What do you think? You live in a small – tiny – itty-bitty town in Norway called Geiranger. You know everyone in town, with the population being 250. Not 250 thousand. Just 250. Cruise ships bring in almost half a million passengers during the four-month tourist season. Others arrive by car and bus. Our single cruise ship disgorged 3,000 passengers alone, just in the morning hours. They boarded buses, vans, taxis, boats, and bicycles, and rented regular cars and tiny electric two-passenger cars. The buses and vans took people to the viewpoints high in the mountains. The boats, of every description, took people on scenic cruises. And hundreds of tourists just walked around town. Then they were all gone by 5:00 pm. How do you handle all these people without losing your mind??? Geiranger does handle them, admirably. You live here in quiet peace for eight months out of the year and then work hard for four months to earn enough money to take it easy for eight months. Would you do it?
Geiranger sits at the head of a fjord, but since you travel from the Atlantic to reach the town, it feels more like it sits at the end of the fjord. When you disembark the cruise ship, you look back and realize that the cruise ship is huge. When you reach the top of one of the mountains and look at the scene below, the ship is just dwarfed by the dramatic, steep mountains. For cruise passengers, Geiranger is different because there is no dock for cruise ships, but (thankfully) you also don’t have to use tender boats to get to shore. Instead, the town comes to you with its Seawalk, a three-segment articulated floating pier. The walkway is almost 800 feet long and sits on 10 pontoons. It moves like a floatable jetwalk and can accommodate 4,000 passengers per hour disembarking the ship. There is a photo below.
We walked up what felt like 5,000 steps to get to the top of the Fossevandring, the waterfall that flows through the town and into the bay. It was a good workout! The water was very powerful at times, and when we reached “the top,” we realized that it continued much higher up another mountain. There were also waterfalls just running down the mountains that surround/make up the fjord. Its beauty was almost too much to take in. It had been raining early in the morning, but the sun came out while we were walking, and the sun changed the view completely. Rather than looking ominous, the mountains became radiant.
At the end of the day, leaving the fjord, we watched as nature unfolded before us, like a long movie that doesn’t repeat and doesn’t end. Waterfall after waterfall appeared and splashed into the fjord. The sun played hide-and-seek in the mountains, occasionally revealing itself. It was mesmerizing, and…free. We saw the famous Seven Sisters Waterfall, but it looked like eight streams rather than seven. It was all just fabulous to watch as we slowly sailed by. And, of course, a boat or ship is the only way to see what is buried deep in the fjord.
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