Nordfjorden Olden, Norway

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.  

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About the Author

Madalena Patacho


Madalena was born and raised in Portugal. Her childhood was spent in Belem, surrounded by Portuguese maritime monuments and history, always dreaming about exploring the oceans. Her love for nature has led her to study biology and later a Master’s in management of natural resources, specialized in ecotourism. She has lived on Príncipe Island, off the west coast of Africa, working with local communities on a responsible tourism project. She is inspired by the principles of ecotourism and is always looking for the best ways to contribute and leave a positive footprint everywhere.

About the Photographer

James Coleman


Jamie is from England. He grew up in Oxford, about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK, yet somehow decided he would work in marine biology and conservation. Ever since he reached his teens, he has dedicated time to this passion, working and volunteering in various roles on nature reserves and in aquariums. It was no surprise that in 2007, he left home to study marine biology at the University of Newcastle.

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