Norwegian Fjords Cruise
Like most people over the past couple of years, we have cancelled holidays, re-booked and cancelled again. So, when the Balmoral was sailing from Newcastle at a time coinciding with our Wedding Anniversary we were hoping that we would be able to travel. This time we were set to go!
We set off from Newcastle en route to Eidfjord, Bergen, Olden and Andalsnes before returning home a week later. The weather in Newcastle was excellent and the facilities were super efficient. It was the first time we'd been from there and 2+ hours in the car is much more appealing than the usual time for either Dover or Southampton.
After a day at sea we were eagerly awaiting the first port of call - Eidfjord. A small town with lovely views (aren't they all in Norway?). On the way into Eidfjord we saw both traditional fish farms and also a type we'd not seen before which used a globe rather than an open "net". Also some charming fjordside cottages which I thought worth a photograph. The famous Pulpit Rock came into view but although it looks really imposing when viewed from above, it blends in all too well with the sheer rock faces when seen from below. Once in Eidfjord, we took a circular walk down to the lake in Eidfjord for a photo stop, then past an ancient Viking burial ground and back to the ship.
The following day we were in Bergen and in typical Bergen fashion we got a mixture of sun, rain, wind and hailstones - not necessarily in the desired order. The journey up Mount Floyen in the cable car was preceded by a stroll in the sun around Bergen town which was pretty much as we'd remembered it before. We were in the town at the same time as a ship owned by MSC which absolutely dwarfed the Balmoral. At the top of the mountain, the wind got up and the rain started. After a few minutes it stopped enough to give us the confidence to walk up to a small lake called Skomakerdiket and a few drops of rain appeared so we took shelter for a while by the lake. When it stopped again, we decided to carry on up to Revurtjernet lake - a short walk further on. We got about 200 yards and the heavens opened, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees and a storm of hailstones started. We never got as far as the second lake, we were so cold and wet - even with waterproof jackets on.
After leaving Bergen we got on our way to Olden but a short way out into the sea, the ship had a power failure which caused us to be stationery near to an oil rig for a while whilst power was restored. We had the company of a tug as back up. Power came on a while later and we continued to Olden where we were moored close to the Queen Mary 2. We'd been to Olden before and went to see Kjenndalsbreen so didn't much fancy a trip to Briksdal glacier - we were late arriving there anyway because of the power outage the night before. We settled for a hike up to a lake viewpoint and a walk around Olden. A nice little cafe provided cake and wine before returning to the ship.
The next morning we arrived in Andalsnes and the initial thought was just "WOW!" We were surrounded on all sides by snow capped mountains, clear blue skies and a cable car. There wasn't an organised trip for the mountain top via cable car so we, like most of the ship's passengers, decided to go up on our own. The cable car had only been built about 4 years ago someone remarked. At nearly £50 each it seemed expensive to go up but we probably wouldn't get there again and we thought the views would be spectacular. We weren't wrong - at the top we saw the most amazing scenery I think I've ever seen. You could walk around on the top - it was rocky and in some places uneven but so beautiful. Need to go again now just for that.
One more day at sea then back to Newcastle, in the car and home.
Here's a few pictures.