the Best of Norway – Cruise # 2

Vision of the Seas Voyage # 781

Denmark – Norway 11 day cruise

63 Nationalities on board

I have decided what my top 3 Norwegian ports are – Geiranger, Bergen and Kristiansund. Perhaps this is because I spent more time in these ports than the others, but after reading this I’m sure you will agree with me that they’re pretty amazing places.

Geiranger is a tender port and I enjoyed the boat ride from the ship to the port. This was the first warmish day I’ve experienced in this so-called Norwegian summer, which of course made it extra special. It was probably only 18°, but the sun was out and the wind was only slightly chilly. Geiranger is a little piece of heaven. Standing at the edge of the pier, you are surrounded by mountains with waterfalls trickling and gushing down towards you. It’s very touristy near the pier and so after taking the obligatory photo of the massive troll statue (the Norwegians seem to be obsessed with the things) I decided to take a stroll up the mountain. There isn’t a pedestrian pavement, only a white dotted line painted on road’s shoulder that marks where to walk. This space is about half a metre at its widest and in places the line disappears off the road altogether. There was a running/cycling marathon taking place and so I had to pay close attention so as not to be run over by the cars, busses, bicycles and runners coming my way. Still, I enjoyed the fresh air and the amazing views. Don’t I sound old? Well I am halfway to 54!

On Day 8, after shooting the life ring on gangway, an hour of emergency training and a quick lunch, a bunch of us set off to explore Bergen. I had been watching the Port Info channel on the massive, old school, box TV in my cabin and so knew that I wanted to see the Bryggen and the Fish Market. The Bryggen is actually a UNESCO National Heritage Spot and reminded me of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco, because it’s basically just a row of old, colourfully painted buildings. The difference of course being the style and also that the Bryggen buildings are shops, where as the Painted ladies are homes.

The fish market was not as smelly as I expected, which in itself was rather exciting. There was all sorts food and I have now tasted Whale, Moose and Reindeer. Yup – I ate Rudolf! First I tasted some lightly smoked whale, which was absolutely delicious and tasted a lot like steak fillet! Next I tasted moose, reindeer and whale sausage. The moose was by far the best – super tasty and a bit spicy like a chorizo sausage, but with a bit of a “gamey” taste. The reindeer was pretty good, though not as tasty as the moose. The whale sausage was my least favourite, but well worth a taste!

Bergan Sausage

After visiting these tourist areas, we wondered to the City centre and walked around the various monuments, statues (including a statue of Grieg), fountains and parks. While walking around we spotted a “Gold Man” (he stands still like a statue until you tip him and then does a robot move), a marching band/parade and very randomly, two Native Americans (complete with headdress) playing their traditional instruments. After a while we came upon a beautiful park with a large duck pond in the middle. We spent almost an hour here, lying on the grass, chatting and taking some photos. There was a little boy feeding the ducks and gulls, so I took the opportunity to take some kiff action shots of the gulls.

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The absolute BEST port was Kristiansund. The city is small enough to walk everywhere, but there is still a lot to do. I set out for the old town square with 2 fabulous Photogs to take in the sights. My Photog peeps had to be back on board before me, so I found myself a map and went to find the park, which is almost as big as the city itself! Ship life doesn’t allow for much alone-time and so I was really grateful to have this time to myself. After a mesmerizing hour, I left the park in search for the beach. The beach is small and might have called it unexceptional if it weren’t for the swans. Yes. There were swans swimming, feeding and chillaxing on the beach! I was completely delighted and fascinated. This pretty much made my day. It’s the small things in life!

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2nd Highlight of the cruise: Receiving my first WOW card from a guest to thank me for my excellent and smiley service. How lovely!

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