2018-06 Norway and the Arctic

Sock wanted Greenery, I wanted Ice, so we booked this G Adventures expedition trip which combined both. Since we are committed to the long flight, might as well check out Oslo and the neighbourhood. Having now understand norwegian weather a bit better, I must say that we were extremely lucky to have 3 full weeks of bright sunshine with almost no rain or fog, and the fjords putting on a show for us with her green coat and glitering waterfalls!
  • Maps, Daily Program and Reports, Expedtion Team Bios, Ship Log, Summary Photo Slideshow by G-Adventures

    Trip Details

    Maps, Daily Program and Reports, Expedtion Team Bios, Ship Log, Summary Photo Slideshow by G-Adventures
  • From Oslo airport to Oslo S (Oslo Central Station) by train.  Spent the day wandering around the Oslo cathedral, weekend markets ...

    May 26-29 2018
    Oslo Central and Around

    From Oslo airport to Oslo S (Oslo Central Station) by train. Spent the day wandering around the Oslo cathedral, weekend markets ...
  • Our stay in Oslo for 3 nights. Loved the location being few minutes walk from trams, bus, trains and most other major attractions. The breakfast buffet was…

    May 26-29 2018
    Scandic Oslo City Hotel

    Our stay in Oslo for 3 nights. Loved the location being few minutes walk from trams, bus, trains and most other major attractions. The breakfast buffet was excellent.
  • Besides Munch's famous

    May 26 2018
    Oslo National Gallery

    Besides Munch's famous "The Scream", the gallery holds his other key pieces like Madonna, A Dance of Life and Sick Child. Other pieces from JC Dahl, Harald Sohlberg, Picasso. That is as much as art noobs like us can appreciate.
  • We took a bus to Kjelsås Station, followed the Akersalva river for a 14km walk hike back to Oslo City Central. Passing by Oslo Mathallen Food Hall for lunch.…

    May 27 2018
    Hike from Kjelsås to Oslo Central

    We took a bus to Kjelsås Station, followed the Akersalva river for a 14km walk hike back to Oslo City Central. Passing by Oslo Mathallen Food Hall for lunch. Detouring to Gamke Anke Kirke, visiting the resting place of Edvard Munch. Down to Damstredet & Telthusbakken to view the wooden houses of late 1700s to 1800s.
  • Nice but strange feeling dining outdoor in

    May 27 2018
    Lorry Restaurant

    Nice but strange feeling dining outdoor in "broad daylight" at 9pm.

    Lorry has been serving local Norwegian flair at this location since 1887. They boast of 100+ Norwegian beer. Must take a tour of the inside of the restaurant. It's like a mini museum.
  • We spent a day wandering the small shops in Grünerløkka.    If you are in this area, you need to try this coffee ! They offer sparkling water to clear your…

    May 28 2018
    Tim Wendelboe Coffee

    We spent a day wandering the small shops in Grünerløkka.

    If you are in this area, you need to try this coffee ! They offer sparkling water to clear your palate before tasting your espresso.
  • Set in an underground stone chamber (probably of a church). This place tops my list of Oslo brewery in terms of quality of beer and atmosphere. A pity they do…

    May 28 2018
    Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri

    Set in an underground stone chamber (probably of a church). This place tops my list of Oslo brewery in terms of quality of beer and atmosphere. A pity they do not serve dinner, else I could have made another round :>

    We continued to roam Grünerløkka and settled on dinner in Delicatessen Grünerløkka. Their Spanish style tapas dishes were good, atmosphere was vibrant but relaxed.
  • Amundsen Bryggeri n Spiseri - serves great mussels and their in-house brews are good.   Found Aegir Brew from Flåm at a random lunch stop in Grünerløkka while…

    May 26-28 2018
    More Norwegian Brews (of coffee and beers)

    Amundsen Bryggeri n Spiseri - serves great mussels and their in-house brews are good.
    Found Aegir Brew from Flåm at a random lunch stop in Grünerløkka while having grilled ribs.

