sea which is very wild!
I started off in early morning on Thursday 24th by taxi to Heathrow and the flight was on time and all well. The aeroplane had a camera on the front underside and we could watch it take off and climb then it was on again while the plane landed at Copenhagen airport. I grabbed a sandwich and fruit drink for my lunch then found the connecting flight to Bergen which also took off on time. It was foggy at Copenhagen airport. Flying up the coast of Norway and Sweden was wonderful. The coast is rugged and brown with bitty little islands all along. Mountains had snow on the tops and there were one or two glaciers inland and masses of frozen lakes. There was no snow on the ground on the coast at all. We were told that the temperature was about 6 degrees.
Arrived in Bergen and then found the bus to take me to the port. This was a half hour journey and was snowing some of the time. Although the temperature was not lower than about 4 degrees. On arrival at the port at about 5pm the group of people I was with was greeted with the news that the ship was not there! It had been delayed and would not be arriving until 10.30 pm (normal boarding time was to have been 18:00 and sailing time 22:30)
We were checked in and given our cabin numbers and shown ( or rather herded) up the stairs to a waiting room where we waited for a couple of hours drinking coffee/tea and eating snacky biccys (yuk) before news came that we were going into town to a hotel for dinner. By this time there were about 200 people gathered. There were several coaches and we piled in.
The Raddisson Hotel gave us a very nice dinner and we were joined by yet another 100 people and the news came at about 9 pm that the ship would now be coming in at midnight and we could make ourselves comfortable or go for a walk until later. I was in good company with 3 people who had travelled on the same flights. We had a few drinks in the bar and helped look after each others bags while walks around the town and fresh air was had by each in turn now and again. News however was passed around that the ship was further delayed and was due in at 1.00 am. We were to be taken back to the port at 12.45 to wait there for boarding.
Everyone was tired. The hotel did its best and provided free drinks and fruit, cake and nibbles
(and raw carrots! ) for everybody but I found it quite hard to stay awake. (7 hours delay at this point) The floor of the port building eventually was my resting place for yet another hour and a half when finally the ship arrived at 2 am. We boarded went to our cabins and waited for our suitcases to be delivered. I didnt sleep until about 3.30am. Then the ship set off at about 4.30 and was rocking quite a lot. I woke up every half hour I think and looked out of my nice large round porthole and saw an oil-rig being supported by four tugs which were attached at each corner. It looked quite spectacular lit up. We sailed inland coast for a long way outside Bergen between islands etc.
Morning 25th Jan. Friday.
Having woken several times in the night and not being able to sleep any more I got up, looked out and saw an almighty sea. Thank goodness the ship has stabilizers as it was still rolling around
things dropping off my bedside table and trying not to lose balance in the bathroom was the next hurdle!
Went down to the restaurant at 9 am for breakfast and the information was that we had been through an almost hurricane force gale. It was then force 10 and now as I write we are told that it is about force 8. I had a nice breakfast sitting at a table with some people from northern Germany.
The sea is now so rough that it is not possible to call into any of the small ports just north of Bergen which is a shame. The next stop is further north and the hope is that we can make port there for a while. There is an information meeting at 12 (midday) so more weather info will be available then.
What a pity. The ship is passing by some beautiful tall cliffs which are covered with snow at the top. In sunlight I guess they would be spectacular ( never mind I will have to come again one day). I am having quite a nice restful time at the moment with no stresses. I am not going outside in the cold wind and will keep praying that the sea settles and the storm is calmed.
The passengers are mainly from England and Germany and it is lovely and quiet on board here in the lounge
no musac ! it is midday now and the wind is getting up again and visibility isnt good.
News just given at midday is that the storm is blowing force 10 with gusts of force 12. The Captain and the Safety Officer are not leaving the Bridge and we are making for the harbour port of Maloy to stay there until the wind dies down hopefully at 8 pm will be the sailing time. We are behind schedule and one of the shore excursions for people has been cancelled at Alesund where we should have been today. I didnt book this so not bothered! It is a bit chaotic! I dont think they have ever had to deal with a situation like this on the boat because the tour guides are really confused!
This has been a quiet day. We reached Maloy which was a relief. It is a fishing port they say it is one of the biggest for Norway and brings in about 200,000 tons of fish each year. The town was fairly uninteresting. I went ashore and had a walk took a few photos and breaths of air and then it began to pour with rain again so I wandered back on board.
The system for checking you in and out is to use the cabin card which has a bar code on it which you have to scan on the way out and on the return. There is an officer on the doorway. There is a stairway which you climb down onto a ramp to get ashore.
I felt pretty tired after all that went on in Bergen and the rocking of the ship was a bit tiring too so went for a couple of hours sleep in the afternoon while it was quiet.
Evening meal is served in 3 sessions. 6.30, 7.00 and 7.30. I was put on the last one and we had really nice meal.
