The Retirees go Abroad – France Norway UK and Ireland – Sortland via Harstad

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Rise and shine we are off to Sortland via Harstad – more bus travel. Our first stop is a medieval church. Very hard to date this church as it started life as a place of worship for a Viking chieftain and was added to with Romanesque construction and completed in Gothic style. It seems to be accepted as a 12th century church which appears to me to have been decorated in Russian orthodox style but is now Lutheran. The church is right on the fjord with the cemetery of 9 centuries surrounding it. Alongside the church is a museum which explores the history of the area and particularly the church.

After that it is just a bus trip through the country side to catch up with the ship in Sortland. We beat the ship into port and that extended the bus travel (meaningless). Lunch was much needed and I settled down to write these few words but suddenly we are docking at Stokmarnes, the home of Hurtigruten. We only have an hour but we get off to see the Hurtigruten museum which includes the MS Finmarkken an early Hurtigruten ship. It is interesting to see the similarities with today’s ship and to learn that the coastal express started in 1890’s offering the world’s first 24-hour service. Back on board the boat I collect tomorrows programme and there is a lot of sea and not much to do.

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