Norway Part Two

Tuesday 18th September, 2007
Wednesday 19th September, 2007
Thursday 20th September, 2007

Tuesday 18th September, 2007

Drop Cap sunny day in Bergen town! Unusual enough, since Lene says it is the wettest place in Norway! But not today.

Bryggen warehouses photograph

Bryggen Medieval Warehouses, Bergen, Norway

Drop Cap e had an orientation tour this morning when a local guide showed us the highlights. The waterfront area, dating from the 13th Century, (some of it at least, they have had a lot of fires over the years) is World Heritage Listed and is lovely to wander in.

Tall ship photograph

Three Masted Ship in Bergen Waterfront, Norway

Drop Cap e saw a large three masted sailing ship which is a naval training ship sail out of her mooring and go off. The tour ended at Greig's house (the composer, famous for the Peer Gynt suite) and most of the bus left for the optional tour and cable car to the top of Mt. Ulricken.

Drop Cap e came back to the hotel and sallied forth to look for the laundromat which Lene had told us about. We found it hidden behind the street address we had, which is why we didn't find it when looking last night.

Came back and collected the dirty clothes and took them back. They made up two loads, so we left them for a service wash and went back up the road to the funicular (cable railway) to the top of Mt. Floyen, the Floibanen.

Bergen panorama photograph

Port of Bergen from Mt. Floyen

Drop Cap his was quite fun and not at all frightening and the view from the top all over Bergen was staggering. It was a great panorama and not too high to pick out details.
We saw our hotel and many of the places we saw earlier on the tour.

Drop Cap hile there we tried to call Geoff but there was no answer. We called three times and then called Neil, who said he had also tried to call Geoff this evening to no response. Feeling a bit uneasy we came back down the funicular and then tried again, thinking if there was still no response we would get in touch with Bernie Fisher to see if he could investigate. This time, however, we got Geoff, who said he had been having dinner with the Fishers and had just got home.

Drop Cap eeling relieved, we went off and celebrated with a Big Mac in the local Macca's. Much the same as home, except for the price!!!

We collected the laundry, all beautifully folded and took it back to the hotel. We had been strolling through the Fish Market where there were lots of stalls, not just fish, so our feet were ready for a rest. Came back and crashed for a couple of hours.

Drop Cap suppose that fine weather helped a lot as it would not have been much fun slogging through the rain, but I fell in love with Bergen and Mac liked it too.

We went out for a pizza at Peppe's, the same chain as we tried in Lillehammer. It was not quite as good, I thought, but a different topping. Back to shower before bed, we have a really early start, tomorrow.

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Wednesday 19th September, 2007

Drop Cap p at 0530 to have the bags out by 0630 and leave at 0730! Bergen had used up its ration of fine weather and it was raining gently. We had a long trip, starting with the forty tunnels of the road back to Voss, where we turned off for Oslo and the Hardangervidda Plateau.

Hardangervidda snow photograph

Snowballing on the Hardangervidda

Drop Cap ten minute ferry crossing of the Hardanger Fjord then up the Open but getting more and more snowy road to Hardangervidda. This is a very interesting and ecologically important area but very open, treeless and rather grim. Snow was falling quite heavily, building up on the sides of the road and in sheets on the open plateau.

Snowplough photograph

Snowplough at Wilderness Restaurant, Hardangervidda

Drop Cap e stopped for lunch at a wilderness restaurant where Mac had waffles and strawberry jam and I had an open sandwich of smoked salmon, eggs and salad. Very good. There was a snowplough in the carpark with quite a lot of snow on its blade.

Drop Cap e went on again in more snow flurries and descended into the nearest valley, which was beautiful, scenic and rural, lots of little rivers, lakes and small farms. Most of us napped a while as we passed lots of lonely forests and moved ever closer to Oslo.

Pretty pitstop photograph

Pretty Pitstop by the Lake

Drop Cap e stopped by a lovely lake and resort area for afternoon break. Mac and I eschewed the complicated coffee machine and had delicious icecreams in the style of Peters Drumsticks with a waffle cone and lumps of chocolate and raspberrry syrup.

Drop Cap efreshed, we went on for another two hours and fought our way through rush hour traffic to the Radisson SAS Scandinavia. So here we are, not a big room but well set out, for our last two nights. It has all gone very fast.

