“In Search of the Northern Lights” with Viking Cruises Day 14, 15, & 16

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022, Friday, February 4th, 2022 & Saturday, February 5th, 2022

Today we slept in because we weren’t going to Lerwick, Shetland Islands. The nasty weather that hit the east coast of the United States was now coming across the ocean.

We went to the front of the ship to read and also walked around the ship. When we look out the windows we can only see water and fog, no more beautiful mountains.

Nothing but water!

Late afternoon the ship began crossing the North Sea and heading toward London. The wind was blowing about 31 mph and the ship was swaying a little bit. We enjoyed visiting different places so we were rather bored with sailing today and then tomorrow too!

We also were given instructions for filling out the Passenger Locator Form for our arrival in Tilbury (London). We also would gain one hour, from six hours ahead to five hours ahead!

This evening was the farewell celebration even though we have one more day of sailing. They felt that if they did it tomorrow night people would be busy packing and wouldn’t attend the celebration. The captain spoke and champagne was served and refills were given! Tonight’s entertainment was “Stage & Screen- A Viking Venus Variety Show”.

A song from Hamilton

Day 15, Friday, February 4th

This morning was our last time to do a saliva COVID test, health survey and temperature check! From this test, we would be given our results on an official paper so that we could enter England and fly home tomorrow!

Today was another day at sea heading toward England. Sunrise was at 7:51 AM and sunset was 4:37 PM. It was our longest day so far.

This afternoon Mr. Terence Murtagh, a guest lecturer on this cruise, gave a talk entitled, “Your Aurora, Your Experience”. He shared some of his photos and time-lapse photography of the Aurora Borealis that occurred during our cruise. He also shared some of the passenger photos that were sent to him. It was fun as he discussed the techniques of the photography and reviewed what causes the northern lights. He also shared a great site for those interested in aurora alerts, you can submit photos, and up to date information on the science related to the sun. It was spaceweather.com

Katie Healy, our cruise director, entertained us tonight with a variety of swing songs.

Day 16, Saturday, February 5th

We docked in Tilbury (London), England around 4:30 AM. For our disembarkation from the Viking Venus we were to meet in the atrium at 6:30 AM. When our color tag was called we disembarked from the ship and boarded our bus for Heathrow Airport. The sky was beautiful as we rode along.

As we checked in our luggage at Heathrow airport, the agent from United asked us if we wanted to fly on an earlier flight to Chicago. Our original itinerary had us flying from Heathrow to Washington, DC, then from there to Chicago, and then Chicago to Columbus. This change would eliminate one flight and get us in to Columbus about an hour earlier. We were happy to change our flights. The flight from London to Chicago left about two hours earlier! We had time to get through security and get to our gate and then it was time to board!

Leaving Heathrow

Snow was on the ground again as our flight got close to Chicago.

Snow covered land outside Chicago

We arrived in Chicago on time. We went to Global Entry, claimed our luggage and went through security again to get to the gate for our flight to Columbus. We had time to catch a late lunch before boarding our last plane!

Our time in Norway was marvelous. Every port we visited we learned more about Norway and its people, customs, traditions, and history. And our highlight was seeing the Aurora Borealis! It was another memorable adventure!

We can’t wait for our next adventure!

“In Search of the Northern Lights” with Viking Cruises Day 12 & 13

Tuesday, February 1st, 2022 and Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

The sun was rising, 9:10 AM as we headed to Bodø!

It was beautiful scenery as we sailed this morning.

Today we were to dock in Bodø, Norway around noon. Unfortunately the captain decided the wind gusts at the pier were 20-30 mph and it wasn’t safe to dock! We could see the town but didn’t get to visit.

So the ship turned around and we headed south and we were at sea the rest of the day. The captain said they were looking for another port for tomorrow. We will be refunded for our excursions from Bodø. So the rest of the day we walked around the ship, enjoyed the views, and did a lot of reading!

