A Travellerspoint blog

30: Sherwood Forest

sunny 21 °C
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Another glorious day in Bergen. Spent the morning walking around more of the older part of town looking for the Funicular (cable car to the top of the mountain and look out). Found the cable car to discovered quite a line up (it snaked down the street) waiting to board (about 5 buses were all parked waiting for tourists!) strangely enough we decided to come back later and continued our wander. Ended up looking for the fish market with no success. On the way back to our hotel for lunch (we had made it at breakfast time) we found the Hanseatic League’s museum of Bergen. The Hanseatic League were a group of merchants from Germany who set up trading posts throughout Europe. The main export from Norway was “klippfisk” (dried and salted fish) which was a staple form of meat for people during the middle ages when there wasn’t any ability to keep meat for any length of time. The museum itself was setup just as the HQ for the Hanseatic League was setup a few hundred years ago. Really small rooms, and very small sleeping quarters! (gives the Japanese “capsule” hotels a run for their money..)

Straight after lunch we decided to walk to the other side of town and went over towards where the Hurtigruten docked the previous day. It was a real nice walk up along the cliffs, through some large park. The one thing I should say for the Norwegians is they know how to use their parks.. it feels like every spare piece of grass land needs to have someone sun baking on it! I guess when half of your year is cold and dark the sunshine is probably really welcome! Believe it or not there were a large number of people also swimming in this outdoor public pool.. Believe me, it is warm but not that warm!

We finished our walk with a trip up the Funicular (the crowds had thinned somewhat). Conductor and I decided to walk back down the hill rather than re-catch the cable car. The walk was really beautiful. The top of this particular mountain is all national park area and it has been designed with plenty of walking trails. The forest is a fir forest (we think) so it was reminiscent of where I think Robin Hood would have hid out in way back.. Plenty of granite rock formations and small streams so we are also certain that the Bergen trolls must live up this mountain! The couple of k walk was a really nice way to end the day!

Off onto the Flam Railway tomorrow!

Posted by weary_feet 00:49 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

29: Bergen

sunny 23 °C
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Last day on board the Hurtigruten with no stops all day until we got to Bergen at 2.30pm. Had quite a slow day, spent the day reading, snoozing and playing cards.

The arrival into Bergen was just gorgeous. Bergen is a city that is based on a number of fjords. The sun has been shining all day and so the view coming in was just amazing. Tall green cliffs on either side, sparkling blue water, lots of yachts and boats in the fjords and then Bergen!

Bergen is such an amazing town. I’m sure there aren’t many like it in the world. The town is perched on the sides of the fjord and all most of the buildings are old wooden or brick double/ triple story houses that are all jammed together in a riot of colour. And aren’t there tourists! Holy Dooley there are some people in Bergen! After spending so much of our journey with no people to come into Bergen was a bit of a shock.. One of the streets is World Heritage Listed (because of the age and the beauty of the buildings) and the amount of tourists wandering along is just staggering!

On our rambles we went and had a look around Bergen House. Bergen House is an old castle and fort that has been in location since the late eleventh century. Unfortunately it didn’t appear to be open to the public so we amused ourselves wandering around the grounds.

Finished off the day with some fish and chips on the wharf of Bergen before retiring for the night. Our hotel in Bergen is an interesting one in that it is one of the old buildings in Bergen. Our room has a balcony that looks right over the main quay and the heritage listed area. Awesome view!

Posted by weary_feet 10:58 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

28: Wooden Houses

overcast 16 °C
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Early start this morning as we had 7.30 walking tour of Trondheim. Trondheim is a really beautiful city, lots of old buildings and cobblestones as well as some new modern areas.

The walk itself was really welcome after a day of relaxation the day previous. We started the walk by checking out down town and market square before heading to the Nidaros Cathedral. Nidaros is one of the oldest churches in Norway. It was erected in the late twelfth century and is home to the remains of Saint Olav. St Olav is the patron saint of Norway and people still pilgrimage to Nidaros Cathedral to pray before his remains. We were too early to enter the cathedral so we left the church and headed into the old part of town to see the buildings. The old part of town is built on the canals of Trondheim. The buildings in the old part date back to the early 1700s and are all wooden buildings on stilts. The buildings are all painted different colours and some have quite a slant going on them! To enter the old part of town you need to cross over a river via an old wooden bridge that used to open for ships. The old section is certainly enchanting and you can imagine many ships docking here in the old days with their catch!

