Monday, 18 April 2011

Fjordland morning, garden day

If you announce the early-morning turn into a scenic passage the night before, you usually expect a handful of people to overcome the break-of-dawn laziness and step outside in the morning chill. Not so today: Well before seven the front deck was pretty busy, and a mesmerized crowd witnessed the entrance into the Lysefjord. And the reward was immanent, a clear, nordic sun greets us as we thrust into this steep-walled waterway. A little further down a famous cliff comes in sight: Peikestolen, or the Pulpit Rock, a flat rock table, some 600 meters above the water. Some are not contented by just lying flat on their belly to gaze down, but simply jump the cliff with fast-opening parachutes. Or not so fast opening; the number of lethal accidents is considerable. Luckily, nobody makes an attempt while we pass by, and the water lies smooth as a mirror.
After a beautiful morning cruise and our subsequent progress to Rosedalen, it is time now for some land excursion. FRAM goes to pier like an overgrown ferry in front of the little village, and so we do not even need our Polar Cirkel boats. Several excursions are competing against each other, most of them are close enough to be also walked to on your own accord. Take the Baronie, for example. This beautifully set garden surrounds the only chateau apart from the Royal Castle in Oslo, significantly smaller, ok, but featuring nice old trees that just start to show the first sprouts. After that we proceed to the famous Stone Garden, a really surprising complex, consisting of an old, water-driven sawmill and a truly magnificent array of rocks, carefully chosen, polished and set up in the pittoresque landscape, which itself is a nature-made zen garden of overgrown boulders and treetrunks. The final act of this sunny day is the old stone church, dating back to 1250, most probably built by an english mason, showing the good trade relations between western Norway and England/Scotland. The sun sets in shades of yellow and turquoise while everybody is enjoying a post-dinner drink in the observation lounge, basking in the memories of another great day.