Cruise 2005: Ireland, Greenland, Iceland and Norway
Photographs by Gerald England
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This page last updated: 19th July 2015.
The ship has now sailed several miles inland from the sea through a series of fjords to the small village of Geiranger. It is a tender port so again Christine can only stay aboard. I've decided to take one of arranged shore excursions and have to be ready at 7.55am so today we order continental breakfast to be delivered to the cabin for 7.15.
I'm ashore at 8.15 and the coach leaves at 8.30. It climbs out of the village around many hairpin bends to a viewpoint at Flydalsjuvet. From here we look down to the head of Geirangerfjord, the village, the cruise ships anchored there and the surrounding mountains dwarfing them all.
The hairpin bends continue and the road climbs to a junction at Djupvasshytta, by a lake that is full of broken ice. Here a dirt road takes us all the way to the top of the 1,500 metre [circa 5000 feet] mountain, Dalsnibba. There are other coaches too to overtake as the road snakes and slices through glacial snow. As hair-raising journeys go this road knocks the road to Milford Sound in New Zealand or the Bealach Na Ba to Applecross in Scotland into a cocked-hat. We have about fifteen minutes at the summit to stretch our legs and survey the mountain scenery or pop into the little gift shop.
We retrace our steps to Djupvasshytta and the icy lake, then on to Grotli where we have a brief comfort-stop. From there the road cuts through more glacial snow to the Stryn Summer Ski Lift. Beyond there we drop into a verdant valley and stop for lunch at the Videseter Hotel.
Lunch consists of very delicious poached salmon with boiled potatoes and other vegetables. We aren't allowed to linger too long though as another coach party is following us in. A path leads to a nearby waterfall but with all the people around I decide to give it a miss.
It is on then to the town of Stryn, another comfort-stop. Nearby is the home of our tour-guide Olav who tells us a lot about Norwegian history. His commentary is always highly informative and amusing at the same time.
We pass Hornindal Lake, which is the deepest lake in Europe. The coach pulls into a lay-by. A family of four are sitting at a picnic table in the trees. They were having a quiet meal! However, we soon leave them at peace and continue to Hornindal Bridge. Here we disembark and all walk over the old bridge to meet the coach at the other side. In the nearby wood is a beautiful herd of brown cows with cow-bells.
The final stop is at Hellesylt. Here we catch the Fjord1 ferry back to Geiranger. The passage takes a full hour. En route we pass several waterfalls including a group known as the Seven Sisters which lie opposite one known as Friaren or The Suitor. Magnificent as these are, I'm more impressed and intrigued by the scattering of small farmsteads mostly high up on the mountainside under the shadow of the falls. Some were occupied until the mid-60s.
After a long but fully interesting day I arrive back in Geiranger. The village is busy and the shops seem to be merely full of the usual tourist souvenir merchandise so I soon get the tender back to the ship.
Over dinner, as the ship makes its own way back up Geirangerfjord, I tell Christine about the highlights of my trip. Later we go to the theatre where the ships company put on a marvellous presentation: Rockin' All Over The World.
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