Norway found the way into my heart. I’m in love with its frozen-in-time qualities and the magical beauty of its fjords. I had a feeling that this would be a pretty incredible journey. Cruising through deep fjords, lush and untamed valleys, and magnificent waterfalls was a stunning outdoor experience beyond my wildest dreams.
I have cruised with Azamara several times over the past two years. This Waterfalls and Fjords of Norway itinerary is a very special trip in my book. Each time I looked up during dinner or out my cabin window I would admire the scenery and grandeur of nature. We passed gorgeous sunsets, rugged coastlines, dramatic green snowcapped mountainsides, and endless waterfalls.
I am a huge nature lover and nothing compares to this experience. It was so memorable to check this off my bucket list, and what a bonus to cruise in unseasonably warm weather. It was such a blessing to soak in the warm sun while in the Arctic Circle.
In Norway, Geiranger is considered the shining star of the country’s fjord district. The surrounding natural beauty is jaw dropping. My photographs make my social media pages look like a storybook or the setting of a fairytale.
Chasing waterfalls is not typically considered good advice, except when traveling onboard the Azamara Quest. Not only did Captain Jose Vilarinho sail along the famous Seven Sisters Waterfall, he choreographed a ship pirouette so everyone could view this spectacular dance of nature from all angles. It was pretty incredible to see how in awe the guests were of this show.
During dinner one night I was seated with a guest named Syed, from Maui. Syed told me the Seven Sisters views were the highlight of his trip. He was so impressed by the Captain’s talent and desire to provide a memorable experience for everyone onboard. He’s already booked for a wine-focussed cruise in September 2017.
On a side note, the funny thing is, we counted six waterfalls, not seven. As explained to me, reasons for this include 1) a lower amount of snowmelt and rain for the year and 2) once upon a time there were different ways to say seven and sister in Norwegian and a permutation of the two stuck. No one really knows for sure, though.
Fun fact: Norway has the most waterfalls of any European country – more than 1,000!
The beautiful village of Flam proved to be a slice of paradise for me, and will suit anyone who is looking for a chance to drink in some of Mother Nature’s best work. It is situated at the inner end of the Aurlandsfjord, which is a tributary of the 4,300-foot deep, 127-mile long Sognefjord. Sognefjord is known as the Father of the Fjords; I’m sure that title has as much to do with its beauty as its size.
Norway’s oldest fjord almost dates back 65 million years when glaciers ruled Earth. Those ice behemoths very slowly (as in it-took-millions-of-years slowly) dug steep fjords into the landscape. This erosion explains why fjords are shallow at the mouth and can go as deep as 3,000 feet.
Add Lake Loen to your Norway bucket list. I have never seen such a gorgeous shade of emerald green … and it was the water! Lake Loen is located a few miles north of the village Olden. From a boat on the lake we could see Jostedalsbreen, Europe’s biggest glacier at around 300 square miles. It’s a completely different perspective and not to be missed. I could spend another week hiking this area with my camera.
From Stavanger, we visited Norway’s most known fjord, Lysefjord. Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) is on the north side and stands over 1,000 feet (550 meters) above sea level. It is completely flat on top, like a southwestern mesa.
Check out this short video I created to showcase a taste of this incredible country.
I hope you add Norway to your travel bucket list. I’ve loved each cruise I’ve taken with Azamara because of the exceptional service. This Norwegian adventure has carved a fjord-sized place in my heart and there it will stay. Forever.
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