Alesund, Norway

Alesund, Norway.

We did not spend any time in Alesund. Our shore excursion was from 8am until 5pm. A full day of travel with the highlight being the Trolls’ Path pictured above.

Here is a video of our day touring Trollstigen, Valldal, Stigfossen Waterfall and Trollveggen, all in under three minutes.

This was our early morning introduction to the port of Alesund, Norway: decidedly moody.

Our bus made several stops. A quick five-minute dash to capture a few photos and then back on the road.

We had a bit of a longer stay at Stigfossen Waterfall. This was the closest encounter I had with a waterfall during my time in Norway. And I did not get wet.

A view of the valley of Valldal from Trollstigen, roughly 850 metres above sea level.

The skywalk afforded an opportunity for me to mess with your sense of perspective in this photo. Does that bus on the hairpin turn look like it is falling off the side of the mountain?

We had a break for lunch at an RV camp and tourist centre. The clouds and mist created an eerie scene.

From there we made our way to Trollveggen to see the Troll Wall. This was the only rain that we experienced in Norway and it made the photography challenging. Although the vertical space looks relatively short, the Troll Wall has the highest perpendicular rock face in Europe at over 1,000 metres.

This was our bus for the day. Made by Volvo, it might be a great candidate for a Class A motorhome.

This was our view of Alesund from the ship. We did not have any time to explore this port by foot.

On our way to our next port, Flam, Norway.

A few shots of the beautiful fjord as we left Alesund. Waters were very calm.

Geiranger, Norway


Norway is a country filled with stunning landscapes. I think that the Geirangerfjord was amongst the most scenic of the fjords we travelled during our cruise.

We had a pretty full day planned with our excursion. We were late leaving the ship as it took the port crew a bit longer than expected to roll out the floating dock. After a delay of an hour or so, we were able to leave the ship.

The first part of the excursion was Eagle Road. Here is a video overview.

And a few images that I shot from the overlook.

We made our way back down Eagle Road and started our journey over to Dalsniba Mountain. The bus made a stop partway which gave us this view of the Geirangerfjord. Our ship, the Norwegian Jade, is at port. Another cruise ship was making its way into Geiranger.

Dalsniba Mountain is an overlook that sits roughly 1,500 metres above sea level and offers dramatic views of the Geirangerfjord valley and the surrounding glaciers.

Here is a video overview of our time at Dalsniba Mountain.

Pictured here is one of the glaciers. The temperature at Geiranger was 28 degrees Celsius. At the mountain, closer to 12 degrees Celsius, perhaps a bit colder with the wind. I certainly felt like I was at the very top of the world.

Piles of stones are everywhere around the tourist stop. This one, in particular, was a good effort by someone.

Most of the tourists will hang around the skywalk but a 5-minute walk will take you to open areas to explore and enjoy the compelling landscape. To give you a sense of scale, you can see two people in red jackets at the very far right side of the picture just below the horizon. These mountains were massive.

1,500 metres above sea level offers dramatic views of the Geirangerfjord valley. You can see the road we followed to get to Dalsniba Mountain with a few of the many hairpin curves that cut alongside the mountain range.

Likely the classic valley shot of this region. The road extending out towards the Geirangerfjord in the distance. You can just make out the two cruise ships at the edge of the fjord.

After the excursion, it was time to leave port. If I ever come back to Norway, I would spend a lot more time here. So much to see.

As we left Geiranger, we passed another cruise ship still at port. Where we enjoyed the convenience of a floating dock, this cruise ship had to use tenders to get passengers back and forth to port.

A view of the Eagle Road hairpins that lead up to the overlook of the Geirangerfjord valley.

And a dramatic waterfall provided a farewell on our way out of Geiranger.

Olden With An iPhone

I had posted about our day in Olden here. I thought I would add a bit more context to that day along with a few more photos and video.

One of the issues that we had with our shore excursion when we were in Olden was the time we spent in a bus. I was unable to use my primary camera except for a couple of stops despite some stunning landscapes like the one pictured above.

All of the photos in this post as well as the video were shot with my iPhone. More often than not through the dirty window of a tour bus often while the bus was in motion on steep grades and twisted hairpins.

Getting to the top of the Stryn Mountain range was quite the climb. The roads were narrow and the turns very tight.

Along the route were numerous waterfalls like this one. The result of glacial ice melting from the mountains.

This shot gives a bit of perspective on the road we followed, almost lost in the expansive valley.

