Our travelling pharmacist Dave Harcombe, a cruise virgin, has chosen P&O Cruises for his first expedition on the high seas accompanied by his wife Babs. Dave’s first-timer blog is not to be missed.
DAY FOUR: Fjord Fiesta – Part 1
AT 5 am I was fully dressed and sat by the cabin window, drinking strong coffee. Our first encounter with the Norwegian fjords. A day I had been looking forward to for ages. And what a way to begin – with the big daddy of all fjords.
Depending on which book you read then it’s either the largest or third biggest in the world. Naturally Norway claims it’s top dog. And what a top dog! It would easily win best in show at Crufts.
In terms of length and depth it is enormous. The deepest point 3700 feet. Which is comforting when a ship of our size is weaving its way, deeper and deeper into the fjord, picking its way through carefully .Dwarfed by nature’s creation!
Along the 115 miles inland we experienced a 3D nature display which blew us away. Sometimes narrow, sometimes opening up to make room for green fields and quaint, beautiful villages. Every inch of every mile was outstanding.
Snow-capped mountains towered down over our floating palace of fun, rising almost sheer from the crystal clear waters,
Western Norway is home to the biggest concentration of fjords in the world. These were formed in the ice age when the tumultuous force of retreating glaciers gouged their way to form valleys which nature filled with salt water. Unique and spectacular.
The fjord, rippleless except for the wake from the ship ploughing its way almost apologetically not wanting to disturb nature at its finest.
A still blue sky softened by surprisingly warm air crisp and fresh. Waterfalls threw themselves lemming-like from high cliffs into the waters below, caressing and softening the rocks as they fell. Cascading in apparent slow motion. Mountains with a snow covering, the occasional tree bursting through looking like candles on a never ending celebration cake. Impenetrable forest clung to the hills. Trees clinging on for dear life. Houses, hunting lodges too. No apparent roads. No Sainsbury home delivery here. What do you do if you run out of milk here? – rush outside and grab a goat.
Distinctive wooden stave churches. High up. Closer to God. A Sunday climb only for the devout. The road to salvation is hard to climb. But so satisfying when reached-presumably. Unforgettable moments .Digital camera clicking at every turn, battery running down quickly.
We looked everywhere for a troll. The Northern Lights were playing hard to get too! I thought I saw a nun, arms outstretched running over a lush pasture being chased by a lonely goat herd. An orchestra in the wings too. But this display of awe was intoxicating. A natural mocktail of emotion. An intoxicating alcohol free blend of adrenaline, amazement and sheer joy.
All this from the comfort of our 5 star floating hotel.
I was beginning to enjoy cruising more and more. And we hadn’t had breakfast yet.