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Therese Iknoian

Traveler | Photographer at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business (www.ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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Honningsvag lights in winter are entrancing.Honningsvag is a small fishing port far up the northern coast of Norway, nestled in a pocket among islands and fjords north of Tromso. From the Hurtigruten ship heading north, the town is uber-cute, hugging the base of a hill. Aside from fishing, it is the capital of the “North Cape” area.

Although Honningsvag, Norway, was flattened in World War II (sadly, only the church was left), the town remains a key location for seeing the Northern Lights. With a population of just over 3,000, the town is, frankly, adorable, even if you don’t see the Northern Lights. And the arrival of the working Hurtigruten ship is a lifeline to the rest of Norway.

The subject: Our Hurtigruten ship was sailing into port, maneuvering the narrow channels into Honningsvag along the Norway coast. The town itself is a picture postcard for all that is Norway – beautiful hills with a sifting of snow in mid-November, colorful clapboard houses snugged around the port, and fishing boats unloading or preparing to depart. Only the Svalbard islands separate you from the North Pole. The Northbound Hurtigruten ship arrives mid-day and is only in town for a couple of hours, so I toured the town on a run in the biting cold.

The inspiration: But before the run, I was entranced by the light. Honningsvag is of course beautiful in a simple way, but mid-day in November in northern Norway the sun is already pretending to set. This time of year there is only twilight for a few hours mid-day, which is quite an eerie experience. The light sparkles off the windows of the homes and paints the hills with a red glow.

Artist’s tools: My Nikon D90 has served me well for many an adventure. On our trip to Norway, I was beginning to re-discover photography after about 25 years away! I was using an 18-105mm lens, f/3.5-5.6, which I find quite versatile so you avoid swapping lens while your photo opp disappears. I do NOT carry multiple cameras! I was on deck as the Hurtigruten ship cruised into Honningsvag. I was set at 1/200th of a second at f/9 with a focal length of 98mm. This photo is cropped some to bring out the sparking windows but mostly remains as it was shot. This was taken in November 2014.

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What to do in Norway

In the map below, pins mark the location of all the sites mentioned in our articles on Norway. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name and any additional information. For more detailed planning help, refer to our What to do in Oslo and What to do in Bergen travel guides.

Oslo Main Train Station

Think of Norway train lines somewhat like an x-y axis – one major line goes north-south, and another goes east-west, both with a few offshoots or onward connections to, say, Sweden. Click here to download a PDF map.  Once you know this, it’s easier to get around. The Oslo main station, Central Station (more commonly known as Oslo S), has several departures/arrivals daily on the east-west Oslo–Bergen route, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. We took it from Oslo to Bergen on an early winter day and can confirm that the route is certainly gorgeous, not to mention convenient and affordable. Of course, there are frequent departures to all points in Norway from Oslo’s Central Station. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Bergen Main Train Station - Bergen

Myrdal Train Station

Flam Train Station

Gudvangen Ferry Terminal

Roros Visitors Center

National Museum of Decorative Arts - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Ringve Music Museum - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Trondheim Museum of Art

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Old Town Bakklandet - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Nidaros Cathedral - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Archbishop's Palace and Museum - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Old Town Bridge - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Kristiansten Fort - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Sverresborg - Trondelag Folk Museum - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Stiffsgarden Royal Residence - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Medieval Church Ruins in the Library - Trondheim

http://hitraveltales.com/eight-reasons-to-visit-trondheim/

Alesund and Sunnmore Tourist Office

http://hitraveltales.com/beautiful-alesund-inspires-artists-photographers/

Centre of Art Nouveau - Alesund

http://hitraveltales.com/beautiful-alesund-inspires-artists-photographers/

Fjellstua Viewpoint - Alesund

http://hitraveltales.com/beautiful-alesund-inspires-artists-photographers/

Theta Museum - Bergen

Theta Museum — It was a secret room then and, for many, it still remains a secret museum and hidden room today. It is the itty-bitty Theta Museum, a minute 170-square-foot (16 square meters) low-ceiling room hidden away on an upper floor of the Bryggen wharf area in Bergen. The museum was the headquarters of the Theta Group, an important part of the Norwegian Resistance during WWII. Its hours are quite limited to plan around them to not miss this gem! Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Bergen Maritime Museum - Bergen