    Fuglen a.k.a the free bird, was another notable good coffee stop.
    Stockfleths may be a chain, but makes a very good espresso.

    Just don't drink Espresso House ... taste like Starbucks to me.
  • May 26-29 2018
    Oslo and Architecture

    Funky modern architectures of the Opera House and Barcode Project stands among the numerous traditional buildings in Oslo.
  • May 29 2018
    To Bergen via NSB

    Booked for Komfort seat for additional NOK100 considering that it was a 7hr ride.

    On hindsight, it was probably not necessary as the standard seats had generous leg room. The Komfort carriage was fully booked while the rest of the train was less crowded.
    I ended up moving around the non-Komfort carriages to get better pictures.
  • May 29 2018
    Changing Landscapes from Oslo to Bergen

    Touted as the most scenic train ride in Europe and it did not disappoint.

    Spen 7 hrs snapping through the window ... as the cityscape faded, green pastures take over, rivers, waterfalls, snow and ice whiz by ...
  • May 29 2018
    Arriving in Bergen

    Took a taxi from Bergen train station to our AirBnb accommodation.

    Bjorg was there to welcome us to her historic wooden house built in the 1800s (if i remember correctly). The place was immaculate, warm and so full of character. We love the area which was away from the main tourist buzz, and took time to soak in the historical atmosphere of the rows of wooden houses, clobbered streets, steep steps and narrow alleys.
  • May 29-31 2018
    Bergen and Around

    A rather compact town which we explored on foot. The main attractions are around the Bryggens, the KODE musuem and park areas.
  • May 29-31 2018
    Eating in Bergen

    Dining within the historic Bryggen buildings, sipping imperial stout watching "sunset" by the wharfs, cosy pubs serving comfort food of deer stew, spicy tom yam style mussels, beer galore at Henrik øl- og vinstove (50+ taps with a good selection of norwegian beers).
  • May 30-31 2018
    Bergen Fish Market

    Frankly the market feels like a typical tourist trap, not a working or local market. We gave it a shot anyway since we are tourist and meant to be trapped :P Our order was about NOK1000+ for 2 norwegian oysters, a fillet of halibut, a fillet of monkfish, king crabs.

    The verdict? Food was fresh, well prepared i.e lightly grilled and not over-cooked, not cheap (as everyone says norway was not meant to be cheap).
  • May 31 2018
    Hello G Expedition

    A super "long" 3 min bus transfer from hotel to pier. Embarkation was seamless, followed by the mandatory SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) drills, general orientation of the ship, captain's welcome, briefing by hotel manager, expedition teams. The ship set off slightly later as one of the passenger's flight was delayed.

    It's praka party after dinner to get your own red expedition jackets
  • Jun 01 2018

    Flåm rail trip, 20 km, 20 tunnels, 866 m ascend, picturesque view of waterfall or river in a valley at every turn.

    We alighted at Vatnahalsen (811m, 2nd last stop), followed a trail behind hotel 811 for short hike to the source of a waterfall

    Back to the port, found Ægir brewery but only had 15mins for 1 drink. I could have stayed there the whole day :P
  • Jun 01 2018
    Urnse Stave Church

    Our first zodiac landing in Lustrafjord (the innermost arm of the Sognefjorden) to visit Urnes Stavkirke (1130AD Stave Church) a UNESCO World Heritage Site

    We enjoyed the visit very much. The church is a historical gem set in a surreal and tranquil environment hidden from the world.
  • Jun 02 2018
    Briksdal Glacier-Olden

    We had 3 morning lectures and spent time on deck letting the fjord scences pass us by as the ship made its way to Olden

    Ashore after lunch for our bus to Briksdalbreen. A 3km hike from the lodge to Briksdal Glacier. Pass by the valley's signature waterfall to feel its power, enjoy the river running across blooming pastures in lush green before arriving at the base of the glacier.

