Norway, 2016

It was a 7-day cruise of the fjords. I'd never been on a cruise before, and I doubt I ever will again but that can't ruin how beautiful Norway's fjords really are. A quick whirlwind through Ålesund, Geiranger, Eidfjord, and Bergen--not in that order. There are a lot of things I learnt from this and the number one point being that unless you are elderly, don't do Norway by cruise. You don't get enough time in the locations and when you are there, so are 10 other cruiseships which makes for a very crowded, fake, and touristy experience as opposed to appreciation of the natural beauty Norway has on offer. Also, as a note, some of these stops tell you the only way to see the sights is by cruise-organized tour. Not true! There are local companies... but even better there are hourly car rentals in some locations like Geiranger! If only we'd known. Ideally, drive Norway. Or train. Don't see it by cruise. But as you can see, even a cruise tour can grab a few drive-by views!

 Farmlands in Geirangerfjord.

Farmlands in Geirangerfjord.

 Just after midnight leaving Ålesund! As it was June, the sun never totally sets. This is the darkest it got. It wasn't too disorienting since I've done Iceland in June as well but others found it difficult.

Just after midnight leaving Ålesund! As it was June, the sun never totally sets. This is the darkest it got. It wasn't too disorienting since I've done Iceland in June as well but others found it difficult.

 Up in Hordaland, there was a lot of snow (glaciers, you see) and we had pancakes. Too bad because of the roadworks we were hours late and the pancakes were cold. Note: There's only one tunnel from the fjord to the rest of the area and when a transport truck takes out a piece of it, you'll be waiting a long time in a coach.

Up in Hordaland, there was a lot of snow (glaciers, you see) and we had pancakes. Too bad because of the roadworks we were hours late and the pancakes were cold. Note: There's only one tunnel from the fjord to the rest of the area and when a transport truck takes out a piece of it, you'll be waiting a long time in a coach.

 Coming into Geirangerfjord in the early morning. Soon the water would fill with other cruiseships. There are specific cruise ship days here so if you don't want your holiday to feel like Disneyworld, aim to be here a different day.

Coming into Geirangerfjord in the early morning. Soon the water would fill with other cruiseships. There are specific cruise ship days here so if you don't want your holiday to feel like Disneyworld, aim to be here a different day.

 Eidfjord, the home of the most delicious Thai food anywhere outside of South-East Asia. Or at least it felt that way after having cruise ship buffets for so long. I strongly suggest you try it. Skip all the cafes and tourist stuff and go to the little food truck to the right of the boat docks. You're welcome!

Eidfjord, the home of the most delicious Thai food anywhere outside of South-East Asia. Or at least it felt that way after having cruise ship buffets for so long. I strongly suggest you try it. Skip all the cafes and tourist stuff and go to the little food truck to the right of the boat docks. You're welcome!

 From the top of Dalsnibba into the valley below.

From the top of Dalsnibba into the valley below.

 Mountains, mountains, and more mountains.

Mountains, mountains, and more mountains.

 Did I mention mountains?

Did I mention mountains?

 Another sunset/sunrise.

Another sunset/sunrise.

 We spent a lot of time at sea so seeing land, even this small moody piece was a bit exciting.

We spent a lot of time at sea so seeing land, even this small moody piece was a bit exciting.

 Nestled in the Måbødalen valley is the dammed Fossili waterfall ("foss" meaning "waterfall" in Norwegian). Shooting a dark canyon at high noon near the Arctic in summer is tricky but nothing tha a little HDR can't handle. ;)

Nestled in the Måbødalen valley is the dammed Fossili waterfall ("foss" meaning "waterfall" in Norwegian). Shooting a dark canyon at high noon near the Arctic in summer is tricky but nothing tha a little HDR can't handle. ;)

 There was a short stop about halfway up. I wanted to get to a different lookout... and almost missed the bus because of it. Man, that would have been a long hike back to town. Probably would have missed the boat too. Although, I'm not sure that would have been terrible. I would have had days to explore this gorgeous town and countryside.

There was a short stop about halfway up. I wanted to get to a different lookout... and almost missed the bus because of it. Man, that would have been a long hike back to town. Probably would have missed the boat too. Although, I'm not sure that would have been terrible. I would have had days to explore this gorgeous town and countryside.

 I can't actually recall exactly where this was.

I can't actually recall exactly where this was.

 Bergen. I'm not what to say about Bergen. I took many more shots but... despite loving this city since I was a small child (I did a Grade 4 project on it), I felt like it didn't quite live up to the ideas that I had in my head. It's a cute place, a nice place. But it felt too quiet, too clean. Like a city of dollhouses. But that said, they have some delicious fish soup! If only Bergenfest--which was on at the same time!--had been cheaper, or free! Now that would have been amazing too.

Bergen. I'm not what to say about Bergen. I took many more shots but... despite loving this city since I was a small child (I did a Grade 4 project on it), I felt like it didn't quite live up to the ideas that I had in my head. It's a cute place, a nice place. But it felt too quiet, too clean. Like a city of dollhouses. But that said, they have some delicious fish soup! If only Bergenfest--which was on at the same time!--had been cheaper, or free! Now that would have been amazing too.

 On the other side of the fjord opposite the Seven Sisters waterfall(s) is this bridal falls.

On the other side of the fjord opposite the Seven Sisters waterfall(s) is this bridal falls.

 A little wider coming into port.

A little wider coming into port.

 An icy lake near the top of the mountain in Geirangerfjord. In summer. Can you imagine winter?

An icy lake near the top of the mountain in Geirangerfjord. In summer. Can you imagine winter?

 A hotel. The only building for miles.

A hotel. The only building for miles.

The towering faces of the fjords. Photos do not do these massive giants justice. Click for full size.

 Ålesund, in the evening! We passed on the ride up the mountain for a nice hike instead especially since we had so much time in port.

Ålesund, in the evening! We passed on the ride up the mountain for a nice hike instead especially since we had so much time in port.

 Mountaintop towns.

Mountaintop towns.

 A little bit of civilization here in Ålesund.

A little bit of civilization here in Ålesund.

 Bergen's seaside.

Bergen's seaside.

 There is nothing like some of these fjord waterfalls. I'll admit that is a huge bonus of being on a cruise. There seem to be unlimited opportunites to snap photos of waterfalls as you slowly drift by.

There is nothing like some of these fjord waterfalls. I'll admit that is a huge bonus of being on a cruise. There seem to be unlimited opportunites to snap photos of waterfalls as you slowly drift by.

 Eidfjord from our suite on the boat.

Eidfjord from our suite on the boat.

 If there's one thing to do to prepare for a trip to Geirangerfjord (other than the necessities), it's check out "The Wave" on Netflix, or "Bølgen" in Norwegian. It's a pretty accurate film about the potential for disasters in the fjord, and you'll recognise many of the locations once you get there. I spent hald of my time off the boat thinking about what I had seen in that movie.

If there's one thing to do to prepare for a trip to Geirangerfjord (other than the necessities), it's check out "The Wave" on Netflix, or "Bølgen" in Norwegian. It's a pretty accurate film about the potential for disasters in the fjord, and you'll recognise many of the locations once you get there. I spent hald of my time off the boat thinking about what I had seen in that movie.