Torbjorn Zetterlund

Sun 26 2018

Cycletrippin – The Lonely Cyclists Tour Scandinavia – Stage 2

by bernt & torsten

Stage 2

Stage 2 of my cycletrippin to North Cape was with a ferry from Bergen to Kirkenes, with a stop at North Cape. For this part of my journey, I took the Hurtigruten coastal ferry services, here is a map of the ports the ship stopped at on the way to Kirkenes. Stage 2 was to rest me up for what to come on stage 3.

Hurtigruten Bergen to Kirkenes

After Arriving in Bergen, I got up early and packed my stuff, I was going to meet up with my sister Eva that was joining me for the next two stages of my Cycletrippin, she was going with me on the Hurtigruten trip and the bike ride to Junosuando from Kirkness.

Hurtigruten is a Norwegian public coastal route transporting passengers that travel locally, regionally, and between the ports of call also popular with tourists exploring Norway.

If I ever had a bucket list, a journey with Hurtigruten would be on it, not for seeing the spectacular fjords and cities of Norway, no it was based on a book I read when I was 13 about a journey on Hurtigruten and erotic encounter between the two main characters of the book. Unfortunately, the name of the book and author has slipped my mind, I remember that this book was so valuable to me when I was 13, I had even earmarked the page where there was an erotic paragraph in the book.

Now 50 years later I was on the same journey, I did not experience any erotic moments while onboard, I did see a great Norwegian landscape.

Before the Hurtigruten ship was going to sail, I met up with my sister Eva in Bergen city center, we had several hours to explore Bergen before we boarded the ship, MS Richard With. Here are some picks from Bergen.

Life onboard a Hurtigruten Ship

We boarded MS Richard With and settled into our cabin, we paid a bit extra to get an outside cabin to be able to view the landscape we passed by, the only issue with the cabin was that people could see into it from the deck.

It was not a party boat, and it’s in Norway so beer and wine were expensive onboard, even in the cities we visit the local store prices were high to prices I’m used to. There was a small bar on board that we could drink at, I did not see many that did that. You could book wine and beer for your meals, and some travellers had done that. When we stopped at

The journey to Kirkenes would take 7 nights, the cabin I got was large with a toilet shower and a television. The ship had full internet access with wifi connection to all parts of the ship.

There was a washing machine available onboard, I took the opportunity to use it as I had to wash up the clothes I used on the first stage of my cycletrippin. You may wonder where would the water go and do they dispose of it, yes, some harbours on the route provide that facility of emptying waste and refilling the tanks.

Onboard there were social rooms, a gym and in the early evening, there were information sessions each day on different topics onboard.

Onboard Gym MS Richard With
Onboard Gym MS Richard With

Being onboard a Hurtigruten ship you get spoiled with the meals, we were served three meals a day the first evening and the last was seated serving, the rest of the days it was a buffet and it was one of the greatest buffets of local Norweigian fairs and some international.

As there was not much entertainment on board, I spent most evenings watching the FIFA world cup on the TV.

The passengers on board were a mixture of people. lots of Norwegians that just travelled a few ports along the coast and then it was the tourists from countries such a France, Germany, Spain, the USA, Australia, England to mention a few that did the trip as a cruise and they went all the way up to Kirkenes and back on the same boat. Become a 12-day cruise.

During the day there were daily activities offered as excursions in ports that we visit along the way. Sometimes people got off in one port and did the excursion and was bussed to another port further up and got back on board. Sometimes they were picked up on route by supply ship and returned at a port further up the coast.

Supply Ship - MS Richard With
Supply Ship – MS Richard With

During the journey, we meet other ships from Hurtigruten on route or in port. The ships have a small car deck, which allows people to take cars or bicycles onboard. I meet one Norwegian man that used this option, has it found it easier to go from where he lived to his cottage in the North of Norway.

When we passed the Arctic Circle a ceremony took place and a certificate was given to all passengers that they now have passed the Arctic Circle. Nice gesture.

Below are the ports we stopped at during the journey.

The Geiranger Fjord is a 15-kilometre long fjord, a branch off the Sunnylvsfjorden, which is a branch off the Storfjorden. It has a spectacular landscape with great sceneries.

Ålesund is a port town on the west coast of Norway, at the entrance to the Geirangerfjord. We arrived from bergen in the morning, stopped for a while and then we travelled into the Geirangerfjord. In the evening we returned to Ålesund before heading up the coast. As some people onboard realized the expensive beer and liquor, a group of people took the stop at Ålesund to find cheap booze in a shop, we had no luck as the Liquor store was closed and there were no beers to be found in the convenience store.

The next stop on our way was Molde in the late evening, Molde is nicknamed The Town of Roses. Molde has a maritime, temperate climate, with cool-to-warm summers, and relatively mild winters.

During the night we stopped in Kristiansund, I was fast asleep so I did not have a view of the city. The ship I was onboard just steaming along.

The next stop was Trondheim, Norway’s third-largest city by population. Trondheim dates back to the 11th century, on my list visit to Trondheim was to get to see the Gothic Nidaros Cathedral, wandering around town. The first thing I found was the liquor store, the prices were still high compared to the Netherlands, I just got a few cans of beer. The stop in Trondheim was a few hours, plenty of time to walk around.

After Trondheim, we travelled north along with the coast, we stop in a few places short stops with no time to get out, we passed by the Arctic Circle and had a ceremony onboard our next stop was Bodø located just north of the Arctic Circle. In Bodø we got time to get off the ship and wander along to see the town.

Leaving Bodø we crossed over to Lofoten with our first stop in Sørvågen.

At this point in the journey, we were getting far up the North, and the next stop was Tromsø, we got a few hours to walk around the city before we had continued our journey. While in Tromsø I visited the Polarmuseet a museum to the life in living and working in polar regions. I also visit Polaria a local aquarium, I was very surprised by the workaround plastic pollutions in the sea ad the research that Polaria was conducting on the topic of plastic damage to the sea and sea animals.

After Tromsø, we visit several ports during the evening and night, on our way to Honningsvåg the northernmost city, at this point we are very at the top of Norway. In Honningsvåg we were going to get off the ship and take a bus to the North Cape point, my initial plan was to cycle to the North Cap point, it was so cold and after chatting with the Bus driver he mentions also that the roads were very narrow and there were lots of tourist busses out on this day. I took the bus, soon enough I would be on my bike.

I reached the North Cape not by bike, by bus. When I was planning this trip I was thinking about disembarking the ship at Honningsvåg to cycle from there, I instead had a hunger to see Kirkenes.

I reached the North Cape not by bike, by bus. We had our walk around, there was a big building with a restaurant, museum, and outside was the point itself that I went to visit.

At Vardo we had now rounded the top of Norway and was now steaming ahead towards Kirkenes.

We arrived early in Kirkenes, it was my turn to disembark some of the people I had met on board would go back with the ship to Bergen to the full cruise experience. For me this was the end of stage 2, I checked my bicycle out from the ship, got my bicycle ready for stage 3, I was well-rested looked forward to the next phase.

Before leaving Kirkenes, I took a look at the town, Kirkenes is a small town in far northeastern Norway, close to the Finnish and Russian borders. Kirkenes has a great museum Borderland Museum that shows the region’s history. There is also a statue called the Russian Soldier Monument that commemorates the area’s liberation from Nazi occupation by the Red Army in 1944.