Stopping in Sandnessjøen for Christmas Eve Celebrations:
|Day 10: Bodø – Ørnes – Nesna – Sandnessjøen. After leaving Ørnes, the voyage continues through exciting and colourful waters, sailing through narrow straits bordered by lush farmland along the shores of Helgeland. Nearly every peak of the towering mountains in the background is associated with a local legend.Crossing the Arctic Circle you will arrive in Sandnessjoen at 12:15 pm, the ancient seat of a Viking Chieftain. Here the ship will dock to celebrate Christmas. Today, there will be church services in ports where arrival and departure time permits it.Tonight, Christmas evening is celebrated on board according to Norwegian traditions. Everyone on board will celebrate together with a lovely Christmas buffet, Christmas carols and the opening of presents. Santa Claus will also pay us a visit! Coffee and Cake buffet in the bar.(B, L, D)|
01:30 – We called into Bodø and the ship was docked here till 04:00. I’m not sure why the long stop here. It would have been nice if it weren’t night time.
11:00 – We arrived in Nesna for a quick 15-minute stop. Enough time for us to go onshore and make angels in the snow. The things I do for Tony’s photography! The officers in the bridge must be thinking that we’ve gone a little potty.
12:00 – We arrived in Sandnessjøen and here we stopped for the night. Sandnessjøen is the centre of trade and the service industry for the Ytre Helgeland region. Following the pier to the right, the main street is just 2-3 minutes walk from the ship.
Lunch today was from 12:00 – 14:30 and many locals came on board to have lunch or coffee and cakes.
13:30 – Passengers wishing to attend church service left for Sandnessjøen Kirke. The Christmas service starts at 14:00.
We set off to explore the town on our own. Most of the shops were already closed as shopkeepers and shoppers had gone home to prepare for dinner. Christmas Eve is the big night for Norwegians and this is the night when they have their main Christmas dinner. In this part of Norway, Christmas is very much a family affair and celebrated according to traditional Norwegian customs.
18:00 – Many locals came on board for dinner and they looked like business people. Everyone’s well dressed for the dinner. The evening began quite formally with the Tour Director conducting the formalities. Speeches were made by various individuals, presumably town dignitaries. A priest said prayers and then the meal began. The whole ceremony was conducted in Norwegian.
20:30 – After dinner, coffee and cakes were served in the Bar and we sang Christmas carols as is a Norwegian tradition. Little song books were handed out so that everyone could join in the singing.
21:30 – Father Christmas arrived and everyone got a little present. Santa was one of the ship’s officers and towards the end of the session the female crew take delight in toppling him to the ground.
22:00 – Time to walk around the Christmas tree – Eskild the Tour Director got everyone to form three circles around the tree, with each circle going in opposite direction. We thought it would be chaotic, but the Norwegians knew what they were doing and the Christmas tree walk worked out well. By this time some of the visitors were beginning to leave. All in all, it was a great opportunity for us to enjoy traditional Norwegian Christmas celebrations on this Hurtigruten cruise.
God Jul to all our Norwegian friends.