Tuesday we awoke early, leaving our stateroom on purpose at 7am. I know. Ugh. 🙂 But it was so worth it! We were sailing up the Geiranger (pronounced gay-wrong-er) fjord and it was absolutely breathtaking! It reminded us a lot of the scenery in Alaska, except we were much closer to the mountains. The low-lying clouds, the waterfalls, a glimpse of snow on the peaks, and the greenish shade of the water that reminded us of the arctic waters we saw in Alaska, all combined for a visually stunning experience. Add to that a cup of hot chocolate and a Norwegian roll (basically a custard-filled donut–yum!) and we were more than happy to remain outside the crow’s nest for nearly two hours until we anchored off shore at Geiranger village. Tim made a couple short videos about it. You can view them here and here.
There is a cute story about a few of the waterfalls along the fjord, specifically the Seven Sisters waterfalls and The Bachelor waterfall. As the story goes, the bachelor asked each of the seven sisters to marry him, and each one turned him down, which drove him to drink, and that is why there is an empty space in the Bachelor waterfall that is in the shape of a bottle. Can you see it in the photos?
We purchased two excursions for this cruise, and in Geiranger the one we were most looking forward to took place, fully living up to our expectations. We took a tender to the Geiranger pier and met up with our excursion group, then followed our local guide—whose name I cannot spell or pronounce—like ducklings behind their mama along a narrow little street to a nondescript wooden building. Inside the building, we selected bike helmets, gloves, and fluorescent yellow vests to wear for our “Sky to Fjord” excursion. We also signed a waiver releasing the company from liability should any of us be clumsy or inept at riding a bicycle downhill, then proceeded to board a bus for a 30-minute ride up the mountain to the Djupvasshytta Lodge. We took the FV63 (famous Geiranger road), which is opposite the Eagle Road, though it seemed to have nearly as many switchbacks. The Norwegians call these roads serpentines. Once again, the bus had no air conditioning nor could the windows be opened. I, of course, had chosen a front seat in the bus and was rewarded for that choice (grrr) with a seat in perpetual full sun and with a window with a broken seal. You know how they can get all fogged up? Yeah, well that was the situation…so I was hot and unable to see anything out my side of the bus, which overlooked the fjord and farms and pretty much all the beautiful sights to see on the way up the mountain.
In case you haven’t figured out what the “Sky to Fjord” excursion was all about, we were bused up the mountain to the Djupvasshytta Lodge at 1030 meters (3379 feet), then given bicycles to ride all the way back down to the fjord. Despite the need to replace my defective bike (the chain came off almost immediately and locked up the rear wheel), the ride down was spectacular! Tim made a quick video during the early part of the ride, and we were alone on the road for about 10 minutes…amazing! Once we joined up with the rest of the group, we weren’t able to ride as fast, but I did find a few opportunities to put my head down over the handlebars and fly downhill. Oh, and our friends Rose & Eddie were on the excursion, which was great fun! They are adventurous and funny and we got a real kick out of being around them. Unfortunately, Rose had a brief incident with the gravel pullout and I was forced to actively empathize with her by having a brief incident of my own later in the ride, just in front of the lovely octagonal Geiranger Church. A few scratches on my elbow and hip, a hand up from Tim, and a quick brush-off and I was back on the bike racing downhill again. But not before an Asian man from our group, who had witnessed my “incident,” walked by and jokingly said something about maybe I had been drinking too much. 🙂 Au contraire.
Maybe he heard us saying “whiskey” each time we took a selfie…our cameras are voice-activated and that seems to be the word that they most easily recognize. Of course, right? Not “cheese” or “smile” or something else. In fact, Eddie noticed it and commented that it must be our favorite type of alcohol. Haha.
A quick peek in the uber-expensive shops in Geiranger led to our rapid departure without any souvenir purchases. That’s ok, though. The excursion was such a blast that it might very well be the only souvenir we needed to remember this trip!