May 18, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer
We arrived in Norway today on Norwegian Constitution Day. Observed every year on May 17th, it’s a day to celebrate the signing of the constitution on that date in 1814. We were greeted by thousands of Norwegians in their traditional outfits and costumes. It was a sunny day, and the first national day for a decade to have clear blue skies. It was an incredible start for our expedition!
This morning we woke up sailing through scenic Nordfjorden as we made our way to Briksdalsbreen glacier. This small glacier is a small arm of the main Jostedalsbreen glacier, which is the largest inland glacier in continental Europe and is located in one of Norway’s national parks. The highest peak in this area is Lodalskåpa, which stands at a height of 6,384 feet.
Jostedalsbreen has a total area of 188 square miles, a length of a little more than 37 miles, and around 50 glacier arms. Our hike up to the glacier was very pleasant, especially with the surrounding mountains covered in snow and all the green vegetation.
If there is one thing that characterizes Norway, it is water. It can be seen frozen in a glacier before it drops down the abrupt mountains as waterfalls that flow into crystal-clear, downstream rivers that run towards a lake. Water, our planet’s single most basic element for life to exist, is everywhere.
Surrounded by green meadows and lakes, this landscape is simply breathtaking. Near the lake many traditional red wooden houses, some 300 years old, are built facing this very picturesque scene. Many Norwegians have found their way of living here through agriculture and fishing, and the area is a popular tourist attraction in the region.
On our way back to our ship we had a very nice surprise, as we were able to go inside Old Olden Church. It’s a simple, cosy wooden church on a site with centuries of history.