Skip to navigation Skip to content
< Back to Saga Sapphire blog

26th May, 2015

Skjolden, Norway

So by the early hours all was quite again once we had come alongside the pier in Skjolden, a village right at the very head of the Sognefjord, and still there was just sufficient light to see the surrounding area.

By the time the folks were up and about in the morning the sun had long risen, the day was a little chilly, but bright and the wind just a whisper, perfect weather for touring. I was told later that on one tour passengers experienced snow drifts of over a meter, that was on the Sognefjell Mountain Pass, which is the highest mountain road in Norway and offers unrivalled views across Jotunheimen National Park. A complimentary shuttle bus took others into the village, while some went off to take a look at the oldest Stave church in existence. The church at Urnes is a UNESCO World Heritage site and apparently built around the year 1130. I, however, opted to take a brisk ten minute walk to the village and then onwards around the head of the fjord. It was extremely pretty, with that soft spring green showing in the trees and just the inkling of growth in the fruit bushes for which the area is well known.

Another cruise ship had arrived just before breakfast and their passengers were using a floating walkway to get ashore. A remarkable idea when a small port doesn’t have sufficient jetties. The ship was secured to a buoy forward and lines to the shore aft, then the walkway, which is hinged at the shore end, is ‘driven’ out and made fast by the gangway shell door.

The cloud thickened during the afternoon and by the time we came to sail there was a keen wind blowing down from the mountain top, right onto our starboard beam. Fortunately it was not so strong to prevent our departure, despite our Norwegian pilot shaking his head and wagging a finger in a ‘no can do’ fashion. Once we started to make way and head down the fjord, the wind disappeared, and we continued on for another eight hours before the ship reached the open sea. Great viewing from the comfort of Drawing Room, up above the bridge. Some, however, had had an overdose of scenery and were quite happy listening to the Simon and Garfunkel tribute band.

Captain Philip Rentell

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.