We headed out on Sunday from Copenhagen to our Norwegian Fyords adventure along the west coast of Norway. The next morning we awoke to poor weather again. The captain came on the speaker and said we were entering a low and would have some waves but not to be afraid, of course to us, after the last high wave experience, we were prepared for the difficult walking experiences to come. We passed the “wave test” with flying colors!
We arrived at our stop in Aalesund Noway. This is a relatively large town with many stores and views from all parts of the area. Our camera stopped working after our pictures in Copenhagen. The mirror wasn’t able to move, so blackness was the result. It was a problem that could not be fixed locally, if at all, at the local camera store. The last time we purchased a camera was in Canada when our camera broke (we dropped it that time). Again we made a local, non-USA camera shop owner HAPPY!, Many thousands of Norwegian krone later, we were ready to go. The new camera works with all our lenses, which was great.
So off to tour the town. We took the hop-on hop-off bus to get an overview of the town, with beautiful views everywhere. From atop the highest point, the bus traveled the views of the port and bay were beautiful
We walked around the town. The homes were all lovely pastel colors across the hillside. The town burned to the ground in 1904 from a fire that started in a local business and, due to high winds, spread throughout the city. Prussia’s king, Kaiser Wilhelm II, spent many summers vacationing in Aalesund and loved the town, so he rescued the town by sending all the wood and materials to rebuild. The rebuilding architecture that was done between 1904 and 1907 was art nouveau. The Réseau Art Nouveau Network was established in 1999 by European cities with a rich art nouveau heritage
We continued to visit the town, passing the old church and headed out to the new sea aquarium. It was constructed only about 20 years ago and is considered one of the best in Europe. We headed back to the ship for “All Aboard.” The passage out was beautiful, and we were accompanied by an old fire boat that shot water into the sky, and once we had cleared the bay, shot off a small cannon!
Our next stop was Geiranger, Norway. The highlight was cruising through the fjord; we woke up at about 4 AM to sit on the balcony and view the cliffs along the way; the views from the ship were spectacular. The Geiranger fjord is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The fjord is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Arriving in Geiranger, we anchored in the small harbor and took a launch boat to shore.
Geiranger only has a year-round population of 250 people. The summer population expands to over 5,000, with many Norway citizens visiting for summer vacation. We were told that the city would have closed down many years ago without the cruise ships. Tourism is the key to the town’s survival. There are a few stores that cater to the tourists and a local grocery store that sells everything needed in the town. Sightseeing is the main tourist attraction with tour buses that go up the mountain to about 1,00 feet above sea level, turn around, go back through the town and back up the other direction to about the same height, then back to town, about an hour and a half. As you can see, the views are all beautiful.
They also offer ticking, kayaking, and boat tours. During the summer, you can go to the top of the mountain, but there were 21 feet of snow with avalanche warnings while we were there.
We arrived in Flam after navigating through the longest Fjord in the world, the Sognefjord. This fjord goes 200 km inland. People have lived along this fjord since the end of the ice age, about ten thousand years ago. We arrived about 30 minutes late, as the captain told us, there was a single fisherman in a skiff stubbornly in the center of the channel; the captain said he had to come to almost a dead stop in order to pass him. Eventually, he moved. Nothing like playing “chicken” with a 1,000-foot cruise ship.
Flam is a small town with a few small stores and cafes. The FLAMSBANA, the Flam Railway, was commissioned In 1923 when the Norweigan Parlament decided to build the railway and began working on the tunnels through the mountains. The railway is 20 km long, has 20 tunnels, 18 of which were cut out by hand, climes 866 meters, and is the steepest normal track adhesion in the world. The Flam railway ends in Myrdal, which is a junction to the Norway train system. The railway was initially a steam operation, and then in 1944, the power station at Kjosfossen waterfall was built.
The waterfall is 93 meters with a free fall of 305 meters. The waterfall flows under the tracks through a tunnel that feeds into the above hydro plant supplying the train system and the town of Flam with electricity.
Traveling on the train line, we saw fantastic vistas along the way.
Back on the ship, we headed back out the fjord to our next stop Bergen.
Bergen was once the capital of Norway and is the 3rd largest city in the country. Bergen is a bustling city. Like many old Norway cities, it burned down except for a few houses that were restored or saved that were made out of wood from the 1600s.
We took the local hop-on hop-off bus (much nicer and cheaper than the Grey Line ones). Included were tickets to ride up Mount Floyenon on the Floibanen funicular. The building of the funicular began in 1914 and was completed in 1918. The views of the city and bay are beautiful.
As we left the port, we looked back at Bergan, and will always remember the lovely city.
During this leg of the cruise, we were fortunate to meet another lovely couple from Germany, Michael and Christina. They have friends in Florida, so we hope we will see them again in the U.S., or maybe we will return to Germany.