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Why I Love… The Norwegian Fjords

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Pauline Bowman might be an octogenarian, but that doesn’t stop her from seeing the world

“I’m in my eighties, but I still enjoy travelling; I believe if you want to go somewhere you should just do it!

My favourite place is the Norwegian fjords. I love the enormity of the mountains, the stillness of the water and the sense of peace. 
I visited the country’s western fjords on a cruise. I went at a time when the glaciers were melting and waterfalls were coming down the mountains. The days were bright and the colour of the rocks seemed to change with the light. The sunsets were magical too. I slept with my curtains open, so I could wake up and see the scenery.

I enjoyed being on the water the most, but there are some lovely places to see too. There are lakes, glaciers and little villages nestling at the foot of the mountains. 
I particularly liked Bergen. It’s known as the gateway to the fjords and is famous for its old wharf buildings that are on Unesco’s World Heritage list. 
There are clapboard houses, all in different colours, with wooden balconies and little alleyways in between. I also visited the fish market, where there were live crabs in tanks, and prawns. 
It was surprisingly quiet in Bergen but a lot busier at Flaam in Sognefjord. The port is home to Northern Europe’s highest railway, the Flaam railway. It rises more than 2,800 feet in just 12 miles.

We took the train to Myrdal, leaving the valley floor to see snow, more snow and then wooden houses with snow right up to their windows. We even passed a cross-country skier. 
The train took us to Kjosfossen waterfall; I don’t know how many tunnels we went through en route!
According to folklore, the waterfall was once home to mythical creatures called Huldras, who bewitched men with their singing. A local dancer recreated the story. 
We also called at Olden at the southern end of a branch of Nordfjord. From there we visited Kjenndalen glacier and Lovatnet lake.

Norway has a huge variety of food. There’s lots of fish and wild berries, deer, grouse and even reindeer in the far north. I wasn’t incredibly adventurous at mealtimes, but I did enjoy the fish and had some delicious crepes and hot chocolates!

Most of the places we visited were clean and almost fresh-looking, while the locals were happy and helpful. They seemed to enjoy being outdoors and having an active lifestyle. 
If you love spectacular scenery and enjoy taking photos, then you’ll love the fjords. For me, looking up at the mountains from the water was wonderful. It was a chance to escape from the hustle and bustle of life.

Age can be a problem when it comes to travel but I don’t worry about it. I’m now planning my next holiday. After that, I want to return to the fjords, for sure!”

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