The fjords were majestic and covered with snow. The day was a little longer. Sunset was at 3:22 PM.

This evening the Viking Singers did a show called “The Beatles Songbook”. It was fun to hear many of the Beatles’ hits. We also found out that the Excursion desk did find a port for tomorrow. We would be visiting Trondheim, Norway. The only excursion would be a tour of the town.

Day 13, Wednesday, February 2nd, we docked in Trondheim around 8:30 AM. Sunrise this morning was at 8:51 AM.

Since the ship anchored in the harbor we were tendered into Trondheim for our tour. This port replaces Bodø which we couldn’t dock at yesterday.

Tender Boat

We were on the first tender to Trondheim. This was also the first time the Viking Venus had been to this city. Trondheim was located in the Trondheim fjord and at the mouth of the River Nidelva.

Our ship anchored in the distance!

On our tour we stopped for a photo-op that looked over the city.

The population of Trondheim was 210,000. It was the 3rd largest municipality in Norway and the 4th largest urban area. The Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU) with 40,000 students was located in Trondheim.

The Old Town Bridge (Gamie Bybro) crossed over the Nidelva River and was originally constructed of wood and supported on three stone piers and was reconstructed in 1861. The bridge, Gamie Bybro, was also known as the Gate of Happiness!

Gamie Bybro, Old Town Bridge

We passed by the Royal Residence. It was the largest wooden palace in Scandinavia and was built during 1774-1778 by the widow and privy counsellor Cecilie Christine Schøller. Today it served as the official royal residence of Trondheim.

The oldest wharves along the River Nidelva dated back to the 18th century.

The island of Munkholmen was near our ship. It was originally named Nidarholm. It had many uses. During the Viking Age this island was where public executions here held, then it was a Benedictine monastery. Later it was reconstructed as a fort and then used as a prison. During WWII it was again used as a fort by the Germans. Today it’s a popular tourist attraction and recreation place for the residents of Trondheim.

Out last stop was the Nidaros Cathedral. The church was built over the grave of St. Olav, Norway’s patron saint. Most of the cathedral was in a Gothic style and was completed about 1300. In 1869 there was extensive renovations. Then a century later it was restored to its original state. The stained glass dated from the early 1900s.

Because Trondheim is a university town we saw their student society (Studentersamfundet). It was owned and run by its members, almost 9,000 students. It was their hub. Our guide told us their were plans to expand the student center.

Some sights as we toured Trondheim!

After our tour we read in the Explorer’s Lounge and our ship departed Trondheim around 4:00 PM.

Leaving Trondheim

The captain came on and said the weather was bad in the Shetland Islands which was our next port. Tomorrow instead of visiting Lerwick, Shetland Islands we will sail southerly along the Inside Passage of Norway. This evening’s entertainment was another show by Harry the Piano!

“In Search of the Northern Lights” with Viking Cruises Day 10

Sunday, January 30th, 2022

Overnight we sailed toward Tromsø and docked before 8:00 AM.

Looking out over Balsfjorden, a fjord that is over 35 miles in length.

Tromsø has been called the “Paris of the North”! This is because of its lively atmosphere, varied nightlife, cultural activities, and restaurants abound. It is also the largest city within the Arctic Circle and is also considered to be another great location to view the Northern Lights.

This morning we had an included tour of Tromsø.

Our first stop was the planetarium on the Tromsø campus of the Arctic University of Norway and it was the first Norwegian planetarium open to the public. We went in and watched in the dome a movie from a photographer’s clips from his trips to watch and photograph the Northern Lights.

We passed by the Arctic Cathedral which was a Norway parish church and not actually a cathedral. Its construction was from concrete and metal.

The city also had an underground road system called the Tromsøysund Tunnel. It was an undersea highway tunnel and even had a roundabout! This road system connected the island of Tromsøya with the main suburb of Tromsdalen. Our bus driver took us in the tunnel and through the roundabout several times! The residents of the area have two ways to cross the water: the bridge and the tunnel.

