A Travellerspoint blog

Norway and the Northern Lights

But First Stop - London

semi-overcast 50 °F
View 2022 Norway on pjburke's travel map.

28 December 2022

Somewhere in the Artic Circle

It’s day seven of our trip and it’s been fabulous. Not without a few little snafus but actually, very few.

We left Tucson on December 19th right on time. Carolyn and Tom (my cousin and her husband - two of our traveling companions) met us in Denver and we were ready to take off right on time….until….drumroll.. There was an announcement that we would be delayed because the Pilot had lost/forgotten his passport. REALLY!!!! United was very swift with issuing food vouchers ($40 each for 4 people = $160 for a two hour delay).

Not sure whether he actually found his passport (or his wife brought it from home) but we headed off to London for our smooth nine hour ride.

Arriving in London, I was anticipating a long wait. Nope!! US citizens (those traveling without children) are allowed to use the electronic immigration system. We were all through in less than ten minutes. Our bags arrived very quickly. It seems that London has resolved some of it’s baggage issues.

There are multiple ways to get into London City from Heathrow: train, bus, taxi and Uber. We opted for Uber since there were four of us with more baggage than we usually travel with (due to our Artic Adventures). The charge was about 70 Pounds ($84USD) with tip for the group. After a long trip, it all worked very well.

We arrived at our hotel - The House of Toby (not far from Kings Cross/St Pancras Rail Station). The staff was very friendly, the rooms small and basic and the location perfect.

Once we got settled, we made the short walk to Kings Cross and collected our prepaid train tickets for Dover Priory (near the cruise port) for the 22nd. We also located exactly where we had to go to catch the train since we would be walking from the hotel with the whole group (seven of us) on Thursday morning.

By this time – we were all starting to fade. A quick nap was in order and then off to The Water Rats, a small restaurant/pub/music venue, for Happy Hour and dinner.

FYI – London at Christmastime is lovely. After dinner, Carolyn, Jim and I grabbed the Tube and wandered the Regent Street area for a bit, taking in all the seasonal glitter.


After enjoying the lovely lights, we headed back to our hotel ..but not before a quick stop for two Harry Potter Fans.


During the afternoon, we had been receiving updates from our other traveling partners (Karen, Bart and Karen aka Mini K) who were traveling from Phoenix on British Airways. Apparently there was a computer problem and they were delayed, delayed again and delayed some more. In the end, the flight was delayed five hours and THEN when they got to London, for some reason, their luggage was singled out for “special” inspection – which added three hours to an already long, long trip.

All in all – they were in bed at about midnight!!

The following day (21 December 2022) was a free day. With the current state of airlines (and everything else) IMHO, it’s never a good idea to give yourself less than a day when you have to catch a cruise/tour. When we originally rescheduled this trip, we would have had to “test” before getting on the ship. Which meant, we would have had to find somewhere in London to get the test and then get the results back before boarding. Luckily, that requirement is no more, which gave us a free day - which meant – “a day to get over jetlag”.

Breakfast was included at the hotel. The front desk said it was a Continental Breakfast but it was a little more substantial.

The weather was typical London in December – a bit cold and a bit grey but that didn’t keep us from wandering. We took in the lights of Harrods (and a wander through the food court – oh my), a short stroll through Hyde Park, a pub lunch (where Karen and Bart caught up with us), Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben before Tubing it back to our hotel.


More Christmas lights at Covent Garden that evening, along with wine and apps, made for a lovely evening.


22 December 2022 – on to the ship

Breakfast and off for the ten minute walk (in the drizzle) to the St. Pancras Train Station. Our pre-planning paid off. We made it with time to spare. Fortunately, with all the recent train strikes – ours was not effected and our train was on time.

One hour and five minutes later (with a couple of stops) we arrived at Dover Priory Station. The building is small and the exit door lead us right to the taxi line, which, when we got there, was occupied by one lone taxi that was already taken. Not to worry, within five minutes the taxis were arriving steadily to take us to the Cruise Terminal.

After a year's delay - this cruise if finally happening. By evening - we were on our way to Norway!!

Posted by pjburke 11:22 Archived in England Tagged #hurtigruten

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As always, loving to follow your journey. Your pix are beautiful. Have fun!

by Nancy A. peck

Have a wonderful time. Wonderful to hear that things are falling into place! Happy New Years to you all! Enjoy

by Corey

Wow you guys are the supreme travelers! Great job. Can't wait to see the Northern Lights Happy New Year.
I'll be cleaning up snake cages but loving it, Jer

by Jerry Schudda

I would have loved to see London at Christmas time. We were smart to go to Petra when we did. Google "Petra flood" to see what just happened. I had not considered going to Norway in the winter so I am anxious to hear about your adventure.

by Roger Davis

Like everyone else, loving your adventures and especially your descriptive and entertaining posts! Can hardly wait for the Norway part and Northern Lights !! Safe journeys and Happy New Year from all of us San Marcos !!!

by Joan

Wonderful pictures! Been following your Facebook posts! Loved the northern lights! Enjoy the rest of your trip! Happy New Years!

by Pat Gray

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