Most people go on holiday to relax, then there are people like me…
A 6am start to our third day, rushing around to get showered, dressed and fed before meeting our tour group at 0730 in the Princess Theatre to disembark and head off on a ‘Cruise along Lysefjord’. The Shore Excursion brochure describes the trip as follows:
‘Explore the majestic Lysefjord, considered one of the most beautiful fjords in all Norway, from the comfort of your watercraft. You’ll sail along its 35 miles into the countryside with forested mountains, dramatic cliffs and graceful waterfalls, view the ‘Pulpit’ rising more than 1,800 feet and enjoy some local refreshments’
(Source – Princess Cruises)
I have to say, the description is very accurate! It was a beautiful cruise. Starting at the docks within sight of the Petroleum museum in Stavanger, we headed East along Lysefjord with a pre-recorded narrative guide highlighting many of the most interesting sights along the way. From long abandoned farm settlements to the ‘vagabond’s cave’ (Fantahala) – where a group of vagabonds sought shelter whilst on the run from local police. We stopped at the Helleren Fjord Restaurant for drinks and delicious sweet waffles with jam – yummy! Two other brief stops along the way firstly to visit the goats and the bottom of pulpit rock, as the boat approaches the goats coming bounding down the mountain to greet the crew, who feed them –
Pulpit Rock is a massive cliff jutting out from the mountain with an almost flat, 25 metre square top popular with tourists who hike up to see the views of the fjord from 600 metres above (we didn’t get chance to go up being on the boat, maybe another time…). The highlight of the excursion for us though was tasting water caught fresh from a waterfall! I have never tasted water so pure – all those so-called ‘spring waters’ etc that they ‘bottle’ up for us are as poor as tap water in comparison to the clarity and purity of the water from the waterfall – and it was also beautiful to see!
The only thing that would have made this excursion better would have been if the narrative for the tour had been by an actual local guide rather than pre-recorded.
Back to the dock around midday we decided to explore the ‘Petroleum Museum’ before heading back to the Princess. The building itself stood out amongst the more traditional buildings in the area as a modern artistic representation of bedrock and ‘offshore installations’. The museum had a large collection of ‘drill bits’ used in drilling for oil, including the ‘largest drill bit in the world’ a huge 90cm diameter, 1700Kg! Models of vessels and installations and real vessels used in the offshore oil industry illustrate Norway’s maritime history and show how Stavanger became the ‘Petroleum Capital of Norway’. Just to demonstrate how geeky we are I need to point out, the museum is not that big – most people who went in the same time as we did had left within an hour… we were in there around 3 hours!! but it was very interesting honest! Outside other ‘parts’ from Oil-rigs featured as points of interest and some were also incorporated into a children’s play area! Pictured here is a section of walkway from a north sea oilrig which connected Norwegian and British bases together, the only joint venture ever in the North Sea.
Finally back aboard the Princess, after a meal in Horizon (again) we decided to go and view the photos we’d had taken the night before. We were greeted by many fellow passengers saying how wonderful my dress was (something I would keep getting lovely comments about all week!) and spent ages trying to decide which ones we liked best to buy, the task was made a little easier by the early realisation that we really didn’t like ‘any’ of the ‘ picture backdrops’ that had been used as they looked so ‘false’ even if we looked great! lol. So we went for images with black and dark blue backgrounds and the ‘real’ backgrounds of the ship locations. It took so long that by the time we got to the Princess Theatre to see the comedy show it was full! So we went up to watch ‘The Tourist’ in the movies under the stars, only to find we’d missed the start and it was still so bright on deck that you couldn’t see the screen properly! At this time of year Norway gets 20 hours per day of daylight – nice, but when you think they only get 4 hours of daylight in winter it makes you pleased for our more equally balanced amount of light in the UK, I for one couldn’t handle 20 hours of darkness per day for months on end! We gave up on The Tourist, it wasn’t making much sense, and we were getting tired, so we retired to our stateroom and snuggled up to watch a bit of ‘Little Fockers’ on the TV before yet another early start the following day…
- My First Cruise – Day 3 (showard76.wordpress.com)
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- My First Cruise – Day 2 (showard76.wordpress.com)
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- My First Cruise – Day 5 (showard76.wordpress.com)