Monday, February 24, 2014

Hurtigruten, Sea Serpents, Burgers, and Views En Route to Floro

Board the Finnlandia, Hurtigruten Line, and a welcoming sight is spare, Norwegian design.  An on-deck Viking longship motif on a wee pristine gate, beyond ye passengers shall not pass. Please. Evocative, elegant.  Inhale the adventure, the pull of the oarsmen, the wind so true. Embark on venture, risk, confidence, bursting forth.

1.  So, who is the dragon? Is the prow a dragon?

Look up Norwegian mythology.  This dragon-serpent is apparently ancient Jormundgandr, the Sea Serpent, a/k/a Midgard Serpent, there on the prow.  It derives from mythology where the serpent is one of three children of giantess Angrbooa and Loki, trickster.  Odin, chief god, stole the children and hurled the Serpent Jormundgandr into the sea encircling Midgard, like earth.  Jormundgandr continued to grow until he could catch his tail in his mouth around Midgard; and so he did. If he lets go, the world will end. Read about the Midgard Serpent in three main sources:
Odin's son, Thor, will fight with Jormundgandr at end-type times Ragnarok, finally kill the serpent who in turn has bitten Thor who also dies of the venom. Serpents not only people long boats, but also churches -- and Christian ones before prissy reformers whacked them off, neutering the whole new imported religion business and denying the older, vibrant culture, see music et al.

2.  Norway's Burgers and Prices.

Hurtigruten Hoboes, like we are -- just a day and a night -- find the dining room too expensive and social. We like the cafe, cafeteria for a variety of burgers and open-face sandwiches. Ordered a different burger and fixin's, for two meals. Dining room dinner: est $86.00 each; at the cafe, total with beverage about $31 each or $62.00 for both, give or take.  Any questions?

Break it down. Take the NOK and multiply by $.17. Full lunch with beverage, more.

Prices.  Compare McDonald's in Steinkjer,  just north of Trondheim, near Stiklestad, with the Hurtigruten cafe.  Total bill, McDonald's 218.5 NOK or so, including (including taxes, fries and beverage, one whopper, one somewhat smaller) or about $37.00 for both of us..

Note the breakdown on taxes shown on the McDonald's.

 Both use Norwegian beef. Tasted much better than McDonald's US. Fresh, not over-ground, no gummy binder taste. Beef is grass-fed.

Food prices:  high, but look at the benefits of a higher tax system overall, and higher consumer prices. No slums, that we saw; a few people begging, but very, very few and not ethnically Norwegian; infrastructure excellent. See Forbes review at
Norway is frugal with its money, and invests globally, saving up, see

3.  Views en route --

Munkholmen Island, Trondheim fjord, Norway

This island in the fjord has been a monastery, an execution place, a prison, a fortress, earliest events about 1000. See

Many towns, and remaining churches, are accessible only by water, traditionally. Even these show no roads.

Fishing settlements cling to rock. This, near Kristiansund. 

Get off at Floro, gateway to Sognfjord area, 8AM, because the next and last port is busy Bergen. Lines, waits, mayhem.

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