Coast of Norway

You may have read my other recent post, “A Day From Hell,” so I wanted to let you know the vacation wasn’t entirely a bust. We cruised from Amsterdam up the coast of Norway, stopping at Flam, Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Oslo. Unfortunately, I was so concerned about international roaming charges I left my phone in the room safe and have no photos of this part of the trip.

Flam, pronounced Flome, is a town of 300 or so people in a stunning setting. We rode a bus up to the top of a nearby mountain for a view of the area. The road was basically one lane, so drastic measures were needed when we met opposing traffic. Our driver was good.

Stavanger is the 3rd largest city in Norway, with some 130,000 people. Sharon loved it, but I’ve seen plenty of cities. I’m more impressed by small towns and rural settings. We did take a bus tour around the city.

We planned just to walk around Kristiansand a bit on our own, but it was cold and rainy, so we just stayed on the ship. We didn’t really get much impression of the place.

In Oslo, we were met by friends we’d met a few years ago on a Caribbean cruise. They showed us around the city and took us to their apartment for lunch. We enjoyed their company very much, but my main impression of the city was that there were roundabouts on every corner. Not quite, but there were plenty of them.

For some reason, Holland America runs this cruise out of Amsterdam, and instead of a 2-week cruise, it’s two 1-week cruises back to back. This meant we wasted 4 days of our cruising time going back and forth to Amsterdam instead of seeing the beautiful scenery of the Norwegian coast.

Sharon wanted to take a canal tour, so we set out on a 45-minute walk to try to find where to get on a canal boat. Apparently its location is a state secret, because there were no signs anywhere to direct us, and we had trouble finding people who could tell us where to find it. By the time we got back to the ship, I was even less impressed with Amsterdam than I had been, and that was difficult to do.

Our next port, after wasting Monday at sea, was Eidfjord, pronounced Ide-fyord. It’s a lovely little town at the end of a beautiful fjord, surrounded by majestic mountains. The photo on the left is a fjord scene. The one on the right looks down a canyon toward the town from the top of a mountain.

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In Alesund, pronounced Ole-uh-sund, we didn’t have an excursion scheduled, so we just got off the ship on our own. We found a cute little trolley, designed to look like a short train but with regular tires to go on streets. It took us to the top of mountain where I got this picture of our ship and the fjord looking over Sharon’s shoulder.

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Looking the other direction from the observation point, I got this photo of the other side of the fjord behind the town.

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Although the little trolley looked cute, the streets it operated on didn’t. They were filled with potholes and dips that made the ride up the mountainside very uncomfortable. We decided we preferred the smooth highways we’d found in other places and the buses with their comfortable shock absorbers. Oh, well. You live and learn.

Our favorite place—or at least mine—on the whole trip was Geiranger, pronounced Guy- ran-gur. You can barely see the town in the upper left corner. Since there was another ship tied up in the single dock space, we had to use tenders to get from our ship to town.

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We took a bus up to the top of a 5000-foot mountain, where we got this photo of the road going up. Although not quite as narrow as the one at Flam, it seems all these mountain roads are about 1½ lanes wide, which is interesting with the hairpin curves you can see in the picture.

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This picture of Sharon atop the mountain shows the town, the fjord, and both ships. It also gives you a little idea of the majesty of the mountains surrounding the fjord.

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Sorry I’m not a better photographer. I don’t feel like I’m giving you a very good picture of the grandeur of the mountains and fjords. Maybe you should go see them for yourselves. On the other hand, if you read my previous blog post, you may prefer to stay home.

Our last stop was Bergen, the 2nd largest city in Norway at around 260,000. As I mentioned above, I’m not that thrilled with cities, so it wasn’t among my favorite places. I didn’t even take any pictures there.

I’d love to have gotten up to Trondheim or to the beautiful town of Gudvangen. If Holland American sailed out of Oslo instead of Amsterdam, or if they’d made this one cruise instead of two, we would have had time. I really don’t know why they do it that way.

Despite the horrible trip home from Amsterdam and some mild disappointment with the ship itself, we really did enjoy seeing coastal Norway. I might even go again, when they build a road so I can drive over instead of dealing with airports and security crap.

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Writers may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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6 Responses to Coast of Norway

  1. Wow – just wow. First of all, there are these things called cameras that work just like the one on your phone that do not require a cell phone at all, thus no roaming charges. You should look into one of those.

    Second – quit whining. You were lucky enough to visit Norway for God’s sake. Not everyone can do that. Sure they have cities, but how cool are those foreign cities? Open your mind a little my friend; look for the fun.

    Third – that road up the mountain looks like a lot of fun. I’m not sure what you’re talking about but relax a little and live life on the edge my friend. You’re missing so much being an old fuddy duddy.

    Fourth – “a day wasted at sea?” Say what? No day at sea is wasted. Do they not have activities on these ships? Learn a craft. Play Bingo. Make new friends. I love days at sea.

    No, seriously, I’m glad you had a smidgeon of fun and I am jealous of your journey. I’d love to go on a cruise to Norway. I might even check into scheduling one very soon.

    Thanks for sharing your – less than stellar – opinion. I’ll take it to heed when planning my trip.

    Welcome home (where you should probably stay).

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Like

  2. Sharon K. Walker says:

    For beauty Geiranger, Norway, was my favorite port. I enjoyed the charm of Bergen, and found Stavanger and Alesund lovely and scenic. Oslo is a contemporary city that reminded me of Seattle. If I lived in Norway, I would want to reside in Oslo, as I like big cities and their amenities. I’m very glad we spent time in gorgeous Norway, but I’m so glad and thankful to be back home. Love, Wife

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Estinson says:

    It is good that you found some beautiful and interesting places, David. Though I am sure I will never get to Norway, I enjoyed your descriptions and pictures. It is one of the places I’d love to go if that were possible.

    Liked by 1 person

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