Made it, Ma! Top of the World!

Boxing Day in Hammerfest, we are at the world’s most northerly town.  At only -4c it feels spring-like compared to Kirkenes.  At the Polar Bear Club adjacent to the ship’s mooring we are briefly over-awed by a stuffed example but, not so much as to be enticed into buying the equivalent miniature version.  I am too cynical about souvenir shops (and much else besides 😉 ) such that I close my mind to thought of buying anything.  My suspicion is that everything is made in China – I learn from a fellow passenger that even Helly Hansen is manufactured in the Orient.

From the quay we climb the ridge above the town, closed in winter due to “the risk of serious accident” – everyone is ignoring the sign.  There are steps but we never feel them beneath our feet, instead, we trudge through deep snow to the 80 m summit – it is a struggle but worth the effort.  The views across the bay to Melkøya are stunning.

Hammerfest feels prosperous and across the water is the explanation – vast tanker ships laden with LNG (liquefied natural gas) from the Barent Sea, heading for southern Europe.  It is highly advanced extraction technology such as this which enables us the luxury of considering suspect alternatives; the dream of replacing that which works with that which does not.  I have not seen a single wind turbine on this entire voyage.

That said, much of the journey has been in darkness so there is every justification for returning on lighter days to confirm my prejudice.

HammerfestPolar bear at ...HammerfestThe streets of ...

We had planned ahead fully aware that the quieter moments onboard would be inadequately filled by Scandinavian television – actually many of the programmes are bought in from the UK and broadcast in English with Norwegian subtitles.  However, I have no desire to see repeats of Midsomer Murders – I didn’t want to see them first time around.

Consequently among our winter baggage are The Wire Seasons 4 & 5 and The Sopranos Season 3.  I love these edgy series but sometimes struggle with  the Baltimore and New York street dialogue – in part because my hearing is no longer fully Dolby compliant. This got me thinking – I also love Spiral (and Caroline Proust!) and Scandinavian crime series such as The Killing and The Bridge – and why are these foreign language TV programmes so popular with those of a certain age?  It’s the subtitles 😉

To round off, this is not the best photograph due to the intrusive light leaking from the streetlamp but the subject I know to be utterly mischievous – it is of course the good lady, undoubtedly up to no good 😀

Pam in Tromso ...

(click on the images to enlarge)