Iceland's Majestic Landscapes

1 Aug 2022 - 20 Aug 2022

 

Cruise Dates: 6 Aug 2022 to 18 Aug 2022

Cruise Ship: Viking Mars Click here for ship particulars

The "Red Dot" is our stateroom location

We are staying on Deck 6 in room 6048 on the Port side as indicated

This is the layout of a DV2 Deluxe Veranda Room (which is typical of our room)

Now that we have the ship all detailed and everyone knows what ship and where Sharon and I will be going on, let's add a bit of fidelity to how we are going and where we are going.

This is the visual of where the Viking Mars will dock. We are leaving from Bergen, Norway and ending up in Reykjavik, Iceland .

We'll be flying out of Ottawa (depart 11:08am) then to Newark, NJ (depart 5:50PM) and a flight to Amsterdam (depart 10:40AM) and then to Oslo (arrive 12:30PM)...Wow!!! Given that we are at the airport 3 hours before flying out makes it 7am equates to 30 hours travelling time.

a Milk Run!!

The whole experience will be broken down by

(A) Pre-Trip Extension

(B) Cruise and

(C) Post-Trip Extension

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(A) Pre -Trip which is 4 Nights in Norway which Viking calls "The Best of Norway & Scenic Train". Here is where Oslo is located.

We check into the Thon Hotel Opera in Oslo. (2 nights)

Oslo: After breakfast we visit Akershus Fortress, the Royal Palace and the Parliament, the Parliament; the Norsk Maritime Museum, and the National Theater

Bergen:Board the Bergen Railway for your journey to Bergen. On the train ride, you will ascend to over 4,000 feet above sea level as you cross the Hardangervidda plateau and enjoy an informative narration of the area. Arrive in Bergen and transfer to your hotel, where you can enjoy your evening at leisure.

We are staying in Bergen Børs Hotel, Vågsallmenningen 1 5014 Bergen, Norway (2 nights)

(B) Cruise

First, we present our boarding pass (mine is the same but you get the idea)

Founded around 1070 AD, Bergen quickly evolved into one of the most important cities in Norway. It was the country's administrative capital from the early 1200s until 1299, and the largest city in Scandinavia. Bergen was one of the most important bureau cities of the Hanseatic League, interconnecting continental Europe with the northern and coastal parts of Norway, thus becoming a central spot for the vending of stockfish and the commercial hub of Norway. It was the largest city in Norway until the 1830s and has a long maritime history in shipping and finance. Until the Bergen railway (Bergensbanen) began operation in 1909 there was no convenient overland transport between Norway's principal cities. Bergen  is the second largest city in Norway and the most popular gateway to the fjords of West Norway. The city is renowned for its great location amidst mountains, fjords, and the ocean. 

Day 4 - Bergen: Contrast the Bergen of old with the elegant modern-day city on an enlightening tour, highlighted by insights from your local guide. You will see the medieval Bergen Fortress and visit the 13th-century Håkons Hall. Pass the Bryggen wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the more modern section of the city, view two beloved musical theaters: the National Stage and Grieg Hall, named for the famed Norwegian composer. 

 

Day 5 - Bergen: After breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to your ship to begin your cruise. (Breakfast)

Enjoy a relaxing tour by deluxe motor coach as you tour the main sites in Bergen. Founded in 1070 AD, Bergen features many historic sites including the medieval King Haakon’s Hall, the Rosenkrantz Tower, the picturesque wooden buildings at Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bustling fish market and the Nordnes Peninsula, with its 19th-century white painted wooden houses. Take a photo stop at Nordnes and admire the views over Bergen Harbor. Once the capital city of Norway, Norwegian kings resided here, and many historic events took place in the port. Bergen owed its wealth and prominence to the fish export trade, which has been at the heart of the town since the Middle Ages. Hear interesting stories from your guide about Bergen’s colorful past as you tour through the streets of Norway’s second-largest city.

Flåm is nestled innermost in the Aurlandsfjord, an arm of the 204-km long and up to 1308 meter deep Sognefjord. Flåm is the end station of the popular Flåm Railway, which is included in several of our popular round trips. The village has a population of approximately 400 inhabitants and it is situated in Aurland municipality, which consists of Flåm, Aurland, Gudvangen and Undredal. In 1980 most of the people in Flåm were farmers, today most of the inhabitants work in the tourism industry or with the railway. Today Flåm is one of the most popular cruise harbors in Norway. The origins of the flourishing tourism trade in Flåm, date back to the end of the 19th century, when large numbers of English tourists, also called "salmon lords", came to fish in the Flåm river. These travelers laid the foundation for hotels to be established and a steady stream of tourists, who were transported in two-wheeled buggies through the spectacular scenery. After the Bergen Railway was opened in 1909 Flåm became a crossroads for passengers, post and freight traveling on the trains between Oslo and Bergen and on the steamships on the fjord.

