June 29, 2010 - Harstad, Norway

In terms of inhabitants, our next port of call, Harstad, is the third largest city in Northern Norway with approximately 23,000 persons living in the immediate area. Situated approximately 155 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the main industries are shipbuilding, fishing and trading. On the cultural side, the town is also of importance. Every year at the end of June, the Festival of Northern Norway is arranged with concerts, theatre performances and exhibitions of various kinds. And even though it was June 29th, we must have arrived just a bit too late because we unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to witness any of these festivities taking place.

Our day started with a quick rehearsal for our show that evening, Listen to the Music, but after, we all headed outside to catch the shuttle bus into town. Before the bus arrived, we took a stroll around the dock and were surprised to notice the large amount of jellyfish filling the waters. They were everywhere! There were sand-dollar sized and also huge bright orange and red boxed type jellyfish with long tentacles trailing behind it. We were mesmerized by it, hardly noticing when the shuttle finally did pull up.

We couldn’t have asked for a better day! The skies were blue and I didn’t even need a coat! Despite being located north of the Arctic Circle, Harstad incredibly features a sub polar oceanic climate with relatively mild winters and cool summers. This is primarily due to the relatively warm Gulf Stream. Harstad does not have the brutal winters that most locations north of the Arctic Circle experience. The city actually experiences warmer winters than major cities located 25 to 30 degrees farther south in latitude in the northern hemisphere such as Beijing, Chicago and Toronto. I found that very interesting, and definitely enjoyed the break in frigid temperatures!

Once we arrived into town, the whole group sort of naturally split and we all went our separate ways. Nic headed off to find some yarn before he had to be back to run afternoon games. Beckie, Erin, Soren, Kelsey and Vanessa went to find an internet connection. And Carly, Kaitlyn and I headed off to first find them coffee, and then stroll towards the water to get some pictures. The city was very cute, definitely the most built-up and developed we’ve seen yet in Norway, and so it was a welcomed difference.

We only had about two hours to wander and so there really isn’t much to report. After the girls and I took in the scenery, with the snowcapped mountains in the distance, we went into some stores and looked around a bit. There was one major-productive thing did happen today. Thanks to a pair of boxer-briefs that I found in H&M (designed to look like a pair of jean shorts), I finally decided what American icon I am going to portray for our Entertainment Department-hosted 4th of July Party! Kaitlyn and I will be going as Barbie & Ken! We are really excited about it! In fact, our whole group has come up some really great ideas, so be sure to keep a look out for posts and pictures!

Well, short and sweet, but there you have it – Harstad!




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1 Comment

July 21, 2010
Sounds like a wonderful city and I am sure that you enjoyed your stroll around without pressure to rush and come and go like many other places. It is nice to do laid back days every now and then. Norway must be beautiful.
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