While we’d approached Bergen under grey cloud our cruise along Geirangerfjord past Hellesylt towards Geiranger itself was under blue sky and bright sunshine, although with the rock faces of the fjord being as close to the cruise ship as they were for most of the serene and impressive voyage we had plenty of shade over the decks and balconies of the Crown Princess. Despite having a balcony I persuaded my wife to spend some of the time on deck as I didn’t want to miss what was happening on the other side of the ship to us.
We had an excursion booked – a hike, including the chance to walk behind a waterfall – which was listed as a strenuous activity in the Princess Cruises excursions guide. We’re not fit people at all but we figured we knew that the average person on a cruise ship would be probably older and about as unfit as us so how strenuous could strenuous really be we asked ourselves. As we sat in the theatre waiting to disembark with our group we became aware that everyone else was younger than we’d realised, leaner than us, wearing more hiking-related gear than us. We started to get worried but shrugged it off as at least a couple of other people of similar age and stature turned up and shared raised eyebrows with us. We would do our best.
We took the tender boat from the cruise ship to shore giving us lovely views of the Crown Princess and the Celebrity Eclipse which was also visiting the Norwegian fjords at the same time.
A coach took us part of the way up one of the steep hills and mountains that surrounding Geiranger before we all got out and started ascending with our two guides. It wasn’t long before we realised it was more strenuous than we were hoping and a lot warmer than expected and we started to lag behind the others. There were a number of rests along the way, partly for everyone’s sake and partly to allow those of us at the back to catch up but, importantly, we didn’t give up, unlike some other people who did eventually turn around. We may have been the last to arrive at the highest point we were supposed to hit but we made it and, since there was another group behind the waterfall at the time, we didn’t hold anyone up. And my wife didn’t kill me when I asked if she was okay twenty times on the climb. But I’m glad her eyes weren’t armed.
The views of the fjord on the hike were stunning and I managed to get plenty of good pictures of Geiranger’s wonderful landscape. Taking photos also helps to give you a short rest but that’s only 95% of the reason why I did it.
After a small wait for another group of hikers to vacate the location, for us to get our breathing back to normal, and return to something approaching a sensible temperature we made our way behind the waterfall we’d hiked up the fjord landscape to see.
After the short visit to the waterfall we made our way back down some of the route we’d already hiked and headed towards Westeras Farm. This gave us the opportunity to have a snack and, more importantly, take on some liquid refreshment to combat the exertion and surprising heat of the day.
We made our way from Westeras Farm back to our coach and took the short drive back down to where the tender boats were coming ashore.
The Crown Princess made its way out of Geraingerfjord the same way it had come in which allowed us to stay in our cabin and on the balcony this time around as we’d seen both sides of the fjord during the morning’s approach. With still mostly clear skies we were once again still in the shade for most of the slow cruise out due to the proximity of the rock walls again.
For the cruise out of the fjord between Geiranger and Hellesylt our cabin was on the correct side to see the Seven Sisters Waterfall.