Drop Cap e walked downtown to see if we could find a restaurant but they all seemed full, so I bought a book at a bookshop (99NKR for a paperback - about $25!) This place is very expensive.

Drop Cap hen we walked back to the hotel where we had a lovely (and pricey) meal in their restaurant.

Up tomorrow for our city tour at 0830, then an optional which will show us the Kon-Tiki Raft and the Viking Ships. Hope it's fine again.

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Thursday 20th September, 2007

Drop Cap ut at 0830 this morning for our tour of Oslo - not terribly impressed, especially downtown near the port, all being dug up or pulled down.

Vigeland gateway photograph

Gateway to Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo

Drop Cap e made a stop at the Vigeland Sculpture Park to view some of the over two hundred works of art, all by Gustav Vigeland in the early 20th Century. They displayed his view of the circle of life - man, woman, life, death, infinity - you know the kind of thing.

Vigeland sculpture photograph

Some of the hundreds of statues at Vigeland Park

Drop Cap ll the statues are naked and the attitudes caused a bit of a furore when they were first set up. The sculptures were wonderful, but I don't think I like his outlook on life.

Viking ship photograph

Viking Ship in the Museum

Drop Cap he outer suburbs were much nicer than the inner city and led out to the Bygdoy Peninsula where we visited the Viking Ship Museum. This was super! - three ship burials, one of which, for a queen, was filled with amazing artifacts - wagons and horses, all sorts of equipment. Most of it was left, unlike at Sutton Hoo, only needing to be jigsawed together again. Only a couple of planks were replacements.

Viking ship photograph

Another Viking Ship at the Museum

Drop Cap feature was the very large steering board attached to the right side of the ship. This is where we get the nautical expression "starboard" meaning right side, from the Old Norse for steer board on the right. Interesting. One of the other ships had not been rebuilt and was displayed flattened out with a number of other features, the burial cabin, etc., displayed separately. It was very well done and I found it intensely interesting.

Kon Tiki Museum photograph

Facade of Kon Tiki Museum, Oslo

Drop Cap fter the Viking Ship we went for our optional, still in the same area. After a quick refreshment stop we went to the Kon-Tiki Museum. I studied Thor Heyerdahl's book on the Kon-Tiki Expedition while at school in the fifties so I was particularly keen to see the raft.

Reed raft (Ra) photograph

Ra II, The Reed Boat

Drop Cap irst, however, came the Ra II, the reed boat Heyerdahl sailed from Africa to South America to prove they could have done it. He was finding similarities between pyramid building cultures.

Drop Cap hen, the Kon-Tiki. It was difficult to photograph as it was too big to get it all in but it was great to see it just as he had described it. Other scientists regarded TH as not having a scientist's open mind because he had his mind made up before he went and only wanted to prove his theories. I believe many scientists are like this and tend to discount any data which does not agree with their preconceived ideas. Very interesting, though.

Lapp camp photograph

Lapp Tepee and Food Storage at Open Air Museum

Drop Cap fter this we went quickly through the open air museum nearby, seeing exhibits of Norwegian National Dress, then through some of the buildings, including the Lapp Camp Site.

Gol Stavechurch photograph

Old Gol Stavechurch at Open Air Museum, Oslo

Drop Cap inally we got to the Stave Church bought from the town of Gol, which we passed yesterday, when the Gollians were going to burn it down in order to build a modern replacement. We were told that the Gollians missed it so much that they built the new church in the same style.

Altogether an interesting day.

Royal Palace Oslo photograph

Oslo's Royal Palace

Drop Cap ater we strolled down to the Royal Palace, very nice in Scandinavian Empire Style, like a smaller version of Schonbrunn.

We had a very pleasant Italian meal, spaghetti carbonara for Mac and chicken boscaiola for me, at a local restaurant. I noticed several members of the tour there as well.

Drop Cap t has been a great tour, the weather was a bit erratic but you can't legislate for that. There was a very good mix of the scenic and the citified and we found a lot to be enthusiastic about.

Our tour manager, Lene, was excellent and went the extra few kilometres for our enjoyment and the group was a really good mix, no discordant elements. I felt, on seeing a group in the foyer next morning, that if you can still laugh out loud at the end of a tour, it has been a good one.

Next day, on to Switzerland.

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