"" Writer's Wanderings: Remembering the Fjords of Norway

Friday, February 22, 2019

Remembering the Fjords of Norway

The year 2009 must have been a good year. As I reminisce, I'm finding lots of favorite places we have visited.

The Geiranger Fjord

The desire to visit the Norwegian fjords began for me back in elementary school. One of the words on our spelling list was “fjord” probably because we were studying Northern Europe in our geography books. The picture that defined a fjord must have been taken at the Geiranger Fjord. It is the picture I carried in my head of what the fjords looked like.

We awoke to find our ship anchored at the very end of the fjord at the little town of Geiranger. It was another glorious morning with fresh air and sunshine streaming in the open door of our stateroom. We ate breakfast quickly and hustled to the appointed gathering place to go down to the tenders. (Geiranger does not have a cruise ship pier.)

Having researched the ferry schedule on the internet, we knew that the first ferry to Hellesylt, a little town in the crook of the elbow in the long fjord we had traveled from the sea, left at 8 a.m. Our tender deposited us on shore at exactly 7:55 giving us five minutes to run for the ferry.

Fjord 1 is a company that has ferry boats and buses and does a nice job of providing transportation along with a tour. The ferry was quite comfortable with outside and inside seating and a snack bar. We chose to sit outside on top for the best view of all the spectacular waterfalls and cliffs that make the Geiranger fjord so well-known. The trip to Hellesylt was about an hour long and was narrated in several languages so all could learn of the history of the area and the legends behind the naming of several falls—the most famous being the Seven Sisters Waterfall where seven small falls are gathered together in one place.

Hellesylt was just waking up as we arrived. Three little cafes were opening and a couple of souvenir shops. I might be overestimating, but I believe the main street was about a half mile long. Behind it on a hill was a pretty little church, Sunnylven Kyrkje, built in 1859. It reminded me of the church in Williamsburg, Virginia, where each pew had a little door opening into the aisle and each family had their own pew.

After a few pictures of the town’s central waterfall and the church, we settled down at one of the cafes for cappuccinos and one of the most delicious pancakes I’ve ever had. There was no maple syrup or jam served with it but you didn’t need any. While it wasn’t filled, it had some kind of moist sweetness in it and tasted like a little bit of heaven.

Our trip back to Geiranger gave us a different perspective of the fjord and also better pictures as the sun had risen in the sky. We walked around the little town of Geiranger a bit and then headed for the ship. The view from the ship was too beautiful to waste. We made the best of it the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening, we ate at the Island Buffet. There was a special German buffet and since we eat early, we were able to get a window seat as the ship pulled anchor and began its sail out of the fjord. Unfortunately the weather turned bad with heavy rains so much of the view on the trip out was obstructed. We were glad to have ferried to Hellesylt while the day was fresh and sunny and so very much like the picture I carried in my head for so many years.

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