Adonia takes us sunbathing in the Arctic and climbing the Troll’s Ladder

//Adonia takes us sunbathing in the Arctic and climbing the Troll’s Ladder

IMG_5164.jpgThe North Sea’s own mini-Hurricane Irene (and it was nothing like as windy as the real thing) may have put paid to Adonia’s call at Farsund, but it didn’t detract from a thoroughly enjoyable week on board P&O’s newest and smallest ship.
Although late August is almost the end of the season for Norwegian cruises, with some remote tourist cafes and souvenir shops already shut for the winter, we were blessed with superb sunny weather in the northern city of Tromsø and the town of Åndalsnes in Romsdalsfjord.
At mid-morning, when I boarded Adonia in Tromsø, the ship was almost deserted; passengers were on excursions to the cable car at Mount Storsteinen, the Tromsø Wilderness Centre with its 100 Alaskan huskies, or just wandering through the streets of Norway’s eighth-largest town, home to the world’s most northerly university and, coincidentally, brewery.
Polaria, an aquarium and museum was another popular choice. Housed in a modern building designed to look like ice floes piled together on the shore, it shows a spectacular wide-screen film about Arctic Spitsbergen, and houses a pool containing a group of inquisitive and entertaining bearded seals.
Before Adonia left Tromsø, to a chorus of toots on the whistle exchanged with Europa, which had berthed a few yards away, the open decks and pool area were packed with passengers topping up their tans – and we were still well inside the Arctic Circle!
After a relaxing day at sea, the next port of call was Åndalsnes, a small town surrounded by some of Norway’s most spectacular mountains. Our early morning arrival was shrouded in dramatic mist, but the sun soon rose to burn it off, leaving us to enjoy a crystal-clear day.
When I last visited Åndalsnes five years ago, on P&O’s Arcadia, the ship anchored out in the fjord and passengers were brought ashore by tender. Adonia, carrying only 700 passengers rather than Arcadia’s 2,000, was able to tie up alongside the short pier and we could step directly ashore
Many passengers chose to walk a few yards to the station take the scenic railway along the Rauma Valley to Bjorli, passing Europe’s tallest vertical cliff face in the Troll Wall, or Trollveggen – 3,600-ft high and with a 160-ft overhang.
I joined a coachload heading for a seven-hour coach ride along part of The Golden Route – almost to Geiranger, and then up from Valldal to the Trollstigen, or Trolls’ Ladder.
This is one of the most spectacular roads in Norway, with 11 hairpin bends. Five years ago I was driven up and down it. This time we approached from the top – after a stop at the Gudbrand Gorge waterfall. The restaurant at Trollstigen is one of those that has already closed for the season – the road itself is open only from about mid-May to October, depending on snow conditions. A brand new visitor centre is under construction, and will be open next year.
Already built and in use are concrete paths and steps to a new viewpoint (above), cantilevered over the head of the valley and looking down onto the Stigfossen waterfall. It’s absolutely breathtaking, and an added bonus was the sight of Adonia glistening in the sun about eight miles away.
It was hardly surprising to be greeted by rain in Bergen, however – Norway’s second city is wet more often than not. An excursion to Edvard Grieg’s home at Troldhaughen in the morning, escorted by pianist Philip Lange who was performing on board Adonia, and a visit to the Hanseatic Museum in the UNESCO-listed Bryggen, kept us dry.
But the wind was rising as Adonia left port in the evening, leading to that abandoned visit to Farsund.
More on the trip, and the ship, in the next few days.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:02+00:00 30 August 2011|Cruise Destinations|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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