“In Search of the Northern Lights” with Viking Cruises Day 5 & Day 6

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022 and Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

We are combining two days because Wednesday is a day at sea. It just made sense to combine them!

We were up early just so we could do today’s saliva COVID test because we had a tour this morning, “A Snapshot of Bergen”. This was an included excursion.

Our first stop was The Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene. It was one of the best preserved buildings in Bergen. It was the 16th century office and home of an affluent German merchant. It was located next to St. Mary’s Church. The museum consists of 3 assembly rooms and a kitchen. The first rooms we visited were assembly halls for the Hanseatic merchants. The Hanseatic League lived here from 1350 to 1750. These merchants traded stockfish and grains.

The Schøtstuene was where all the cooking of food took place. Due to the danger of fire it was placed separately behind the other office buildings. In winter hot meals were served here.

After the museum we walked through Bryggen. It was nice walking around this area again because it wasn’t raining!

The walk along the harbor was enjoyable today.

We stopped at the Fantoft Stavkicke (Fantoft Stave Church). It was originally built in 1150 in Fortun and was moved to Fantoft in 1883. It burned down in 1992. It was rebuilt to resemble the original structure.

The Fløibanen which takes you to the top of Mt. Floyen was closed for remodeling, so we didn’t get to ride it to the top which would have been great because this morning was the best weather and the sky was clear!

The clearing in the mountain where the Fløibanen is located.

After our morning tour we were back on the ship and immediately ate lunch because the ship was going to set sail at 1:30 PM and we wanted to be out on the deck as we left Bergen. As we were heading out on deck the captain made an announcement that our departure would be delayed about 45 minutes. So we went back to our cabin and out on our veranda we saw passengers disembarking with their luggage! We had heard approximately 18 people had a positive COVID result and had to quarantine in Bergen. What a shame to travel here and be excited for your cruise and not be able to go. (Travel insurance is certainly a necessity during this pandemic so you are protected.)

Bergenhus Fortress from the ship.

Of course it was raining by the time we set sail. We still went out on deck and walked forward and aft.

After the ship had sailed and we were pretty wet, we found a spot in the Explorer’s Lounge to continue to watch as sailed out of the bay. The Explorer’s Lounge is at the front of the ship and had all glass windows! Once we got closer to the open North Sea, the wind picked up considerably.

This evening was the captain’s toast and an introduction to his senior officers. Our captain was Norwegian and had a great sense of humor. He shared that there were 417 guests on board and 451 crew representing 47 different countries. The crew members outnumbered the guests!

Captain Rune and the senior officers

Wednesday was a day at sea so we did not have to be up early. We did need to do our COVID test before 9:00 AM so the room steward can collect them and get them to the medical lab on board.

We attended three lectures that were offered today. The first lecture was with Dr. Kathy Stearne. She discussed the Northern Lights and if science can explain the “geomagnetic storms or if the gods are just over the horizon”.

At 2:00 PM we participated in the celebration for crossing the Arctic Circle, the “Blue Nose Ceremony”! In Antarctica we did the polar plunge where you actually jumped into the water off the ship but for this Viking Cruise they turned their hot tub into a freezing cold “sea” of water. We watched them dump load after load of ice into the water. Guests were invited to jump into the icy water and then they were given a “blue nose’ and a shot of aquavit which is the national spirit of Scandinavia. After our “polar plunge” we went back to our cabin and took a hot shower.

The next lecture was with Mr. Terence Murtagh. He spoke about the science related to the aurora borealis and also how to capture them with a camera. He gave suggestions for settings of a digital camera set on manual.

After his talk we participated in the daily afternoon tea. We each had a our own selection of tea in our own teapot and a selection of tea sandwiches and desserts!

After tea we enjoyed the views from our veranda as we sailed toward Narvik, Norway. One of the bridges the ship sailed under was very close. There was approximately three feet between the top of the ship and the bridge.

The last lecture we attended today was with Michael Scott and his topic was about discovering wildlife and the natural landscapes we might see during our cruise. He mainly showed pictures he had taken from his previous travels along Norway’s coast.

This evening we enjoyed a musical show with the four Viking singers recalling sounds of the 1960s. They sang many different songs that were popular during this decade.

The Viking Band playing with a COVID information sign behind them.

After the show we bundled up and went out on the top deck to check out the night sky for any activity. It was cloudy and no stars.

Black sky filled with clouds!

Tomorrow morning we will arrive at Narvik.

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