Edit Blog Post
Published: June 12th 2017
Geo: 62.1018, 7.20729
From the time we first booked this cruise, our stops in Geiranger and Hellesylt were "confusing," to say the least. The cruise line had little clear information, but our friend Rick Steves provided a definitive explanation in his Norway guidebook. Geiranger and Hellesylt are two separate villages located on a common "L"-shaped fjord in northern Norway, with Hellsylt located at the bottom of the "L" and Geirganger sitting at the end of the fjord. Sailing the waterway between the two towns is supposedly once of the most beautiful stretches in Norway, with large waterfalls cascading down both sides of the very deep fjord. The only way to get between the towns is to sail, or drive all the way up and over several mountains, past glaciers, and then down on the other side. Cruise ships have devised a system whereby they make a short "technical" call at one of the towns, let passengers off who have booked excursions, and then continue sailing down to the other town, where they dock for the remainder of the day. This allows folks on tours to enjoy the spectacular views by driving by bus between the towns, and the reboard the ship and
enjoy the view for sea on the sail out. Once we figured this out, we pre-booked one of the excursions.
The night before we were to arrive, we received the daily schedule and it showed us sailing all the way to Geiranger first, docking around 7:00am, spending the day there, and then sailing back to make the technical call at "Hellsylt" on our way out. This was the reverse of what we'd expected, and spoiled our plans to enjoy the sail out during the late afternoon. I called the excursion desk, who confirmed that the order of stops had changed. We adapted and decided to leave our balcony curtains open all night so we wouldn't miss the sail in in the morning. We awoke to very dark skies with low clouds reaching down almost to the ship. It was eerily beautiful and the clouds hid the true height of the sides of the fjord. We stood outside and watched as the captain deftly docked the ship in the tiny town, all while the clouds dropped even lower.
As soon as we were docked, we raced off the ship to visit the obligatory tourist shop on the pier, and then rushed back
on board to meet our tour; only to walk right back off and board a bus. Thus began our 6-hour tour.
The town of Geiranger sits on a tiny spit of semi-flat land, impossibly positioned between two large mountain ranges. The bus started to climb up a ladder-work of at least a dozen switchback turns, quickly ascending into the clouds...literally. We climbed more than 3,000 feet in under 30 minutes, with the front and back of the bus hanging over the edge of the cliffs through each switchback turn. We made a couple of stops for views, but by the time we reached the very top of the mountain, we were completely socked in by fog, so thick that you'd lose sight of the bus within 10 feet.
We were heartened as the slowly drove back down the first mountaintop that the clouds were beginning to burn off, and within 30 minutes they were gone and the sky was crystal blue. This is how the weather remained until the very last day of the trip.
Tot: 0.028s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 7; qc: 22; dbt: 0.0052s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb