To say we weren’t knocking off the usual suspects in our first holidays from London also befuddled us. However, if there’s a travel deal we will take it!
We found ourselves standing on deck of our very first cruise. and not just any cruise! A real pensioner’s cruise. Sean and I could have had 17 children and we still wouldn’t budge the average cruiser’s age below 70. But – we were sailing to the beautiful Norwegian Fjordlands on a 2-4-1 deal. Sweet.
Sean and I discovered something very important on our first day in the lovely Eidfjord.
We both love kayaking, and as you can see from the photo – we are quite good at it.
We are looking forward to our next kayaking adventure in 3 weeks.
Due to the remote locations of the Fjords we were unwilling to risk organising our independent activities suggested as a cost saving activity by savvy cruisers.
Instead we opted to participate in the organised cruise excursions.
Cruising through this majestic scenery is just awe inspiring. There are huts, waterfalls, bridges and the occasional dolphin to watch from the deck whilst we drank our copious amounts of cocktail of the day. We received many sideways glances from the ‘tea drinkers’ as our colourful and umbrella endowed highballers passed by.
Of all the slightly annoying behaviours the pensioners got up to on the cruise the tea drinking was the worst. It took up far too much time and space. Tea drinking added another hour onto dinner, leaving minimal tables available for people who did not eat at 6pm on the dot every day.
Europe’s largest glacier, Briksdalsbreen, is an amazing site, both from near and far.
Although, sadly, on the walk up towards the glacier you can see the evidence of global warming. Signposted at various intervals are the measures of where the glacier ended over the various years. It has receded by over 100m in the last 100 years.
The gorgeous village of Flåm was another of our stops. There was evidence of dislike for the larger cruise ships spotted around the town ‘Na Grand Navi’.
Sean and I took a leisurely stroll to the old church, dated from the 1600’s. Made of wood, it had intricate carvings and paintings to decarate both the inside and the out. Looking at the graves, we decided that Ingaborg was definitely the most popular name in the village.
The Flåm Railway is famous as one of the steepest railways in the world. It links the village and the edge of the fjord with the main fjordland railway from Oslo to Bergen. The train stops halfway up the mountain at a large waterfall. In true kitsch tourist style there is a beautiful maiden who portrays the Norwegian folk law siren who lures the young viking men into her cave behind the waterfall with promise of love and marriage. Legend has it that as soon as the marriage is consummated the beautiful siren turns into half hag, half cow, and forces her new husband to do all the housework. I guess the moral of the story is that even though the women of the village may be plain looking, at least she won’t make you do the washing up? Mind you, I am still to meet an unattractive Scandinavian woman!
Finally, our last stop was in Bergen. Beautiful Bergen, I like to call it. The waterfront reminded me of my home town of Hobart, Tasmania. Even as we sailed away, with the mountain in the background I felt a little homesick.
Bergen, as I have been told, has the most rainfall of all the European cities. The record is 90 days of non-stop rain. Luckily we did not experience such weather. The climb in the funicular rail to the top of the mountain rewarded us with spectacular views over the city, and a lush pine forest to weave our way through back down the hill. The fish market at the bottom, by the water, was particularly good. The fresh seafood was divine, and cooked in front of you.