    Of course followed by teabreak at the lodge which had one of the best milk mousse pudding.
  • Jun 03 2018
    Into Gierangerfjoid

    In previous night's briefing, we were told that the the final 30 mins sailing into the Gierangerfjord is the most scenic. As the captain planned to arrive in the fjord early, alarms were set before Jonathan's wakeup call and we were on deck before breakfast to savour the sights of multiple waterfalls on both sides of the ship, rainbows and golden rays reflecting off the gushing water. Great pre-breakfast feed.
  • Jun 03 2018
    Gierangerfjord Motorbus Tour

    The national park was large. With only half a day, we opted for the motorbus tour which included 2 best lookout points - Eagle's Bend and top of Dalsnibba. A visit to the fjord museum and a short hike back to the port. Yes, it does not do the place justice but that's the best we can do for this round :>

    After dinner, the ship arrived close to the small island of Runde, a bird breeding area.
  • Jun 03 2018
    Traffic on Eagle Road

    The multiple C-bends on eagle road is an attraction on its own. Take the last seat of the bus and look out of the window as it makes its turn! The town organises a half marathon with the end point at the top of this winding road. You can opt to bike if you don't want to run :P

    Our guide assured us that our driver passed his driving test yesterday.
  • Jun 03 2018
    7 Sisters Close-Up

    When leaving Gierangerfjoid, the Captain decided to give us a treat, slowed the ship down and navigated close to the 7 sisters waterfall for a perfect view of the falls.
  • Jun 04 2018

    Key highlights of the morning city tour.
    Sverresborg Folk Museum (open-air museum with great city section of 1700s houses of rich Danish merchants, rural sections of farmhouse and a section on Sami people artifacts and culture.

    Nidaros Cathedral, one of the oldest and 2nd largest in norway. Interesting stories of how King Olav Tryggvason became a Saint.
  • Jun 04 2018
    Trondheim Old Town Area

    A free and easy afternoon roaming Trondheim old city area where the hansa buildings sit along the river.

    Reindeer stew for lunch at the retro Baklandet Skydsstation restaurant
  • Jun 04 2018
    Trondheim Mikrobryggeri

    No tour of a norwegian city is completed until you find the local brewery. Great flight of 9 tasters of their local brews.
  • Jun 05 2018

    Landing on the island of Torget, to climb the famous ‘holed mountain’, Torghatten, carved by water, ice, and time to form a geological masterpiece. It started to look gloomy with forecast of snow. Our luck with the weather held, giving us a great view when we reached the top. The descent was steep, rocky, slippery, final stretch was flats of beach and farmland back to our starting point.

    Mike our geologist explained how land here has risen, i.e. the sea-level/beach used to be somewhere mid-level of the hill, as seen by the changing size of the rocks along the descend.
  • Jun 05 2018
    Vega Islands

    Afternoon landing on Vega Island (archipelago of 6,500 smaller islands and islets). The islands are famous (and recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site) for their millennia-old practice of eider down harvesting. A short nature walk followed by a visit to the eider duck musuem.

    Thank you G Adventures for adding this stop, its one of my favourite.
  • Jun 06 2018
    Engabreen Glacier

    The morning landing was for the long hike with the "mountain goat" group to scale the mountain towards where the glacier Engabreen ends at the lowest point of any glacier on the European mainland. Conditions were wet and slippery, slowed down our process and we were just 200m short of touching the glacier.
  • Jun 06 2018
    The Cafe with a Glacier View

    As long as you have got Susan (Expedition Operations Manager), you will get waffles and coffee no matter how remote a place is!

