September 2013

Our next stop after Geiranger was Olden at the southern tip of the Nordfjorden in Norway. We woke to a scene of tranquility with mountains hemming us in as we were docked alongside the small town on perfectly flat water.

We had an excursion booked through Princess Cruises to take a boat ride on the Lovatnet Lake in order to visit the Kjenndal glacier. After going through the usual tour disembarkation shambles (we’d miss complaining about it if they sorted it out better) we boarded a coach for a short trip to where we would pick up the boat for our lake trip.

When we got on the boat I’d fully intended to sit up top if I could in order to get a good view all around and make taking photos and video a lot easier but this wasn’t to be the case. As it turned out this was probably a good thing as despite the calm-looking conditions there was quite a bit of spray once we’d got going and that coupled with the slight-but-chilly breeze left those on top of the boat shivering. My wife let me have a window seat inside which allowed me to get good views in relative warmth and dryness.

The colour of the lake was a stunning turquoise, the result of glacial ice melting. Our boat trip included plenty of history of the area – how partial mountain collapses in 1905 and 1936 sent tsunamis up to forty metres in height down the lake wiping out the towns of Bødal and Nesdal – as well as explanations of glaciers in general.

At the end of the Lovatnet lake we got off the boat and headed into Kjenndalstova, a café which provided a waffle buffet for us to tuck into; very nice as I recall.

After lunch we jumped back on the coach that had travelled around Lake Lovatnet while we cruised down it and made our way to Kjenndalsbreen, or the Kjenndal glacier. This was the first glacier either my wife or I had ever seen up close (we were limited as to how close we could actually get for safety reasons) and it was pretty impressive to see even if the timing of our visit made taking photographs of the icy wonder a little problematic; the sun had climbed above the glacier just behind it meaning we were looking directly into bright light reflecting off a cold, white surface. I did my best at metering for the huge contrast in dark rock and blinding glacial mass with a graduated density filter but the results of the photos were average.

Video of the Kjenndal glacier gives a better idea of the brightness and positioning of the sun that we had to contend with on our visit there.

We had one stop on our way back to the cruise ship and that was a photo opportunity near some traditional Norwegian houses in Kjenndalen. The houses were wooden grass roofs and looked in a lovely position with a great view out over the glacial lake we’d recently been down.

There were a few more photos of Olden and the landscape of Norway’s Nordfjorden as the Crown Princess left before we got ready for another evening on board ship.

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