Blog 2 All things Norwegian on the Viking Sky!
Where to start? The Viking Sky has taken us up and now down the coast of Norway, along its beautiful fjords ‘In search of the Northern Lights’. More on this phenomenon at the bottom of the blog for those who are interested!* We were lucky to at least see some, but there is much more to the cruise than those elusive lights.
Talking about lights, the ship is rocking and I am talking spotlights! Yes, we had a few super Broadway type shows on board, ABBA and From Coast to Coast, a Norwegian Arctic Trio performing traditional Norwegian music, and very talented artists rotating daily at various venues on each deck. For entertainment, there are traditional and interactive table board games, movies to your heart’s content, and wifi available throughout. We get a daily bulletin with listed activities, and it is quite hard to pick what to skip!
No blog is complete without mention of food and more food, and we have had a daily introduction to traditional Norwegian dishes at the poolside: Dyrestek venison (Roast reindeer) stew and dumplings, Lapskaus stew and dumplings, fiske gratin (fishy cheese casserole), sausage and bean casserole, fiskeboller (fishballs) and Norwgegian kjottkaker (meatballs). Of course, there are the usual buffets with beautiful roasts and steaks… And breakfasts to die for (careful what I wish for!) Daily on the Explorers’ Deck, beautiful waffles with berries and brown Norwegian cheese (cone-shaped) or choices of every imaginable sort in The Restaurant – it was great being able to order kippers! And of course, full English breakfast. And let is not forget ‘High Tea’ every day – less said, the better.
I have not been steadily eating my way through all the daylight and evening hours though! In the name of travel writing research, I went for a deep-muscle Raini massage with lavender oils – oh my, I could become addicted to being pampered.
Our stops in the tiny towns have been captivating. I opted for the sedate city tour that gave one a good view of the cigarette-box wooden homes with open-curtained windows, and of course, wonderful snowy scenic views. Often, an unexpected unexpected delight awaited us, like the ladies’ choir, dressed in old Norwegian clothes of days gone by, singing folk songs on a station platform. The gift stores in Tromsoe are full of troll figures and Northern lights trinkets. For the more sophisticated, Norwegian patterned woolen sweaters cannot be beat – at $350 each, they outclassed my budget!
- These lights occur when particles emitted by the sun collide with those of the earth and energy is released, a bit like atomic bomb explosions! They do occur in shades of red and green, but since the colors are not easily picked up by the human eye, they are more dramatic when photographed. I was in absolute awe in the planetarium in Tromso where we saw the most amazing video while reclining in the auditorium – the stuff that inspired Nordic legends: lights that fill the skies with dragon shapes, arcs, rays, bands and coronas. The Vikings believed that they were the earthly manifestations of their gods. During an excellent sighting one can actually hear crackling noises – awesome!
- To experience the lights though, certain conditions have to be in place: top of the list is a clear sky, and unfortunately, we have had some cloudy weather, rain and snow. Yesterday, we could not dock into Bodo since the seas were too rough for the ship to maneuvre into the narrow harbor. And we had a supermoon which is exactly the opposite of what one needs!