… This post is brought to you by My Adventure Travel …
You can tell a lot about a company from the philosophy they share on their website. When I first looked into My Adventure Travel I felt I’d discovered a kindred spirit when I read that they believe travel is about learning things about the world we live in, and about ourselves. That it’s about “Filling your time on this planet up to the brim, like red wine in one of those too-small glasses they have in cheap Chinese restaurants. Your cup runneth over and you know what? It doesn’t matter, ’cause the tablecloth is just butcher’s paper anyway.”
Wise words indeed, and ones that put a smile on my face. For those who are new to My Adventure Store, they help people find the tour experience and level of comfort and pace that’s best for them. To make that happen they work with a long list of operators, including Bentours, who I recently had a wonderful experience with in Norway.
I’ve written an earlier blog about chasing the northern lights on Hurtigruten with Bentours, but there’s so much more to share about the experience. Including some of the shore excursions and tours that are on offer. When my tickets from Bentours arrived with a brochure full of excursions to choose from on the Norway cruise it was like a smorgasbord of fun things to do. Unfortunately after making a very long wish list I then noticed something. Most of the things I wanted to do weren’t on offer at the time I was travelling.
I was heading to Norway in late September early October, which was a block out period for things like dog sledding under the night sky, going on a snowmobile safari or visiting the snow hotel. At first that seemed very unfair, then the penny dropped. There wouldn’t actually be any snow when I was there, which would hamper those experiences somewhat. But no matter, there was still a lot to choose from, including one experience I really enjoyed, going for breakfast at North Cape.
Found on the northern coast of the island of Magerøya in Northern Norway, North Cape, or Nordkapp, North Cape is 71°10′21″N so just over 2,000 kilometres from the North Pole. It’s often referred to as the northernmost point of Europe, but it’s not really. There’s another point not too far away that is about 1500 metres further north, but it isn’t as dramatic and wouldn’t be as big a hit with the tourists, so North Cape has claimed the crown.
Even if it didn’t have the title, it would still be a beautiful place to visit with its dramatic 1,007-ft (307 m) cliff and globe sculpture that tourists love to take photos of. And yes, I am one of those tourists.
I actually visited North Cape twice on this trip, once on the way up the coast and once on the way back down. In the first instance about four coachloads of people streamed off the MS Midnatsol to go and check it out. Unfortunately that day the wind was blowing like I’d never felt it before. Real ‘use every muscle in your body just to try and stay upright’ sort of wind. That day I didn’t make it out to the sculpture as it felt too dangerous, and even if I had there would have been dozens of other people taking a photo with it at the same time.
The breakfast excursion option was a much better experience, and not just because the wind was kinder that day. As it was a very bright and early start (that would be out of bed at 5am to get ready to go) we only had one coach and even that had some spare seats. When we reached North Cape we were the only tourists there, so there was plenty of solo photo opportunity time at that famous spot.
After helping ourselves to the breakfast buffet with a mix of hot and cold options and teas, coffees and juices, and exploring the visitor centre including a very sweet underground chapel and a film about North Cape we were back on the bus and ready to hit the road.
First stop, the chance to meet a Sami and his reindeer. I don’t know how long this particular man has been standing outside his souvenir shop with his reindeer friend, but speaking to fellow travellers who have visited over the years it seems it’s been a very long time (with breaks to go inside and live his life when there are no tourist buses around that is).
From there we made our way through the underwater tunnel that connects the island to the mainland and travelled south along the beautiful Porsangerfjord.
Along the way we saw dozens of reindeer by the side of the road, had a beautiful white tailed eagle fly past the coach, and stopped at a beach where tourists create piles of stones as they go by. I thought I’d make my own (rather humble) stack of stones, decorated it with a little flower and dedicated it to the Freya, goddess of the northern lights.
As we were travelling by coach, our cruise ship home was making its own way down the coast. Six hours after we left her, we rejoined the MS Midnatsol in Hammerfest. The whole experience was perhaps an hour too long (or maybe it was just me not having had enough sleep the night before) but it was a great way to see more of Norway and from the land perspective.
While the North Cape Breakfast experience was my personal favourite, I also rather enjoyed the Taste of Vesterålen tour, which was a four hour bus tour including a visit to a medieval church and the Sør-Troms Museum, as well as driving through fjords, steep mountains, and crossing the Gullesfjord by ferry.
Then there was the Lofotr Viking Feast excursion, which took us by bus to the Viking museum for dinner in a reconstructed of a Viking chieftain’s home. While it did have a bit of an amateur dinner theatre element to it, and we did spend more time on the bus to and from the feast than actually sitting down to the meal, there was still a lot to like on this one. I learnt all sorts of things about Viking culture and times, and came back to the ship with another experience to remember under my (expanding) belt.
Ah yes, I have a lot of memories of my Norway cruise excursions. But I still think I need to do that dog sledding under the stars and look for the northern lights again. Hmmm…. I wonder how soon I can justify another trip that way….
This post was brought to you by My Adventure Travel Opinions and thoughts in the blog remain my own.
Want to know more about cruising in Norway? Check out my posts on whether to go for a cabin or a suite on Hurtigruten.