June 12, 2018

Netherlands-Norway Trip Part 3

Geiranger, Norway

  • 349 miles sailed
  • 11 miles bicycled
  • 327 steps climbed
  • 5 traditional geocaches found
  • 1 EarthCache logged

Tuesday was the best day of our cruise – packed with beautiful sights and adventures. We started the day enjoying the beautiful scenery along the Geirangerfjord. Everywhere we looked were beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Seven Sisters and across the fjord The Suitor. 

Once we arrived in the port of Geiranger, we rode a tender boat to shore and boarded a bus that would take us on our first adventure. The bus took us 11 miles up into the mountains, with an elevation gain of 3,400 feet. At the top, we were provided with bicycles and safety gear, and began our 11 mile ride back down the mountain. 

The beginning of our ride was anything but downhill, and required a steady pedal uphill of about 1/2 mile. Once we reached the highest point, the ride became much easier. We maneuvered the bikes down through countless hairpin turns and past some of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever experienced. We stopped often to take photographs and soak in the views. 

It seemed that around every other bend in the road there was another waterfall to enjoy. Snowpack a foot thick still covered the ground in places. The valley and fjord stretched below us. The weather was perfect – somewhat chilly atop the mountain but we were comfortable in proper clothing and gloves. The sun was shining and the skies were blue. Our tour guide told us that this was rare weather for the area, and we felt blessed to be experiencing such a beautiful day. 

After coming around one curve, I saw that several members of the group had stopped at a gravel parking area and were petting and taking photos of a herd of friendly goats. I stopped as well, and was enjoying the interaction when the tour guide bringing up the rear pulled over to inform us that this was not an official stopping point for our tour! It seems that someone stopped to see the goats, and everyone else just assumed they were supposed to stop as well. We climbed back on our bikes and continued on down the road. 

I had identified a few caches along the route that I hoped to find, and luckily we had a stop for photos near each one. The first was beside an old dirt road that our guides detoured us along. I skidded to a halt near ground zero and hopped off my bicycle. I could see that the front half of our tour group had stopped just below, and knew that there were many more riders behind me, so felt I would have time to look for the cache. As I parked my bike and pulled out my phone, I noticed a woman on the hillside. I called out to ask if she was looking for a geocache and she answered, “yes.” She was from Germany, and on holiday with her husband. We searched the area together, and just as I was ready to give up and rejoin my group, she spotted it. She handed me the log so that I could quickly sign it and get back on my bike before the group started up again. I reached them with time to spare, as other members were still catching up to the group. This gave me time to photograph the stone bridge I had just crossed over and then passed under. 

Our last stop was at an overlook that provided a great view of the fjord and our ship. I took some quick photos, and then ran uphill about .1 mile to the previous overlook to find a geocache. It was a quick and easy find, and I was back with the group in no time. I still had the opportunity to take more photos, and even descend to a lower point where you could see a waterfall far below. 

From this last stop, we had only a seven or eight minute ride back into town. After turning in our bicycles and safety equipment, we found a cafe where we enjoyed some local fare and cold drinks. We then did a little shopping in the village. I also took time to collect the information needed for another EarthCache, and to find a traditional cache. Deban then returned to the ship, while Signal and I prepared for our next adventure – Stairway to the Waterfall. It began with a very slow walk through the village while our tour guide provided history. Once we had reached the Geiranger River, the trail began to climb beside the rushing water. Soon, we reached the bottom of the Storfossen waterfall, and the stairs. 

There were 327 steps in all, but many places along the way to stop and take photographs. There was also a geocache at step number 61 and I stopped to find and log it. I usually do not like to photograph waterfalls in harsh sunlight, but today I had only brought my iPhone along and did not worry so much with getting the perfect photograph. What I did capture at a couple of different places were rainbows in the spray from the falls. 

Once we had reached the top of the stairs, the group went inside the Fjord Center to watch a video while I split off to find another geocache. This one was situated behind the center and was large enough for me to drop off another travel bug that I had carried from the US. After finishing with the geocache, I went inside the center and did a little shopping in the gift shop. 

I was happy to find some wool yarn that was made locally. I purchased four skeins of it to take home and give to Knot for Sale Hats, a non-profit kindness ministry run by my dear friend Dori. She has held three events in the past year where they have gifted hand-made hats to anyone needing one. She and other volunteers are currently knitting hats for the next event during which they will give hats to public service workers – police, fire, EMT, etc. I bought blue yarn for hats to be given to police. I then joined the rest of the group walking back down to the pier, and took a tender back to the ship. 

Because the ship was in port until 11:00 pm, there was not a show this evening. However, at 10:00 pm our favorite comedienne, Vicki Shaw, was MC for the Oldywed/Newlywed game. Four couples competed to see which knows each other best. This is always a hilarious affair and a highlight of any cruise. 

When it was over, we went to the Lido Deck for a late night snack. I shudder to think how much weight I’ve gained on this trip!

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