Perfect Day In A Norwegian Village Far Up A Fjord

Day 112, Grand World Voyage

Tuesday, April 25, 2023; Eidfjord, Norway.

If your idea of Norway is a stunningly beautiful fjord, then Hardangerfjorden is for you. The 111-mile fjord is the fifth-longest in the world and the second-longest in Norway. But it is famous not for its length, but its beauty.

We entered the fjord overnight and by daybreak (well before 6 a.m. this far north), we were cruising right along surrounded by granite mountains with snow-topped peaks, glaciers and narrow waterfalls on both sides.

The village of Eidfjord is at the fork of the Hardanger and the Eid Fjord. It is (barely) the farthest north port of this world voyage, at 60°46’66” North. Our next port, Bergen, is at 60°39’43”. It was on Feb. 12 that we visited our most southern port – Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia, at 43 degrees south. It’s been quite a journey.

Eidfjord has a new cruise pier that makes going ashore a breeze, especially as the village is small and easily walkable – even for someone with a leg brace. And I was ready to go ashore. The ship offered a number of excursions that delved into the mountains, visiting the Vøringsfossen waterfall, a giant hydroelectric project and hotels offering waffles. At least one tour was altered because of the amount of snow and ice along its route.

We walked ashore mid-morning, past the large white Vøringsfossen hotel and the tourist information booth. Flags advertised cars for rent for the more adventurous, or you could ride the small tourist tram.

We shopped in a couple of nice stores, with puffy jackets, wool sweaters, lots of books and toys for children and other tourist items. Our only purchase came a few doors down at a café – pastries, coffee and (for Elaine), Norwegian hot chocolate.

After days of bitterly cold wind, we were finally well protected near the head of this twisty fjord, so we enjoyed sitting outside in the sun while drinking our coffee and eating our treats. The day was around 40 degrees and mainly cloudy, but occasionally the sun broke through. Once again, the forecasted rain didn’t materialize. I found I was warm enough in my fleece sweater with my lightweight puffy jacket over it. A hat purchased previously in Norway completed the look.

On our way back down the small hill, we stopped in the local grocery (one of two in town) to peruse the shelves. It’s always interesting to see what provisions are available. Elaine headed to the hotel to see if she could book a pedicure (no appointments left), while Eloise and I walked across a bridge over the Eio river. With spring on its way, the tourist tents were pitched for those who prefer to stay right on the river.

About 20 percent of Norway’s cars are electric vehicles, as are 80 percent of new car sales. So it was no surprise to see lots of EV charging stations in this small town.

I was surprised later in the day to see that I had walked a little more than 6,000 steps, or two miles. My knee held up well without the crutches.

Our evening sail-away lasted for hours as we retraced our way down the fjord, and Cruise & Travel Director Ian Page narrated much of it. Among the amazing features is the Hardanger Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Norway and the longest tunnel-to-tunnel suspension bridge in the world. In other words, the bridge ends at tunnels cut deep inside the mountains on either side.

There were many salmon fish farms along the fjord, as well as small farming communities. The area is known for its fruit trees.

Today is Anzac Day, a day of memory and gratitude for the Australians and New Zealanders who gave their lives in service to their countries, especially during World War I. The Lido featured Anzac biscuits, a cookie featuring rolled oats, so of course we had to partake in support of our Australian friends aboard. Had I never cruised to either country, I would have known virtually nothing about their histories.