Rootin’ Tootin’ Hurtigruten

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

THERE’S A FLEET of ships called the Hurtigruten that travel the coastal route of Norway, north and south. The first trip, in 1893, transformed travel, communications, and mail service. That trip began in Trondheim and ended in Hammerfest (almost as far north as you can go in Norway). Until the 1940s, you couldn’t even get to many places north of Trondheim by road. The sea was the only way. Hurtigruten is now a very popular tourist attraction along the entire coast — with ships that have hot tubs, restaurants, and more luxuries — in addition to still being a very practical way to travel, commute, and deliver cargo. And there are now expedition cruises to Greenland, Canada, South America, Iceland, Svalbard, and Antarctica.

When I hear the name Hurtigruten, I might start singing “He’s a high falutin’ rootin’ tootin’ son of a gun from Arizona, Ragtime Cowboy Joe”; although I change the words to “high falutin’ hurtigruten,” because, as you know by now, that’s how my brain works.

However, on the day in September when we neared Bjornskinn, the birthplace of San Geraldo’s maternal grandfather, and spotted the Hurtigruten (right after we spotted those whooper swans, Cignus cignus), the first song that popped into my head was “Hurtigruten Man,” which you may know as “Hurdy-Gurdy Man” by Donavan.

And for those of you who don’t know, a hurdy-gurdy is an old stringed instrument that makes sound by turning a hand crank that then rubs against the strings. No hurdy gurdy was harmed nor, oddly, even used in the making of the Donavan song.


HAY UNA FLOTA de barcos llamados Hurtigruten que recorren la ruta costera de Noruega, norte y sur. El primer viaje, en 1893, transformó el servicio de viajes, comunicaciones, y correo. Ese viaje comenzó en Trondheim y terminó en Hammerfest (casi tan al norte como se puede ir en Noruega). Hasta la década de 1940, ni siquiera se podía llegar a muchos lugares al norte de Trondheim por carretera. El mar era el único camino. Hurtigruten es ahora una atracción turística muy popular a lo largo de toda la costa — con barcos que tienen bañeras de hidromasaje, restaurantes y más lujos — además de ser una forma muy práctica de viajar y entregar carga. Y ahora hay cruceros de expedición a Groenlandia, Canadá, Sudamérica, Islandia, Svalbard, y la Antártida.

Cuando escucho el nombre Hurtigruten, puedo comenzar a cantar una canción Americano del antiguo oeste, “He’s a high-falutin, rootin’ tootin’ son of a gun from Arizona, Ragtime Cowboy Joe”, aunque cambio las palabras desde “high falutin” en “hurtigruten” porque se rima y, como ya sabes, así es como funciona mi cerebro.

Sin embargo, en el día de septiembre cuando nos acercamos a Bjornskinn, el lugar de nacimiento del abuelo materno de San Geraldo, y vimos al Hurtigruten (justo después de ver a esos cisnes cantores, Cignus cignus), la primera canción que apareció en mi cabeza fue “Hurtigruten Man”. Que quizás conozcas como “Hurdy-Gurdy Man” de Donavan.

Y para aquellos de vosotros que no lo sabeis, un Hurdy-Gurdy es un viejo instrumento de cuerda que hace ruido al girar una manivela que luego roza las cuerdas. Ningún hurdy gurdy fue dañado (o extrañamente incluso usado) en la realización de la canción de Donavan.

Hurtigruten with Bjornskinn in background, where SG’s maternal grandfather was born.
Hurtigruten con Bjornskinn en el fondo, donde nació el abuelo materno de SG.
Cousin Timmi, who bought me all those Norwegian sweets (click here), was on another Hurtigruten that day, heading north to Trømso. About a 15-hour journey, I think.
El primo Timmi, que me compró todos esos dulces noruegos (click here), estaba en otro Hurtigruten ese día, en dirección norte hacia Trømso. Alrededor de un viaje de 15 horas, creo.
Approaching the bridge to Bjornskinn on the island of Andøyo and points north. The Hurtigruten had just passed below it.
Acercarse al puente a Bjornskinn en la isla de Andøyo y apunta hacia el norte. El Hurtigruten acababa de pasar por debajo.
Points north. Andenes. Where it began to rain and I was chilled.
Puntos al norte. Andenes Donde comenzó a llover y tenía frío.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

18 thoughts on “Rootin’ Tootin’ Hurtigruten”

    1. anne marie:
      Yep. We’re alike. SG does it, too, but he thinks those are the real words. He actually thought the lyrics to Caberet were “Welcome 5th Avenue, welcome.”

  1. What a great way to see Norway. Is this system run by the government?
    A hardy lot those Norwegians.

    1. Debra:
      I was disappointed in my search. I had hoped to find some really cool take on it.

  2. Whopper swans? The other white meat? I’m hearing “out in Arizona where the fat men are”, that can’t be right, can it? I’m too cold and wracked with a cold to look at anything from Norway with the exception of San Geraldo, of course. Big teddies are comforting when one is sick. Yes, I’m still coveting and safely stalking 🙂

    1. Deedles:
      Whooper (pronounced Hooper, not whopper; you’re thinking of Burger King). Fat men, bad men, eh, men! I’m so sorry you’re ailing! SG sends you a huge cyber hug. I do, too, but I’ve been told it’s not the same.

    1. David:
      I would love to. I don’t know how much SG would enjoy. He’s not a fan of boats.

    1. Susan:
      So long ago I can’t even remember. Are you asking because YOU’VE never heard it or because you think I’m too sophisticated to have heard it?

      1. Both actually. My folks listened to a lot of cowboy music and you’re a guy from Neeeew Yoooork City.

      2. Susan:
        Well, I know a lot of weird and obscure songs — not that this is one of those. Anyway, it was written in Brooklyn of all places in 1912 and was a number 1 hit; it was the theme song of a NYC radio show, Cowboy Joe’s Radio Ranch, in the ’70s, ; it was a big band song of the 1940s; AND Alvin and the Chipmunks recorded it when I was 5 years old (which could have been the first time I heard it)… oh, and it was performed on an episode of I Love Lucy!

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