After the cities, we decided to go back to the sea to discover its true soul. We boarded the coastal streamer, the Hurtigruten, to embark on what Lonely Planet called the most beautiful cruise voyage in the world. (Not that I am the biggest fan of lonely planet, but more about that later).
Hurtigruten is a coastal steamer, which apart from servicing the coastal towns of Norway’s West Coast, doubles up as an acceptable cruise ship. You will find no casinos, discotheques or children’s play area here, but if the experience around you more than makes up for it. Given its passage through inlets and frequent ports of call, you are never really at sea, but rather in the midst of an open-air amphitheater where you see Scandinavia pass you by. From small towns, to farms to pretty lighthouses on rocks, you feel a certain oneness with the landscape. Combined with short stops in pretty fishing villages and coastal towns, your exposure to local life is exceptional. Hurtigruten also takes you into the Fjords, which Norway is famous for. Squeezing yourself past towering cliffs you make a dramatic turn inland. (pic). And yes, you get to part of it, lying lazily on a deck chair with your favorite book in hand. (A Bloomquist in my case).
The other spectaculars include the Lofoten islands and before you realize it you have crossed the Artic circle.
Your final destination, Tromso is actually a good 350 kilometers inside the circle.
The cruise also allows you to go on short side rips, which include Trips to Glaciers, Seal islands and interaction with local people. In winter it even gets better, with Husky Dog Sledging, Northern Lights excursions and snow mobile trips to the Russian Border.
Perhaps the best phase to describe the trip is that it’s a “live spa”. Cleansed, exfoliated, purified and yes amazed too, you re-appear a few days later. That’s Scandinavia for you.
The Scandinavia of your dreams is available in full customisable form from Tierra. Costs start at 1.2 lakhs per person.