Bird’s-Eye View of Beautiful Aurlandsfjord -- Marvel at the stunning landscape of a Norwegian fjord from a viewpoint high above the Aurlandsfjord. Take a scenic drive along the attractive waterway while enjoying the views of this narrow fjord’s steep mountains—some reaching up to almost 6,000 feet—and deep waters. After taking a switchback, you will reach Stegastein Viewpoint. Located between Aurland and Laerdal, the viewpoint is a 100-foot-long laminated wood ramp that sits more than 2,000 feet above the fjord. Its design expresses a desire to lift visitors out into open space and enhance their experience. Breathe in the fresh air as you admire the sweeping panoramic views of the fjord and the village of Aurland beneath you. After time for photos, zigzag down the mountain to Aurland. This charming village sits in picturesque surroundings, nestled between the shores of the fjord and towering mountains. After time for photos, you will return to your ship.

Witness Geiranger's pristine majesty as you ascend to the heights of Geirangerfjord on a magnificent drive. You will meet your guide at the berth and drive up a winding road to Eagle's Bend viewpoint, passing through 11 breathtaking hairpin turns. At the road's pinnacle, you will witness the spectacular scenery that has earned Geirangerfjord status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later, you will drive to Flydalsjuvet viewpoint for more impressive views. After a photo stop, continue into the green Flydal Valley to the high mountain plateau at Djupvatn Lake. Its gorgeous waters shimmer in the Norwegian sun. Afterward, you will return to your ship.

Ålesund is spread over several islands stretching into the Atlantic, with the spectacular Sunnmøre Mountains as a backdrop. If its natural beauty doesn’t grab you, its architecture surely will: After an early 20th-century fire destroyed much of the town, Alesund was rebuilt in absolute Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) glory. 

A large part of Ålesund was destroyed by fire in 1904. When German Kaiser Wilhelm heard of the tragedy, he sent four ships to support the people of Ålesund while they rebuilt their beloved city in the Jugend (art nouveau) style, typical for the period. Today, it is a bustling town where the fish industry provides the main source of revenue. With a local guide, you will pass many of the buildings artfully designed by Norwegian architects who took their inspiration from all over Europe. Our route includes the inviting streets of the Jugend quarter in the town center, the inner harbor and the attractive park at the foot of Mt. Aksla. After free time to browse this charming city on your own, return to your ship.

People on the Faroe Islands speak Faroese, a language derived from that of the Norsemen who settled the islands over 1,000 years ago. Faroese is closely related to Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish. Only around 75,000 to 80,000 people around the world speak it.Despite what some people in the Faroes, and other articles online may tell you, Tórshavn is not the smallest capital in Europe or the world. It’s certainly in the top 20 of the world’s smallest capital cities both by population and size however - as well as home to three out of the four sets of traffic lights on the Faroe Islands!

Get to know the Faroe Islands through the stunning landscapes of Streymoy, rich in Viking lore and fishing culture. Begin with a drive to the rocky Tinganes peninsula in Torshavn harbor, home of the Viking Parliament and still host to the islands’ government buildings. Then, trace the scenic ridgetop road along the southern stretch of Streymoy Island, pausing above Torshavn for photos. You will continue to Nororadalur (the North Valley), where on clear days you will have views of the island of Koltur. Farther north, marvel at the Kaldbak and Kollafjordur fjords. Later, twisting roads lead into a picturesque valley, where you will stop to admire the hand-hewn stone salmon ladders leading into Lake Leynar. En route back to your ship, our road takes us through a two-mile tunnel and along a fjord’s shore, where you may see salmon jumping in sea farms.

Cruise the North Sea

Seyðisfjörður (pronounced 'say-this-fjurther') is a town and municipality in the Eastern Region of Iceland at the innermost point of the fjord of the same name. A road over Fjarðarheiði mountain pass connects Seyðisfjörður to the rest of Iceland; 27 kilometres to the ring road and Egilsstaðir.

Meet your guide at the pier where you will set out for a leisurely walk. Brimming with creativity and rich in history, the town boasts a flourishing arts scene and delightful hiking trails. The community owes its origins to foreign merchants who started trading in the fjord during the mid-19th century. Around that time, sawmills in Norway started to produce ready-made houses in kit form for export. Seydisfjördur businessmen, who had roots in Norway, started importing these splendid, excellent-quality buildings. Many of them have survived to this day, giving Seydisfjördur an early 20th-century ambience. Walk amid colorful streets and view the striking Blue Church as your guide explains more about the town’s culture. Afterward, return to your awaiting ship.