Up a hill we stopped at a school where we had a great view of the town and surrounding area!

Even though it was dark, it was just a little after 3:00 PM, when we took a shuttle into Tromsø. There was snow all around but the sidewalks were perfectly dry and clear and that was because the sidewalks were heated.

In town we were able to visit two stores. The ship wanted to keep us in a bubble so the shops were closed to everyone except Viking passengers. We were given about 45 minutes to look around.

As we left the ship we saw a masked snowman created by some of the Viking Venus crew. There were many members of the crew that had never experienced snow!

Viking Venus Snowman

This evening we went on an excursion called “Chasing the Northern Lights”. At first the aurora borealis was faint but given time it danced across the sky and put on a show for us. We were lucky to see them three nights in a row! We got back to the ship very early the next morning.

Watch the three videos below to see how the Northern Lights danced, changed and filled the night sky!

Northern Lights Movie 1
Northern Lights Movie 2
Northern Lights Movie 3

Below are some of our favorite pictures from tonight’s views of the aurora borealis!

“In Search of the Northern Lights” with Viking Cruises Day 9

Saturday, January 29th, 2022

It is much colder today with a high of only 5˚ and sunrise was at 9:27 AM and sunset at 1:53 PM. This morning we went on an excursion called “Northern Norway during WWII”. We traveled to the Tirpitz Museum in Kåfjord.

The museum was a timber building from 1880 and was built in Lillehammer and then it was taken down and moved to Kåfjord in 1945 to help rebuild the war-ravaged area. When it was rebuilt, it first served as the first nursing home and stayed as one until 1961 when a new nursing home was built.

Nearby Altafjord was the largest German naval base outside of Germany. After the sinking of the Tirpitz and the Germans were losing the area, they destroyed Alta. It was part of the German Nazi’s “scorched-earth” policy when they retreated.

The Tirpitz was a huge Nazi warship. This battleship was the heaviest battleship and weighed 2,000 tons more than the Nazi Bismarck. It weighed 42,900 tons or 52,500 tons when it was fully loaded. It was the heaviest ship built by a European Navy at that time. In 1942 she sailed into Norway to be a deterrent against an Allied Invasion. Also she was to intercept Allied Convoys to the Soviet Union.

In September 1943, while anchored in Kåfjord/Altafjord, she was attacked by British midget submarines and put out of action for the first time. There was quite a Norwegian resistance against Hitler and the Germans so they helped to inform the British of Tirpitz’s location! On the other side of the hill with the thigh-high snow is where the Tirpitz tried to hide.

The war museum was filled with many relics from the war and had the largest collection of photos and artifacts from the Tirpitz. Below were a few of them that from the museum.

Photograph of the Tirpitz

We also visited the Kåfjord Church nearby. It was the oldest standing church in Alta. The Rallar family statue in front of the church was a symbol of the poor families that lived and worked in the copper mines in Kåfjord in the 1800s. Cooper mining was popular in this area after it was discovered.

The beautiful Altafjord as we head back to the ship

The picture below shows what they call “Arctic Smoke” and it was caused by the water temperature being warmer than the outside air and it was really cold today.

“Arctic Smoke”

The sun was shining on Alta’s two ski jumps as we headed for our afternoon snowmobile adventure. They look very intimidating!

This afternoon we traveled by bus to the Igloo Hotel in Sorrisniva where we geared up for our snowmobile adventure. They had all the clothing, boots, and helmets that we needed to be comfortable during our ride. Before we got on our snowmobile we had a thorough safety instruction from our guide.

Dave was an excellent snowmobile driver! Our ride followed along the Sorrisniva River. About halfway through our ride we stopped and enjoyed the views and if you wanted it was an opportunity to switch drivers. We did not.

Upon returning to the snowmobile hut and getting out of our helmets, boots, etc… we visited the Igloo Hotel. It was first built in 2000 and was Norway’s first ice hotel.