The ship left the port while we were eating our pudding and off we went into the North Sea again. Talk about rough sea! Straight away it was rolling around and one poor woman in the restaurant was sick at the table thankfully not mine! It was a matter of being thrown from pillar to post and thank God for railings! It was about 8.30 and everyone was strongly advised (by the crew) to sit down! On the way back from the restaurant I found myself clinging to a pillar not being able to move and feeling weightless at points when the ship was rolling. So I just clung on but became a bit giggly. I did eventually make it to my cabin which was quite a relief but it was very bad indeed. Over the tanoy they were telling us not to worry and in a few minutes the ship would change course and it would be better!! I just had to lie down as it was the safest thing. I felt really dizzy ( only one glass of wine with my meal) but it was like being very tipsy I had a sicky bag nearby just in case for the first time in my life!
It did however get a bit easier after about an hour and we sailed on through the night stopping at only one port Alsund which was where there were crew waiting to board.
There is a ship webcam on www.hurtigruten.com/webcams -you can also find where each ship is which is quite interesting.
I had a very good sleep after all. Woke up at about 4 am because the ship started rocking about again but I went back to sleep and woke again at 7 45. I went down to breakfast at 9 am lovely buffet with lots of nice tempting things. I put a few biscuits in my bag for later and went on deck to have a walkabout. It is getting colder and the sea was still quite rough but not nearly as bad. They said force 6 so still reasonably rough.
The ship arrived and docked in Trondheim at 10 55 and I had booked an excursion into the town by bus which I was quite glad about because as we went off it was snowing quite hard. The coach took us all round town and the guide told us about the history of the city which was once the capital. The King and Queen come and stay occasionally and they have a beautiful house with 120 rooms in the centre. All the houses (except of course the modern buildings) are built entirely of wood and are painted different shades from pink to mustard tones and a few blue ones. It is most delightful however the problem they have with fires is dreadful. There have been so many buildings lost in fires over the past centuries! We were then taken right up a hill which overlooks the city and it was really snowing fast
about 3 inches by the time we arrived there and then it stopped snowing and the view was wonderful. The coach then took us to the cathedral which is famous and built in the gothic style Westminster Abbey was apparently the inspiration. Wandered round and then off we went back to the ship which was waiting to leave port again. 1.00 pm we left Trondheim and were invited to the conference room lounge to meet the crew. The captain made a speech in Norwegian which was translated into 4 languages for us. He said that it had been very bad indeed and that the weather had been the main reason that he had been late arriving from the south at the beginning of the trip for which he apologised. We were given champagne and there were many people there who were really grateful to those guys for getting the ship through that storm.
Most of the afternoon was spent cruising up the channel between islands rocks and cliffs now mostly snow covered up to the sea. It wasnt rough and I had time for a walk around the ship a few times and a rest on my bunk and a bit of lunch. There is a café where you can get snacks drinks and sweets etc which is open 24 hours I think. During the afternoon we passed one of the Hurtigruten ships sailing south and both ships sounded horns in greeting. I took a video. It is nice to have a forwarning by the announcement tanoy system on board when something interesting is happening. We also passed the most unusual lighthouse which looks like an ordinary house just sitting in the middle of the sea! I have a photo apparently a family with young children once lived there
how they managed I cant imagine!
Dinner was next and the ship was rolling about again and there were noticeably a number of empty seats in the dining room! After we finished there was a stop at a small port of call Rorvik for about half an hour. I - was walk carefully over the top deck which was snow covered when the hooter sounded! I got a fright as it was so loud !! It was greeting another of the same line which was just leaving. I then went to the lounge and had a drink with a few people and came to bed at 11.ish. I am up again looking out at another port of call ( Bronnoysund) they are taking on passengers here it seems. It is all snow covered and small wooden houses all along the coastal inlet fjord. I always thought that a fjord was a steep cliff each side place but actually it is a long inland stretch of water however steep the sides are! ( I think better check that tomorrow!) Anyway it is already tomorrow 1.15 am and there are 3 more stops due tonight. Better get to bed.
27th Jan Sunday
Oh Wow, I just looked out of my cabin window and saw the globe lit up to tell that we had passed the Arctic Circle. It looked amazing and on top of a post which seemed very close to the ship. Went by it so quickly that it was too late to take a photo.
Hello everyone, I am now going to embark (yes on a ship!) on another rather interesting journey. Sounds dumb perhaps going into the dark of the north atlantic and over the arctic circle at this time of year but that is where I am off to.
Norway has an Express Ferry fleet (Hurtigruten) which runs up and down the coast from Bergen almost to the Russian border. It stops at about 34 different settlements along the rugged mountainous coast and in and out of ffiords and islands.
I will fly to Copenhagen in the morning (24th) and change planes to reach Bergen at about 15.30 and then will join the ship. It is one of the newest in the Hurtigruten fleet and is called the MS Midnatsol ( Midnight sun). It leaves port at about 22.30. I will stay on board for 4 nights until it reaches Tromso from where I will fly back on Monday night via Oslo.
Not a long trip! Bonus's will be to see the Northern lights and spot wildlife eg Orca whales.
I am excited!