Cruising through Norway
Welcome back to Part 2 of our European holiday recount... you know the part I thought would be up last week and here we are a week later but whatever it's up and that's all that matters.
I will warn - this post is particularly photo heavy as it covers 4 major cities (and days) of our vacation, but more pictures = less words and I know as we get near the end of the week, that might actually be a welcome change of pace.
Port of Call: Stavanger, Norway
Stavanger (which, trust me, you're pronouncing it wrong and I'm pretty sure I still am too), was such a lovely town in Norway. Lined with cobblestone streets, white buildings, elaborate churches, and so much old meets new, Stavanger was simply lovely. There was so much to see, but this seemed to be the hardest city for us on our cruise. I'm not sure if it was because we didn't book an excursion so we felt a little lost without direction, or the serious jet lag and still reeling from Paris, but we ended up going back to the ship for a loooong afternoon nap. We did spend the morning walking around the shops a bit, chasing the boys around a pretty little common area, and took a tour of the Maritime museum.
Oh man. If that last one isn't the epitome of "This is what it's like to travel with toddlers" then I don't know what is.
After Stavanger, we were onto a lovely town called Alesund.
Port of Call: Alesund, Norway
Alesund was the smallest city we visited on our tour, but its quaintness didn't mean it lacked any Norwegian luster. It was such a beautiful little town with so much history. We got to see homes of Norwegians 600 years ago, learn about the fire in the early 1900s, and got some great souvenir shopping in. We also took a walk along the bay, where we saw some quintessential colorful buildings sitting along the water, and saw a 300 year old house that's still owned by the same family that built it. But maybe my favorite part was at the top of the lookout, where we saw what felt like the whole world. Our cruise ship looked like a tiny little toy boat, and we could see the water, the mountains, and just got to really take in the beauty of the country.
Our ship was supposed to make a stop in the third city, Geiranger, but it turned out that the winds through the fjords were too strong to safely dock the boat. So instead of getting off the boat to go on a boat tour through the fjords, we ended up taking a big boat through them, and it was just as lovely. Everyone flocked to Deck 10 for 2 hours to stand in awe. There's nothing quite so humbling as nature, and this sure didn't disappoint. The bright colors, the waterfalls that were just enormous, the beautiful water, and even a rainbow as we left. You'll see in one of the photos below another cruise ship in the distance. I love that photo, not because I love cruise ships (I mean... I do...) but because it shows the real scale of just how enormous these mountains are, just sitting in the ocean. What truly amazed be is every so often, we'd come across homes on these mountainsides. Though I'm envious of the view, I can't say the drop off would make it worth it. To each their own, I guess, I but I did love going through Geirangerfjord. It was simply breathtaking.
Port of Call: Bergen, Norway
Bergen was SO stinking cool. It was the perfect combination of Historic Norway and trendy big city. The colorful buildings were to die for, and there was so much to do and so much to see that we couldn't possibly even make a real dent in one day. We decided to not go on a guided tour in Bergen and instead just did a little walking. We ended up getting caught in a big spout of run, which was kind of funny. While all the tourists hid under eaves and rushed to get ponchos and umbrellas from the gift shop, our little family of four just lifted our hoods and kept walking with the natives. Seems living in Seattle has made us un-phased by the rain and we came prepared with rain jackets and rain boots. It was a lovely little walk in the rain down one of the main roads by the bay, before we stopped in for a yummy lunch. I got one of the best Danishes of my LIFE while in Bergen and my flat white was so good I almost cried. It's colorful cityscape is right in line with the rest of Norway's cities, but there was just something so fun and lively about the atmosphere in Bergen that really made it stand out to me. I'll definitely be going back for a longer stay here to absorb more of that this beautiful city has to offer.
If you can't tell, Norway is BEAUTIFUL. Like - oh my goodness beautiful. There's so much history, the people are all so friendly, and it's such an amazingly beautiful part of the world. We always said we wanted to travel the world, and we never thought that would happen with little kids. But when we started looking for a much needed vacation, and this one worked out for us, we decided to just take a leap of faith and make it happen and oh my goodness and I so glad we did. We got to see Norway, walk where the Vikings walked, meet new people and see new things. We saw a completely different corner of this big world, and somehow it made it seem a little less big.
And that's all the photo spam I have for you today, folks. Copenhagen and our Disney Magic experience will be on the blog tomorrow! Until then, adjø