As I have told several friends: It's an absolutely gorgeous place to visit, but I don't think I'd want to live there.
We took off from Denver late Tuesday afternoon, June 21st, landed in Frankfurt on Wednesday morning (the equivalent of about midnight here); five hours later took another flight to Copenhagen; spent the evening exploring Tivoli Gardens--the place, we were told, that inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland. After a good night's sleep, we walked to city center and took a two-and-a-half hour bike tour. Then walked to our ship, the Oceania Insignia.
From Copenhagen, we traveled around the southern tip of Denmark and Norway and began our journey up the west coast of Norway--far past the tip of the mainland out into the Barents Sea
Returning south, we headed slightly east, to visit the Russian "Hero City" of Murmansk, then back west, down the coast of Norway, visiting a few additional cities, and finally ending up in Dover, England, on the morning of the 11th. With the aid of high-speed travel chasing the sun, we were able to land in Denver just as the sun fell behind the mountains that evening.
I thought I'd share a few photos and videos with you.
Probably to set the "mood" (though this was by no means "typical Norway"!), let me share a few photos and a video from our entrance to Geiranger on the morning of July 7th. These were taken from the back deck where Sarita and I ate as often as we could (until the temperature dropped below about 55 degrees, and the staff would no longer let us go out there!). This was the first day in over a week that we were permitted on the back deck again. And it was gorgeous.
First a video.
Can you imagine living on that farm?
A mile or two further up the fjord:
Yes. The air is amazingly clear and clean. So is the water.
Geiranger, they say, is probably the most photographed area of Norway. And you can understand why.
This shot, of the Flydalsjuvet [best approximation of pronunciation I can offer: FLEE-dall-syu-vet], in particular, is famous. To get here, we walked at an unbelievable clip, pushed by a couple close to our age that we had agreed to spend the day with.
See Sarita standing in the upper right-hand corner of the photo above, on the rock outcropping? No? (Click on the photo to see a full-screen rendition of the photo.)
If not, here's a telephoto picture:
Geiranger Tourism site and click on the grayed-out thumbnails at the bottom of the page.)
After Flydalsjuvet, we hiked a short way back down the main highway and then up a side road to visit the Westerås Farm. There, at least while we were close to the farmhouse itself, we encountered some sheep and goats and--on our way back from the farthest point we traveled--just a few other hikers:
As we went to the farthest point to which we wanted to travel, we had some great views of the fjord and our ship:
"We drove from Hong Kong," she said.
"Yes. We shipped our vehicle from New Zealand to Hong Kong, and have been driving for the last three and a half months--across China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia . . ."
They said the hardest thing was to get their itinerary all pre-set in China. The Chinese government wouldn't permit them to enter unless and until they had established a complete itinerary, including confirmed and prepaid reservations at every point along their route. They had to bring a government-approved guide along to accompany them all the way through the country as well.
They said it took them 18 months to plan the trip and they began almost as soon as he retired. Three and a half months later: Here they were in Norway.
They intended to garage their vehicle in Denmark, and then their son and [about-to-be?] daughter-in-law would pick it up in another month or so to do their own touring around Europe.
As we made our way down the path and into the parking lot at Westerås Farm, we found their vehicle:
If and when I find the URL, I will create a separate post for that alone.
Finally, if you're interested: Here's a map that shows generally where we walked (with special thanks to kart.kystverket.no). As always, to see the details, feel free to click on the image to expand it: