Wednesday July 4, 2007
We’d read about them, seen photos of them, and heard other people rave about them – but eyeballing these famous fjords up close and personal on this our first day in Norway was even better than we’d expected.
And in spite of the rain!
Someone told us it rains 300 days a year in these vast watery, mountainous regions, and today was clearly one of those. So it was out with our raincoats and brollies when we were ferried ashore this morning aboard Marco Polo’s bright orange tenders.
‘Ashore’ was the tiny village of Flam, down the end of the long, skinny Aurlandsfjord (a tributary of the deep-water Sognefjord). And we’d all done a lot of oohing and aahing as we cruised through these dark green depths past teetering cliffs, remote painted dwelling and countless waterfalls that dropped from still-snowy peaks 2000 feet above us.
First up was a ride on two mountain trains – from Flam to Vos. More oohing and aahing and photo-taking galore – especially when the train stopped for 10 minutes beside a gushing, exploding watertfall. (It’s summertime here, the snow is melting, and the streams and rivers are full-to-overflowing.)
Then, following a hearty smorgasbord lunch (yummy local dishes) and a dash of souvenir-shopping (Norwegians have a thing about ugly little trolls – and the tourist shops are full of them), we loaded ourselves onto a coach for a downhill scenic drive around 13 winding hairpin bends!
Breathtaking? Yep. Heart-stopping even. But we wouldn’t have missed it for the world …
People come from all over to visit our final stop – the charming village of Gudvangen, at the end of magnificent Naerofjord. And we arrived in time to watch the Marco Polo glide in to meet us, doing a slowly-slowly 18- degree turn smack in the middle of the harbour.
What a day! And we’ve got a week amongst these ancient glacial fjords – yeehaa!
TOMORROW: More cliff-hanger views and quaint fishing villages. So stay tuned …
Yours bloggedly – JOHN