Tuesday 19 April 2011

Apples and Ice

First of all a word of explanation: This is the Norwegian Coast Cruise, meaning fjords all over the place. A fjord is a steep cut in the shoreline, which makes it nigh impossible to get a satellite signal in or out. Hence a few hiccups with the transmission of the blog contents, especially pictures. So, if the blog is not always up at the expected moment, you know why…
Apart from that, the trip could not be nicer:  Just before sunrise we dropped anchor at the very end of Ulvik fjord, the 1100-soul village of Ulvik welcoming us with the maire and the tourist manager. Although there was fresh snow on the mountaintops, the air was surprisingly mild, so the Polar Cirkel Boat shuttle (the first on this trip!) was not a chilly thing to do.
Whereas many decided to take an early-morning stroll in the clean air, some went on the "Juice and Cider" excursion, which led us up in the hills above Ulvik and to a very, very cosy place, whose owner proudly showed us around. It seems a logic step ahead, in a place that produces copious amounts of apples per year, to enrich the common apple juice production with the first apple cider and apple brandy factory in Norway. So he build a shine distillery and is ready for business. If it weren't only for the strict Norwegian regulations which inhibit the liberty of sales considerably. But he's working on it, and we are contented with just buying - juice.
Just a bunnyhop away is Eidfjord, slightly bigger city close to Eid lake. From here we have several options bringing us into the breathtaking scenery of the Hardangervidda, big mountain plateau, crowned by the Hardangerjøkul, the glacier which had already served polar pioneers like Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott as training ground for their equipment. So we experience deep glistening snow, as if we were in Antarctica. The snow fox, however, is part of the Exhibition in the Eidfjord Nature Centre which we visited earlier. Highlight of the day was certainly the Vøringsfossen, a 182m waterfall that roars into the valley. So, we were definitely a bunch of happy campers.

On board, we continued to bring Norwegian traditions to life by preparing "Krotekaker" a sweet, crêpe-like pancake. One of the hallmarks of old Norwegian handicraft is the art of embroidery, expertedly taught by our expedition leader Karin herself.