Mural with mix of photos of people and painted background
Monday walks,  Norway,  Photographing Public Art

A brief break in Bodø

The Hurtigruten line is first and foremost a postal service and ferry, although it caters well to tourists too with a cruise-like offering of quality food, excursions and on-board lectures. Many of the stops the ships make are brief, typically twenty minutes.

Supplies for these small coastal towns and villages are off-loaded, post and parcels collected. A few passengers embark or disembark. Most are locals, visiting family or returning home after time away. Only a handful will be tourists, hikers perhaps.

Large ship moored in a port
MS Nordlys moored in Bodø

No one else is permitted to leave the ship at such stops. The turn-around time is too brief to allow for sightseeing and they can’t hold up the schedules for want of a stray tourist! But in a few larger towns, typically one a day, it is possible to go ashore. Excursions are offered for those who want them, while others are free to disembark and explore on their own. Such a port, on our short trip, was Bodø.

A few words about Bodø

To be honest, Bodø doesn’t have a lot to offer the tourist. Most of the town was destroyed during a Luftwaffe attack on 27th May 1940, with 3,500 people losing their homes and fifteen their lives. The town was rebuilt rather rapidly during the late 1940s and the 1950s, with little of architectural merit. But for our group of VT friends it was a chance to stretch our legs. And of course to see something other than the ship for a couple of hours.

We were already inside the Arctic Circle, having crossed the line earlier that morning, and it was cold! We ended up spending a large proportion of our time ashore in a rather cool coffee shop. I have to apologise to Jo as although I am sharing our brief explorations in Bodø as a Monday Walk, I failed to take a photo of the delicious cinnamon roll I ate! But I hope she’ll enjoy the stroll anyway …

Our stroll around Bodø

Having disembarked we followed a road up into the town centre, passing an intriguing bit of street art and a rather moving (but unlabelled) sculpture.

In the shopping area there was a rather nondescript square, remarkable mainly for a dramatic sculpture of some eagles arguing over a fish.

Near this a series of colourful manhole covers brightens up the paving stone. They depict the coat of arms of neighbouring municipalities including Meløy and Saltdal.

Our main purpose here among the shops was to find coffee. And find it we did, in a large and very appealing bakery/café Berbusmel. Actually, I believe you can see one crumb of my now-finished cinnamon roll on the plate in the centre of this photo!

Group of people around a table in a cafe
VT friends in Berbusmel

Eventually some of us decided we really should see a little more of Bodø, while others preferred to return directly to the ship. So Sheila, Isa and I headed in the direction of the cathedral which we had read was of some interest. However with time being short (we had a deadline to make for our return) we weren’t able to go inside. Its stark modern design fits well with the overall architecture and appearance of the town.

Modern cathedral building with separate bell tower

From here we chose a different route back to the ship and were very glad we did, as we found some great street art on our way. This was my favourite piece.

Some of the other pieces were in the rather cramped forecourt of a bar so there are a few objects cluttering up the foreground. But on the whole I was pleased to get these shots as a record of our short stop here. And to offer for Natalie’s Photographing Public Art challenge too, of course!

I visited Bodø in May 2023


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