Thursday, 7 May 2015

How to "Friluftsliv" in Norway!

On the (very) early morning of Thursday, many of us were already out on the decks to enjoy the fresh air and admire the 229 meter high Feigumfossen on the southern side of the Lusterfjord.
A very eventful and sportive day was awaiting us in Urnes/Luster and Balestrand. A day filled with outdoor activities in close contact with nature, which the Norwegians would describe as a Friluftsliv day (an "outdoorlife" day). This started with a Kayak Adventure in the morning and a (somewhat) a challenging walk up to the Stave church in Urnes.
This is Norway´s oldest and best preserved stave church which still stands in its original location that offers impressive views over the village and the Lustrafjord that surrounds it. Those who joined our excursion were welcomed inside the church for a "guided tour" and were allowed to take a few pictures. Guests could also have a look inside the visitors centre that is located nearby. The 5 snakes we saw last week on the little wall not far behind the church were hiding amongst the rocks to keep warm. The sun was not as present yesterday as the week before so they did not come out as much to warm up their bodies. Only a few of us have seen the female snake that the two males were fighting for last week.

Fram arrived in Balestrand in the afternoon and we soon started our tender operations to bring everyone on the pier where we served local cheese Gamelost (old cheese) for an hour. This was also the place where two of our excursions started: The Cultural Village Walk with the Cider House and the hike in Balestrand mountains. The village walk took guests to some of the beautiful villas that the artists built here and to the Kvikne Hotel, which is Norway´s largest wooden building.
The tour also went to St. Olav´s Church, which was completed in 1897 and is more or less a copy of the Norwegian Stave churches from the Viking age.
The hike up in the mountains was not as easy as our regular hiking excursions. The track up on Balestrand´s most painted Esefjellet mountains is for adventurous people who like a challenge and the breathtaking views from the top as a reward. The winding path in the forest and the physical challenge really made us experience the Friluftsliv!

The afternoon was also perfect for an other Kayak Adventure which really put the large cliffs next to the fjord into perspective. The way back was quite challenging as the wind and the currents had picked up and pushed us back the wrong way.
During the evening, Noel, Michael and Nestor from the galley entertained us in the Panorama Lounge with a show where they carved fruit, decorated cakes with marzipan and folded napkins in the shapes of flowers and swans!
An interesting ending to a very successful day. Remember everybody, go outdoors, breath the fresh air and challenge yourselves! Live a Friluftsliv life!