It’s hard to believe that only a few short weeks ago I was rushing around getting everything ready for our Arena Travel Northern Lights Adventure. I’m back home in Glasgow, the sun is shining and spring has now arrived. It’s a complete contrast to the dramatic snowy scenes of the Norwegian fjords.
What more could you ask for? A week spent with like minded folk, dedicated to knitting, crocheting, chatting and swapping stories, catching up with old friends and making new. We were a 26 strong group gathered together from all over the world, excited about the adventures ahead of us.
Day one was sight seeing around beautiful Bergen and hunting out the local yarn shops dotted around the town center. I was impressed by the choice and quality of yarn available and felt like a kid in a sweetie shop not knowing what to pick first, dreaming of all the project possibilities.
We set sail in the early evening under blue skies on the Hurtigurten M.S Nordnorge, quickly making ourselves at home on board, getting used to the layout and ready to take full advantage of the most eye popping selection of food. Personal restraint was required….but when your faced with such a variety it seemed wrong not to have a taste of everything!
Fellow tutor Jane Crowfoot and I had each designed a Scandinavian inspired project for people to work on throughout the trip. Jane’s knit design was a gorgeous Norwegian Wood cushion cover while my design was a crochet bag made up of squares allowing people to dip into lot’s of different techniques.
Jane and I are both experienced tutors, actively encouraging folk to develop skills and make projects their own. Having the week on board was a luxury, the perfect opportunity to get creative, swap skills, mix things up and we certainly did. Have a peak at our before, after and during makes on pinterest, such talent!
It was a whirl wind week of trips and tours, sight seeing, stitching and shopping under the watchful eye and guidance of our brilliant tour guide Caroline McKenna. Equipped with maps in hand, all the must see places marked and strict instructions to be back in time for leaving port as the ship waits for no one!
Some took up the offer of excursions organized by Hurtigruten including Husky Adventure Dog Sledding, a North Cape visit and a chance to Snow Mobile in Lapland. Guided city walks were also available, but I enjoyed exploring with our group, hitting the yarn stores and other boutique shops, with a few culture stops as well.
We crossed the Arctic Circle with much merriment and celebration. Neptune God of the Seas made an appearance, blessing folk with a splash of icy cold water swiftly followed by a necessary warming shot of alcohol. I’m afraid I wasn’t brave enough, opting to watch from the sidelines instead.
Heading into the Arctic the scenery became more dramatic and a chance of seeing the Northern Lights increased, weather conditions looked hopeful and we weren’t disappointed. On the last few evenings as thoughts turned to bed, a call went out to grab the winter woollies, head outside for a spectacular light show! I’ve committed these wondrous dancing lights to memory as the camera just didn’t do them justice.
Our time on MS Nordnorge was at an end we’d traveled up the coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, but the fun wasn’t quiet over, today promised a trip to the Russian Border and lunch at the Ice Hotel with an opportunity for dog sledding.
It’s hard to believe we packed so much into such a short space of time, the weather was sunny when needed with flurries of snow adding to the atmosphere. Only a few stretches required sea legs, it took me longer to find my land legs back on shore.
I’m such a lucky lady to have been part of this trip, it combined my love of meeting new people, textiles and travel. With lot’s of laughs along the way we couldn’t have had a better crowd to travel with and I’m looking forward to staying in touch with everyone and keeping our friendships going. A huge big thank you to all for a fantastic time on our Arena Travel Northern Lights Adventure!