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::: Nordstjernen :::

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    Here are our guides, and I could have hugged the pair of them for keeping track of time and of us all and for getting us to that viewpoint exactly then.

    They had been something of a dream team all day. I liked the way they amiably passed the microphone back and forth, talking in their respective languages in turn throughout the journey, but without a common script, each following their own inclination and interests and enthusiasms in an unforced and companionable manner. It was mentioned that such personal individual style was the way the bus guiding was encouraged in Ålesund, and this further endeared me to that place.

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      Nordstjernen had reached more ruffled waters at the head of the fjord. The ferry had just passed by, as well as a sightseeing boat, and the small craft circling around was no doubt the photographer who had followed us place to place over the last day or two. Then there were the comings and goings of Poesia’s tender boats.

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        By the time the bus had descended the zig zag route, Nordstjernen was clearly at anchor, but she was soon to move –at the request of the harbour authority or a non-too happy Poesia, depending on who’s version of events you believe.

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          Re: ::: Nordstjernen :::

          Originally posted by Seagull View Post


          The waters of the fjord, so often green in colour had turned to silvery-tinged grey, reflecting the increasingly hazy sky. Silky-smooth before her bow, her masts reflected in the water; behind her spread a fan of complex ripples.
          This is just pure magic!
          MS Lofoten April 2006, March 2012, Feb 2013. MS Polarlys Dec 2010. MS Fram Feb 2009, Sep 2011.
          Upcoming : MS Fram Dec 2013, MS Lofoten Sep 2014
          My travelblog : http://voyageterremer.blogspot.com. Hurtigruten, Antarctica, Svalbard, Norway (and other places...).

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            The tour bus had by this time taken us through the village and up to another roadside viewpoint. I hadn’t been there before, but the view was entrancingly familiar, being that of the original Geiranger webcam a decade ago. The angle of those webcam pictures place the camera somewhat to the right of where I stood to take this, possibly even as far round as the rocks on the right. I have spent so much time looking at that view through different times of day and though the seasons, watching the hurtigrute of the day and counting the cruise ships in summer. It was wonderful to be actually there.

            But in my delight at the view before me I did not think to record my immediate surroundings, those of Tourist Geiranger! For completeness I should have attempted to do so. Bus after bus lined the narrow stretch of road, disgorging crowds of excitable passengers, every one of whom, or so it seemed, must be photographed with different combinations of friends and the fjord in the background. They were of all ages and nationalities, on this or that touring holiday to judge from the notices in the bus windows, while others were from the cruise ship. I have not looked up how many passengers Poesia takes, but it certainly felt as if they were all there on that narrow strip of pavement right then! Folk jostled for position by the railings, shouting for their companions, whilst guides of buses about to depart anxiously called out names and searched for missing passengers.

            At least down by the pier and around the souvenir shop people are a little more spread out, but there was only one cruise ship and little Nordstjernen there that day, and I can only imagine what it must be like when there are three, four or more, and tours and day-trippers more numerous at the height of summer.

            But I am sentimental about Geiranger, and even up in the chaos of that layby-with-view it still drew me in.

            Perhaps that’s no surprise. I was brought up in a popular and brash holiday resort and have lived in two cities that attract tourist crowds. I’m simultaneously sociable and shy, close-up chatty and distance people-watching, and I also do alone and remote! I’d really like to stay over in Geiranger sometime, already be there as the wave of tourists engulfs the place, and remaining there when they depart.

            Here in a Hurtigruten context, there’s been talk –and indeed already an experiment –with alternative destinations in the fjords, with accompanying activities appropriate to Hurtigruten’s type of tourist. Nordstjernen’s final afternoon the following day will also have some bearing on these discussions.

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              Pleased with this grab-shot as the bus turned past the Union Hotel and the church, and I caught the ship in that narrow opening.

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                Nordstjernen has taken up position nearer the far bank, and a Polar Cirkel boat deployed as tender.

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                  At the adjacent pier there’s a crowd waiting for Poesia’s tenders.





                  They looked towards our area, somewhat bemused by our mound of life jackets!

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                    After we had said our goodbyes and thank you to our departing tour guides, and had been handed over to Nordstjernen’s excursions lady, there was a bit of confusion as to the timetabling of our tendering. Cabin mate’s time in the tourist shop was subsequently unnecessarily curtailed, especially when he may have mistaken Poesia’s last tender announcement for ours. I happily had the opportunity for some ferry photography.

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                      A few of Nordstjernen’s guests had opted for a “Sea kayaking on Geirangerfjord” excursion that day, and possibly these might be them, getting up close to Poesia.

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                          Poesia was just disappearing out of sight as our Polar Cirkel boats arrived.


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                            Back on the ship, it was time to take those “Aboard Nordstjernen in Geiranger” photos.





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                                The weather in the fjords can change suddenly and dramatically, and we experienced exactly that at around six that afternoon. Later the kayakers recounted their experiences, full of admiration at how capably and safely their guide had handled the rapidly changing situation.

                                The same professionalism was shown by our own crew.





                                …and the guide was visibly relieved to have everyone back aboard.

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