Bergen Maritime Museum — The Bergen Maritime Museum presents the history of shipping, its development and importance to Bergen and Norway. We loved the museum’s vast collection of ship models – including Viking ships. Getting There: The museum is situated 150 meters from Johanneskirken (the red church), in the middle of the University campus.. Admission is NOK 50 or free with a valid Bergen Card.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

University Museum of Bergen

University Museum of Bergen — Although the Natural History Museum is undergoing restoration and will not reopen until 2018, the History Museum is well worth a look, containing some of the largest cultural collections in Norway. Since it is adjacent to the Maritime Museum, time your visit to enjoy both on the same day. Admission is NOK 50, or free with a valid Bergen Card.   Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Bryggen - Bergen

Bryggen — This is what you likely think of when you think of Bergen. In 1360 the Hansas – a German guild of merchants – set up one of their import/export offices on Bryggen and dominated world trade for the next 400 years.  Though destroyed many times by fire, each time it has been faithfully rebuilt, on top of foundations that were created in the 11th century. Now on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, Bryggen is made for wandering, slowly. Meander through narrow passageways and enjoy the myriad of tiny shops, offices and artist studios.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Fløibanen Funicular - Bergen

Fløibanen Funicular — Do not miss the breathtaking view from atop Mt. Floyen, 320 meters (1,050) feet above sea level). Certainly one of Norway’s most-often mentioned attractions, the Funicular runs every 15 minutes from early morning until 11 p.m. The journey lasts approximately 8 minutes up or down. We watched for Northern Lights from the summit one evening during a recent visit, though swirling mist obscured a view of the sky, but not the twinkling lights below. Admission is NOK 85 round trip or NOK 43 one-way. Bergen Card is valid for a 50% discount May 1 through September 30 and gives you a free ride the rest of the year.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Bergenhus Festning - Bergen

Bergenhus Festning – A bit further up the road from Bryggen Historic District, take the time to visit the historic fort, Bergenhus. Here you will see the Rosenkrantz Tower, considered one of the most important renaissance monuments in Norway and, when open, offering an impressive view of Bergen. Plus, there is Hakon’s Hall, built by King Håkon Håkonsson as a royal residence and banqueting hall in the 12th century – granted you won’t need a lot of time there. Bergenhus Festning, 5003 Bergen. Admission to each is NOK 70 or free with a valid Bergen Card. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Hanseatic Museum - Bergen

Hanseatic Museum — One of the best-preserved buildings in Bergen, the Hanseatic Museum shows how the German merchants from The Hanseatic League lived and worked. From 1350 to 1750 these merchants traded stockfish (chewy, dried fish) and grains from their office in Bergen. It is the only house on Bryggen that has kept its original interior. In summer, there are daily guided tours in Norwegian, German, French and English. Admission NOK 90.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Bergen Aquarium - Bergen

Bergen Aquarium – The Bergen Aquarium claims to house one of the largest collections of North Sea fish and invertebrates in Europe. The aquarium features indoor 60 tanks, a shark viewing tube, and two outdoor pools with seals and penguins. Cost – From March 1 to October 31, entrance runs NOK 200. A Bergen Card discounts that by 25%. The rest of the year, entrance is NOK 150 or free with a Bergen Card. Since the aquarium website is only offered in Norwegian, click here to find aquarium information on the official Tourist Information website, thankfully in English.  Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Det Lille Kaffekompaniet - Bergen

Bergen is made to get lost in on foot because it’s so compact and so walkable, albeit hilly. Explore narrow side streets, particularly those around the base of the funicular’s lower terminal off Lille Øvergaten. Just follow your nose. Take the time to sit and enjoy a coffee and delectable in one of the many small cafes you will encounter … we loved Det Lille Kaffekompaniet in the Lille Overgaten. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Skottegaten - Bergen

