Saturday, June 24, 2023

Skjolden, Norway

Hello from Skjolden! 

Skjolden, Norway

We had to sail through Sognefjorden, the longest and deepest fjord in the world, to get to Skjolden. The views in the fjord were stunning. I've now visited eight different ports in Norway and I think the country might be the most beautiful place on earth.

sailing through Sognefjorden
Cloudy early but clear later
sailing through Sognefjorden
Ferry was running early
sailing through Sognefjorden
Green glacial silt waters
sailing through Sognefjorden
The smooth, clear waters reflected the land and sky
sailing through Sognefjorden
Again and again.
sailing through Sognefjorden
Which tunnel would you drive through?
Hint: There's really only one.
Once we arrived in Skjolden I had to get myself to one of the dining rooms to pick up the sticker for my tour. The Jotunheimen National Park and Sognefjell Mountain Pass tour was only the second one I've taken this trip. Being on a bus full of cruise ship passengers for four hours reminded me why I don't do excursions. Thanks to pushy, rude, and selfish adults, just getting an elevator (six tries), getting to the bus, and finding a seat on the bus started out rough for me. But the joke was on them because at the very back of the bus I finally found one open seat. Not just one, but five all the way across. All to myself.
Photo taken when everyone was gone
With the ability to take pictures out the left window and right window I went wild. We had a tour guide but sometimes she didn't tell us what we were seeing on both sides so I just took pictures of things I found interesting whether she mentioned them or not.
church in Skjolden, Norway
Sognefjell Mountain Pass
Sognefjell Mountain Pass
It's difficult to understand the size of the mountains 
frozen lake in Sognefjell Mountain Pass
Frozen lakes were beginning to melt
Sognefjell Mountain Pass
Sognefjell Mountain Pass
And a river runs through it
grooming trails for cross country skiing in Sognefjell Mountain Pass
Machines were grooming trails for cross country skiers
The road had lots of hairpin turns and was oh-so-narrow. When two vehicles approached each other someone was going to have to back up.
Have to be a skilled driver to avoid a head on collision
One of the busses overheated on the way up
and all the passengers had to wait for another
We stopped at a lodge for a waffle and another rough time was had. The bus driver left the bus for a smoke break without opening the hatch for the scooter or the several walkers onboard. All of us barely-mobile people had to carefully make our way from the bus to the building without our devices.
Jotunheimen National Park
Then we all had to climb the beaten up and uneven stone steps. For some of us it was quite the task. 
Not easy, but I did it!
Once inside we were rewarded with standing in a long line for some time because the 40 other people got there first with waffles. Jam and cream on mine, please. (At least I think it was. Still can't taste or smell a thing so it could have been sour cream for all I know.)
berries and waffles in Norway
After the quick snack AKA my lunch, I gingerly made my way back down the steps and sat at a table outside in the sun for a bit before carefully making my way to the bus for the return trip. 
Well, hello ewe
Some for you, Ed:
You know how I like my signs. I've never seen an orange X over one before.
Then in other things-going-rough news, my phone charger broke and it's one of the few things I didn't bring a backup for. I'm hoping I can find one in the shop onboard tomorrow before my phone completely dies. But wow, I'm so thankful the little piece didn't break off in the phone. Now that would be rough! 
But wait, there’s more. I have something in the how gross can you be department. My balcony extends out from the ship so the deck above me can see partially into my balcony, mostly when I’m near the railing. So I come back to the balcony tonight and spy a whole bunch of these. 
Looks to be toenail size
Based on the placement it appears a person in the cabin straight above me threw their cut nails on my balcony. Hey gross person, the deck plan tells me exactly which cabin you’re in, you know.

Not a minute too soon we're up with a sea day tomorrow. These old painful joints are desperate for some R & R before we get to our next port. This time we're heading to the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. See you there on Monday!