They came hurtling down the mountain side scattering rocks and debris along the way. As we edged our way closer to the side, they butted each other in their excitement at our arrival. “When they see us coming from top, they rush down because they know we’ll feed them some bread.”
‘They‘ were 3 mountain goats, a mum and her 2 kids, straight out of the puppet scene in ‘The Sound of Music‘. Passengers crowded round taking photos of this unexpected scene, as one of crew hand-fed them. We were on our visit to Stavanger on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth maiden voyage ‘Fjords & Waterfalls‘ cruise to Norway. Earlier that morning we had berthed in Stavanger and we were all keen to get off the shop and get our first look at this stunning country.
Lisa, Cunard’s New Media Manager and I had booked on the Lysefjord & Pulpit Rock Tour which promised to give us a leisurely cruise along Norway’s most southerly fjord past steep mountains and cascading waterfalls, to the famous natural formation known as Pulpit Rock. As we motored out of port in our very comfortable ferry we got a great view of our Mother Ship dwarfing the Stavanger skyline. Our guide explained that this area used to be a thriving canning and fishing centre but with the discovery of oil it’s now the petroleum capital of Norway.
Sailing into Lysefjord we got a great view of the surrounding mountains and a huge bridge spanning the entrance. Tiny wooden houses terraced down to the shore and lots of little boats were moored in front. Further into the fjord we edged into a narrow cleft where apparently, vagabonds hurled rocks onto a local sheriff who was trying to get them to pay taxes. That’s one way of making your fiscal feelings felt!
The Priekestolen or Pulpit Rock towered above us as we found out that some crazy people actually jump off its 600 metre height and see who can leave opening their parachutes till the last minute. Unsurprisingly, none of us were tempted to try Base Jumping. One of the most magical moment of the trip was the gentle strains of Grieg’s ‘Hall of the Mountain King‘ playing as we sailed back to the ship.
When the ship had berthed that morning I had opened my balcony door to find a little scattering of white wooden houses below. This turned out to be Old Stavanger, 18th & 19th Century buildings that have been beautifully restored. On our return from the ferry I explored this little settlement, with its delightful flower-bedecked walls and quaint cottages. Looking up down a side street I caught a glimpse of the Queen Elizabeth moored alongside. It was time to return for our Sail Away to another port of call.
As I walked back up the gangway, I thought back to those agile goats waiting at the top of the mountain for the next boat to come and give them a snack.
I travelled to Norway on the Fjords & Waterfalls Cruise courtesy of Cunard Queen Elizabeth – long may she reign on the high seas.