Travelling along the Fjord Fair Lane
Trip Start May 27, 2011
10Trip End Jun 19, 2011
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We had our first sleep-in so far on this holiday (6.45am) before having breakfast, packing our bags and heading down to the train station. Unluckily it decided to rain again so I'm not sure we'll remember Oslo for its balmy weather! Since we only have baguettes left for lunch, I wanted to buy some peanut butter to make them less plain but since there was only Nutella, I remembered the train diet we’d experienced on the Trans Siberian and decided to forego it.
The train was already at the platform so we boarded straight away. The seats were the "family" seats, meaning we had the ones that faced two other seats. It didn’t matter because we had some good people to talk to including a group of German senior citizens and two French ladies on a whirlwind trip. The journey out of Oslo was somewhat on the bleak side so it made me happy I had 3 versions of Angry Birds on my iphone
Even though it was overcast, the Norwegian countryside was amazing. Just imagine lots of deep fjords with villages of wooden houses surrounding them, and you’ve got a pretty good picture. When we arrived near Finse we were really taken aback – there was more snow than the eye could see, with frozen rivers and (I suspect) a handful of elf communities as well. Kind of bizarre too when you think that summer starts tomorrow here. Ted and I went crazy with the camera but of course, thanks to the reflection of train windows, a misplaced finger or an unfortunately positioned tree, we ended up deleting about 80% of them.
When we arrived at Flam, most of the passengers departed to connect with the Flam railway, meaning we had most of the train carriage to ourselves. As we approached Bergen, the scenery and weather became a lot warmer before we arrived. After disembarking, finding our guest house was a piece of cake, especially since it was only 200 metres away. The guest house was just what we needed – it’s the lower floor of a wooden house with four private bedrooms, and a shared bathroom and kitchen. We’re getting tired of restaurant food so being able to cook again is a luxury (never thought I would say that)
After checking in, we went straight to the funicular railway for a view over the city. Unbeknown to us, the funicular isn’t just for tourists; it also acts as a form of transport for the people who live in the houses on the side of the mountain. We decided to get a one way ticket and walk back down. The view from the top was unbelievable – there was a combination of mountains, the harbour and the city all rolled into one. It was one of those ooh-ahh moments, like when you see Yosemite National Park or the Great Wall of China for the first time. You could stand there all day and bask in the Norwegian scenery. We took enough photos to make the batteries run flat, as well as asking other tourists (Japanese ones) to take photos of both of us. I wanted to have a coffee in the restaurant there to complete the ambiance, but when I noticed they were only serving instant coffee, decided to forego it.
Ted and I then started the walk down that took about 45 minutes. We were somewhat humbled by other tourists that were old enough to be our parents, who had decided to walk up instead of taking the funicular. Once back in town, we looked through the famous fish markets (that was giving free tastings of smoked whale), and walked along the waterfront. We have both agreed on something – we love Bergen
After buying some T-shirts, we went to the local supermarket and bought enough food for our stay here. The mince was a concern – the check-out lady couldn’t seem to explain to us what type of animal it was, so we don’t know if it was reindeer or what. Either way, I’m sure it will taste fine in spaghetti bolognaise.
We don't have big plans for tomorrow as Bergen isn't exactly bursting with sights, but we are looking forward to just walking around, meeting the people and enjoying the atmosphere.
Today was the first day of summer here in Europe, so Bergen decided to put on a cold, wet and windy day of just 10 degrees Celsius! It made us grateful we went up the funicular yesterday. We were both awake by 6.30am so Ted thought it would be great to make bacon and eggs for breakfast. Well, it was a great idea but unfortunately, the kitchen here doesn’t have a door so we ultimately woke up everyone else in the guest house too
When packing my bag for this holiday, I wondered whether gloves were really necessary. Today they were. We first walked down to the waterfront and moseyed through all the tourist trap shops. It wasn’t long until it started to rain. Apparently Bergen has over 200 wet days a year so I guess we’ve had the full experience now.
We went to an appropriately named Heaven Café for hot chocolate which, at four stories up, was the perfect place to sit and drink hot chocolate whilst watching tourists fighting to control their cheap umbrellas.
We returned to our guest house to have pasta for lunch and relax. Before braving the elements again, I donned my most attractive rain poncho so we could explore the town more. I was keen to try some seafood as Bergen is well known for its fishing culture, so we went to the Fisherman’s Market where I bought two fish cakes. I put a lot of thought into which stall to buy them from – basically the one that had the best looking fisherman serving.
As Ted and I huddled inside another restaurant drinking more hot chocolate, we changed our mind partially about Bergen - we would live here IF the weather wasn't so crappy! We returned to our guest house, almost entirely soaked, and made schnitzels for dinner. I think we were overzealous at the supermarket the other day as we seem to be leaving behind more food than we ate. We have already packed our bags as we need to wake at -gasp!- 3.20am for our airport transfer. Unfortunately when you're a staff traveller, you can't be picky about which flight you want to get on.
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