Fjord cruise to Mostraumen

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August 26th 2016
Published: September 21st 2016
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Sadly this is my last day in Norway but I have one more fjord cruise before I leave; this one taking me from Bergen along the Osterfjord all the way to Maostraumen and back. Unfortunately the Bergen proclivity for rain has not let me down and I am yet again faced with jumping puddles and poking out eyes of unsuspecting passers by with the wayward spokes of my brolly. Before I came to Norway I'd booked quite a few activities in advance as I realise how quickly these tours book up and don't like to miss out just because of bad planning. This tactic obviously backfires when the weather isn't so great as I have to go on the trip regardless how rubbish it might be as a result of pouring rain. I join people standing in the forlorn looking queue that's starting to build at the little hut on the harbour front where the Rodne cruise boat is going to leave from. I've got my main backpack with me, which although pretty small (it's classed as cabin baggage for flights) is packed full and is very heavy. I can't put it down on the floor as the floor is being rained on and puddling water like nobody's business, so I just have to stand there with the pack on my back, my posture resembling that of a 90 year old woman with hunch back tendencies.

Eventually we are all allowed onto the boat and I get a seat next to one of the large windows - let's face it no-one's going to be standing out on dedk for THIS trip! The boat is completely packed with similarly stupid people who'd booked back home when the weather was lovely and sunny and standing on deck in the sunshine watching the beautiful scenery slide by whilst sipping a beer was more the order of their thought processes than today's soggy reality. Two elderly Spanish ladies sit down in the seats next to me and one keeps asking me questions in Spanish and despite me answering her in English, she assumes I've understood and completely misses the fact that not all people in Norway on a boat trip are also Spanish. As we pull away from the harbour it becomes clear that my job for the entire trip will consist of wiping down the condensation from my section of the window with my coat sleeve every 5 minutes. There are blowers on the shelf at the bottom of the windows, so someone has obviously predicted this might be an issue for some trips, but the blow is so feeble it has zero effect hence my sleeve assuming such great importance for the happiness of all those within window looking out distance from my section of the steamed up pane.

We get some commentary over the boat's intercom system about what we aren't seeing and people peer expectantly through the haze of newly formed condensation water droplets on the inside of the window and rainy mist on the outside, hoping to see said interesting item only to have their hopes dashed when all that comes into view is something looking suspiciously like the last blurry, soaked, mist-covered blob they tried to decipher the last time the commentary invited them to look out of the boat to their right. If the weather had been nicer we would allegedly have seen communities based on the Oster Island which was cut off from the mainland until relatively recently. It now has a lovely bridge. Many of the properties still don't have road access on the island however and have to get places by boat, including some kids schooling. I'm afraid I rather lose interest in what's going on at this point and instead charge up my tablet and download and sort through the photographs from my trip instead. At least they get the whole charging appliances up stress of tourists on holiday. Here there are loads of sockets - and we're in a boat miles from electricity sources. How do they do it?

Of course I'm being far too negative as there ARE some things to see along the way as we approach closer to the shore and also as we get nearer to the final destination, a section of narrow fjord with high mountains all around, we do get a better impression of the beauty of the place despite the incessant rain. At one point the boat guy brings some bread through the cabin but rather than offering it around he opens the front doorway onto the deck and goes out into the rain. Not really the weather for picnicking! What IS he up to? After a short while of the boat backing up to an island with some trees on and the guy standing around with his now soggy bread in the pouring rain, he comes back inside still carrying said soggy bread. The intercom explains that even the goats are sheltering from the rain today and aren't interested in coming out of hiding not even for such tempting offerings as stale, soggy bread! Can't say I blame them.

The next excitement - trust me, anything happening on this trip that doesn't involve wiping down the window with my sleeve is exciting in the extreme - is that of backing up very close to the Heskjedalsfossen waterfall (I do realise I just wrote Heskjedals waterfall waterfall but hey, not everyone reading this will realise that fossen means waterfall in Norwegian). The same boat guy comes through the cabin again, this time carrying a shiny, silver bucket and carrying a boat hook. It's like one of those riddle games. In fact maybe they should trial this as an alternative idea instead for rainy day trips. He perserveres with the tried and tested planned activity and goes out on the deck in the pouring rain and as the boat gets really close to the waterfall he puts the bucket on the end of the boat hook and sticks it out into the falling water. It seems we are to be treated to waterfall water in plastic cups. Let's hope those goats don't climb around on this bit of mountainside shitting in the water. I'm not sure if goats are carriers of liver fluke like sheep but if there's a chance that they might be I'm certainly not risking drinking that waterfall water, however lovely and safe you say it is Mr boat man. I'll just photograph other passengers happily ingesting fasciola instead!

We are now on our return trip and I think we must be going a slightly different route as it looks totally different to the outward journey! Sarcasm, that great British trait, don't you just love it? Obviously we could be anywhere in Norway it's so rainy and visibility is so rubbish. I keep swiping my sleeve across the window every so often like car windscreen wipers on intermittent wipe cycle. Nobody thinks to say thank you I might add. You'd think I'd get some acknowledgement for my huge sacrifice, a cheer maybe, some applause, but no, nothing! As an attempt to break the unpaid job cycle I'd inadvertently got myself mixed up in I stupidly go outside onto the deck in the rain to take a couple of photos with the vain hope of salvaging something interesting as a keepsake, but soon wish I hadn't as my camera starts protesting such idiocy and the lens shutter stops closing properly. Eventually my camera packs up altogether. Oh no, not my lovely little camera. I really hope it'ull dry out and start working again, but I'm not hopeful.

Eventually the long, long boat ride back to Bergen is over and we all dejectedly troop off the boat wishing we'd had a better experience. I have a few hours to kill and really don't know what I'm going to do in rainy Bergen. I head over to the Tourist Information Centre and get accosted by a student from the University handing out tourism questionnaires, the questions of which all seem to focus on how much of a threat, or perceived threat, terrorism is to me for various countries and how much difference it makes to my holidaying choices. I'm tempted to lie and put stupid responses just to shake up the results from the predictable norms, but end up behaving myself. On a perusal of the leaflets around the racks in the centre I realise there really isn't anything I want to do other than maybe take a look around the old wharf side Bryggen buildings on the other side of the harbour. I hadn't realised you can go inbetween the buildings and find there are loads of narrow walkways with beautiful wooden stairways, balconies and shops. I go into a few of these and pick up a few items but quickly realise that the Miranda 'browse sweep' is in order as I can't even afford the smallest items in these shops. I also now don't have a workable camera so can't take any photos which megally pisses me off as the buildings are really unusual and beautifl. I think I must be getting travel fatigue for this trip and wish my flight was sooner. In the end I decide to cut my losses and quit rainy Bergen for the relative comfort of the airport instead. At least there I can sit down, put my backpack on the ground without it getting soaked and can use up my last few Krona on something useful like food and drink rather than overpriced souvenirs.

Despite this less than successful last day I've had a brilliant time in Norway. Was it stunningly beautiful? YES! Was it afjordable? Not in the slightest! Would I come back again? Most definitely!

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