The guide for our visit to Reine said that this small town on the northern coast of Norway was a center for Cod Fishing but, it was immediately obvious when we stepped off the National Geographic Explorer.
No doubt about it.
Whew. The strong fish smell overwhelmed the senses. All thoughts of the towering mountains rising about the intense blue water were way over powered with the strong scent of the fish that have dominated this part of the world for 1000 years.
Soon, we could see where the overpowering smell from the main source of protein for the Vikings and generations to follow was coming from— rack after rack after rack of the fish, drying in the sun. Later on the walk around town, we saw the fork lift trucks moving the dried fish to storage containers.
Man, talk about a an industry dominating the town. You’d have to like cod to live here.
Although whaling is still practiced and a few of the small houses that once acted as dormitories for the men who farmed part of the year and fished the rest, have been converted to guest houses, Reine is all about cod.
We meandered around, soaking in the history and life in this small Norwegian town. I loved seeing the grass roofs, interesting architectural elements and every day life in this distant place.
We had another chance for a brief glimpse of life of the hardy Norwegians who populate this country when we stopped at Treana, a tiny dot of a town whose claim to fame is that it sits right on the Arctic Circle. Not that they make a big deal about it.
Didn’t see any touristy shops or opportunities to buy postcards, bumper stickers or coffee mugs. Instead, we meandered the sleepy town, enjoying a small celebration of our crossing the Arctic Circle with spiced wine and a bit of silliness and a look at the lives of the hardworking people who live here.
The quaint church with a ship hanging in the center, cemeteries, a monument to the Arctic Circle and stunning scenery captivated us.
Some of our guests and staff joined the locals for a pick up soccer match. Many of us watched and gleefully cheered what had turned into an International match. It felt so normal. Then it was back on the ship with more photo ops.