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Geiranger & Haugesund

I don’t suppose anybody thought they were going to be sunbathing on the Norwegian fjord cruise. The weather has been superb throughout which has made everything better. Well, nearly everything. It has meant more tattoo exposure. I’d like a cruise line than bans tattoos.

This was the most northern point we were cruising at about 62°. There is no country in the world where you can visit 62° south. Ushuaia in Argentina is only 55° south.

Geiranger is probably the most photographed of all the fjords. I remember visiting back in 2016. I was up at 4:30 and it was already light. I’m not even sure it got dark. At 5 o’clock the sun came up.

The sun
Inside Geirangerfjord
Still inside Geirangerfjord
Yep, still there

Two hours later we arrived at the Seven Sisters waterfalls, thus named because there are seven of them. The captain promised us a 360° turn which allowed everyone to see the waterfalls. After the slow pirouette, we headed to the end of the fjord to Geiranger, an hour away.

We had the usual pilots board the ship for navigating the fjords. Fjord Escorts as Jim called them. I thought Olden was small with 479 people. Geiranger has a population of 250 so it’s quite something when 4,500 bewildered and overfed tourists turn up.

I persuaded the boys to do a hike up the hill. It took us maybe 90 minutes to get to the Flydalsjuvet viewpoint. I know, catchy. I spotted people taking photos from the cliff edge. Jimbo and I went to investigate and decided that we would like to risk our lives by doing the same. The drop off the cliff was hundreds of feet, but the allure of a good photograph was too much.

From viewpoint
Near death experience

We dined together with our usual waiter. Indian Glen could be in a Bollywood movie. Later, I finally managed to get a seat at the poker table and probably wish I hadn’t. My “all or nothing” move at the end was spectacularly unsuccessful. I went blind and couldn’t even beat a pair of 2’s. The casino experience has been rather disappointing. I’ve hardly lost a bean because it’s so busy. Never seen anything like it. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a cruise for gambling addicts.

Geiranger is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Norwegian government made a decision in 2018 to only permit zero emission ships to cruise here, and Flam, another popular stop, commencing 2024.

The last stop on this cruise was Haugesund, south of Bergen, with a massive population of almost 38,000. It was May 17th – Constitution Day in Norway – the constitution was first established in 1814. Norway officially gained independence in 1905 when the kingdoms of Sweden and Norway dissolved their union following an argument about who had the best meatballs.

After the magnificence of the fjords, Haugesund was a little disappointing. The sun was shining so it could have been worse. Three of us ventured out to see what we could find. There were thousands of people lining the streets for the Constitution Day parade in their national costumes. What the town lacked in attractiveness was more than made up for by the townsfolk. Very attractive people of both genders. I might learn Norwegian.

Constitution Day

We only spent a few hours ashore and returned to the ship and played cards. It was a beautiful day but the chaps weren’t overly interested in partially clothed activities on the top deck.

The final day was at sea heading back to Southampton. The highlight of the day was the “fire and ice pedicure”. I’ve done most other treatments on ships over the years. Well, Filipina Julie was excellent. She asked if I’d ever had a pedicure before. I hadn’t. She then said it was a privilege to be the first to give me one. I wasn’t sure if she knew what she was letting herself in for. I sat in a chair that massaged my back, and stuck my feet in warm water. Then she went to work. I even got a calf massage. By the end of it I didn’t recognise my own feet. Why hadn’t I done this before. Julie had been on Holland America’s Prinsendam in 2016 and 2017 when I cruised Europe and South America.

Me and the chaps dined together for the last supper and bestowed our gratitude on Glen and Sadhlu. One thing we didn’t appreciate was the announcements in the dining room…every night, with the staff snaking through the restaurant to music. And we certainly weren’t interested in rising from our chairs and joining them in the chicken dance on the final evening.

The boys commented that I was referred to as “Sir Patrick”. Jim was “Mr Jim”, and the Simon’s were knows as “The Semens“. 🤣

In contrast to the last cruise, I spoke with loads of people on this one, even some with tattoos. I mostly liked conversing with the Americans though. I probably still would like to live in the U.S.

As for having Diamond status, I don’t think I do, but everyone else thought I did so I went with it. A good cruise with my lifelong buddies.

Sign in WC on train home!

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