RVs were everywhere we went in Norway. RVs are extremely popular in this part of Europe. We spotted only one Class A rig throughout our stay. Lots of tour buses and lots of Class B and C rigs.

The camera of choice by passengers on our cruise?

I was shocked by the number of tourists carrying huge DSLRs on the cruise. And not the entry level Nikons and Canons. By and large, the top of the line camera bodies with large telephoto lenses.

Most everyone else used their smartphones and tablets.

You can tell a story with pretty much any camera these days. Even a smartphone.

I tried a few shots with my primary camera inside the tour bus and it did not turn out as well as these shots on my iPhone.

Go figure.

Trondheim, Norway

Trondheim. Third largest city in Norway with a population of roughly 170,00 people. A small town by North American standards.

Our shore excursion, Wonderful Trondelag and Lokken Verk, was a long day. A 3-hour bus ride to an historic mine followed by a 1-hour train ride through the area and another few hours back to Trondheim.

The weather was very warm. Temperatures were well above 30 degrees Celsius for the day.

Thank heavens I packed all of that thermal clothing.

Here is a shot of the mine that we visited in Lokken Verk.

And the entrance into the mine. Note the year. This mine was started in 1654 and mining operations continued until 1987.

Once inside the mine, we were led to a large area that is now used for weddings, concerts and other special events.

We were treated to a musical concert and here is a short clip of one of the songs.

After we left the mine, we went aboard our train on the Thamshavn line. This train was Norway’s first electric railway. It features a unique rail gauge of 1,000mm. The cars were restored from the early 1900s — I seem to recall the guide mentioning 1908.

The bus picked us up at the final station in Bardshaug. And from there, we made our way back to Trondheim.

We made two stops. The first was at this historic site to see an example of Norwegian construction.

And then our second stop at Nidaros Cathedral. We decided to leave the bus at this point.

We had a very expensive lunch in Trondheim and then walked through the old part of the city.

I even found a bike shop.

In the old part of Trondheim, the wooden houses are built side-by-side and, in most cases, connected to each other. This was quite the fire hazard — and likely still is a fire hazard — and we heard numerous reports from tour guides about Norwegian towns burning to the ground in the past because of this approach to building houses.

Not all of the houses are connected though. This one had a generous amount of land although we found no front yards in this part of town. All of the houses were built right on the edge of the road.

As we made our way back to the ship, the architecture changed dramatically. Somehow the glass and steel designs did not do it for me.

And finally, a video highlighting our day at Trondheim.

Olden, Norway

Our second day in Norway found us in Olden. Not that we were surprised. This was the scheduled port on our itinerary.

We slept in though and almost missed this dramatic view of the port.

We grabbed our house robes and slippers and rushed out to our front balcony to capture some images and video.

Here is a video of our day in Olden. Everything you might want to know in three minutes or so.

We were disappointed in the shore excursion. There were two stops, one for about 30 minutes at a tourist centre — souvenir shop and cafe — and one for about 45 minutes at a ski resort — coffee and waffles. We thought that we would have time to explore the Briksdalsbreen glacier on the excursion by foot. That rally didn’t happen.

I did get this shot of a Norwegian style building near the tourist centre. Before the days of insulation, Norwegians would build their homes with sod on the roof. This would help to retain the heat within the building during the cold, cold days of winter.

A few hundred metres from the travel centre was this old church.

I did not see any homes anywhere near this church. The graveyard was unusually well maintained. In front of almost every marker? Fresh flowers.

Our second stop on this glacier excursion was a ski resort. We passed some amazing landscapes on our way to the top of the glacier and then wound up here in an old, rundown ski resort.

The entire area was literally barren rock. Nothing in the way of vegetation. No trees. It had the look of an abandoned property.

45 minutes for the local restaurant to serve waffles and coffee. Perhaps that is the only way the resort can keep the place running.

We elected to leave the ski resort and take in the views of the glacier itself in the limited time we had available. So glad we did.

On our way back to port, the driver did relent and allow a 5-minute photo stop. I was able to catch some dramatic lighting of an incredible vista.

I think the trip was worth it for just that one shot.

Once we were back to port we had our lunch aboard the ship. We also had a chance to change into some summer clothing as the weather had turned very warm and humid.

We spent the afternoon walking around Olden. A shot of the ship from Olden.

And a shot of Olden. Olden is a village with a population of about 500 people.

The Old Olden Church was built in 1759 and seats about 250 people. There is another church in Olden that we did not visit. It is called, surprisingly, the New Olden Church, built in 1934.

And a parting shot of Nordfijorden.