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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 20-Mar-14 10:12:59

Have scooter, will travel...

Think you're not sprightly enough for an adventure? Think again. Read the story of Galen's cruise around Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and prepare to change your mind...


Have scooter, will travel...

Posted on: Thu 20-Mar-14 10:12:59


Lead photo

Glaciers in Norway

Ok! You're no spring chicken and you need a few aids to keep you going. But DO NOT BE DETERRED.

It is really quite easy. Work out what help you need in the way of equipment etc. Ask your shipping line what help and equipment they will provide and what you can bring on board. And then:

Book! Go! Enjoy!

At Southampton I unpacked in my enormous cabin equipped with a well appointed wet room and wheelchair accessible balcony. We enjoyed a leisurely cruise down the Channel and up a remarkably calm North Sea to our first port of call which was Stavenger. It's a very pretty port with many of the old port side warehouses still preserved, although converted into shops, offices, restaurants etc. Many of them are painted in the colours that vary as to purpose, with white reserved for residential houses.

Bergen was next on the list. The fish market is a must to visit, with all types of fish on sale to see and many places in which to sample them. The cleanliness and freshness of the town has to be seen to be believed! No graffiti or litter anywhere. The Norwegians love flowers and everywhere colourful blooms could be seen. Most of the older and many of the more modern houses in Norway are built in wood and a lot of the older houses in the countryside still have grass roofs on which traditionally the farmers used to graze a goat or two. I saw the turf roofs, but no goats!

Next stop Olden. I woke in the morning as we were gliding majestically down a glassy fjord, with the sun just appearing over the snow and ice topped mountains. After breakfast, eaten on my balcony in the sunshine, I boarded the coach for the "leisurely" tour down the fjord and back up past the lake. How can I describe it? I can't! Words fail me! The mountains sweeping down to the water, the white of the glaciers and ice fields reflecting in the water below. The wild flowers on the slopes leading down to the road were beautiful. Fields of Lily of the Valley fragrant beneath the greens of the birch and spruce. Wood anemones, pink campion, clover, cow parsley, buttercups and many others, all redolent with perfume and the hum of the bees in the sun.

I boarded the coach for the "leisurely" tour down the fjord and back up past the lake. How can I describe it? I can't! Words fail me! The mountains sweeping down to the water, the white of the glaciers and ice fields reflecting in the water below.

On return to the vessel a marvellous meal awaited, served by smiling waiters who seemed delighted to serve you and could not be more helpful.

After that, Alesunde and then a day spent at sea. It was made memorable by both the lifts that serve the grills restaurants and lounge being out of action for several hours, thus leaving the less agile of us stranded! However there must be worse places to be stranded other than in a well stocked bar next to the restaurant with all the attending staff!

Iceland was decidedly chillier than Norway and extra layers were a necessity. I had booked a leisurely tour of the town with a visit to a waterfall into which, legend says, the pagan idols were thrown on the adoption of Christianity - thus named Godafoss Falls. They were quite dramatic with large boulders in the stream bed, which as everyone knows, are trolls which have been caught out in daylight and therefore turned to stone!

Istjefjord was a tender port and as they can't lift my luggie (scooter) on board I was ship bound. But the following day we berthed at Reykjavik and I boarded my coach for a visit to the Blue Lagoon. The day was icy cold with a bitter wind and slight drizzle. At the lagoon you all have to strip and shower naked before bathing. The sight of many middle aged and more senior ladies trying to retain their modesty was...well, I'll leave it to your imagination!

The lagoon itself was heaven, the waters luxuriously warm and silky feeling. The colour is an opaque milky azure and the steam drifting across the surface made it seem slightly surreal. The mud is said to have therapeutic properties and everyone was plastering themselves with tons of it, in hope of instant rejuvenation (it didn't work on me, but my skin did feel silkier)!
On return to the ship the panic was on for manicure, hairdo, makeup and on with my silver sequin dress for a formal dinner.

In Toshavn in the Faroe Islands I went on a tour again. It started in mist but it gradually lifted and we were able to see the valleys with their countless multicoloured sheep. Once again the wild flowers were lovely. I even saw some orchids. We saw many houses with turf roofs. The main difference between these and the Norwegian versions were their lawn mowers. In Norway they're goats, in the Faroes, sheep!

I found that my luggie gave me much more freedom than even I had expected. All the coach drivers seemed very happy to load and unload it at stops for me. The waiters almost fought with each other to bring it to my table at the end of the meal.

