The first afternoon, we embarked in Bergen around 4pm onto the Hurtigruden. A tip is to wait until the first or second week of September as this becomes the shoulder season or Autum and there may be specials. I had found one for myself as a solo traveler down on the 3rd level but that is above where they load the cars and cargo somwhen my sister joined me, we became a double and selected the 6th floor which was great. Each ship is different of course. The rooms are small but very comfortable but not like a cruise ship. The first night was a very lovely buffet with all of the fresh fish, vegetables and yes Reindeer and other local foods like brown cheese.
After having a briefing on our 12 days, we met with the 3 member Expedition Team and these 3 skilled members were and are a highlight of my trip. They did everything, including leading very difficult hikes to conducting afternoon briefing and education sessions in 5 languages. As someone said, the travelers are Northern European and others which I loved that experience. The hikers were REAL experienced hikers with the proper gear as well. So now I am exploring joining a hiking group in Atlanta as I was I’ll prepared but got great help from the experienced guides. You book your excursions and they are extras so do your homework before but my tip is wait until you board unless you are going to hike and a package is available.
We selected the Taste of Urke and was advised that means the local culture, not just the food! Each excursion ranges from $100 and up and if you don’t want to do them, you can walk the towns but you must be back when the ship leaves as it is a cargo ship and goes without you. But very doable if you are a planner.
This was well worth the money as we were taken in little boats to the very small island of Urke and I was blessed with sunny weather but cool. Waterfalls and small glaciers were seen even on September 10th.
A bus awaited us with the best guide ever. We saw what happens when an avalanche occurs suddenly. Little huts/homes were destroyed and you could see the foundations in the water! We stopped at Hotel Union, such an unexpected treasure in the middle of Urke. This was a favorite spot for King Wilheim I believe. We had reindeer soup, bread with local butter, waffles with the local brown cheese and coffee. So there was food which I love. More on Reindeer later as I became aware how important they are to Norway and the Sami people in the North.
Then we got to walk back to the little boats if we wanted and since it was sunny, I did. Awaiting the boats to bring us back to the ship, we were able to see reflections in the very clear water. That took my breath away as this is a land that is unspoiled.
Back on the ship, we then got to go to one of many truly educational talks not just about our tour but the hikes that were done and then what was in store the next day. The Expedition team first would do their section in English, then the other local languages of Europe. Othe talks were just in English, or German.
This really helped me as I came to hike as well and I could gauge the difficulty level as well. I will return as I was not as prepared or skilled but I got better every day if that is your thing.
I end on what the Polar Guide, Julian said that guided be through my journey and life. We don’t know what we are made of until faced with a challenge and we are outside of our comfort zone. Very much like all of the RS travelers, live like a local, try new things and we share our new experiences.
Anyone else been to Urke?