Hurtigruten's Slow Travel
The New York Times: Hurtigruten's Slow Travel
In a recently published New York Times article titled "Norway the Slow Way", voyager Reif Larsen unfurled a flagship tale about discovering Norway on its Hurtigruten vessels. Larsen shared his experience with the bewildering beauty of slow travel on his journey - introspective as much as outwardly explorative.
"I was to start in Trondheim and take the famous Hurtigruten ferry, all the way up the Norwegian coast, past the Arctic Circle, to Kirkenes, the land of the midnight sun," Larsen wrote in the article. "It was a voyage my grandfather had taken with my own father 50 years ago."
Hurtigruten has been part of Norwegian living history for more than 120 years, so much so that it has been sown in the fabric of Norway's national identity.
"HURTIGRUTEN LITERALLY MEANS “the express route,” and while there is nothing “express” about it these days, back when it was founded in 1893, the ferry line was nothing short of a revelation, delivering mail and cargo and passengers to northern communities that were otherwise completely isolated from the rest of the world. Beginning in 1936, boats departed daily from Bergen and sailed all the way up to Kirkenes, covering a distance of 2,500 nautical miles while calling at 34 ports in just over six days. By combining navigational prowess, humble practicality and stunning natural beauty, the Hurtigruten ferry has become one of Norway’s treasured national symbols."
History is one of the reasons; slow, contemplative travel another.
"The slowness of the Hurtigruten forced all of us into a relationship of reciprocity with the landscape."
In a world of fast-paced culture and nonstop noise from devices, social media and the Web, a cruise along the Norwegian Coast fosters a revitalizing, back-to-nature environment that many of us yearn for these days. All seats on the Hurtigruten face towards the sea and the landscape.
Feel the cool breeze as you gaze across the line of skerries, which are small, uninhabited rocky reefs that create a protected coastal passage all the way to the North Cape. Watch the midnight sun tickle the horizon.
In the face of indulgent cruises brimming with sensory overload, Hurtigruten offers the luxury of slow travel.
Reif Larsen's "Norway the Slow Way" can be read here.