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  • Day17

    Flåm: Lunch Time!

    July 21, 2019 in Norway ⋅ 🌧 55 °F

    After our hike in 2017, we had lunch at the Flåm Marina Terrace. It was a fairly rustic place ... at least that was our recollection. But it had three things going for it. Good food ... amazing views of Aurlandsfjorden ... and a location away from the hubbub around the train station, which is the heart of all of the tourist activities.

    The food, views, and location were just as good as we remembered when we went back to the restaurant for a late lunch today. The only difference? Improved facilities, with a glassed-in terrace that provided protection from the elements ... without hindering the amazing fjord views.

    We both ordered the perfectly grilled salmon. Mui got the locally-bottled apple juice … I ordered a local beer. A great meal ... and even the weather cooperated. The rain held off long enough so as not to veil our view of the fjord. In fact, it wasn’t until we were back on the ship that the wet stuff resumed falling.

    Next Up: Copenhagen, Denmark ... 508 NM away ... but first, a day at sea.
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  • Day17

    Flåm: Brekkefossen Hike

    July 21, 2019 in Norway ⋅ 🌧 55 °F

    The map we picked up from the visitor center at the train station gave the length of the Brekkefossen Hike as 1½ to 2 hours.

    Following the directions on the map, we headed out of town about 1 mile to get to the trailhead. This section was flat and followed a road through farmlands.

    Then, we walked through a gate and started going up, and up, and up. The trail, which consisted of stone steps in places and a dirt path in other places, was steep. And because there was a light drizzle most of the way up, it was muddy and slippery, too.

    Was the hike worth the effort. You betcha. Especially since the rain let up shortly after we arrived at the plateau overlooking The Valley, with Aurlandsfjorden in the distance.
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  • Day17

    Flåm: On the Way to Brekkefossen

    July 21, 2019 in Norway ⋅ 🌧 55 °F

    The most popular activity for people visiting Flåm is riding the Flåmsbana (Flåm Railway). We have yet to do that.

    When we called on Flåm in 2017, we hiked over to the Otternes Farm Open Air Museum. Our plan today was to do a bit of hiking again .... but this time to Brekkefossen (Break Waterfall). To get to the trailhead we had to walk a mile or so through rural areas, passing farms along the way.Read more

  • Day17

    Welcome to Flåm (Norway)

    July 21, 2019 in Norway ⋅ 🌧 57 °F

    Our 11th — and final — port-of-call ... Flåm, Norway ... which we first visited in 2017.

    Since we were sharing this port with the much larger MSC Preziosa, that ship was given the privilege of docking and Nautica got to tender her passengers ashore.

    By 10:30a, we were on land and ready to put our plans for the day into play.
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  • Day17

    Sailing up Aurlandsfjorden to Flåm

    July 21, 2019 in Norway ⋅ 🌧 55 °F

    Nautica was already sailing up the 127-mile long, UNESCO-listed Sognefjorden when we rolled out of bed to overcast skies and light rain. We bundled up and went for a wander around the outside decks to enjoy the scenery that makes the Norwegian fjords so amazing.

    Before long, we had turned into one of the tributaries of this fjord system — Aurlandsfjorden ... at the head of which the last port of call of this segment of our cruise was awaiting us.

    The “color of the day” was green ... in every possible shade one might imagine ... with pops of color from the buildings dotting the landscape. Low-lying clouds wreathing around the mountains and filling the valleys added a mystical ambiance.
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  • Day16

    Kristiansund: A Stroll in the City

    July 20, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    Returning from Grip, we still had time to stroll around Kristiansund. Since our time in Kristiansund was growing short, however, we limited our explorations to Kirkelandet, the island where Nautica was berthed.

    Together with Sonia & Boris, we wandered around with no set plan, finding ourselves climbing uphill to Kirkelandet Church and the nearby parks.

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    Since photo captions are character-limited, a brief explanation of two of the attached photos:

    “Clipfish Woman” Statue at the Piren Dock: Clipfish is typically salted cod. The statue honors the local women who at one time dried the fish on the rocks around the harbor.

    The manhole covers around Kristiansund reflect some of the symbols of the city ... Clipfish Woman; Sundbåten, the ferry connecting the four islands on which the city is situated; Kirkelandet Church; and the date of 1742, which refers to when King Christian VI allowed the place to become a town with the name Christiansund, later changed to the Norwegian spelling Kristiansund.
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  • Day16

    Kristiansund: A-Wander in Grip

    July 20, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Grip, which is located on Gripholmen, the largest of the 80+ islands and skerries, was first settled in the 9th century so that fishermen could be close to the best cod fishing grounds. For centuries, it was considered the smallest municipality in Norway. That changed in 1964 when the residents of the island were forced to relocate to the mainland because providing services to the small fishing community became prohibitively expensive.

    The idyllic island, with its colorful buildings, has a stark landscape, with little vegetation except for private gardens. Apparently, the fishermen stripped what vegetation there used to be so as to have plenty of rocks on which to air-dry their catch.

    We had about 1½ hours to wander around delightful Grip. The boat fare included a guided tour, which we took advantage of first, leaving us with about an hour to explore on our own before the boat’s whistle called us back for the return trip to Kristiansund.
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  • Day16

    Kristiansund: Grip Welcome Committee

    July 20, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 59 °F

    Our delightful day on Gripholmen began with an unexpected welcome committee.

    As the Grip Ruta boat approached the pier we were so entranced by the colorful buildings lining the shore that we almost didn’t see the kittiwakes nesting in the bumper tires. Had we been on the upper deck, we definitely would have missed them.

    In North America, these birds, which belong to the gull family, are known as black-legged kittiwakes to distinguish them from the red-legged species. In Europe, there is only the one species so no “color coding” is required.

    The best part of our kittiwake encounter? The birds — be they adults, fledglings, or chicks — were so used to the twice-daily arrival of the boat that they showed no fear of humans. Thus, they were excellent photography subjects as we slowly made our way from the lower deck to the upper deck to disembark the boat.
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  • Day16

    Kristiansund: Grip Ruta

    July 20, 2019 in Norway ⋅ ☁️ 59 °F

    Yes, we were lucky and managed to snag seats on the Hagbart Waage, the boat that takes visitors out to an archipelago of islands about 9 miles from Kristiansund.

    A glorious day of blue skies and sunshine, comfy temps, calm sea conditions, and seats on the lower aft deck. It all made for a very pleasing ride out to the largest island in the archipelago ... home to the deserted fishing village of Grip.Read more

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