    In this case, you get your waffles with a window view of the glacier.
  • Jun 06 2018
    Crossing the Arctic Circle

    G Expedition crossed the Arctic Circle in the wee hours to get to Engabreen. We are now heading back south to cross the Arctic Circle "again" when everyone is awake. The Captain blasted the horn to signify the crossing. We toasted champagne/akvavit as we pass the Vikingen Island where a monument stands to mark this famous line of latitude.
  • Jun 06 2018
    Lovund Island

    A walking tour with the local guide to the Black-legged Kittiwake colony near the harbor, island’s museum, showcasing a history of life by and on the sea, northern rim of the island to watch a Atlantic Puffin colony
  • Jun 07 2018
    Lofoten Islands

    The ship drop us off at the small village of Å (last letter of Norwegian alphabet). We travel the island chain by bus from south to north.

    After having learnt the history of Tørrfisk in Å, a brief photo stop in beautiful Reine, we arrived at Nusfjord

    After lunch, we proceeded to Borg where we visited the Lofotr Viking Museum, followed by Henningsvær for a walk around the town and cod drying on the racks
  • Jun 07 2018

    After dinner, Captain's time to perform again, he guided the G Expedition into the short and narrow Trollfjord, pivot on its axis and cruise back out.
  • Jun 08 2018
    Sperm Whale sightings on World Ocean Day

    Post breakfast chats were interrupted as we arrived in Bleik Canyon with the announcement of whales. This sub-marine canyon, more than 760m deep, is a feeding ground for these giants. For 2 hrs, the Captain navigated this ship in this area, keeping speed to manage the high swells and spotted at least 6 sperm whales.
  • Jun 08 2018
    Island of Heløya

    Zodiac excusion to get up close to the bird cliffs. The usual Kittiwakes colony, a Whitetail Sea Eagle being chased away by the flock of Kittiwakes, Eurasian Shag, Black Guillimot with their pretty red feet.
  • Jun 09 2018

    The largest city in Northern Norway.
    Highlights were the organ recital at the Arctic Cathedral and the history and artifacts of Polar exploration at the Polar Museum.
    Botanical gardens had a good collection of apline or high latitude plants.

    Polaria while being the most northerly aquarium was quite underwhelming for me.
    No comment on the cable car ride as we were fogged out as soon as we reached the top, so nothing for us to see or do there.
  • Jun 09 2018
    Microbrewery of Tromsø

    My original plan was to visit Ølhallen (the oldest pub in Tromsø with 64 taps).
    Our city tour ended late, with only 45mins left, I decided on Skarven Pub near the port to save walking time. All is not lost as Skarven had 9 local craft beer on tap including one from Bryggeri 13, Tromsø Mikrobryggeri, and one from Graff
  • Jun 10 2018
    Bear Island

    This is a day at sea, crossing from Tromsø to Svalbard.

    Sailing by Bear island, it looks like another dramatic rock cliff with lots of bird life. Fog, wind and weather did not permit launching zodiac, so we decided to check out the bridge and see the captain at work.
  • Jun 10 2018

    We are finally in Hornsund, Svalbard. Zodiacs landing ashore at Gnålodden on the northern side of this fjord. Purple saxifrage covered the tundra, and a chance to go into the actual wooden cabin where Wanny Woldstad, the first female trapper, spent her winter.
  • Jun 11 2018
    Of Glaciers and Hot Chocolate

    G Expedition repostioned to the end of the fjord into an area known as Brepollen.

    It was a surreal feeling having lunch in the dining room, at the end of a fjord surrounded 270 degrees by glaciers.

    After lunch, we went exploring in our Zodiacs, getting up close and personal to the glaciers, marvelling at the sheer size and intricate weird formations in the ice.

    After 90mins in the cold, not being able to move much in a zodiac, Randy warms you up with a cup of hot chocolate with Kahlúa in the mud room.
  • Jun 11 2018
    Arctic Glacier at the Bar

    Anyone fancy cocktails with 1000yr old glacier ice?
  • Jun 12 2018
    Beluga Beluga

    Near the island of Akseløya, we were out looking at puffins and reindeers when we received a call from Captain Sergey that a large pod of Beluga whales were spotted.

