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Nordic Paradise: Volume VIII

KRISTIANSUND & BERGEN



KRISTIANSUND


Our penultimate stop south along the Norwegian coast was Kristiansund. A quiet, sleepy village bordered the port and upon looking out from the ship, the classic colourful Nordic cabins could be seen lining the nearby streets. The activities on offer in Kristiansund included guided town walks and hikes, and also a bus tour to the Atlantic Ocean Road.

Image: Part of the Atlantic Ocean Road, Kristiansund, Norway. 2022.


I opted for the latter, escorting several groups of guests to the Atlantic Ocean Road. It is famous for its length, reaching a maximum of approximately 8.3km, but perhaps has been made more famous recently due to featuring in the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die. It was really cool to see in person and actually serves as a very useful transport link between the islands of southern Norway.


Upon arriving back to the ship after the tour of the Atlantic Ocean Road, we were greeted with a simply stunning sunset which lit up the sky as it disappeared over the horizon at the stern of the ship. I watched it for a while, slowly setting behind the mountains. We didn’t see any cetaceans on our way to and from Kristiansund, but we saw a menagerie of birds, including more white-tailed sea eagles, a golden eagle, common eiders, and our classic herring gulls.


Image: Sun setting behind the ship in Kristiansund, Norway. 2022.



***



BERGEN


Our final port of call before sailing across the North Sea back to Dover was Bergen, and it did not disappoint! We had calm conditions during our morning deck watch and Marcus and I spotted 18 harbour porpoises swimming near to the ship as we approached Bergen. A pleasant surprise considering we hadn’t seen many cetaceans during our entire voyage.


Image: Beautiful scenery en route to Bergen, Norway. 2022.


Images: Harbour porpoises sighted portside of the ship. Photos taken by Marcus Bergström. Norway, 2022.


Image: Early morning deck watch as we sailed into Bergen. Photo taken by Marcus Bergström. Bergen, Norway, 2022.


Bergen was a pretty city, with colourful shops and boats dotted around the harbour. Apparently, it is the rainiest city in Europe, but it only rained once out of the three times we visited, so I consider that good odds! The Science Team always held a beach clean during our visits to Bergen, which guests were very enthusiastic about partaking in. It was a beautiful little spot that we returned to each time and it was really interesting to see how the scenery changed depending on the season. The first time I saw the beach, it was covered in snow and ice, and it proved quite difficult to even find any litter under the compact whiteness. But as we crept into March, the weather began to shift and we had some really warm sunny days, so much so that I didn’t even need a jacket in the end!

Image: Bergen beach clean number 1! Very snowy and icy here. Bergen, Norway, 2022.


One particular cove of this beach was unfortunately covered in litter. There were glass shards, needles, plastic bottles, food waste and fishing gear everywhere and it was quite difficult to grasp some of the tiny pieces of plastic. Despite this, the team worked incredibly hard to pick up as much rubbish as possible and were rewarded with a coffee break and power bars in the sunshine. Across the three trips, we collected over 150kg of litter from our Bergen beach cleans!

Image: Final Bergen beach clean with the Science Team and guests on board MS Maud. (You can see how much the weather changed in 6 weeks!) Bergen, Norway, 2022.


On my final trip to Bergen, I spontaneously joined the sunset hike up to Fløya viewpoint, along with over half the Expedition Team. Usually, the beach cleaners arrived back at the ship later and missed the hikers setting off, but luckily we were just in time, so I hopped out of my salopettes and into more comfortable hiking clothes. It was surprisingly warm and I didn’t need the additional layers that I had packed. The hike up to the viewpoint was lovely – it was quite a steady, gradual incline but was enough to tire you out a little bit! The reward at the summit was an incredible sunset which slowly sunk below the horizon, radiating a vibrant orange glow over the city. It was the perfect ending to my Norwegian adventure and anyone who knows me, knows I love a good sunset!

Images: Vivid orange sunset above Bergen. Norway, 2022.


Image: Sunset seen from Fløya, Bergen. Norway, 2022.

Image: Sun slowly setting beyond the horizon, overlooking the city of Bergen. Norway. 2022.


Image: Team Sunset Hike! The Expedition Team and guests from MS Maud at the Fløya viewpoint. Bergen, Norway. 2022.


The team hiked back down as the light started to fade and returned to Maud very satisfied (and a little bit hungry!). It had been a fantastic way to end the voyage and in turn, conclude my Norwegian adventure. I had the BEST time (understatement of the year) exploring new heights (the hikes in Reine, the Fjellheisen and Fløya) and new lows (mainly the icy floor when falling off the husky sled) and I have met some incredibly knowledgable and talented people who are specialists in their field. I've seen the most stunning scenery (Trollfjord, Nordfjord... pretty much all of Norway) and witnessed some beautiful sunsets! I've seen white-beaked dolphins, orca, a humpback whale, a minke whale and harbour porpoises, which was great considering it wasn't peak season for cetaceans! I'll certainly be coming back to explore more of Norway, it has a very special place in my heart. Thank you to everyone who made my time on board an absolute blast!

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