July 23, 2018 - This morning, I am not the only one awake at 5:00am. Many Viking Sky guests have gathered in (and outside) the Observation Lounge on Deck 7 to view our sailing into Geirangerfjord.
Geiranger is a village in western Norway, at the head of Geirangerfjord. The fjord’s waterfalls, including the Seven Sisters, the Suitor and the Bridal Veil, are visible as we sail into Geiranger.
The Seven Sisters is the 39th tallest waterfall in Norway. The waterfall consists of seven separate streams, and the tallest of the seven has a free fall that measures 250 meters. However, as we pass by the Seven Sisters, three of the sisters are missing. With much of the snow already melted and little rain this season, there's only enough water for four sisters.
Viking Sky is too large to dock in Geiranger, so she is moored less than a 10-minute tender ride to shore. We were not able to get on a tender in time to make our 1:55pm excursion "Eagle's Bend Overlook and Scenic Drive" (included) but, when we arrived ashore at 2:00pm, Viking staff informed us that we could go on the 2:30 coach tour. We had just enough time to visit the nearby souvenir shop for a little browsing.
Norway has its own currency, the Krone, with about 8.2 krone per US Dollar. The shop did accept US currency, but gave a lousy exchange rate of only 7.5 krone per dollar. That's why it is usually best to use a credit card when traveling abroad. At 2:30, we boarded the motorcoach for the drive up the winding road to the Eagle's Bend Overlook, a popular tourist lookout point. In the photo below, you can see the road going up the mountain with multiple switchbacks. How these motorcoach drivers navigate these narrow winding roads continues to amaze us.
Once we arrive at the Eagle's Bend Overlook, we disembark the coach and have 10 minutes to take photos.
After re-boarding the coach, we drive down the mountain and through Geiranger in the opposite direction, then up another winding road to Geiranger Skywalk, the premier lookout spot in Geiranger. The scenery along the drive is amazing with green pastures, grazing goats and waterfalls.
We spent about 30 minutes at the Skywalk, which quickly became very crowded with tourists from another large cruise ship. We then drove about 15 minutes up the mountain to a lake.
After the Geiranger Skywalk, the lake was a bit of a let down. Clearer skies and more reflection of the surrounding snow-capped mountains would have made the lake much more photogenic. Nevertheless, it was nice and cool at the lake, about 62 degrees (F) compared to 78 degrees in the town of Geiranger. We only spent about five minutes at the lake, just enough time to take a quick photo. Our excursion is running a little late due to the motorcoach traffic jam at the Skywalk. We are about 30 minutes late getting back to Geiranger. Fortunately, Viking Sky is waiting for us to return. The last tender boat was scheduled to depart Geiranger at 5pm, and it is already well past that time.
Once back on board Viking Sky, we head up to Deck 8 aft where we enjoy a glass of sparkling wine as Viking Sky slowly sails out of Geirangerfjord. A guest lecturer provides narrative over the ship's PA as we pass by famous landmarks of the fjord. Rickee offers a toast to The Seven Sisters as we slowly sail by.
This evening, we have an 8:30pm reservation at Manfredi's, Viking Sky's optional Italian restaurant. Our dinner at Manfredi's aboard Viking Sea last year was one of the dining highlights of the cruise, so we were looking forward to another great meal. We were not disappointed. My Caprese Salad starter was a massive chunk of fresh Mozzarella surrounded by sweet cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and balsamic. It was delicious.
Our next course was a wonderful bowl of Cold Cucumber Soup that was both refreshing and delicious. When it came time to choose my main course, it was an easy choice. The Bistecca Florentine is a huge ribeye steak that has been rubbed with olive oil, Porchini mushroom powder, brown sugar and a few other spices, then grilled to a perfect Medium (or however you prefer). The steak was massive! I rarely use the phrase "best" when describing food, but this was definitely the BEST steak I have ever had on a cruise ship.
The peppery and perfectly dressed arugula salad was a nice complement to the marbled beef. And, the Creamed Spinach side was equally as delicious and perfectly seasoned. We even had a surprise visit by Executive Chef, Thomas Noack, who stopped by the table to see if everything was to our liking. After heaping praise upon him and his amazing staff, we told our excellent waiter, Hector, that there was no room for dessert. He tried to tempt Rickee with a Limoncello tasting, but we were just too full. The good news is, we will be making a return visit to Manfredi's next week!
It has been an amazing day in Geiranger aboard Viking Sky. Tomorrow, Viking Sky will be docked in Molde, Norway.