Monday, 15th of July, 4 am.
My mobile phone rings, I am opening my eyes, looking out of the window. I see water, some mountains covered by fog. I jump out of the bed, grab my camera. I am on a cruise ship and this ship is entering a norwegian fjord right now. This seems to be a very great morning – may be the best monday morning ever! Five minutes later I am standing on the top of the Costa Luminosa and this is my first visual impression of Norway:
But lets start at the beginning:
It all started with an email in the mid of june. The italian social media agency Ambito5
asked me If I would be interested in a cruise to Norway with Costa Cruises
. Aeeehm … what? Yeah, thats exactly what I thought. Of course I was very sceptic in the beginning, but after some emails it got more precise and interesting. Some days later it was definite: I will join a tour on a cruise ship with other european photobloggers to experience the norwegian fjords. Seven days on a ship, everyday another place, a very compressed view on norwegian landscapes and cities.
I am trying to give a short recap of the "Costa PhotoBlog Tour – Focus on Nature" from my photographic point of view. Supported by some iPhone travel pictures I published during the tour on my instagram account
. The "real" photos will take a lot of time for processing, as usual.
Day 1 – Nuremburg – Amsterdam – Copenhagen:
The trip starts at Nuremburg airport on a plane to Amsterdam. In the first morning light I get some nice aerial views of the Netherlands. From Amsterdam to Copenhagen, where the ship leaves towards the North Sea in the evening. At board I am starting to explore the giant ship and of course looking for the best places to shoot the ocean or bypassing landscapes. Later I meet all the great people I will be together for the next week.
Day 2 – The ocean:
We are spending the complete day on the ship, while our journey through the Northern Sea, heading to the coast of Norway. In the morning we are taking a look behind the scenes of the ship, in the afternoon our guide and National Geographic Photographer Massimo Bassano
gives us some insights in his work and his vision of photography. Also there is a lot of fancy stuff on a giant cruiseship like theaters, swimming pools, gyms, casinos and all that sort of entertainment, but that are definitely not the reasons I was there. So I spent every free minute on the top of the ship, just watching the ocean and hoping for some great light ...
Day 3 – Flåm
Finally we are reaching Norway. Sometime in the night we are entering the Sognefjord (deepest and longest fjord of Europe). Norway welcomes us very rainy, foggy and cold. After three hours of photography on the top of the ship I am frozen and wet, but totally happy. Views like this you may be get only once in your lifetime.
We are leaving the ship in Flåm at the Aurlandsfjord, getting onto a train (Flåmsbana), that drives us through the norwegian landscape, including a stop at the waterfall Kjosfossen. In Myrdal we are taking the train towards Voss, from where we proceed by bus. We are seeing amazing landscapes, even often only through the window … I could spend weeks here, exploring all the valleys, mountains, waterfalls and lakes. When leaving Flåm in the afternoon even the sun shows up and gives us 30 minutes of some light. In the evening there is again an unbelievable mood in the mystic fjords, only fog and some surreal light … you can't describe it with words. Sometimes I didn't even was sure that I am still on planet earth.
Day 4 – Hellesylt and Geiranger
After some hours of sleep I get up at 5am to get the first impressions of the Storfjord. At 7:30 am we are leaving the ship by boat in Hellesylt at the end of the Sunnylvsfjordes. For the rest of the day we are traveling by bus and stopping at different locations. A very comfort way to travel, but for sure not the best way for a photographer, because you can't stop at every place, so again we saw a lot of amazing places only through windows … The highlight waits at the end of the day with amazing views on the Geirangerjord from above.
After leaving Geiranger and driving through the Geirangerfjord, we get an amazing view on the famous waterfall of the seventh sisters (Knivsflåfossen). The rest of the evening its raining and some shorts moments there is again that great mystic light. So a good idea to stay on the top of the ship and waiting for this unique moments instead of having dinner.
My conclusion for this day: I started to get a little idea how fantastic the whole landscape of Norway must be, even I only saw may be 0,0001% of it. We only got a very superficial view on Norway today. I have to come back here absolutely!
Day 5 – Bergen
We are leaving the nature behind and heading towards the first city on our tour. Bergen – the second largest city in Norway.
From a photographic view not my type of city, but very lovely at all, and a great view from above, if you take the Floibanen. I have no ideas what other great places are hiding around this city in the mountains (we only saw the clouds), but I think they are definitely there.
Day 6 – Stavanger
Again a day full of rain and a city covered by fog and clouds.
I spend some hours walking through the city to find a nice viewpoint. The best view I found was from the Stavanger city bridge, from where I also could imagine the nice fjord landscape, that shined through the fog … may be some day I will see it in a more lovely light. On this evening the weather cleared up a little bit and we had the first visible sundown on our tour - and it was really spectacular!
Day 7 – Oslo
The last day of the trip and we finally saw Norway the way it looks in all those touristic brochures – very sunny. I really liked the foggy atmosphere in the days before, but I also was very happy to see the sun again. We had only a few hours in Oslo and I used it to shoot the most amazing building of the city – the Oslo Opera House. For sure one of the highlights of this tour. Besides this I didn't saw much of the city, only the modern area around the opera. The rest of the time I searched for a nice view on the fjord from a hill (Ekeberg) near the harbor. In the afternoon I enjoyed the way back through the Oslofjord towards the sea, all the small islands and sailing boats, glittering in the sun, yeah! The day ends with dinner, an epic sundown and the last meeting of our team.
Day 8 – Back in Copenhagen
At 8am we are back in the port of Copenhagen. I am leaving the ship as soon as possible to spend the time until my flight back home in the city. It's a lovely summer day and the perfect end of the tour.
Traveling with a ship gives you some unique possibilities to capture the nature and seeing a lot of places in a short time. I really liked that, also I saw so many missed possibilities. It's always a compromise, no matter which way of traveling you choose. Of course compared to individual traveling you have no big influence on where you are going, so you have to engage in this way of traveling. For seven days I did almost nothing else than dealing with photography in an unique environment and that was a great experience. Over the next month I will work on several series from this trip and sharing it with you, may be combined with little stories about the trip.
So many thanks to Costa (especially Federico) and Ambito 5 (Grazie a Paola, Monica, Daniela e Massimiliano) for giving me this unique opportunity and your patience during the trip! Also thanks to Visit Norway
and the Italian Institute of Photography
And the last words go to the group I was part of for this week:
It was great to meet you all and exploring Norway together. And sorry for all the times I chose staying on the deck to taking photos instead of having dinner with you 😉
This was the photoblogger group (photo)
Alessandro and Kinzica
Rico Bergholdt Hansen
And of course our guide: Massimo Bassano
Also have a look at the official hashtag #costaphotoblogtour
at instagram for impressions of the tour.
Stay tuned for the pictures I brought with me!