Narvik, Norway

Aug 24 - 25, 2000

 Our Travel Experience

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Our Travel Experience
We ended up in Narvik because this was the end of the train line from Sweden. The single track line we came in on was not only gorgeous, but had a practical purpose. Narvik is the port town where all the iron ore mined in Kiruna, Sweden is loaded onto boats. The town has basically built up around 20 railroad tracks that are in the exact center of town. This was to be our last train for a while since we were planning on going further North - to the land of busses and then Hurtigruten ships. 

Our train ride was very comfortable even though there was no first class car. At many points along the journey, Tara wanted to get off. The scenery we were passing changed from the flat lands of Sweden into the fjords of Norway. One particularly cute area was filled with small holiday homes seemingly built right ontop of flat rocks. Even though the temptation to stop before Narvik ws high, we did continue to the end of the line.

We ended up buying warmer winter clothes the second day we were in Narvik since we were cold now that we'd passed the Arctic circle. Tara bought a Scandinavian sweater (just like the seven or so that she already owns) and Seth bought a very sturdy looking Bergan's of Norway special Dermizak Skogshorn jacket. Seth's jacket has been great and if you're ever in Norway, we recommend
Overall, we enjoyed our brief stop in Narvik. The town was very compact and we enjoyed exploring the shopping street. Tara bought her first true non necessary souvenirs here in Narvik. She found some very cute Winnie the Pooh photo albums in a local bookstore and just had to have them! Our Bed and Breakfast was also very cute and of a high quality. We enjoyed free cookies in the main common room. Breakfast was also very yummy. One morning we met an interesting man who was also traveling at breakfast. He and his wife were a bit more adventurous than us. They took an endless bus journey from Egypt to Israel! We exchanged e-mail addresses and told us about the library in town. We were very happy to learn that Narvik also had a local library with some English language magazines and free internet computers. We very much enjoyed hanging out in the library in Narvik.
Our big tourist even in Narvik was to take the mountain cable car up to the top for the view. The view across the glaciers was spectacular. It was COLD at the top though. We decided to climb even higher than the restaurant since we wanted to touch snow in August! Good thing the restaurant was open for us to warm up in. 
After a quick dinner in the restaurant, we headed back towards the cable car. It was quite a surprise when the restaurant staff (who were supposed to work for another hour) locked up the restaurant, grabbed bags of garbage and road down in the cable car with us. The Swedish manager of the restaurant explained that she had closed up early because there was a special late shopping night tonight in town. We'd seen the advertisements for this special shopping night all throughout town, but we didn't know enough Norwegian to translate exactly what we happening. It was nice for her to explain to us what the big event was all about. 

Since we were in town for one of the two late shopping nights of the year, we decided to go shopping! The atmosphere was just like a small-town festival. A town band was roaming around the shopping mall, cotton candy and other sweets were being sold on the streets, a group of cheerleaders were dancing to The Eye of the Tiger and everybody in the whole town seemed to be on the streets. In addition to all the usual sidewalk sales that you'd expect, there was an interesting display of remote controlled airplanes and helicopters. We figured you could never have this type of display in America, since the liability insurance would be too high. It was an enjoyable night.

Our one disappointment was that we had been eating the same type of food for a while now. By now we were a bit sick of Italian food and even though eating at the same chain we'd eaten at in Oslo in 1998 was novel, we desperately wanted something different. Unfortunately, when we asked at the tourist information about different types of food (like Indian or Thai), we found out there was nothing in town.

After our brief time in Narvik, we boarded a bus following the directional arrow toward Tromso.

When we arrived home for the holidays and were visiting Tara's grandma, we learned that her mother had actually come from Narvik. It was very special to think that we now know the city where Tara's great-grandmother lived.

Category Rating Comments
Overall Experience 7 An enjoyable two night stopover to break up our long journey Northward. 
Ease of Journey 8 The train ride into Narvik from Lulea was enjoyable and scenic, but long. The bus ride out of Narvik to Tromso was also enjoyable and scenic. Tara liked how the bus driver was moving packets of mail between post offices in addition to transporting people. 
Accommodation  7 The Bed and Breakfast we stayed in was a very nice surprise. 
Activities 6 The town was enjoyable to walk around and our trip up the mountain cable car was fun. However, by August 24th, most of the summer activities had stopped. 
Coolness 7 We were North of the Arctic Circle, but not North enough yet! The town history relating to iron exporting was interesting. 
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