All at sea

Yes there has been a deafening silence. Internet is both problematic and slow , despite the enormous cost of $250 US for unlimited access for the duration! It’s marine satellite service!  I shall blog eventually about life on board. Attempts to confirm that I am at sea with a picture are proving impossible as the upload speed is so slow as to be unusable. All things come up those that wait.

I write this as we are berthing at Tallin, Estonia which is around 7am – the city is shrouded in fog. It’s overcast. The town is seething with the combined humanity of 4 huge cruise liners in dock! 

Norway Day 5 the village of Balestrand.

Balestrand shares 2 delightful features of yesterday’s village: the fiord fishing village atmosphere and an equally enchanting 100 year old hotel – the Hotel Kviknes . 
There is an added unique  attraction: an Anglican Church! The wealthy owner of the Kviknes Hotel in the 1880’s married an English woman who said that she would accept his proposal and moreover move to this remote, cold fiord village if he would build for her a church – not just any church mind you , but Church of England. He agreed, but sadly his new wife died ftom TB, before it was finished . In tribute and as a fitting memorial, he pushed on and the church was completed. It is still active and each summer ftom May to October the church sends out a minister ftom England who conducts weekly services, the congregation being entirely composed of tourists. 

Our final walk of some 14km and an altitude of 950m, with me in basic black

At the top.

The Kviknes Hotel by the edge of the fiord

Various photos of the interior. 


Each evening this chap performs in the lounge room with tea, coffee and sweet biscuits. I don’t mean that he, the pianist, performs on tea, coffee and biscuits, no, he performs on the upright whilst we consume tea, coffee and biscuits!

The Church of England- Balestrand

The Village of Solvern 

This idyllic village lies in the western region of Norway on the shores of the Lustrafjiotd and a few kilometres from the Jostedal Glacier. The previous fishing village now produces summer berries and autumn apples as well as the fresh fish. The wooden houses spread up the terraced mountains. 

At the waters edge is the Walaker Hotel, which has been untainted in its more than 3 centuries of existence. The current owners, the Nitter family , have run the hotel for nine generations!

Consequently I reckon This village and its’ iconic hotel deserves a separate blog article all on its own. 

The reading and music room

The Dining Room


The front garden – only part of it!

Norway Day 3

Not another bloody waterfall or fiord. We hiked some 7.5 km to the base of the glacier straight in of you in the picture below. 
As we approached. A deep rumble developed and we witnessed a glacial (ice) avalanche- different from the snow version, it was explained 

Still in black and after several days still smelling like a rose

Last night Backroads Iceland 


The happy hour drinks! We became so happy that many of the group meandered down to the nearby hot effluent stream of “deadly” water from the geothermal power station to take the plunge. Sadly I don’t have photographic evidence but others may? 

Day 5 Iceland 

This was our day of cycling, we had impressive hybrid ( flat bar) titanium bikes which performed flawlessly, the weather was not quite up to the same standard. 

It was not all bad but just rather cold and at times mild precipitation and a few spots of rain. I guess I can be thankful for small mercies as friends have sent me links to other cycle blog sites that describe relentless rain and crippling headwinds, that brings one to a standstill! 

We cycled around a huge lake the source of the nations hydroelectric power. It is part of the Pingvellir National Park

Incidentally Iceland bring the youngest “continent” ( although I don’t think this is quite the correct geological label, but you get my drift?) has NO COAL! It’s power comes entirely from geothermal hot water and hydroelectricity! If only we could harness the super heated steam that sprays relentlessly from every orifice of Tony Abbott, I am sure that we could power the entire national capital. The cost of powering Iceland  is minimal. 


There was only one part of the route which was not enjoyable – 11 km along the main ring road N1 of Iceland which has no shoulder and it was a rather busy road not unexpectedly. But the majority of drivers were courteous and adopted a wide berth on passing. It was also that part with rain and a moderate head wind.  The picture below is along the more relaxed quiet road

Now I am resting at the fabulous Ion Hotel having had a spa and dry sauna with the bloody sun shining in clear blue skies! I will throw cation to the wind and have a beer!

Tomorrow is our last day and I am heading to Norway for another Backroads holiday.