    Excitement build up as all zodiacs zoom to converge near the spot, cut the engine, settled down and wait. Beluga started to appear, initially at some distance away. Very soon they were everywhere, moving along in their pods, infront, behind, and below our zodiacs. They just kept coming and going for about 20mins. What an encounter!

    Back onboard Dr Tom Smith shared his research work on Beluga in N Canada to help reinforce our understanding of these marine mammals.
  • Jun 12 2018
    Alantic Puffins

    These shy little fellows are so fun to watch. Always diving into the water as soon as you get close, probably popping up at the exact same spot after awhile. Their clumsy water landings (crash landing) are quite amusing.

    Nope, they are not related to the penguins.
  • Jun 12 2018
    The Beluga Graveyard

    Landing at Bamsebu, we visited another trappers hut. The beach donned heaps and heaps of bones. A reminder of the beluga whaling industry in Svalbard during the 1930s.

    Inland, we encounter our first polar bear, unfortunately probably dead for more than a year.
  • Jun 12 2018
    The Polar Plunge

    For the brave souls who need to conquer the arctic by plunging into -1 degree celsius waters ... you should be proud of your certificate. Certainly not for folks from the Equator.
  • Jun 13 2018
    Horn shaped mountain of Alkhornet

    G Expedition anchored at Trygghamna, off the main section of Isfjorden. A short hike through snow, mud and greens. Reindeers decided to make an appearance near us. Other sightings include snow buntings, barnacle geese and kittiwakes making their nest in the cliff.
  • Jun 13 2018
    Polar Bear at Ekmanfjorden

    On the last zodiac ride of this trip, finally a Polar Bear sighting and a Bearded Seal at close.
    Chances of sighting polar bear is 1 per 100 sq km.

    Thanks Jonathan for picking this site as the original planned site did not have enough ice.
  • Jun 01-13 2018
    The Mud Room

    A place where Troll groups meet up to gear up for their expedition mission!
  • May 31 - Jun 13 2018
    Albatross Dining Room

    A place where all G Adventurers come for their daily refill of breakfast, lunch and dinner!

    A collection of random shots to answer the often asked question of what do you eat onboard?
  • May 31 - Jun 13 2018
    G Expedtion - Around the Ship

    Other areas onboard where we hung out for 2 weeks.
  • Jun 13 2018
    Goodbye G Expedition

    It has been quite a trip. A winning formula of great luck with the weather, "cooperative" mega fuana and a fantastically passionate team on this ship made this a really unforgettable journey. We have learnt and seen so much.

    Thanks for living the talk on sustainable travel in your everyday actions and keeping up the push to reduce one-use plastics.

    All good things must come to an end (for now)! Till we meet again somewhere around the world!

    Thanks for the closing song ... All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go .... I am leaving on a jet plane
  • Jun 14 2018

    Disembarkation from G Expedition was 8am. Leaves us a lot of time to roam the mining town while waiting for our flight at 3am the next day. Longyearbyen only has 1 short street of shops.

    I recommend dropping by WildPhoto in town, they have an excellent photo gallery.
  • Jun 14 2018
    Svalbard Husky

    Since it was summer, snow sled was only possible in Foxanna (2000m).

    This is a complete crash course in dog sled, from fetching the dogs from the kennel, harnessing them, setting them up in their formation, driving the sled and sending them back home.
    Really hard work and Astrid our guide made it looks all too easy. Really good experience.
  • Jun 14 2018
    Coal Miners Cabin

    While technically we did not stayover in Longyearbyen, we have to book a room as our flight is at 3am and you are not allowed to wait at the airport.

    Pros: We loved the "miners" industrial deco of the place, food at the restaurant was good and they have svalbard beers on tap, shared toilet was roomy and clean.
    Cons: Its a long walk back to town where the attractions were.
    Having said that, we will book here again if we come back.
  • Jun 15 2018
    Svalbard Airport

    No prize for guessing that it is the northern most airport you can fly to on a commercial plane.