Thursday 6 August Runde, Olden and Briksdal Glacier

We had a quiet afternoon at sea yesterday and had waffles at the Lido Café for afternoon tea. Sandy went to an illustrated presentation of “Glaciers and Ice Ages” by James Floyd, while Richard had a rest as he has a head cold.
This morning we woke at 5.00am to join some of the other keen passengers on Deck 6 Observation Area as we approached the island of Runde with its bird cliffs. During nesting season (February-August), more than 500,000 birds, from 80 species come to the island to nest.
We are here at the end of summer, so most of the birds have left but we did see some Gannets, Kittiwakes, Skewers, Guillemots (related to the Puffin) and Kestrels. We watched a Kestrel attacking a Gannet, bringing it down into the ocean and making it regurgitate its food.
As we travel further south, the sun is rising later, so this morning, although it was a bit overcast, we got to see a lovely sunrise just after 5.00am.
We continued our journey south and because we were out in the open sea without the shelter of the many islands, the ship was rolling a bit.
We sat out in the fresh air at the Lido Café to have our breakfast and enjoy the view when we entered the Nordfjord, which is 106 kilometres long. Nordfjord is said to be “the essence of Norwegian fjord country”, with many side fjords, waterfalls and lakes and villages dotted along the shoreline.
We thoroughly enjoyed sailing along the fjord with its absolutely stunning scenery. We passed many villages each with their own character – some had all red houses, others had coloured houses and others had houses that were perched precariously half-way up steep slopes against a background of emerald green fields and snow-capped mountains. We ate our lunch in the Lido Outdoor Café so that we wouldn’t miss anything and so that we could continue to take photos! Our words and photos will not be able to do justice to this awesome scenery.
We arrived in Olden, which is a 140 acre village that has a population of 498, and we disembarked at about 2.45pm for our excursion to Briksdal Glacier. We boarded three buses and were taken 45 minutes south of Olden, through the Olden Valley, past magnificent waterfalls and beautiful lakes, and through woodlands to the Brisksdalen Inn, where we left the coach.
We then walked for 45 minutes up through some steep winding pathways along the side of the river, which was being fed by all the waterfalls and was rushing noisily over rocks and gullies. Approximately half-way up we had to cross a bridge over the river where a waterfall was cascading beside the bridge, showering the area with a heavy mist, which soaked our shirts, but they both quickly dried in the sun and breeze as we continued on. The tourist operators used Troll Cars, which looked like open golf buggies, to transport people who either did not want to walk or were not capable of the trek up to the Glacier. The Troll Cars took them about 2/3 of the way up and they then had to walk the rest of the way, which was still quite steep in places. We climbed several hundred feet in elevation altogether, to the base of the Glacier – the view was certainly worth the climb and we were pleased that we had made it!! After taking lots of photos, we headed back down the path and decided that we would take one of the Troll Cars back down to the Inn because several gravel areas were very steep and slippery.
When we arrived at the Inn, we were served afternoon tea before boarding the buses for our return trip to Olden. On the way back, the clouds that had formed as the afternoon wore on, returned us to the overcast and light showers that we have become accustomed to in the last few days.
When we re-boarded the ship, we had showers and dressed for dinner where we, and the other people at our table, all agreed that we have had an absolutely awesome day sailing up the Nordfjord, with its stunning scenery and then visiting the Briksdal Glacier. Dinner seems to be 2.5 or 3 hour event, with the option of 5 courses and usually involves a lot of laughing and enjoying each others’ company. The Captain set sail just after 7.30pm to make the return trip back along the fjord and continue down the coast to enter the Sognefjord tomorrow.
Today’s stunning scenery in the Nordfjord with the sun shining is exactly what the two of us imagined that Norway would be like!!


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