Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hurtiguten: The World's Most Beautiful Voyage

MS NordnorgeThere's been a unique live TV broadcast coming out of Norway this week. NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, is streaming a broadcast of Hurtigruten, Norway's coastal express. The program, called "Hurtigruten—minute by minute" began on June 16 and continues for a six-day voyage along Norway's coast.

Hurtigruten means literally "the fast route," and for many years it was the most reliable link between Southern to Northern Norway. The express route began making runs along Norway's northern coast in 1893, carrying passengers, mail and cargo. Today, a ship leaves the city of Bergen every day, traveling north to Kirkenes, near the Russian border, stopping at 34 ports of call along the way.

It's been more than a dozen years since my husband and I took Hurtigruten from Bergen to the polar circle. Being land-locked midwesterners, neither of us had much experience traveling by boat and we weren't sure what to expect. We were mesmerized by the incredible scenery and the long, sun-filled evenings. In fact, the only hardship I experienced while on Hurtigruten was forcing myself to go to bed each night—I hated to miss a minute of it!

If you haven't traveled via Hurtigruten, now is the chance to experience it. Or, if you've been lucky enough to take the "world's most beautiful voyage," it's a great time to relive some of those incredible memories. If you'd like to read more about Hurtigruten, check out "Of Sled Dogs and Snow Crabs" by Colleen Friesen in the January issue of Viking.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-58.

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