19 Aug 2019

Haugesund, Norway 2019

Guest Blogger - Allyn Shulman
Today was exhilarating!!
It’s caviar Sunday on the Regent Seven Seas Explorer. Usually this means waking up leisurely for champagne, caviar and other yummy treats on this gorgeous ship.  However, eight adventurous souls woke up about 7:00 AM to venture out in the morning chill in Haugesund, Norway for an early RIB tour knowing full well that we would get soaked! 
A RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) is a lightweight, high-performance and high-capacity unsinkable small boat designed to speed upon the sea but small enough to get in places unreachable by a big boat.  I immediately befriended Robin, sitting next to me. We promised to save one another’s life if need be.
The freezing water splashing all over, the flowers growing on rocks, the lighthouse built in 1892, and the Island only accessible by boat, were only a few of the delights that added to our excitement!
The cold crisp water of the Norwegian fjords provides perfect conditions for fish farming. That combined with strict Norwegian aquaculture law makes for a safer fish environment all the way around. This salmon farm is only filled to 10% capacity leaving plenty of room for the fish to swim.  Salmon is exported from Norway to 140 countries.
After our RIB adventure, I was happy to learn it was Haugesund Harbor Day, a yearly tradition since 1990 with a focus on the local traditions of the Haugesund harbor.
This kind gentleman, Thor Jansen, gave me a lovely handmade keychain.
In the stalls on the quayside, participating exhibitors displayed their wares including local food (best waffles in the world!), local crafts, knot tying lessons and unusual fish displays. The boats along the harbor were all decorated making this another fabulous travel day.
The girls wore their feline attire tonight to commence birthday celebrations for Yana. (Note from Barry: I have no clue what the correlation is, but they had a blast.)

18 Aug 2019

Flam, Norway 2019

We woke up in Flam with a cloud strip right in front of us when we opened the curtains.
The town itself is quite cute.
The highlight was a 50 minute ride on the train for 12.6 miles rising almost 3,000 feet. The low land farms and panoramas were so lovely.
The closeup waterfalls were the best. Can you see see the troll lady half way up on the right of the waterfall?
 Allyn snagged a shot of her again on the way back down - this time in the woods.
Even the view from dinner as we left was wonderful.

17 Aug 2019

Geirangerfjord, Norway 2019

The Geirangerfjord is the epitome of an awesome Norwegian fjord. It is the most famous for sure. The captain did two 360s at the famous Seven Sisters waterfall so that all cabins could have a nice view.

Many people hopped off the ship at 7:30 AM to take the beautiful 7 hour tour winding around the mountains. We stayed on and watched our own two hour tour right from our balcony in the front of the ship.

These photos are courtesy of Yana Cabell who took the land tour. The houses have lawns on their roofs. This creates wonderful insulation and a lasting roof at a low cost.



16 Aug 2019

Alesund, Norway and Giske Island 2019

Alesund is one of Norway's most beautiful cities due to its Art Nouveau architecture. Like the rest of the country the panoramas are exquisite also.
Driving to Giske Island had a unique tunnel in that there was only one lane. There were several places along the way to pullover so that traffic in both directions can use the road. One direction always has the right of way.
There is a particularly interesting 12th century white marble church in Giske. Nobody knows where the marble came from (other than by boat). These days the marble is only visible in a few places - all on the outside.
Even the view from the church is pretty.
The Alnes Lighthouse was pretty. The viewpoint from the lighthouse was prettier.
Mt Aksia had yet another gorgeous view.

12 Aug 2019

Harstad, Norway 2019

Harstad is our northernmost stop this cruise. We crossed the Arctic Circle yesterday and still headed north.

Did you know that not all maps have the USA in the middle?
You can see what a beautiful day we had - no rain or wind and temperature in the mid sixties - and that is typical for this time of year.
Global warming factoid - It isn't happening this week, but if the Arctic ice cap melted it would raise the sea level around the world 20 feet.
These type ports are just fun for walking around. We did no touring today.
This area is one of the great spots to watch the Northern lights (Aurora borealis) because there is no pollution - light or otherwise. Don't try tonight though. The darkest they get now is some type of twilight. A month ago it was 24/7 daylight.
I think this thing is supposed to be some kind of art.
Dinner tonight was at yet another restaurant onboard, Setti Mare. It is particularly nice because they actually convert the nice breakfast/lunch buffet to a lovely Italian restaurant in the evenings. We are returning tomorrow.