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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Norway - 4 June, 2004

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Aboard the MS Narvik (Hurtigruten northbound from Bergen to Kirkenes - Day 2) . . 0 meters .
-  Alesund . . . .
-  Stordal . . . .
-  Geiranger . . . .
-  Alesund . . . .
-  Molde . . . .
Finish Aboard the MS Narvik (Hurtigruten northbound from Bergen to Kirkenes - Day 2) . . 0 meters .

Total (BMW 330CiC)

5,486 km

Total (other):

1,870 km

Total:

7,356 km

 

Weather: Overcast, occasional drizzle, and cool (about 10).

 

 

This is our first full day onboard MS Narvik, the Hurtigruten ship that will take us up the coast of Norway.  Our ship s one of the older ships, having been built in 1982 and modernised in 1989 and 1995. She is 108.6 meters long and has a width of 16.5 meters.  There are 150 cabins with 310 berths.  In total, she can carry up to 550 passengers.  In addition, she ahs room for 40 cars.  She has a cruising sped of 15 knots, with a maximum speed of 18 knots.  And she is our home for the next six days or so.

 

The Hurtigruten (or Coastal Express) was launched in 1893.  It revolutionized the forms of communications between Norway's south and north.  A letter that used to take three to five weeks to deliver, now took days.  The north was opened up to the rest of the world.  And it was recognised early on that tourism would form an important component of the route, allowing people to visit parts of Norway that used to be very inaccessible.  And now we are part of this history.

 

We laze around in bed, but Lars decides to get up when we enter Alesund.  The ship makes a number of stops along the way, both during the day and night.  We arrived at Alesund at quarter to nine, and Lars goes for a quick stroll.  Alesund is famous for its Art Nouveau style buildings.  The town burnt to the ground in 1904 and re-built in this famous style of the day.  It is, however, drizzling, so it becomes a short visit.

 

Back on the ship, it is time to have breakfast.  This is served buffet style in the dining room.  It is a large spread, but pretty much the same stuff each day.  But we are able to eat our fill.  During the buffet meals, such as breakfast and lunch, it is free seating.  Dinner is, however, a sit-down affair with a set menu.  There are two seatings and we select the later one.

 

During the morning we hang out in the Panorama Lounge, the highest point we can go to on the ship.  The lounge has some of the best views, with large glass windows offering unobstructed views.  But it can, at times be hard to get a seat as it fills up quickly.  While in the lounge we read, work on our journals or just watch the scenery slowly pass by on each side.

 

Around noon, we begin down our journey down into the fjords to get to the world famous Geiranger Fjord.  But our part way down is interrupted - we all of a sudden make a quick turn and head back the way we came.  Shortly later, we turn into another fjord and make our way to Stordal.  It turns out that we have a medical emergency onboard and they need to get the passenger ashore and to a hospital.  The crew handles the docking at a strange pier very efficiently and the ambulance pulls up just as the ramp is being lowered.  Soon, the female passenger and her husband are taken out to the ambulance and they speed off as we pull away from the pier.

 

Before we actually enter Geiranger Fjord, we decide to go and have some lunch.  And then we enter this beautiful fjord.  We have been here before - about six years ago.  We came during our honeymoon after we were married in Lom.  It is a magical place.

 

As we make our way up the Fjord, the mountains begin to rear up on each side, forming steep cliffs that come down and meet the waters of the fjord.  But still, the hardy Norwegians were able to establish farms high up on small plateaus that briefly broke up the cliffs dominance.  The paths up to these mountain retreats are incredibly steep, often requiring ladders at many sections.  An advantage of these farms was the difficulty the tax collectors had in reaching them.  On the days that the collector used to some by, the ladders would mysteriously disappear.  Along the way, we see many waterfalls, making the long plunge from the top of the cliffs.  One very impressive one is the Seven Sisters, with the manly Courtier on the other side flirting with them.

 

Soon we reach the very end of the fjord, which has a number of other cruise ships at anchor.  Even here, the cliffs do not yield much, with the access to the bottom of the fjord at the end via a steep winding road.  We had been here six years ago, spending our first night of our honeymoon in our car at the lookout at the top of the cliff.  No hotels or cabins could be found.  But we did get the best view in town for a night and for free.

 

We need to re-trace our steps back to Alesund, where we make another brief stop.  We decide to go fro a brief walk to stretch our legs.  Back on board we get ready for dinner.  It is a sit-down affair at assigned tables with a set menu.  The food is good, but the buffet is more fun.

 

After dinner, we arrive in Molde.  We take another brief walk through this small town, but we do not have much time.  We are running late due to our medical emergency stop this afternoon, so we have a shorter stay than scheduled.

 

We relaxed in our cabin and do some reading.  But we soon notice the sky changing color, so we go up and look at what may be one of our last sunsets in a while.  Once we cross the Arctic Circle, we will no longer have any sunsets.  Well, this turns out to be a wonderful sunset (at 11:20 PM) and we put up with the cold, brisk wind to enjoy it.

 

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