How can I explain Hurtigruten? If I say it is the Norwegian Coastal Express service you will ask ‘and why do I need to know that’, if I say it has been sailing around the coast of Norway since 1893 you may say ‘so what?’ but if I say is has been called ‘the most beautiful voyage in the world’ that might give you a clue as to why you should investigate further – so let me explain.
I love ships, I love cruises and I love Hurtigruten, but Hurtigruten is not a cruise in the accepted sense. No Captain’s cocktail party, no dressing up and the best footwear is a good pair of walking boots and some comfy socks. Hurtigruten translates as ‘fast route’ and my first clue to just how important it is to Norwegians emerged when I bought a map shortly before our trip – and there on a standard map was the Hurtigruten route marked in red all the way along the coast from Bergen to the very top of Norway at Kirkenes.
Travelling will always leave memories, sometimes it is the big, one off, being in a place you have always dreamt of, sometime it’s just little snapshots of the total experience to be captured in an album or an ebook – and sometimes it is the very small details of the place you are in which matter to no one except you. My recent trip to India furnished me with all of the above – the Taj Majal at dawn, arriving at the palace on the lake, an evening ride around Udaipur in a vintage car, these were the easily recalled images which many others have shared. To me however, equally precious are the small things that only I saw and that only I will remember, the drift of evening cooking fire smoke curling into a Delhi sunset, the frantic flurry of parrots chattering to roost in a park, the rough, earthy feel of the terracotta cup containing the most delicious lassi I have ever tasted, all of these are precious too and I want to share at least some of them……….. [Read more…]
There is something very pleasing about leaving from Gatwick on a very cold December morning and a few short hours later emerging, blinking, into a warm and sunny day in Tenerife. The short drive from the airport to the ship was a brief glimpse of arid tufa, spectacular cacti and the odd unremarkable small town but our arrival at Santa Cruz was a thrill as we were swiftly reunited with one of our favourite ships, MS Braemar, docked and waiting for us. [Read more…]