Travel Journal 2016 Week 22: Scotland to Norway
An interesting history, the Lofoten islands were once taken over by the nazis and liberated by the allies. Upon liberation the stocks of fish oil collected by the nazis were destroyed. I was able to kayak here and saw the fish hanging on the shore line. A reminder of the long history of fishing in the islands. In amongst the islands we saw rock formations reminiscent of half dome in Yosemite.
Later in the day we went to a keyhole canyon in the ship. It was amazing to see the mountains rise feet from the ship on either side. The cliffs ascended to rocky peaks and snow covered mountains. We watched guillemots sit on the surface of the water.
(🛳Vega Island, Norway)
As always I failed to do my research before heading out on this cruise. Arriving in Vega Island I had no preconceived notions of the place. Onboard we learned it is home to many Eider Ducks, and even more interestingly has a culture built around their rearing.
The day started with a kayak tour where our group had the chance to kayak through crystal blue water. We ended in a tributary that changes with the tide. Afterwards we landed onshore just in time to see the presentation on the Eider Ducks. Here we learned just how much the people here value the ducks. The museum curator even says she goes out every morning and speaks to the ducks: “How are you today? Is there anything I can do for you today?”
June 3, 2016: Church and Canons
Trondheim was one of the busiest cities we visited. It is known for a large church known for St Olaf. After the city tour I ran into the blogger and the ornithologist, both were one of the few people on the ship close to my age (aka: not over 65). The blogger wanted to walk to an overlook and we all decided it was a good idea. We headed up the hill to a fort that overlooked the city. We made it back just in time to catch the bus back to the ship.
Another city stop had us getting a lovely city tour of Aalesund. The town had a severe fire years ago and rebuilt during the Art Deco period. As such the town is covered in some beautiful architecture. An island town as well the viewpoint from a nearby island looks down for a great view of the city.
Our first stop in Norway was in Bergen. The city was bustling. We did a quick city walking tour before taking a break then going up the funicular. I broke from the group and walked up to a church outside of the main area, on the way back I saw ‘Vhale’ sausage for sale.
When I arrived at the funicular I was a bit late, but I caught the funicular up with a few passengers. An older crowd they were convinced I worked on the ship. “You are the photographer” they insisted. I told them no, but one guy walked to me, pushed my beanie down so it nearly covered my eyes and said “It is you!”
The Shetland islands are a small community above Scotland with a significant amount of Norwegian history. The area doesn’t have that Scottish kilt feel and instead seems to subscribe to a modern attitude with a lil Viking in it. One the drive to Jarlshof we saw stunning blue beaches. Looking through the clear water the we could see seals swimming in the shallows.
One of the most amazing sites is Jarlshof a site with thousands of years of history. Unlike other places it is a shifting history. Each new group coming in and building upon the same site. The ancient stone walls live as a testament to a different age. An age where trees dominated and it was warm in these highly northern isles.
(🛳Fair Island, Scotland)
A famous style of knitting is found on Fair Isle. When the Orkney’s were closed the Expedition Leader had to think fast and got us into port at Fair Island. A small island with only about 60 people living there it lies alone between the Orkneys and Shetlands.
Arriving on the island I walked out to the community center where I got to see the island’s famous knitting. On the way I was entertained by a myriad of sheep. Near the boat I walked up to the bluff where the puffins were just flying in after a day on the high seas.