Thursday 14 August – Bergen, Norway 0700-1400
Our second visit to Bergen, and a short stay.
The shuttle bus dropped us at the lake and we set off into the city. We walked up towards the Theatre and up to what we thought would be a viewpoint. There was some views but not the vista we had hoped for. We did however discover two other cruise ships.
Our walk took us back down to the cove and the Fish Market.
The sightseeing tram, the Bergen Express took our fancy so we took the round trip up to the first funicular stop on Fjellveien road.
The fish market was doing a roaring trade but the caviar was not to Joy’s taste and we continued across the road to the souvenir/handycrafts market sampling some of the fruit Joy purchased.
The shuttle bus returned us to the ship, berthed in the industrial docks ready for the 2pm sailaway heading back to Southampton.
Wednesday 13 August – Alesund, Norway 0800-1800
In 1904, a massive fire destroyed 800 buildings in this fishing port. Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II responded with immediate aid, and Ålesund was reborn. Not surprisingly, the town was rebuilt in the then-popular Art Nouveau style known as Jugendstil, or German Art Deco. The result is one of the prettiest ports in Norway.
The day started with an indulgent but complimentary Champagne Breakfast on our balcony. We then went ashore to explore the town and find some shops.
Monday 11 August – Stavenger, Norway 0800-1700
Arriving into Stavanger, the weather showed some blue skies with passing showers and was quite cool. Later the sun warmed us up providing we were out of the breeze.
Norway’s fourth largest city, Stavanger lies at the mouth of the Gandsfjord. The old port, attests to the sea’s enduring role in Norwegian history. Here, Vikings once sailed on voyages of conquest and exploration. In later centuries, the port served as a major hub for Norway’s mercantile and fishing fleets. By the mid-20th century, however, Stavanger had fallen on hard times as the fishing grounds dwindled. In 1969, the discovery of North Sea oil opened a new chapter in Stavanger’s history.
So this time the Norwegian Petroleum Museum was on our sightseeing list. On our last visit in 2013, we cruised the Lysefjord under Pulpit Rock. With the benefit of Hutch our Port Lecturer, we saw some of his photos at the top of Pulpit Rock. Scary! (We also remembered that on that cruise on the Crown Princess, the Port Lecturer failed to show).
Disembarking we walked off the ship around the cove and ended up at Stavanger Cathedral (under repair and closed but we managed to see of the interior as it was open to prepare for the filing of a chamber music recital). We were heading towards the Valberg Tower we thought, but ended up near the Petroleum Museum. The museum visit was well worthwhile with a mixture of models, film, and child appealing things to do.
Our walk continued up to the Valberg Tower (said to be a good view of the port area but …. It was a good view of that dam ship, Eurodam). We walked down to the port level and along Old Stavanger and re-boarded the ship. Perfect timing, before a lot of squally rain early afternoon.
As we prepare for our 2014 sojourn, this video shows brilliantly what the Geiranger fjord had to offer when we visited last year.
We will be re-visiting some places, but not Geiranger. We are sure however that we will see magic scenery.
Other videos from the 2013 trip are here.
Oslo, Norway – Thursday 18 July
The sun called us at 0445 – brilliant red, but too early for a snapshot. Quite a picturesque approach along the fjord to Oslo where we docked at 1000. The pier was very close to the city, near Akerhus Castle and the Resistance Museum.
We walked into the city past City Hall and the National Theatre up to the Royal Palace. Down past museums and the Art Gallery and along to the Cathedral. Back to & inside City Hall – which has a very austere external appearance.
Then to the Nobel Peace Centre and along to Aker Brygge (shopping and restaurants) before heading back to Emerald Princess.
We were entertained after dinner by a young (electric) violinist, and Accent.
Board Emerald Princess – Wednesday 17 July
A travelling day and a transfer to Emerald Princess at the Frihavnen pier just north of the Langelinie promenade. Easy boarding by 1315. We saw the Maitre d’ re our dinner table (and were surprised later to find he was able to organise our table with a window view astern; a large table was not possible due to a full passenger load. We sailed for Norway (again) at 1800, this time for Oslo – which is roughly the same latitude as Bergen. We saw – in the distance – some castles in (Royal) Northern Denmark, and the Swedish coastline on the starboard side for several hours.
The Captain warned us of rough seas overnight. We take on the pilot at 0600 before entering the Oslofjodem; around 0800 we are to transit the Droback narrows and then on through the picturesque fjords to Oslo by 1000.
Tonight we visited Crooners briefly to hear the pianist/singer, before adjourning to the Explorers lounge for singing/dancing to Accent.
- We all know about New Zealand .. Denmark has ‘old Zealand’ or simply Zealand – in the North Zealand above Copenhagen, etc
- Several Royal palaces are in North Zealand
- Denmark around Copenhagen is incredibly flat. As we headed north, some mountains emerged.
- The weather in Copenhagen mostly took time to warm up; an early sunrise was soon followed by a period of heat mid-morning or overcast conditions; from noon on, the odds of a brisk breeze were high. Today started off overcast, then sunny for most of the afternoon.
- Our taxi driver was a Denmark born Pakistani who spoke English well as well as his two other languages. He said there was quite a community of Pakistani people, but nowhere near the numbers in the UK. His father emigrated at age 25, 45 years ago.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Copenhagen.