Cruising Norway’s fjords was a dream of ours for quite a long time. Therefore, in terms of expectations built, this was the highlight of our InterRail trip through Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. We were lucky enough to go on two cruises in Norway, one from Bergen, on the beautiful Osterfjord and one from Stavanger, on the Lysefjord & the Pulpit Rock. We both like nature and cruising, therefore we started with the right foot. Plus this was one of the few chances of getting close and personal with nature during this one month long Europe trip.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Briggen
We embarked from just next to Bergen’s fish market on a White Lady cruise ship for the afternoon excursion. We were incredibly lucky I can say, as the weather behaved the whole 4 hours the trip took and we had not one single drop of rain. We had some photogenic puffy clouds instead, and the further from the city we went, the calmer the water got and the bluer the sky.
First we passed by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bryggen which we thought we already knew well, but seeing it from the water just gave us a new perspective on the gorgeous colorful houses. The more the ship rushed away from Bergen however, the houses became more scattered and cute ones with grass on the roof popped more often than not. I simply loved them. And I made myself a promise. One day I will have a small wooden house like this, vegetation on top and all. It would be somewhere lost in the woods, by a beautiful lake, and I will spend lazy days there reconnecting with myself. I’ve been visualizing a house like this for years, just without the living roof. It’s the secret place I go to relax to when I fell tired or sad. But now I know I want it to be somewhere real. No more shortcuts.
The cruise we took was guided, meaning that from time to time a calming voice would reveal the secrets of the area we were passing by. I think we all have a more or less accurate idea of what a fjord is. Long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea formed by the submergence of a glaciated valley. And I’m sure you’ve all seen amazing photos of fjords in the travel magazines. They all look dramatic, cruise ships navigating a narrow stream of water between huge, snow caped mountains. Well, in reality, sometimes a fjord really looks like that, but some other times the stream is just immensely wide and the mountains are pretty short. And I will tell you a secret. I prefer the later version. It’s real. It’s alive. It’s true. It’s breathtaking. It’s just like life itself; with ups and downs. And they are totally worth it.
As we rolled down the stream, the rocks were forming an almost perfect reflection in the water. It was the best timing for looking inside my soul and meditate at all the things lived in the past few days.
Sometime we would pass by a cluster of house, other times the houses looked terribly lonely. I couldn’t stop wondering if these were permanent residences or just holiday retreats. Somebody told me people were living here year round, which is probably true, as with quite a few occasions people waived at us from their tidy courtyards. Either way, the founds invested in the infrastructure must have been tremendous.
And then we got to my favorite part of the Osterfjord. It was also the furthest we went. After this the ship turned and we headed back to Bergen almost the same way we came.
The guys from White Lady were very nice and made available soft blankets for everybody. I was particularly grateful for that because somehow when I dressed up for the cruise I didn’t take into consideration the breeze. I wrapped myself like a cocoon and stayed on the bridge almost the whole trip. From time to time the sun would warm me up too, giving me a wonderful sensation, like a bliss.
And then, just as we were passing by one beautiful house by the shores, we spotted 3 young children in their swimming suites. You have to understand I was wearing my winter clothes from Valencia, Spain plus a blanket, and I wasn’t breaking a sweat, on the contrary. It all happened in the blink of an eye, and I was in shock. The ship captain blew the horn, somebody from the staff threw in the water three small chocolates and the kids jumped to catch the sweets. We’ve been told they put on this show twice a day, when the ship passes by. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Such brave and taught little people!
Our ship passed by orchards, gardens, villages, churches, pasturing sheep, amazing landscapes, snow caped mountains, smiling people and lonely dwellings. We returned to Bergen’ harbor enriched. The feelings that we had while cruising the Osterfjord will stay with us forever. And something’s telling me we’ll be back to Norway rather sooner than later, for more fjords and breathtaking scenery.