Wednesday June 1st, another 6am start to be ready to disembark at 0845 for our excursion to Olden for our longest tour of the holiday a full 7.5 hours (our other excursions had only been half days). We were looking forward to this as the shore excursion brochure describes the trip as:
‘Walk underneath a glacier and learn why they are blue in colour, on a spectacular visit to the unique Norwegian Glacier Museum, and lake Jolster. After lunch, discover the country’s natural beauty with a drive through the dramatic Utivik mountains’
Source – Princess Cruises
As we left the ship we were greeted by ‘Vikings’ for our daily ‘location’ photo on the gangway:
We boarded the coach and set off, feeling very sleepy. I tried to stay awake so I could listen to the guide but this quickly became impossible as she had barely anything to say about the area after the first few minutes, which was disappointing as so far our other tours had excellent commentary which had been very interesting, informative and descriptive.
After a couple of brief photo stops and several hours driving I had given up attempting to stay awake as there was very little to hear and the guide had already given herself the perfect ‘get out’ clause saying that there was ‘little point talking about the glaciers’ we were driving past as when we got to the museum it would ‘explain it all’ and if we still had any questions after the museum trip she could answer them on the return journey. To say we weren’t impressed so far was an understatement and we were beginning to wonder just how far away this ‘museum’ was, not to mention feeling thirsty and hungry as there had been no refreshment stop so far…
Next stop, close to Lake Jolster, and we discovered that the ‘Best Western’ hotel in this location would be where we would be having lunch later, on the return journey, after our museum visit, which was still some distance away! Finally we stopped at a small cafe, but unlike our other tours (all of which would have been near to finishing by this point) we weren’t given drinks and a snack, instead we were informed that if we wished to purchase a drink we could at this stop – erm, thanks, not! Back aboard to ‘finally’ get to the main event – the Glacier Museum.
By the time we reached the museum we had been traveling for approximately 4 hours and as we got off the coach we were informed we had just 1 hour to explore the museum, before being immediately jostled into the auditorium for a short film – 20 minutes long! The film did little to help one gain any knowledge about glaciers as it was not narrated, and simply followed a group of people as they crossed a glacier filled countryside. With only 40 minutes left to explore we skimmed through the museum to gain a brief overview of its contents before examining any exhibits properly, only to discover it was actually very limited in content. Furthermore, many of the exhibits were unrelated to Norway, with Icelandic volcanoes and glaciers being a prominent feature (If I wanted to know about Iceland’s features, I would visit Iceland!?) and one of the main exhibits was about ‘Otzi – the Ice Man’ who had been found in the Alps – relevant? NOT!!?? Then came the biggest disappointment of the day…
Recall the brochure had described ‘Walk underneath a Glacier…’ well this turned out to be a plastic reconstruction tucked at the back of the museum! The brochure description gave the impression it would be a real glacier as in addition to the description the tour was indicated as being ‘more strenuous’ which suggested we may have a short ‘hike’ to the glacier (our other tours had involved far more walking than this and had only being rated ‘moderate activity’ the lowest activity level) – the closest we got to a real glacier was when we stopped at the cafe!having barely had chance to look at anything properly (remember, we are geeks who spent far longer than other people examining exhibits at our previous locations) it was time to return to the coach to head back for lunch.
Credit where credit is due, lunch was very nice – but then when you’ve waited over 5 hours to eat/drink almost ‘anything’ would probably seem nice anyway… Lunch break was a longer stop than we had for the museum, so we had plenty of time to waste after eating. When we finally got back on the coach the guide asked if anyone had any questions, once the few there were had been answered rather than talking to us about the sights on the return journey we were treated to the playing of a CD of Norwegian music. Now, I don’t have a problem with the music per-say, but were we actually going to hear anything about Olden on this trip!? It would appear not… the music played uninterrupted for the remainder of the trip. To say we were ready to complain when we got back to the ship is an understatement! But first we needed more food and drink!!
After logging our complaint with the Shore Excursions desk. We headed to the Princess Theatre to unwind with the Comedy Show that was performing that night. It was a very welcome relief after what had been the worst day of our holiday!
We then went along in our ‘Cowboy’ shirts (and my naff ‘red’ sparkly cowboy hat, lol) for the ‘Country and Western Hoe Down Party’ in the Explorer’s Lounge, we’d missed most of it though as it had overlapped with the comedy show 😦 but we did get chance for another photo shoot (I left the silly hat out of the picture’s though! lol) 🙂
To finish the night we decided to relax and enjoy the Karaoke performances in the Explorers lounge. Now, considering how much I like to sing, I’ve never been much of a fan of singing on Karaoke in front of strangers… Still I decided to give it a go and put myself down to sing Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time after Time’. When it was my turn I was shaking like a leaf! I was so nervous the compere gave me a hug! and the nerves showed in my voice, which wasn’t up to it’s usual standards 😦 still I did it and everyone really enjoyed it (would have been so much better if I sang as well as I do in front of friends!) and the next day in addition to the lovely comments about my dress from the first formal, and my hair colours – which had been popular all week too, I had people complimenting me on my singing too! (despite the nerves and shaky voice! lol)
Time for bed, tomorrow would be our final stop on our journey round Norway – Bergen…
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