Sunday, 16 August 2009

Geiranger and waterfalls


Geiranger is considered to be the most beautiful fjord of all, and the place where Norwegians go on holiday. It was a grey morning as we arrived, and it took hours to reach the harbour as we sailed slowly down into the fjord. The scenery was amazing again, though the dull weather slightly took the edge off. (photos) We stood on deck for quite a while after I finished in the gym listening to a tannoy announcement talking about the fjord and the area. The best part was a group of 7 waterfalls on one side, and one on the other - the 7 sisters and the Suitor. In local legend, the Suitor fell in love with the youngest sister, but due to tradition he couldn't marry her until her elder sisters were married. They didn't, so he's still waiting, staring across the fjord at his love and her sisters... the waterfalls were fairly light at this time of year, apparently they flow much more heavily earlier in the wet season, so it was a little difficult to make out all 7. The suitor was more impressive!
The Suitor


The hike we did in Geiranger was AMAZING. It really was absolutely beautiful - everywhere you looked was like a postcard - only a million times more impressive.
I think we walked about 6 miles again in total, split between 2 hikes. The first was up to a waterfall - and I do mean UP!!! It was so steep they lend you sticks to help with the journey, and a few people gave up at various points along the ascent. It wasn't too much for me, but the heat made it much harder (the grey skies cleared by about 9am and it was very hot and sunny!) and I wasn't much looking forward to the return journey as the ground was fairly slippery and unstable underfoot. I have a 'thing' about walking down steep inclines - I can see exactly where I would roll if I fell, and that makes me a bit uneasy!!!
We made it to the top - M, myself, and FIL (despite the fact that he'd pulled a muscle in his leg running that morning). The waterfall was impressive and we finished by climbing down a VERY steep incline to go behind it (didn't risk photographs as my camera isn't waterproof and I was worried about spray - I fail again!!!)


The person disappearing down the side is climbing down behind the waterfall

Eventually we started back. The walk was nowhere near as bad as I had feared (isn't that always the way?) and I managed not to slip, slide, or hurtle to an early grave. At the bottom we had another lovely Norwegian waffle with some not very good coffee, then set off on a much smaller hike (but no less steep) through a goat farm (another one!) With an unexpected additional inhabitant:

We ended up at an outlook point that gave an amazing view of the ship in the fjord below. The tour guide claimed it was only a 10 minute hike, but strangely it seemed quite a bit longer - more like 25 minutes each way!
Back on the ship, we needed lunch - a waffle with cream and jam, however fattening, was not enough to fuel that kind of walk (and in my case, about 2.5 miles running in the morning as well - though I'd had a large breakfast as well). Because of the time we got back from the trip the only casual dining options were the Grill and the Pizzeria so we settled for Pizza with the remnants of salad from a buffet salad bar that hadn't been cleared yet, and fries - and onion rings - from the grill.
In the evening we had martinis for a change - then dinner in the flagship cover charge restaurant, the amazing Murano Restaurant. To be honest I would have preferred something lighter because we'd had several very substantial dinners in a row, but the cruise wasn't long enough to let us spread them out properly, and it was still incredible.
I had crab bisque to start:
Filet mignon with creamed spinach and red cabbage

and I couldn't face dessert! M had both cheese and a selection of mini desserts (they claim they're for sharing, but he didn't think they would be big enough). Beautiful though!

By that evening our legs were beginning to ache from all the hiking.... but I still had strength to admire the beautiful sunset!

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