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Dispatch #6: My epic Hurtigruten voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes

This week, Lighthouses of Norway photographer Sigrid Thorbjørnsen is sailing on Hurtigruten's ship MS Finnmarken from Bergen to Kirkenes. These photos were taken on the sixth day into this northbound voyage.

I woke up to a blue sky. Again, the scenery has changed. There are no trees to be seen, and the bushes glow vibrantly when the sun hits them. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

On deck, I saw we were closing in on Havøysund. The colors of the houses are different here, and there is something about the architecture that also tells me that I have come farther north, but I can't put my finger on what exactly makes it different. I sense there's something different about the proportions of the windows, but I might be wrong about that. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

It is not a problem to see where the road goes, and the church is placed in the middle of everything. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Birds, a bridge, mountains, and a cluster of houses near the water – a typical town in Finnmark. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Departing from Havøysund, I was invited to the bridge, to see the "office" where the captain controls all navigation of the ship. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Sitting as high up as possible to get the best overview of the ship and the ocean ahead is important. The captain told me that during storms, they sometimes have to look up to see the top of the waves. This man is able to dock at harbors and depart without us passengers even noticing. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Leaving the bridge, I went back on deck, just to see stunning mountain formations rising up from the ocean like giant, prehistoric animals. The keen observer might also have noticed that the mountains, especially the ones on the mainland, are no longer peaked as they were in the Lofoten Island area. In Finnmark the mountains rise steeply up from the ocean only to be flattened on top. This forms the Finnmarksvidda mountain plateau, a vast area that covers the whole county. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Some areas look like moonscapes – if it weren't for the houses .... This vast landscape flares up in intense colors when the sun hits. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

My imagination runs wild, and mountains take on resemblance of prehistoric animals. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

A fishing boat is on its way to work. The colors of the boat are set off against greens and grays in the mountain backdrop. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Now do you see what I mean? The prehistoric animals again. I was just waiting for a dinosaur to get out of the water. It was so intense and it looked alive. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Closing in on Honningsvåg. This colorful little town is waiting for the sun to come out. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

The sun appeared, and the reflections of the fishing boats can be seen in the calm water in the harbor. What a beautiful little town. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

MS Finnmarken seems very at home here in Honningsvåg. Honningsvåg is situated on the south side of the island Magerøya, and North Cape is on the north side. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Between Honningsvåg and Kjøllefjord we see Finnkjerka – a rock formation that bares the resemblance of a church. This is a perfect spot for photography and a philosophical moment. The sea, the sky – perfect. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

A peek at Kjøllefjord. The fences on the mountainside are there to prevent snow avalanches. Even on a dim evening the colors of Kjøllefjord are strong. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

The blue mountains rise from the ocean. Because of the rolling waves, the mountains seem to be moving. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Rain, fog, mountains, and the ocean. We’re now sailing into the Barents Sea, closer to Russia and Finland. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Velkommen til Mehamn, 71 degrees north. Night is coming, it's chilly outside, and from the lights in the windows you can tell that Mehamn is getting ready for night. The fact that Hurtigruten's ships can dock at small villages up the coast, 34 ports total, is what makes this voyage so special. "The world's most beautiful voyage" is not a marketing term, but rather a name or description Hurtigruten has earned over the years. One of Hurtigruten's primary functions is still to serve local communities and connect the villages through daily arrivals and departures. Hurtigruten, the fast route, has been plowing up and down Norway's coast for more than 125 years. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

Good night, Mehamn. Hurtigruten is starting to move again, going southeast, closer to the Russian border. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

The moon is out over Berlevåg. As Hurtigruten docks, I prepare for bed. ©2012 Sigrid Thorbjørnsen.

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This week, Lighthouses of Norway photographer Sigrid Thorbjørnsen is sailing on Hurtigruten’s ship MS Finnmarken from Bergen to Kirkenes. These photos were taken on the sixth day into this northbound voyage. Learn more about Hurtigruten.

Click here to see Dispatch #7 photo report.

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