The Fjords Are Beautiful

Sognefjord, Norway
July 2015

Selfie-stick family dad may end up in the drink before this voyage is over. From his post at the prow of the Fjord Norway cruiser, he hovers over every shot for the duration. He holds his selfie stick between his fingers as if he’s Minnesota Fats setting up a bank shot to the corner pocket, sliding it from side to side to make a shot.

He gives no ground. His iPhone extends in every direction, into every shot — mine, yours, theirs, everyone’s. His wife wanders forward from time to time, clutching her tablet to her chest. The man and his wife are so in sync that he balances his camera on top of her head, when needed, to make sure he gets the perfect shot.


His children are underfoot, as well. They’re like a moving shield. Whenever any of the rest of us move forward to take a picture, we must navigate through them with care. An Indian gentleman finally tries to squeeze in to photograph a tranquil village along a hill by the shore. It makes for an awkward sight.

This is not an anti-selfie stick story.


I am on a boat in the Nærøyfjord, on a cruise of the Sognefjord system. All around me, steep mountains rise out of deep water with tremendous force.

The fjords are beautiful, like nature one-upping itself. Deep blue water impressive? Sure, but let’s add waterfalls — scores of them — rippling down from mountain tops and crashing to the bottom in some places or trickling gently out in others. Add to them farms on impossible cliffs.


Around every bend, something else amazing appears. And this afternoon, in a minor miracle, the sun has come out, beaming down on the water like pure golden cinematic light that turns the landscape a verdant green, radiant silver, and brilliant blue.


What on a good day would be merely impressive, becomes on about a perfect day something wonderful. It is so impressive that the three previously bored-looking young men by the railing say “Oh my God” every time the boat rounds another bend. It is so wonderful I become oblivious to selfie-stick family dad and the rest of the pressing masses looking for the perfect photo. I give in to the sun, the placid water, and rugged majesty.


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