I gather that Cunard have now decided that luggie owners can occupy ordinary cabins as it is narrow enough to pass through normal cabin doors.

So all I can say is book. Go and enjoy!

By Galen

Twitter: @Gransnet

Aka Thu 20-Mar-14 10:47:56

Respect Galen. Your blog has given me itchy feet smile

glammanana Thu 20-Mar-14 12:57:30

Galen your discription is breath taking.

Galen Thu 20-Mar-14 16:49:06

Thanks both of you!

janeainsworth Thu 20-Mar-14 16:54:07

What a lovely description Galen, what time of year did you go? I would love to see all the flowers!

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 20-Mar-14 16:56:53

Yes, the flowers sounded lovely.

Galen Thu 20-Mar-14 17:00:21

The flowers were absolutely gorgeous. It was about June I think. It was Queen Victorias maiden cruise to Iceland and her female captain was a native Icelander.
I'll try to download some of the flower pictures on the picture site

annodomini Thu 20-Mar-14 17:31:13

Wonderful description, Galen. You make me want to go and book this cruise immediately!

dustyangel Thu 20-Mar-14 18:09:05

Enjoyed your blog Galen. I've always wanted to visit Iceland. My Dad used to talk about his posting there during the war. It made me want to go and see the hot geysers. We had reindeer skin rugs from there that fascinated me as a child.

DebnCreme Thu 20-Mar-14 18:11:55

Sounds amazing Galen. I was ready to pack my bags until I read about preparations for the lagoon. May have to give that part of the adventure a miss. I have too much modesty to retain smile

grannyactivist Thu 20-Mar-14 18:41:19

Aw - I want to be in Norway RIGHT NOW!!! [stamps feet] I can almost taste the crabs legs from the Fish Market in Bergen and remember sitting at one of the open air cafes on the quay in Stavanger after dragging our children round the Oil Museum there.
I never got quite as far as Alesund, but maybe next year we'll take a cruise up to North Norway and visit the Lofoten Islands. envy

Galen Thu 20-Mar-14 18:55:00

Next trip is up the Baltic to St Petersburg in June. I have the same cabin as last time, (unless I get a free upgrade to Queens Grill)

ffinnochio Thu 20-Mar-14 19:00:36

Great blog, Galen You certainly deserve an upgrade! sunshine

penguinpaperback Thu 20-Mar-14 19:16:52

I enjoyed reading of your travels. Ever since I read Sarah Moss, The Names of the Sea I've been thinking of Iceland. smile

Galen Thu 20-Mar-14 19:19:07

Got an upgrade last time. Meant I had a butler and 2 bottles of free vodka!

bikergran Fri 21-Mar-14 13:15:03

wow! smile you go girl smile

rosequartz Sat 22-Mar-14 16:33:38

What a wonderful descriptive blog of your cruise - I felt as if I was there! It's somewhere I've always wanted to visit, so perhaps ..

You definitely deserve an upgrade on your next cruise.

Grannyknot Sat 22-Mar-14 17:14:37

Great blog, Galen. I wouldn't know what do to with 2 butlers - or the vodka! Are the butlers 'on call' or do they hang around?

I've got a friend who goes on cruises (her and her husband) and in readiness for the next cruise she always goes on a shopping spree and has all these fantastic outfits spread out on the bed in her spare room - still with the tags on, ready to pack. I can only but stare in wonder smile

Galen Sat 22-Mar-14 19:15:34

Mine will be all spread out to see if they still fit (which I suspect they won't)

Galen Sat 22-Mar-14 19:17:43

Did anybody hear me on silver travel radio at 18.30 last night? I think it's repeated at 6 am on Wednesday if anyone is suffering from insomnia.

Charleygirl Sun 23-Mar-14 16:41:17

That was beautifully written Galen and so descriptive. I would keep the butler but anybody could have the vodka!

baubles Sun 23-Mar-14 16:46:37

It sounds as if you had a wonderful time Galen smile

Dragonfly1 Sun 23-Mar-14 17:05:52

Wish I had the courage to travel alone. Your blog almost persuades me.... It's been tweeted now, too; just seen the link on twitter.

Galen Sun 23-Mar-14 17:12:09

I don't do twitter. How do I find it?

MiceElf Sun 23-Mar-14 17:56:39

I sent you a tweet - you're on there!