Now that I’ve slagged the towns of northern Norway (with good reason!), I must entice you to visit. As I have explained, I have adored the landscape… it’s just that the towns have been a little dull. I wouldn’t say Honningsvag is a lot different.
It’s day 6 and the first time there are no materials or city map for the port of call. I was frantically researching yesterday to see if we actually got off the ship! But it appeared we did. I could only assume the town was so small a map was unnecessary. Research suggested it had about 2,800 inhabitants. Having grown up in places of that genesis, I understood. You could likely see the ship from any random point in town!
I have been wandering into town on my own instead of joining a tour so each day feels like a small adventure. The challenge is always to make sure you get back to the ship on time. They tell a story of a legendary (and possibly mythical) Texan who apparently hired a speedboat to catch up with the ship – they could see his massive cowboy hat from the water – but I think the theme is “don’t miss the boat!”
Today, of course, I COULD see the boat from most angles… which made it especially distressing when I re-emerged from a tourist shop and COULDN’T see it! They have an irritating habit of only playing public announcements in public parts of the ship but I have learned to open the door to my cabin if I hear noise – and, with luck, they have not already done the English part – so I knew they were moving the ship at this port.
I had confirmed it wasn’t departing until 2:45pm and it was only 12pm so I was pretty sure I didn’t need to hire a speedboat – but it was disconcerting. Luckily I found the ship and even got a great photo of it turning around!
Since the chance of having been abandoned now seemed abated, I decided I would brave the unknown and go into some place that advertised an Ice Bar. My friend Sarah spent the introduction to the millennium at the Ice Hotel in Sweden and I had considered joining her so have been fascinated with the concept for a long time.
And finding an Ice Bar is not an easy task! I would totally encourage you to check it out. I had two absolutely
wonderful girls from Barcelona (in scarves and parkas!) as my escorts. You get two drinks (no alcohol – we are in Norway – but great ice cold fruit juices). It’s a great space and a surreal experience.
As a tradition, you get to take your frozen shot glass and throw it into the Arctic Ocean to make a wish. I decided the shot glass was likely made of ice so just became part of the polar landscape. This – and the fjord at midnight – the highlights of the trip.
Bring fleece. Embrace the ice. When the sun shines down on you, it will warm you everywhere – skin, heart and soul.
I think I need to go to Antarctica after all 😉