After leaving Stavanger last evening, we hugged the western coast of Norway until we entered the first fjord about 6:00 this morning. Awoke early, eager to catch the first glimpse of this spectacular part of the cruise. To reach our port of call, we needed to glide through the Sognefjord, into the Aurlandsfjord before reaching our destination of Flam.
Out of respect for the wildlife who live in these waters, we slipped through the fjord as stealthily as a large ship can do. Not a ripple in sight. Animals grazed on steep hillsides, gardens grew where none should. Snow crowned mountains showed signs that winter never lasts. There were cracks in winter’s armor as the sun poked into crevices, melting ice and sending water running down the mountainside, like hanging veils of lace.
The town of Flam, resembles an outpost more than a town. A few barn red buildings clustered together for company, the most noticeable one, bore the humorous title, The Mall of Norway.
Before tourists came, it was a farming community. Near here, Norway’s famous brown goat cheese was invented in 1863. Now Norway produces about 12,000 tons a year. Busy goats.
Norwegians love nature and there’s so much to love. Today, as we wound our way, by bus, up into the mountains past houses with sod roofs, through more than twenty tunnels, I marveled at what God and man created in this part of the world.
Small red houses, called huts, sat around lakes or up in the mountains like small Christmas packages. Our guide said that fifty% of Norwegians own a summer house or hut. After awhile we stopped at a small hotel where we were served coffee and waffles with cream and strawberry jam.
As I surveyed the alpine lake below, snow covered mountains, goats nibbling nearby, I felt like singing. No, not like Maria in The Sound of Music Fortunately, others were using the rest rooms, finishing up their waffles or had wandered off for one more photo, when I got an urge to sing.
So I sang what I could remember, “For the beauty of the earth, la la la la la la la…Lord of all, to Thee we raise, this our song of grateful praise.”
And I guess that’s all I really needed to say, Lord, Thanks for all of this and so much more. Thanks for friends, resources to travel, courage to come, a cane to keep me less wobbly and lingering daylight. It’s almost 11:30 and still light.
I’ll miss that and more as I turn towards home.
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