Our Iona Insider Takes On Norway

The Norwegian adventure has already begun for our Iona Insider, Nina Sands. Last weekend she headed to Norway for a first-hand experience on some of the shore excursions Iona will offer during her maiden season when she launches in 2020.

It’s time to get the adrenaline going with Nina’s day-by-day diary of her time in the Norwegian Fjords

RIB Boat Safari in Bergen

Hands up if you’re up for a high-speed RIB boat ride.

First up was a day in Bergen with a RIB boat safari in the NordFjord.

We were suited and booted in protective clothing, designed for this sort of activity. The quote of the day from Captain Frodie was to remember that safety is sexy.

This was an adrenalin fuelled activity with a lot of screaming involved – best described as a waltzer on the water really. This is a shore excursion I would recommend if you’re looking for that adrenaline fuelled activity but want to see the fjords and the landscape too.

After our RIB boat safari, we were then moved onto the smaller boat to pull the pots up for the crayfish. The pots were pulled up by a tow from a 100m depth and were promised a hearty lunch from the day’s catch, so with each pot, there were lots of cheers.

Frodie the captain explained to us how important fishing is for Norway and its port and that people from all over the world come to have their pick of the free-range fishing. Frodie also taught us how to hypnotize the Crayfish so that they don’t fight in the pots, and being the keen fisherwoman, I am,

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I hope to try this again on my annual trip to the Hebrides.

We were then greeted back on land with an ice cold white wine whilst we watched the freshly caught Cray and some already prepared lobster being cooked on the Quay Side. We were incredibly lucky with the weather, although it was cold it was very clear.

Catching crayfish in Bergen

Catching crayfish with Captain Frodie in Bergen

Kayaking in Olden

Next on the list for the following day was kayaking in Olden.

Kayaking on the Nordfjord was amazing.  The tour was very well organised and Saul our tour guide made us feel at ease straight away, taking her time to teach us how to sit properly in the kayak and how to row correctly.

When we first arrived here there was a thick sheet of fog, so we were disappointed that we wouldn’t get to see the views, but as we all got layered up in our gear and started to climb into the kayak’s the fog has started to lift and reveal the stunning scenery. It was the most surreal thing I have ever experienced.

Despite being 300m deep and in the heart of the Fjord, the water was crystal clear and almost drinkable with it mainly holding rain & spring water. As the water was also so calm it was very easy to see the wildlife from herons to flying fish which all added to the amazing experience.

This sort of Norwegian shore excursion normally entails half an hour talk/demonstration and then an hour kayaking and I would 100% recommend.

Kayaking on the Nordfjord

Kayaking shore excursion in Olden

Briksdal Glacier via a Troll Car

The following day we headed to Briksdal Glacier via a troll car.

The troll cars sat 6 people in each and was a 15-minute journey through the valleys and waterfalls up to the viewing point. The colour of the water and the ice was phenomenal, and I have never seen anything like this in my life.

There was a short walk involved from the troll car stop up to the main viewing point with various signs in place to show us where the Glacier used to sit in various years. It was very interesting to see how far it had moved within the last 100 years we could hear the ice cracking from where we stood.

I would highly recommend this shore excursion to all ages especially families visiting Norway as it’s a great afternoon out with lots of history of the fjords involved.

Briksdal Glacier

Leon Skylift

On our last day, we went to the Loen SkyLift in Olden.

After a 5-minute ride we were 1011 meters high and surrounded by mountains covered in snow. We were also lucky enough to see it snowing whilst we were up there which was incredible because the sun was shining down at the bottom.

Loen Skylift is not for the faint-hearted, it is incredibly high up, but the views are fantastic. The main view was the port of Olden which you could see in all its glory from the top of Mount Hoven, above the Nordfjord. Before heading back down we made our way over to the café and sat in front of the fire with a hot chocolate and warmed ourselves up enjoying the view through the panoramic windows here.

Keep tuned for more updates from our Iona Insider Nina!

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