Tag Archives: Narvik

17 March 2019. Narvik, Norway: Winter Festival

We are back in Narvik during the peak of the Winter Festival, the Vinterfestuka. Sundays are always sleepy in places like this, but town very much felt like the morning after the night before.

We did, though, see buses pulling up in town collecting locals heading to church and the parties to follow.

The festival celebrates the construction of the railroad that connects Narvik on the Norwegian Sea to the interior of Sweden at Kiruna about 1900. That railroad was built to haul iron ore from Sweden to the coast and mile-long trains still rumble over the mountain pass to town daily.

The loading station for LKAB, the mining and railroad company that transports iron ore from Kiruna, Sweden to Narvik for loading onto waiting freighters

It was that railroad that attracted the interest of the Germans and the Allies at the start of World War II, and a major naval battle was fought in the narrow bounds of the fjord in town. Nearly all of Narvik was burned to the ground by the Germans when they eventually retreated near the end of the conflict.

Festivalgoers wear special clothing: black trousers and a flannel shirt with vest for the men; a long black skirt and colorful shawl for the women.

Those of us coming from the ship wore our warmest winter clothing, any color, any length.

Here are some more scenes from Narvik today:

From here to there by road. Boris Gleb? That’s a town near Murmansk, Russia.

The ski hill above Narvik, seen from aboard ship

Gravestones of Allied naval and air personnel buried on the hillside at Narvik.

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2019. All rights reserved. All contents copyright Corey Sandler and Word Association; this website is not produced or endorsed by Viking Cruises.

YOU CAN ALSO VISIT MY MAIN WEBSITE, at  www.coreysandler.com
To send me an email or to inquire about copies of photos, please click here: www.coreysandler.com/contact-me/

11 March 2019. Narvik, Norway: The End of the Iron Road 

We arrived early this morning under a stunning blue sky and crisp air at Narvik, one of the locations of the most significant naval battles of World War II.

The reason for the modern port, which was also the lure for the Germans and the Allies, is the railroad that arrives at sea level from the interior of Sweden. More than a dozen mile-long trains carrying iron ore arrive most days to be loaded onto waiting freighters here.

In the runup to World War II, Germany (and the United Kngdom) were each receiving huge quantities of iron ore from Sweden, which remained mostly neutral throughout the war.

Germany sent in a fleet to seize the port and secure the railroad in 1939, and then the British sent their navy to try and displace them. Thousands of sailors and infantry on both sides died, and Narvik was pounded for most of the war. It was also the site of a concentration camp run by the Germans, holding mostly Yugoslavian and Serbian prisoners, most of whom died in the horrific conditions.

I went with a group of guests to the Narvik Krigsmuseum (the Narvik War Museum) to see some of the artifacts of the war and some exhibitions of well-intentioned hopes for peace. Then we made a visit to a cold, silent cemetery holding some of the British, Canadian, French, Polish, German, and others who died here.

Later tonight we sail back out to sea to head to Bergen, the last port of call on this cruise.

A sea mine recovered from the harbor at Narvik.

A prototype of a one-man submarine/torpedo developed by the Germans for what amounts to suicide missions. The British had a similar device which they unsuccessfully deployed against the German battleship Tirpitz.

Inside the War Museum.

A cemetery of Allied and Axis and civilians in Narvik.

Viking Sky at the dock in Narvik.

Aboard ship, from the Explorer’s Lounge.

In a reflective mood, the snow-covered mountains mirrored aboard ship.

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2019. All rights reserved. All contents copyright Corey Sandler and Word Association; this website is not produced or endorsed by Viking Cruises. 

YOU CAN ALSO VISIT MY MAIN WEBSITE, at  www.coreysandler.com
To send me an email or to inquire about copies of photos,  please,  click here: www.coreysandler.com/contact-me/