Saturday, July 9, 2016

Disembarkation Day - Kiel - Hamburg - London 21st May, 2016

Today was disembarkation day.  After dropping our hand luggage at the cloak room, we had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room.  Then met with Donna and Lena and waited for to disembark.  We had a transfer booked from Kiel to Hamburg Airport, usually about 1 hrs drive, however due to roadworks it took over 1 1/2hrs.  We arrived at Hamburg Airport about 1 pm and after saying goodbye to Donna and Lena (who are spending another night in Hamburg) we headed through security - which was an absolute nightmare !!1to the departure lounge to await our flight to London, at 4.55pm.

We arrived at Heathrow Airport at about 5.40pm and caught a Taxi to our apartment in Kensington.  Our apartment was not the original one we had booked - we received an email while on the cruise to say that the location had been changed due to renovations !! The apartment was not great - the air conditioning wasn't working, which meant we had to leave the window open, which meant it was very noisy, and the apartment was smaller than we had booked.  After making a complaint, the staff at the Apartment were very helpful, and advised that they would move us to a larger apartment towards to back of the building, while were out and about tomorrow.

At Sea - Friday 20th May, 2016

Today we had breakfast in the dining room, then headed back to our cabin to make a start on packing our bags.  Bags need to be packed and ready to be collected by midnight tonight,

We had dinner with Gillian and Charles and then the 4 of us met Donna and Lena for goodbye drinks in the Tucano Lounge the then went to the Final Show of the Cruise


Stavanger Thursday 19th May, 2016

The ship had docked by the time we opened the balcony curtains today.  Stavanger at first glance was very different to the ports in Norway, in that is appeared very commercial.  We were later to find out that this is the port that supplied all of Norway's offshore North Sea Oil ventures.

 However, the photos below show the view from the ship.  Theses houses are the original houses from when Stavanger was a simple fishing village.  Our organised tour today didn't meet until 11.30, so we had time for breakfast in the dining room, with Lena and Donna.

The tour was of the Lysefjord, which is 42 ilm long It was informative and scenic, but really didn't have the wow factor of the other fjords.  We sailed for approximately 1 hr before reaching the fjord. We passed ships that supply the oil rigs, as well as Salmon in the middle of fjord

We sailed until we came to Hengjane Waterfall, where the pure fresh mountain water plummets 400 meters to the fjord. It was quite was spectacular !!!

We then turned and headed back, on the way stopping at Preikestolen, which translates to Pulpit Rock, in English.  Apparently,  it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Norway.  The top of the cliff is 25 by 25 meters, square and almost flat and the cliff is 604 meters above the fjord


On our return to Stavanger after the excursion we wandered through the little market and made out way to Starbucks for Hot Chocolate or Coffee and cake, and made good use of the free wifi for a little while before boarding the ship the get ready for the the final Gala night of the cruise.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Flaam Norway - Wednesday 18th May, 2016

This morning we arrived in Flaam, at around 8.00am.  Flaam is a small village in South Western Norway, located at the end of the Aurlandsfjord, itself a side arm of Norway's longest fjord, The Sognefjord, which is over 200 klms.

Our first thought when we saw the village from our balcony of the ship was that it looked like something you would see in a Miniature Village
 The picturesque village lies at the bottom of of the Flamsdalen Valley, nestled between dramatic mountains.

After a short walk from the ship to the railway, we boarded the Flamsbahn Train.  This railway is the steepest railway in the world.  It runs from sea level to Myrdal, which is 867 meters above seal level, on the Oslo-Bergen line. The scenery on the way up the mountain was spectacular. Beautiful valleys and amazing waterfalls.

The train made a photostop at the Kjosfossen Waterfall, where there was a mythical dancer.

As the Flam Line is a single track, at one stage we stopped and waited for the train going down the mountain to pass.
The train continued on to Myrdal, where we changed trains.  The scenery from Myrdal to Voss had huge amounts of snow, more than I have ever seen, and the houses that could be seen were summer houses and can only be reached by hiking.

 On arrival at Voss, located on Lake Vangvatnet, we enjoyed a lovely buffet lunch at a local hotel, followed by some time explore


Our trip down the mountain was by bus. The road had many sharp hairpin bends, as well as some stunning scenery as the bus made its way down the Naeroy Valley.

The bus made a stop at the Tvindefosses Waterfalls, a twin cascade of waterfalls, truly spectacular  


The bus continued down the mountain, passing through a tunnel that was 11 klms long and then a 2nd that was about 5 klms long, after which we arrived at the post of Flaam after a day of amazing scenery.

The ship departed Flaam at about 5.30pm and again the scenery as we left the fjord was amazing. We sailed until approximately 10.30 before leaving the fjord, and were again lucky tone witness to a beautiful sunset, even if it was at 10.30pm.

Just before heading to bed, we spotted this in the water !!!!