The Coastal Fiords of Norway

 

Bergen, Norway

 

Clockwise from above:

Edvard Greig's home, the Bryggen (Wharf) a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fantoft Stave Church, the Crying Boy Statue and Bergen across the lake.

 

 

Geiranger, Norway

The deep blue UNESCO-protected Geiranger fiord is surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountain peaks, wild waterfalls and lush, green vegetation.

 

 

 

Tromso, Norway

Clockwise from upper left:   Scenes in Tromso, Tromso harbor, Polaria Museum, Arctic Church, Tromso and a 1949 wooden seal hunting vessel.

 

 

Magdalene Fiord

Magdalenefjord is located on the coast of the island of Spitsbergen. Known for its great beauty, it is surrounded by spectacular rugged mountain peaks and glaciers. It is the most northern point that cruise ships will sail....just shy of the 80o parallel. 

     

 

 

Ny Alesund, Spitsbergen

One of the world's northernmost settlements and is inhabited by a permanent population of approximately 30-35 persons engaged in research.

 

 

 

Honnigsvag

Claims to be the northernmost city in Norway and even in the world.  It is the gateway to the famous North Cape Cliffs.  

The North Cape is the point where the Norwegian Sea, part of the Atlantic Ocean, meets the Barents Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean

 

 

 

 

Flåm

Flåm is a paradise for everyone looking for an experience with nature.   We took the train from Flåm  to Voss, which is situated between Oslo and Bergen.  These are some of the scenes on our trip to Voss via two trains and journey back to the ship by bus.   

 

 

In Norway, prices for a cup of coffee were at least seven dollars and a “meal” in McDonalds was about seventeen dollars…..get used to that!    And these prices were not just for tourists, they were the prices even locals paid.    

Bergen, the first port visit along the Norwegian coast, is Norway’s third largest city… particularly quaint and like Norway in general…very expensive.   But the beauty of the area just kept getting better. 

After our visit to Bergen, the ship crossed the Arctic Circle and we began to increasingly experience the midnight sun….twenty-four hours of daylight.  Unfortunately, this region also experiences twenty-four hours of darkness during the winter.   

In Geiranger, we drove to a mountain top overlooking a large lake and the harbor five thousand feet below.   In the harbor the sun was shining, but on top of the mountain the snow was swirling and the clouds restricted any view of the lakes and the fiord below.   We had been  told the weather could change very fast…so we were not surprised to see the snow falling at 32oF, then rain as we descended, then sun in the fiord…all within a few hours……

We were extremely fortunate to be on the Ocean Princess.   It is considered a small ship and easily sails into most harbors and will usually berth very close to the downtown area.    Tromso  is in the northern part of Norway well within the Arctic Circle.….it is called the “Gateway to the Arctic”   It has some interesting museums and churches.   There we visited the Polaria Museum and the Arctic Church and where we fully experienced the midnight sun.    Daytime temperatures in the summer were in the forties… with winter temperatures dropping to possibly ten degrees, being helped along by the warm water currents.

Our trip continued toward the North Pole…..in fact, I was told that we came to within 625 miles of the pole as we closed on just minutes shy of eighty degrees of latitude… in the Magdalene Fiord.   It is a most beautiful place carved by glaciers over millions of years, which also formed huge mountains on both sides.    Unfortunately, we were met with heavy, low lying clouds that blocked the sun and limited our view of the mountain peaks.    But the snow streaked mountains reflected in the fiord below, providing an eerie design of black and white contrasts. 

Our day continued with a visit to the Ny Alesund research station in the most northern outpost of Norway, where eleven countries work together to study weather, soil, water, fauna, birds and other scientific  subject matter.   Signs at the periphery of this small facility told us not to proceed any further because of polar bears in the region……good advice.  The research station is located in a picturesque site on the island of Spitsbergen in a fiord lined by magnificent mountains.    And even here in the summer, ice in the water “groans”, as it slides past a moving ship.  The glaciers reach down to the water’s edge and the mountains still have snow from the last winter.    Our afternoon at Ny Alesund was both an adventure and a learning experience….a place where 130 scientists spend their summer and only thirty people winter there.