Friday, June 23, 2023

Åndalsnes, Norway

Hello from Åndalsnes!

Åndalsnes, Norway
View from deck 15
Åndalsnes, Norway
View from the pier
I was a woman on a mission today. I wanted to ride the Rauma Railway's Åndalsnes to Dombas roundtrip route. It's supposed to be one of the most beautiful and scenic train rides through Norway. Tickets can be purchased online ahead of time but for those of us with wheelchairs and scooters we get this message:

So right after breakfast I left the ship for the train station to find out about wheelchair tickets. I had to ask more than one person - and had to go to more than one place - before I got the answer. Actually, lack of an answer. The Åndalsnes train station isn't a train station at all but just little room where you can wait for a train. I'm not exactly sure what role the workers at the counter had, but it definitely had nothing to do with the train. So a "staffed station" wasn't available. I left a bit dejected and contemplated calling the phone number to inquire about tickets but decided to go next door to partake in a different activity. 

It involved the top of this mountain.
And a car looking like this.
gondola at Åndalsnes, Norway
Yep, another ear popping gondola ride was in my future. The views on the way up were stunning.
But the weather wasn't nearly as cooperative as my gondola ride last week in Olden. As we got closer to the top the clouds started settling in on us. 
Heading to get my head in the clouds
foggy mountaintop at Åndalsnes, Norway
View from the top
One of the things I'm working on this summer is learning to be silent, still, and calm. To slow my breathing and mind. Today's mountain visit was a fantastic place to practice. 

I had the opportunity to watch the clouds as they moved in...
and start to move out.
foggy mountain top at Åndalsnes, Norway
I saw hikers reach the top and admire the landscape as it came into view.
I experienced the beauty of Norway as I remained calm, still, and silent.
After a lengthy bit of time in the cold brisk air, I went into the restaurant to continue my stillness. With a cup of hot chocolate.
I again witnessed the clouds roll in and roll out as more gondolas made their way to the top.
When I thought I saw all I needed to see I made my way back to the gondola. On a whim (just like yesterday) I asked if there was a way for me to access the ramps that lead to highest parts of the mountain. The girl led me to something I hadn't seen at any point when I was in the restaurant because it was behind the no entry sign. 
elevator to top ramps at Romsdalen in Åndalsnes, Norway
An elevator.
elevator to top ramps at Romsdalen in Åndalsnes, Norway
Past the no entry sign and to the right
It was another one of those where you have to continuously push the button. It stopped halfway because I didn't know. But now I do!
elevator controls at Romsdalen in Åndalsnes, Norway
The elevator led to the ramps. I took every single ramp all the way to the top.
mobility scooter at top of ramps at Romsdalen in Åndalsnes, Norway
Scooter needed a little assistance from my feet to help him make it up. But we did it!
I stopped at the end of the ramps so technically
we didn't make it totally all the way.
I was the only person with a cane or walker or wheelchair or scooter who tackled the climb. Several able bodied folks on the way up and down stopped to talk to me and were shocked? surprised? confused? about my little adventure. 

Not me. I was determined today. I think I even caught a glimpse of my old adventurous suck-the-marrow-from-life self. It may not be there tomorrow, but I'll take what I can today.

Just a few more photos from the day.
Don't look down if you're scared of heights
I was drinking my hot chocolate on the edge of a cliff? Yikes.
The ship on the way down from the mountain
The crosswalks in town were made of these. Ugh.
cruise ship docked at Åndalsnes, Norway
My home away from home

Tomorrow we're in Skjolden, our last port in Norway. See you then!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Trondheim, Norway

Welcome to Trondheim!

Trondheim, Norway

When I woke up this morning it was raining and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get out and about. But soon a little spot of blue sky appeared. And then another. And then those blue little pieces of sky grew. Rain wouldn't be an excuse! 

No HOHO here, either

Getting to the city requires crossing train tracks by way of a steep overhead walkway. I heard people at breakfast discussing it, and just listening to the stress it was causing them was making me stressed about it.

Trondheim, Norway
See the incline between the buildings?

It took some very strong self-talk to decide to pull Scooter up and over the thing. Thankfully it never came to that because at the bottom of the steep walkway was a teeny tiny sign.

Elevator/life sign at cruise port in Trondheim, Norway
Heis = Elevator
Hidden all the way inside the very back corner of the building on the left (where I added the pink mark) is the elevator. I had to ask someone for help because I couldn't find it on my own.
location of elevator at cruise port in Trondheim, Norway
Once at the top, just a little roll (or walk) will get you to another elevator to take you back down. This one was much easier to find because it sticks up above the walkway. If you don't use the elevator the only way to get down this side of the walkway is by using stairs. Lots and lots of stairs.
Stay left even though it looks like
you're walking into a construction zone
Once down at street level is where the fun began. While I had a map in my pocket I again didn't use it. Following the crowds, I quickly crossed my first bridge.
waterways in Trondheim, Norway
I continued up the street until I saw colorful decorations on what looked to be a pedestrian area on the right. 
Trondheim, Norway colorful decorations
I took the right and continued until I came to colorful umbrellas.
Trondheim, Norway umbrellas
All kinds of shops and a few restaurants lined the area. On a whim I decided to take a left when the overhead colors ended. It was a couple blocks later (maybe even a few?) when I ran into Trondheim Square and the statue of the Viking King Olav Tryggvason, the founder of Trondheim.
iking King Olav Tryggvason, the founder of Trondheim in Trondheim Square.
I continued past the square and stumbled upon the Nidaros Cathedral. It's the world's northernmost medieval cathedral. Work started on it all the way back in 1070.
Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway
I decided to roll around the right side of it and found it just as beautiful there.
Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway
After sitting and admiring it for a bit I headed back out the front and took a right. Thanks to the recent rains Scooter and I ran into some trouble.
Icky, mucky mud.
Covered with muck we made our way to the Old Town Bridge.
Old Town Bridge, Trondheim, Norway
I saw the colorful buildings along the water Trondheim is so famous for.
Trondheim, Norway waterways
I headed to another bridge by the Radisson hotel and took more photos of the buildings. 
Trondheim, Norway waterways
I don't know how I did it, but I somehow found my way back to the square. It was fascinating watching and listening to everything going on. I soaked it all in - the languages being spoken, the styles of dress, and the different activities of both tourists and locals.
Trondheim Square in Trondheim, Norway
Here are a few other things I ran across today...
I may not have followed the sign but I still took a picture of it.
Ouchie on the bum
Both Scooter and I are going to need
an alignment after riding on this all summer
decorative manhole cover in Trondheim, Norway
Just one of many decorative manhole covers
Trolls, trolls, trolls
The F word is alive and well here.
Sculpture not far from the ship. If you look closely you can
see a reflection of the ship in the center mirrored panel.

Just me and my scooter exploring a city on our own was better than any preplanned tour I could have taken.

Tomorrow we are in Åndalsnes. See you then.