It seems a long time ago now but in spring of 2013 I had not had a holiday for a number of years and, living on disability benefits, we could not afford much – so our regional MS Society staff member recommended that I apply to the society for a grant from its short breaks scheme. Our application was supported by my MS Nurse and within 10 days the grant was agreed.
Lisa wanted to introduce me to cruising and so we booked a two-week holiday aboard Crown Princess. The cruise included the Norwegian Fjords, the Arctic Circle and North Cape – the most northern point on mainland Europe.
It provided the break I desperately needed, a break also for Lisa, my wife and carer, who still pushed my wheelchair but was happy not to cook, clean etc for the two weeks.
On return to the UK, where we then lived, Lisa wrote the following about some of what we had enjoyed:
Visiting the Norwegian Fjords
There are few things more majestic than a scenic ride into the Norwegian Fjords by boat. First, you pass through little villages, then as the fjords begin to tower above you on either side you see the splendour of what you are there for. This spectacle rises so dramatically out of the water and walls you in with their beauty.
As you pass further into these giant natural formations, you come upon water falls flowing into the water and creating pools of foam. Still further into the fjord as the walls at your sides become closer you will not feel that they are closing in on you. You will be in awe with nature. In these waters, you may encounter seals along with goats on the shore. No matter how bad the weather, you feel like you are a part of nature for this portion of your life.
Pictured, left, is Lysefjord! On a cliff six hundred metres above you there are hundreds of people looking down on you. Some will climb up this rock named Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock as it is called. As you go further along, there is another formation which appears to be a boulder in between two cliffs. This boulder, named Kjeragbolten – Kjerag for short, rises one thousand metres above the water. There are many adventurers who jump onto this boulder between cliffs. An adventure not to be missed.
Another not to be missed sight is Geirangerfjord (pictured below). There are two very important ways to see this fjord. First is by boat or ship, second is a tour up the eagle road with its eleven hairpin turns. Try to do both if you have time. Coming along the fjord, as the water narrows, you will pass quaint villages and little hamlets with many brick red homes. You will wonder why you don’t live in one of these homes with so much beauty surrounding you.
You will pass by several waterfalls, one being known as ‘the bridal veil’ and one of the other important ones of note is ‘seven sisters’. Both of these falls are quite picture worthy. As a matter of fact, this fjord is so picturesque that it is now a Unesco world heritage site. If you are more into the adventurous feeling this fjord can give you, then make sure you kayak on Geirangerfjord.
After you come back out of Geiranger and its beauty, make sure you hop on a bus going up the eagle road. There are many photo spots of the fjord below as you climb by coach.
- There is much more to tell about this trip, such as an on-board repair to a damaged wheelchair, a dog sleigh journey, reindeer, a week without the sun setting and marvellous attention from staff in restaurants and bars as well as the entertainment team. Watch for another instalment.