Later in the afternoon the ship docked in Kristiansund, and we hopped off to catch a bus that would take us down the Atlantic Road. The trip took us just under 5hrs with our destination being Molde. The trip along the sea is basically island hopping. There are so many islands in that part of Norway that we spent a lot of time driving over bridges. The islands themselves were quite shallow and flat. I guess a good rising of the sea level and some of those islands would probably go under. The trip along the coast was really picturesque. The sea was very calm, the sun was relatively low in the sky and the sun was obscured by clouds. Therefore you could see shafts of sunlight beaming down onto parts of the ocean. Really beautiful.

Posted by weary_feet 10:27 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

27: Day of Rest

sunny 20 °C
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Quite a slow day today with only one real stop in the whole day, therefore we had a really well deserved sleep in. Just after we got going we crossed back through the arctic circle line. A free drink was on offer on the top deck but I just couldn’t be bothered! We all received certificates of achievement for passing the arctic circle from the boat (which is pretty funny considering all we did was pay for someone to take us across the circle!)

We then spent our morning reading, playing cards and emailing before we pulled into Sandnessjoen just before lunch. We had a fairly quick stop so we spent our time walking around the waterfront and looking for a box of tissues for Bookie who is still suffering from a head cold.
Two brief stops in the afternoon and we motored past this famous landmark in Norway- the holey mountain. Apparently there is another troll story that goes along with the mountain and that this troll made the hole in the mountain to stop him needing to climb over the mountain to see what was happening on the other side!

Early night tonight as we have a big day tomorrow.

Posted by weary_feet 09:52 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

26: Trolls

sunny 17 °C
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We had a planned early start today as we spent the morning off the boat on a “scursion” to Sortland. The journey began in Harstad and had us take a coach through the town to the Trondenes Cathedral. The Trondenes is one of the oldest cathedrals in Norway and was first constructed in the eleventh century. The church actually held a service for us this morning which was interesting as it was held in three languages (Norske, English and Deutsch). The church is really beautiful with walls close to a meter thick, stained glass windows and three large alter cupboards/ idol paintings. It was a really pretty church with a really “nice” feel. (Sorry I don’t like using the word nice but I’m not sure how to describe the church..)

We then briefly visited the Trondonese Museum which shows the eras that the church has withstood after which we returned to our bus to continue the journey.

Our journey took us across two of the islands in Troms which are really picture postcard. Small villages perched on the sides of mountains that lead down into sparkling fjords. Totally what you would expect to see in any Norwegian travel magazine. On one of the crossings we had to take a car ferry which was a nice break from the bus and on another we walked across the bridge to enable us to see mussels growing in the river!

We ended our “scursion” in Sortland another beautiful fjord town… Gosh this area is just beautiful!

Straight after lunch we headed out back off the boat to Stockmarken. Stockmarken is the home of the Hurtigruten fleet and so we headed into the Hurtigruten museum to understand the history of the fleet. It was first started in the late 1800s as the first “fast liner” ship from Bergen to Trondheim. It has now grown to be the largest fleet in Norway and probably one of the larger fleets in the world. It has always been the “mail” run here in Norway, connecting each of the tiny fjord villages with the major cities. Now I would estimate that it makes a lot more by being a tourist boat that ferries tourists up and down the Norwegian coastline. It still performs the “mail” run services but I’m certain (based on the fact that it is a floating hotel) that it makes heaps more out of tourism!

Not long after our stop the boat entered the Trollfjord. By now the temp had dropped and we are back in jeans, jumper and wind jacket! The Trollfjord is famous in that it is a very narrow fjord that only the Hurtigruten boats enter. The fjord is just majestic. Huge cliff walls on either side with waterfalls and the occasional house or yacht. Really beautiful, so beautiful that we spent the whole afternoon out on the deck watching the passage through the fjord. Bookie and I are certain that we’ve seen trolls so the Trollfjord is well named!

Pulled into Lofeten this evening and spent an hour walking around a WW2 museum. It is a private collection but what a collection! The owner houses the museum in a small house. It is absolutely chock-a-block full of memorabilia. It feels like every square cm is covered in some sort of relic or memento from the second world war! He has heaps of interesting relics but the most interesting (in my opinion) was paintings supposedly by Adolf Hitler, Eva Brawns hand bag and a photograph of the largest cannon ever built. The cannon supposedly needed 1500 people to operate and needed two sets of train tracks to enable it to move! 20 odd trains to pull the cannon! Incredible! It was deployed against the Russians and dismantled after the fall of Stalingrad. Another interesting fact that I learnt was that Kirkenes was the second most bombed town in the war and that more than 1000 Norwegian’s turned to the Nazis and fought in the war for Germany!

Spent the remainder of the evening back on board reading and filling out my blog!

Posted by weary_feet 12:08 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

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