Bergen is made to get lost in on foot because it’s so compact and so walkable, albeit hilly. Explore narrow side streets, particularly those around the base of the funicular’s lower terminal off Lille Øvergaten. Just follow your nose. Also worth exploring is the hilly area all around Skottegaten just west of the main part of the old town and between there and the Hurtigruten terminal. Your nose and your feet will be your guides. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Hurtigruten Terminal - Bergen

Shipping and ferry services are Bergen’s connection to the outside world as well as much of Norway. You will arrive or depart from here by ferry for part of the Norway in a Nutshell tour, if you choose that version. And this is also where the well-known Hurtigruten (the Coastal Express) ferry tours depart daily for trips up to Kirkenes in the far north (stopping in numerous Norwegian coastal towns and villages along the way). Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.

Hurtigruten Terminal - Kirkenes

Hurtigruten Terminal - Trondheim

Vigeland Park - Oslo

Don’t miss the Frogner neighborhood and the Vigeland Park with its spectacular lineup of Gustav Vigeland’s works. If the weather is nice – remember, this is Scandinavia – the park is a popular destination for jogging, walking and picnicking. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Royal Palace - Oslo

Take the time to wander down Karl Johans Gate, starting at the Central Station. Karl Johans Gate is the main street in central Oslo and features a tree-lined promenade bordered by restaurants, cafes and upscale stores. There is, naturally, great people watching and at the end of the walk you will find yourself at the Royal Palace, home of the Norwegian royal family. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Old Aker Church - Oslo

Old Aker Church – The church is and old medieval building and is listed as the oldest remaining building in Oslo dating back to the 11th century. Admission: Free. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Oslo Domkirke - Oslo

Oslo Domkirke (cathedral) — This is considered the most important church of Oslo where all the royal ceremonies have been held for centuries. It has a delightfully rich interior. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Edward Munch Museum - Oslo

Edward Munch Museum — Edvard Munch – probably best known for modern painting known as “The Scream” — has a unique position among Nordic painters and is considered a pioneer in expressionism. The Munch Museum’s collection, left to the city of Oslo by the artist, consists of paintings, graphical prints and drawings. By constantly changing the exhibitions, the museum presents the variety in his life. Be sure to visit the museum website prior to planning your trip as the museum does close for short spans due to exhibition changes. Admission: NOK 100. Free with valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History - Oslo

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History — Located on Bydgoy next to the Viking Ship Museum the Museum of Cultural History is a large open-air museum that is full of wonderful replicas of traditional Norwegian buildings throughout Norwegian history. The most famous building is the intricately carved stave church – which is truly stunning. Admission is NOK 80 or free with a valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

The Viking Ship Museum - Oslo

The Viking Ship Museum — The Viking Ship Museum presents historic Viking ship discoveries discovered during excavations at Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune as well as other finds from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord. Most significant are the displays of the world’s two best-preserved wooden Viking ships, built in the 9th century. Admission is NOK 80 or free with a valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Akershus Fortress - Oslo

Akershus Fortress — Akershus Fortress, located in the city centre overlooking the Oslo fjord, is a great place to take in wonderful views of Oslo as well as the surrounding fjord. The building of Akershus Castle and the fortress began in 1299 under King Håkon V. The medieval castle, which was completed in the 1300s, was strategically located at the end of the headlands overlooking the fjord. King Christian IV (1588-1648) modernized the castle and had it converted to a royal residence. Admission is free. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Resistance Museum - Oslo

Norway’s Resistance Museum — The Resistance Museum is located in a 17th century building on the grounds of Akershus Fortress, right adjacent to the memorial for Norwegian patriots executed during the war. It is a fantastic museum – plan on a couple of hours (or more depending on your passion) to view the displays covering five years of occupation recreated with pictures, documents, posters, objects, models, original copies of newspapers and recordings. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.

Clarion Collection Hotel Bastion

Honningsvag

Honningsvag is a small fishing port far up the northern coast of Norway, nestled in a pocket among islands and fjords north of Tromso. From the Hurtigruten ship heading north, the town is uber-cute, hugging the base of a hill. Aside from fishing, it is the capital of the “North Cape” areaRead our Photographer's Diary story on Honningsvag here.