Happy Christmas 2018!! Albeit a bit late. Here are some pictures from our Christmas, including Susanna’s debut as a paid church musician:
It’s the end of another worldwind year. Highlights included:
A fundraising concert in January. The first time we have ever experienced a packed church for an organ concert! 350 in the audience, and almost NOK 35000 in gifts. I’ve been a little unsure about making the video public as some of the playing was a bit rough, but here it is anyway (it’s long, so if you go to the Youtube page, you will find indexed links to the various peices):
Day two of our youth choir tour to Trondheim continued on board the MS Polarlys, one of the coastal steamers in the Hurtigruten fleet. Day 1 is here.
We woke to calm sees as we sailed south. During breakfast we crossed the polar circle, marked originally by a pile of stones, and now by a fancy monument. Our cheery tour commentator invited everyone out on deck to participate in “a special ceremony, sure to create memories, and to receive a special gift (but only for participants)”. Some of the girls decided to go, but the breakfast buffet was too alluring for the adults. Shortly the girls came back with tales of being given “tran” to drink (cod liver oil), and sporting their commemorative spoons. Minnerik (rich memories) indeed.
The route took us through archipelago with hundreds of islands, some just a rock, others big enough for small communities, served by ferries.
Towards lunch time we were all invited out on deck to greet the seven sister (a distinctive and famous group of mountains):
At least from a distance, the scurrying ferries sometimes seemed pretty close to each other:
At the southern end of Alsten (the island with the seven sisters) is the medieval village of Alsthaug with an unusual church, and a viking burial mound.
Further south, we stopped at Brønnøysund, where we disembarked and sang a short concert on the quay (sorry, no pictures, again), then we hopped back on board, and sang a full concert in the panorama bar on the top deck of the ship. This generated a lot of great feedback, and even the youngest in the choir had to speak to their new fans in English. Just before dinner, we were treated to an amazing sunset, and the opportunity for one of the best pictures I think I have every taken.
At the end of September we were privileged to take 12 from our youth choir (ungdomskor) on a short trip to Trondheim. To make it ore special, we traveled south ny Hurtigruten – the coastal ‘steamer’ / goods transport / post ship / cruise liner.
To capture your interest, here is a video from the trip:
And here is a more detailed description.
We met up at 4.15 am (!) on the quay in Finnsnes, in rain and fog to be ushered on board the MS Polarlys, assigned our cabins, and immediately off to bed.
We woke for breakfast as we left Harstad:
We quickly found out that we had a very ‘keen’ tourist leader on the crew, who came over the intercom from 7.30am til 11pm with tri-lingual announcements about interesting things to see and do (Norwegian, English and German). His first ‘highlight’ was a hole through a mountain, apparently big enough to walk through.
The next port of call was Risøyhamn in Lofoten. Interesting fact – the bridge is only 0.5 m taller than the ship:
So we sailed on to Sortland, over mirror flat seas with blazing sunshine. The only slight problem was that there was a technical problem with the jacuzzi!
We didn’t get off, instead enjoying the view from the coffee lounge on the top deck, before sailing again, for Stokmarknes:
In Stokmarknes we sang a quick concert on the quay, to the delight of many tourists (sorry, no pictures). Then we had a few minutes to see the centre of the town:
Under another low bridge, then south again, to Svolvær. On the way we navigated a long, narrow passage, with high mountains rising from the sea, and small islands used as traffic bollards:
Before reaching Svolvær, we took an unscheduled detour into Trollfjord, a ‘deadend, only 80m wide, with cliffs rising 1000m straight up. The choir got to sing again, this time out on deck!
And then to Svolvær itself:
Dinner was served as we sailed from Svolvær, and just as everyone was about ready for bed, our friendly guide announced northern lights. Most of our party declared them not as good as at home, before going to bed. However, I’m a fan:
Today we had an impromptu invitation to sit on the beach with some friends on the west coast of Senja, in Finnsæter, which is over the fjord from Skaland and Børvær. A beautiful place to spend a late autumn afternoon (sadly the seals were too quick for me, so no pictures of them).
Rundmo is a hamlet in Målselv kommune, just over the border from our home kommune of Lenvik. At the beginning of September several people mentioned a very pleasant walk from Rundmo, up into the mountains, with a gapahuk (basically a half a house) part way, and a gamon (old fashioned hunting lodge – hobbit house) a bit further on. We picked a glorious early autumn day and set off with a picnic, joined by our good freind Gunnar, who taught us to ski, and has just started on the staff in our parish.
Leaving the car at the end of the road, we walked up through the birch forest with it’s rich red autumn ground cover, beside a small river, passing open areas of wet land (mires), before reaching the gapahuk and a lunch stop. The gapahuk was very well equipped, with a fire pit, wood, candles (!), matches, etc. So despite the warm sun, we had a traditional fire. In fact, it was so pleasant and warm, we decided not to go further, and just sit and chat, until it was time to go home. Very relaxing.