Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Day 9 of 35 - We Sailed into Nordfjord and anchored at Olden - Norway

Today our ship - the Queen Mary 2 - took us to the town of Olden - Norway. We sailed up a fiord until we hit the head of navigation - as far as the ship could go. Since the town of Olden is so small - we had to use our own shore ferry boats - taking about 100 people at a time into town. Once in town we chose a bus tour to take us to near the front edge of the Birkstal Glacier. It started to rain so the bus driver had to slide the convertible top closed. 

The water coming off the glacier is super clean. As the glacier scrapes along - it scratches off small pieces of granite - called silt. This forms a layer of mud on the bottom of the fiord about 60 feet deep. It gives the water a light turquoise hew. 

We got out in the rain to take a few pictures. Since it was foggy and overcast above - we chose not to go to the top of the fiord in a cable car. 

Later we returned to town to shop and tour. Olden had only about 700 residents. It is also a destination of campers - hikers - kayakers.

Norway is 75% Luthern Protestant - so we visited a church from the 1700s. 

Norway has their own currency - the Kroner or Crown. They are worth about a dime. So to figure out prices - you just divide the price tag by 10. So far in our trip - we have not used cash - we have not used an ATM machine. We use our Visa card or our iPhone on the scanner. It is simple and fast - there are no extra fees. the money comes straight out of your bank account. It was great on buses - subways - taxis - in London. Even at the theatre - they just scan my card. It immediately puts a receipt on my iPhone. 

As I am typing at 11pm local time - it is very light outside. It is easy to take pictures with no flash. Even though it is very cloudy - it is bright enough. 

This is the third night on the trip. We have been sleeping very well


From ou balcony 

Double decker bus with rollmop

Cemetery at Olden Church

10 pm - cruising down fiord to Atlantic

Even when raining - colors were vivid

Mercedes 4WD camper

Money shot of Birkstal Glacier

Olden School and grounds downtown

Campers are allow to park anywhere

Local clothing brand

We had a swim and hot tub. Air 57 Tub 99

Camper made of VW van

The sides of the fiord

Rapids next to hydro electric plant

Our ship anchored offshore

Old Olden Church

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Day 8 of 35 - Kristiansand - Norway


The Queen Mary 2 docked in Kristiansand 

Today we made our first stop in Norway. We were there from 8 am to noon. The temperatures were 58 to 61 - it was overcast and looked like rain - but it held up. Kristiansand is a nice city of about 120,000 people. Of course when you arrive on a Tuesday at 8 am - it is not busy. It has a big harbor - and a new dock for cruise ships. They have eliminated cars from the main downtown shopping streets. It is all low buildings - there are many old wooden homes with tile roofs - that have been maintained in excellent shape. We did some shopping because I forgot a bathing suit. 

We visited the cathedral at the downtown square. I never get over the pretty town centers in Europe. 

Noway is a country that has abundant hydro electric power - usually made by the waterfalls coming off the glaciers. 99% of their power is produced this way. For that reason - this place is full of electric cars. They do pay 19 cents a KWH for power - compared to the 12 cents per KWH I pay in Florida. The USA averages 16 cents per KWH. Compared to some other countries - this is a bargain. Denmark charges 51 cents per KWH!

We loved going into the town cathedral to see the beautiful finish but to also listen to the organ recital. They claim it is the largest organ in Europe with 4300 pipes. I did not count them. 

Kritiansand is on the North Sea. It is a center of their oil industry. We are now cruising north along the west coast of Norway - we are officially in the Atlantic Ocean now. It is 11 pm as I type this - but I can clearly see the coast about 20 miles away. We are up to 51 degrees north latitude now. 

Tonight - the entertainment was a 50s and 60s rock and roll show. I forgot my secret camera glasses at home - so I have no video to show you. 

Tomorrow - we will arrive at Olden - Norway. This town is deep inside a fiord. We will see glaciers and ride a cable car to the top of the fiord wall - 2000 feet above water level. 

Car chargers everywhere

Kristiansand Cathedral

This was a cattle trough - for waiting for
a restaurant table - heat and glass

Old wooden houses downtown

Note the ice dams on the roof

Shopping downtown - 
no cars - plenty of stores. 

Sky was overcast all day - 61 degrees. 

Monday, July 15, 2024

Day 7 of 35 - On the North Sea in the Queen Mary 2

Monday was a very quiet day on the ship. We are sailing on a calm North Sea toward Kristiansand - Norway. We will dock there Tuesday from 7 am to 12 noon. It is a city of about 120,000 people - along the southern coast of Norway. It is in the sunniest region of Norway. It was occupied by a troop of 800 Nazis in 1940 - without resistance.

Railroads that go north all over Norway - they terminate in this city. 

We plan to do a little shopping and see some historic sites. It is 58 degrees north latitude - way farther north than Tamaqua PA at 41 degrees. Its climate is influenced by being along the coast and also receiving warmer winds from the North Atlantic Gyre. 

We doubt we will see the Northern Lights in July. 

The Queen Mary 2. I am learning more about the ship every day. I am happy we did not spend 7 days crossing over from New York City to England. I think 7 days of nothing but sailing would not be my idea of fun. It is an opulent ship. They pride their tradition and service. A vast majority of the passengers are old Brits sailing just to get away from home. The medium is the message. The travel seems more important than the destination. These are just my opinions from my 24 hours on board. England has a history of being the naval power of the world. They can't seem to get over their ships being taken over by jets. It took us 7 hours to get to London - versus 7 days on the ship. 

We look forward to seeing Norway - the people - the history - the buildings - the stores - and the cars. After that our 3 weeks in Paris with the family and Olympics is our reason for traveling. 


I love the art work all over the ship

Lulu was lovely on dress up night. 

It looks like a big window - this is our balcony

Our balcony is mostly closed. This is because
the ship was designed to cross the cold North Atlantic.
It goes 35 mph - that generates cold breezes. 
This protects you a bit. 

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Day 6 of 35 - We Are on the Queen Mary to Norway

We had a nice train ride from London to Southampton. We boarded the Queen Mary 2. This is the port where the Titannic left for America. 

The ship is very nice. We carried our stuff to our room 6085. We had a quick lunch and now will explore the boat. 

The crow is old. There are very few kids. The ship is more staid than other ships we traveled on. This was designed for Atlantic crossings although it does other types of trip. It had just sailed in from New York City. It is a long slow trip with no stops. Someone on that trip said it was pretty boring and lots of cold and fog. Since we just finished a hot humid month in Florida - we hope we like the change. 

The ship's internet is suspect. The service seems slow and expensive. I have gave to wait until ports to post stuff.

ADDED NOTE LATER - I did splurge and buy the internet package - one device connection for 7 days - $168. We use our MacBook laptop. It is very fast - we can watch our TV from back home crystal clear - Netflix - Comcast - CNN - even our saved stuff on our DVR. The speed is about 40 gbps download. 5 gbps uploads. Nice.