26 July 2018:
Hammerfest, Norway:
Old World, New World

By Corey Sandler

Hammerfest is very Norwegian, with the end-of-the-world feeling of northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle.

And yet it also feels quite different.

500 kilometers or 312 miles inside the Arctic Circle, this is a place of very severe weather. The winds and the seas can pound anytime of the year, and in winter it is brutally cold and the snow builds up and the roads are closed and it is completely dark and you might not want to be here.

We are visiting in summer, or so says the calendar. In the morning it was gray and cold and foggy, which is pretty typical for these parts. But around noontime the sun burst through and there were sunbathers around the pool deck.

I have been here many times, and always find it an interesting place to visit…and then leave, sailing away on a warm, luxurious cruise ship in time for cocktails and dinner.

Silver Wind at the dock this morning.

Foggy bottom morning.

Snow fences up on the hills above town.

And the midday sun filled the harbor in the land of Midnight Sun:

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Hammerfest is an old settlement with evidence of inhabitation going back 10,000 years, and is the ancestral home of the Nordic Sea Sami people, and beginning in the early 19th century a settlement of European and then North American traders.

There are many places like that in this part of the world. But Hammerfest looks and feels so very modern.

This is not a town of old clapboard houses and time-worn storefronts. You’ll find contemporary office and apartment building, state-of-the-art oil and gas terminals, and a church on Kirkegata shaped like a space rocket.

All right, not really a rocket ship: it is supposed to pay homage to the traditional trianglular stockfish racks of fishing ports.)

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.