Norway cruiseTravel

6 June – Day 8 – Geiranger

Geiranger Fjord
Geiranger Fjord

This is more like it.

Geiranger is the first time we feel like we are properly in the fjords.  Steep sided snowcapped mountains and crystal clear water with a slight chill in the air but clear blue skies.

The first thing you need to work out is how to pronounce the name i.e. should you use the German G-EYE-ranger or the English version G-EEE-ranger.  Whatever we opted for somewhere in the middle and didn’t seem to be looked at strangely.  Geiranger has a permanent population of around 200 which swells to around 8,000 in the summer (most of it seemingly in campervans and mobile homes).

Waterfall down to Geiranger Fjord
Waterfall down to Geiranger Fjord

One point worthy of note is that Geiranger is closely associated with the nearby stop of Hellesylt.  But do not confuse the two as there is no easy connecting road although there is a ferry between the two.  Our cruise line confused us by first telling everyone that there was a stop in Hellesylt and then saying there wasn’t one in the morning but would be in the afternoon.  This is inconvenient if you have booked tours independently as it can mess up your schedule (as it almost did ours).  It was also unhelpful that they did not answer my email in advance of the cruise.

Lake near Dalsnibba
Lake near Dalsnibba

Arriving in Geiranger is quite an experience as the MSC Splendida is quite a large ship and Geiranger is a narrow fjord. How the ship managed the three point turn to be facing the opposite direction at docking is a fine example of very precise navigation.  The juxtaposition of the ship and the fjord surrounds is quite a sight and seems strangely at odds (although we later understand that there are some 220+ ships that dock every summer which makes us feel slightly less guilty about the environmental consequences of our arrival (although the slight but visible pawl of diesel fumes makes us less comfortable, especially when the smaller but smokier Aida cruise arrives {note to self, Aida cruise ship is a lot smaller and slightly skanky}).

Location of Geiranger Fjord
Location of Geiranger Fjord

 

After a hastily rearranged scheduled (brought about by the aforementioned scheduling difficulties) we are off promptly at 10:00 am for our first activity of the day, a rib-boat ride up the fjord.  As the other passengers are still organizing themselves (or eating a third breakfast), we have the boat to ourselves and are able to enjoy some quiet time on the fjord looking at the various waterfalls (Seven Sisters etc.) and listening to stories of the local farmers who have abandoned their once perilously perched homes for richer pickings (no doubt in the tourist industry).  The boat ride lasts about one hour normally, slightly longer in our case due to a loss of oil pressure requiring some on the hoof maintenance.

Back from the boat ride we take a walk through the town and up to the local waterfall which is especially impressive given the volume of water hurtling down.  Back into town and we stop by the local chocolate shop (run by Swedes and selling very expensive chocolates), we have a taste but decline a purchase.

P1040296
Seven Sisters waterfall

We’ve opted to take a bus tour next which travels around 22 km out of town to the Dalsnibba mount at around 1,500 meters and some spectacular views back down the Oplenske valley.  Interestingly the road is only open during the summer months as the local climate means there is a lot of snow during the winter which takes 14 days to clear in advance of the peak tourist season.  The road provides a route to Oslo (apparently reachable in around 6-hours – during the winter the route is twice as long over another pass).  We stop on our way at Flydal viewpoint which is pretty much what is says on the tin.  The road to Dalsnibba is twisty, steep and narrow and punctuated by many, many hairpin bends (so if the motion from the boat has not got you yet then this just might).  As we climb higher and higher we are surrounded by more and more snow, enough in fact for some hardy souls to walk up to some distant peaks and ski back down.  It looks like fun.  We also see a number of cyclists on the 10% gradient and this looks like a more doable challenge.  The views at the top are worth the trip although whether the toll road at the top is really worth it is questionable.

Note: the cost of our two tours booked independently was around €180 for two people which compares with the cost for similar tours booked via the Cruise ship of around €180 each.  Ouch.

So a busy day and we’re treated to a repeat of the sights as we head out to pick up passengers on another trip at Hellesylt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *