Written by funkipickle on 12 Dec, 2004
After leaving the Hurtigrute coastal steamer at 6.30am after a 5-day journey from Bergen, we found ourselves wandering what on earth we would do for the day whilst we waited for our connecting bus at 3.40pm to Karasjok. Sunday wasn't the best day to arrive…Read More
After leaving the Hurtigrute coastal steamer at 6.30am after a 5-day journey from Bergen, we found ourselves wandering what on earth we would do for the day whilst we waited for our connecting bus at 3.40pm to Karasjok. Sunday wasn't the best day to arrive in arctic Hammerfest, as nothing was open until 11am! So we decided to have a walk around Hammerfest and see the sights it could offer.
We dropped off our backpacks at the luggage lockers in the shop/waiting area for the bus station situated to the left of the Hurtigrute dock and then walked towards the town.Hammerfest can be pretty chilly in the winter, so get kitted out in warm clothes, gloves, and a hat, otherwise you will quickly turn into an ice block! The town can also be quite icy, so be very careful when walking around. We found ourselves having many umpflers (our name for slip-ups) whilst walking around, which lead to some hysterics.
St. Michaels Catholic church is situated close to the harbour and is the world's most northernmost Catholic church. The church was built in 1958, and it has a wonderful mosaic situated on the side of it that is illuminated at night. The doors on the church have some fishermen carved in them, which can be seen on the photographs below. Mass is held here regularly.
The main shopping area of Hammerfest has a range of clothes shops, hairdressers (there seem to be loads in Norway!), souvenir shops, and grocery shops. The whole shopping street was lit up with some very pretty Christmas lights, and the local Christmas tree, situated outside the Polar Museum, had been decorated with homemade decorations made by the local children.
Hammerfest Kirke is situated close to the Rica Hotel and the Gjenreisningsmuseet (reconstruction museum) and is a good example of spectacular architecture. The church overlooks the bay and does not have an altar, but does have a large stained-glass window. The bells certainly are loud when chimed, and they resound over the bay to the congregation. Over the road from the church is a small graveyard.
The bay that Hammerfest looks onto is simply breathtaking, with snow-covered mountains. It is a lovely piece of arctic scenery.
In the Rough Guide, it states that the town is not the stuff of arctic romance. I have to disagree; I particularly liked Hammerfest, as it had a certain glow to it in the winter, and I'm glad that I had chance to wander around there.