Located just 100 kilometers away from the Arctic Circle, Akureyri is Iceland’s Northern Capital and the fourth-most-populous town in Iceland. The biggest city outside of the Greater Reykjavik region by population. Population of almost 20,000 people

You will be welcomed at the dock by your knowledgeable local guide to Iceland’s undisputed “Capital of the North.” Influences of its Danish trading past prevail, evident in the many contrasts in the town’s varied architecture. Pass by Akureyri Church; one of the town’s proud symbols, which houses many interesting artifacts including a stained glass window above the altar that was part of a set in England’s Coventry Cathedral before being brought to Akureyri for safekeeping during World War II. Explore the historic midtown area and continue to Akureyri’s Public Park and Botanic Garden; the excellent botanical garden was opened within the park’s grounds in 1957. Two thousand species of local and foreign flowers grow here thanks to Akureyri’s warm microclimate.

ĺsafjördur, Iceland is the largest town in the Westfjords peninsula, with some 2600 inhabitants. It is an ancient church site and a trading post since at least the 16th century, although a real town did not start to form until after mid-19th century. The growth of the town was triggered by salt fish production, and ever since then the fishing industry has been vital for the community. 

Embark on a scenic drive around Ísafjördur, the principal town of the Westfjords peninsula. Surrounded by mountains that offer endless opportunities to enjoy nature and wilderness during all seasons of the year, the town is also known throughout the country for its rich cultural life. The fishing industry, however, has traditionally been the mainstay of the town and surrounding municipality, known as Ísafjardarbaer. Visit the Ósvör Maritime Museum, a fascinating replica of an old fishing outpost that offers a glimpse of how life treated the Icelandic fishermen until the beginning of the 20th century. Continue to Bolungarvík and enjoy a guided tour of the village before returning to Ísafjördur.

Reykjavík is the capital city of Iceland, the world’s northernmost capital. Nearly two-thirds of the country’s population lives in the capital area. Granted, that’s only around 123,000 people, but what it lacks in terms of the populace, it makes up for in culture and excitement. Sharon and I will be visiting the Blue Lagoon on this day. Click here for information about the history etc of this popular attraction.

Begin with a drive up Öskjuhlío Hill to the Perlan vantage point, also known as “The Pearl.” This glass-domed building was built upon old hot-water storage tanks and offers sweeping city views. Descend into the city and pass the Kjarvalsstadir art museum, a fine example of Nordic modernism. You will also see the fantastic Hallgrímskirkja church, a towering vision in white. Enjoy an optional guided walk around the city center, passing the pond and the all-glass Harpa concert hall. Or, you can ride a motor coach through town toward Harpa, where you’ll enjoy free time. Once reunited, head to the old harbor. See the National Museum, university and the Höfdi House, where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev held a meeting that marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

Meet your guide for a drive through the rugged lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula, home of this famous geothermal pool. The original lagoon was formed after an accidental overflow from the adjacent geothermal plant; today, it is one of a dozen pools of its kind in Iceland. The mineral-rich, milky-blue water, steamy vapors and 12-foot-high lava wall surrounding the pool create a unique bathing atmosphere. Note that this is not a swimming excursion, but a chance to soak in mineral waters of 102°F. The lagoon’s floor can be rough and uneven. Health regulations require all bathers to disrobe, shower and change in gender-specific changing rooms before entering the lagoon. Please note: this excursion is unsuitable for those with walking difficulties and a swimsuit is required.

REYKJAVIK: THE QUICK FACTS

(C) Reykjavík, Iceland - Post -Trip Extension which is basically 2 extra nights in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Hotel we are staying at is called the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica.

Reykjavík was the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland. It was established in 874 AD by a Norseman named Ingólfr Arnarson with his family and slaves. In the late Middle Ages and the early modern period, the country went through a civil war and was first absorbed into the Kingdom of Norway before later being absorbed into the Scandinavian Kalmar Union. After the union dissolved, Iceland became subject to the Danish Crown. In the early 17th century, the Danish king declared a trade monopoly on Iceland, leaving the country starving. Around this time, in the 1750s, local sheriff Skúli Magnússon, the “Father of Reykjavík”, established wool workshops in the area allowing it to quickly become a hub of wool production. This growth was further boosted when the Crown declared free trade for Iceland with all nationalities. This year, 1786, is regarded as the foundation of Reykjavík. The biggest step towards independence was taken on December 1, 1918, when the Kingdom of Iceland became a sovereign country under the Crown of Denmark. When the war ended in 1944, Iceland declared its complete independence from Denmark. From that point on, Reykjavík became the capital city of this newly independent country.

 

August 20: Depart Reykjavík, Iceland for Canada.

 

 

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