Panorama from the mountains above Longyearbyen.
Thursday morning we depart on a round the world trip with the kids. On the itinerary: Depart Sydney for Singapore; Bodø, Norway; Lofoten Islands (Moskenes to Tromsø), Norway; Longyearbyen (Svalbard/Spitsbergen), Norway; Hamburg, Germany; Charlotte, North Carolina; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; and San Francisco, California.
Come along and see what we are up to…
Here is what our organized chaos looks like right now. Not anywhere near organized, but moving in the right direction. I am coming down with some terrible sickness and I am struggling with clear thinking!
I am about four days behind doing Norway posts but I have to share our day on Monday. It was a long, tiring day but so much packed in.
Monday was one of those days that had grand vistas, glorious views and memorable experiences.
The day started off with this view:
Then a drive through the world’s longest tunnel, the The Lærdal Tunnel which is 24.5km long. It has three lighted cathedral/cave areas:
From here we crossed a fjord by ferry and then drove by some mirror-like fjords.
After more and more tunnels we made it to the glacier area.
We visited a Bøyabreen glacier. It has retreated so much that the terminal end is high up the mountainside now. There was still a large piece down at sea level that we managed, just, to walk to. We had to walk along a rocky shoreline and then cross a river (which we managed to get around on the way back). The river was very shallow here but was full of fine glacial silt. I went first….and nearly lost my shoes! Oops. Too wet and muddy, find another way. Once we got up to the glacier we clamoured up rocks to have a look and feel of the ice. It was a good learning experience for the kids.
After our little adventure I washed my shoes in the river and we were packing up we heard a rumbling noise. I heard it earlier and thought it was an airplane I couldn’t see. Then we saw it, the glacier high up on the mountain was calving, sending heaps of ice flowing down the mountainside. It was all very exciting.
We had been adventuring all day and we really needed to get to our hotel in Geiranger. There were a few viewpoints to see along the way, but Dalsnibba came highly recommended. It is a toll road and is 5km up the mountainside on switchbacks.
Here are a couple of the views from Dalsnibba looking down to the Geirangerfjord. Magnificent, majestic, these are two of the words to describe the view from up here. 1500m up above the valley. The kids played in snow and got dirty. It was so much fun. Of course my shoes were wet so I was standing up at this viewpoint with my summer shoes on. Brrrrr.
We finally arrived at Hotel Union which was a last minute change. We were booked into a hotel in Ålesund but realised it was going to be far too much driving for one day. Hotel Union sat up on the hill overlooking the Geirangerfjord which was fine by us. We had a beautiful buffet dinner and stopped to see the pool area before retreating to our room for the night. It was deserted and inviting so off we went to change. There was a kids area, a sauna, warm pool with crackling fire on one end and the best part was the outdoor heated pool. It was cold out there but jumping in the heated outdoor pool was heavenly. It was 10:00 before we all collapsed into bed for the night.
What a wonderful day! And more to come.