Join Pat Archibald for an exciting voyage along Norway’s stunning coastline with a chance to experience the magic of one of nature’s most amazing phenomenon – the dazzling Northern Lights. There is plenty of time for workshops with Pat as the MS Polarlys cruises along a coastline considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Norway’s remarkable landscapes take on a special beauty at this time of year. Relax and take in the snow-cloaked scenery and wintry lifestyle of Norway’s remotest coastal communities or take the time to explore – the choice is yours.
Project information: Taking inspiration from the amazing colour display of the Northern Lights, we will hand appliqué a circular window onto a square background fabric. This ‘window’ will showcase a silhouette of some of the iconic architecture or nature that we will see on our tour against a backdrop of vivid colours of the lights.
Meet Pat and your Tour Manager at a London airport for the flight to Bergen (via Oslo). On arrival we will transfer to our hotel. This evening, get to know Pat and your fellow stitchers at dinner.
This morning’s guided sightseeing tour of Bergen will introduce us to the highlights of Norway’s charming second city known as the 'Gateway to the Fjords’. We will enjoy time at leisure for lunch and explore the traditional handicraft stores on the historic Bryggen waterfront. In the late afternoon, we embark on the MS Polarlys to start our northbound coastal voyage. The dinner this evening is a buffet of delicious Norwegian dishes served as we sail along Hjeltefjord, the same route taken by Vikings as they ventured to the Shetland Islands and beyond.
Our day starts in the beautiful Nordfjord with a delicious breakfast. Stitch with Pat as we sail past West Cape into the open sea before navigating through skerries and islands to reach Ålesund. Today is a chance to admire the highly ornate buildings decorated with turrets, spires, and gargoyles in Norway’s Art Nouveau town. Here we will visit Husfliden, a shop specialising in Norwegian and Nordic arts and crafts.
This morning we will have the opportunity to explore Trondheim. There are a number of yarn shops for us to visit, as well as Nidaros Cathedral that is the centrepiece of this ancient city founded by Norway’s Viking King Olav Tryggvason in 997. In the afternoon, we continue stitching with Pat as the ship sets a northwest course, passing the beautiful Kjeungskjær lighthouse and numerous charming islets and rocky outcrops. After passing through Stoksund, the ship will set sail towards charming Rørvik.
Today we cross the Arctic Circle. This invisible line is situated at 66 degrees and 33 minutes north, marking the border to the Arctic region, where the hunt for the Northern Lights begins! We will step ashore in Bodø and cruise alongside the magnificent granite peaks of the Lofoten Wall that reaches up to 1000m high. Tucked between majestic granite cliffs and white sandy beaches, Lofoten is an experience that is out of the ordinary. The charms of the Lofoten Islands are revealed in the small, picturesque fishing villages with their bohemian ambience.
During the morning hours, we briefly dock at Risøyhamn, Harstad and Finnsnes. The ship then continues to Tromsø, also known as the ‘Capital of the Arctic’. Many epic Arctic expeditions used Tromsø as a starting point and you may like to take your own mini polar expedition on an optional husky dog ride. After an afternoon in Tromsø, we will continue our journey. While the ship sails, you will be able to continue stitching with Pat whilst waiting for the opportunity to see the Northern Lights.
Stitch at ‘the top of the world’ before calling into Honningsvåg. This small, remote town is the gateway to the spectacular North Cape. The ship then continues north, sailing into the heartland of the indigenous Sami people. We will pass their ancient sacred site, Finnkirka rock formation, as we approach the tiny fishing village of Kjøllefjord.
The vistas become more dramatic as we approach Kirkenes. We arrive in nearby Vadsø early in the morning, and just after breakfast we arrive in Kirkenes. Kirkenes lies just a few miles from the Russian border. The town marks the end of this wonderful voyage and, after disembarking the ship, we will enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the area, where local road signs are written in both Norwegian and Russian. In Kirkenes we stop for lunch at the famous Snow Hotel. We check into our hotel this afternoon where this evening’s farewell dinner is served.
This morning we bid farewell to Norway and take our return flights to London.
Tour Notes: You will need to have a reasonable level of fitness to get the most out of this holiday. On excursion days you will need to walk a short distance from the hotel/ship to the coach and you should be able to board the coach unaided. On arrival at the excursion destination, you should be able to alight the coach unaided and there may be a walk between the coach drop off point and the excursion venue. By their nature, walking tours, museum visits etc involve being on your feet for a significant amount of time. Whilst our excursions are taken at a leisurely pace, for the enjoyment of everyone in the group you should be able to keep up with your fellow travellers.
You will stay overnight at the 4-star Clarion Hotel in Bergen, six nights aboard the MS Polarlys for 6 and overnight at the 3-star Thon Hotel in Kirkenes.
This 4-star hotel is perched on the quay in central Kirkenes, with unimpeded views of the fjord. The bright and modern guest rooms come equipped with hairdryer, TV and Wi-Fi.
The MS Polarlys features a modern, Arctic inspired interior. On board you’ll find three restaurants and out on deck you can enjoy the views from one of the two hot tubs. It has its own Expedition Team that serves as a university at sea. Interesting lectures, presentations and activities make this an exciting and educational journey. The Expedition Team hosts both a lecture and presentation programme and evening gatherings daily.
The Clarion Hotel Bergen is located in the heart of Bergen in the middle of historic Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 4-star hotel has recently been renovated and the elegant, classic style has been preserved to bring out the beautiful stone building.