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Alta, Norway

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

20th March, 2013

New Alta Cathedral

Our second full day alongside dawned bright and very cold yet again, but the Northern Lights had remained rather elusive during the night compared to previous voyages. More tours headed off even as breakfast was commencing and the shuttle bus took folks into town for window shopping (mortgage required just to buy a cup of coffee) and the nearby brand new cathedral. The bus continued on to Alta museum, which was a lovely modern building situated on the side of the fjord with superb views. If your taste is for ancient rock markings or slate cutting this was the place, and there was an excellent video of the Aurora in its many differing guises.


Dog sledding

We were fortunate to get onto the afternoon dog sledding excursion, which appeared to be as much fun for the dogs as it was for us. Judging by the barking and straining at their harness they were extremely excited by the prospect of dragging yet more tourists around seven kilometres of narrow winding tracks through the forest and out onto the frozen Alta River at what appeared to me to be almost break neck speed. Our own ‘Musha’ was a confectioner by trade, but helping out when the tourists came along. The owner of the business, a young lady originally from Oslo, had been ‘bitten’ (not literally I presume) by the sport of dog racing when she was very young and only the previous week had been a competitor in the 1000 kilometre husky race. Her enthusiasm was a delight and she chatted away for some time explaining how the care of her dogs during the five day race was far more important than looking after herself.


Views over the beautiful landscape

Our departure coincided with the setting sun, the distant snow covered mountains changing colour with the golden glow. Slotting in between arriving flights, we passed through the approach path of the airport, sounding three long blasts as we went, a final farewell until February next year when the ship is scheduled to return. A few hours later the Officer of the Watch came over the public address, finally the Aurora was giving us a splendid display. A mass exodus from the dining room to the upper decks followed, with a quick stop on the way to collect cold weather gear. A fine way to end the day.

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