Trip Start Mar 27, 2010
Trip End Jul 04, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Norway  , Western Fjords,
Saturday, May 8, 2010

A leisurely start, then spent a bit of the morning Skyping mothers for Mothers Day. Took a while to find the tourist bureau and a map of the town, but once we sorted that we went to the Fisherman's Market in the wharf area, where dead fish were for sale, and the live ones could be chosen from the large concrete tanks where they were busily waiting. Quite an assortment, from whale and sharks to prawns and crabs. The market also had lots of craft stalls being a Saturday, and was very busy as there was a cruise ship in the harbour. Down through the old part of town, and around the harbour to the Bergenhus - the original fort and castle, past the Domkirken and lots of museums, till we got to the foot of the funicular railway.

Quite a long one as they go, up 320 metres to the top of Mt Fl°yen. The view of the town, the harbour and the islands was superb. We could even hear all of the drumming bands which, for some unknown reason, were marching to the city square from all points of the city. When we could tear ourselves away from the view, we headed back down the funicular and around the central lake.

Found the right bus stop and headed out of town to Troldhaugen where Edvard Grieg had his home and studio. His Steinway is still in the sitting room, and his little 'composer's cabin' on the cliff overlooking the fjords is still in tact. After seeing the view, its no wonder that he was inspired to compose.

Back to the hostel which is built over a restaurant and courtyard where we were serenaded by the band as we ate our tea in our room.

Norway is a great country. Nice people, good facilities, spectacular scenery. They seem to have extensive infrastructure projects going on, especially in the railways. Buildings seem well maintained. Its my favourite Scandinavian country. However, it expensive. But the strange thing is that not everything is. Clothes and stuff is about normal, but food seems extraordinarily expensive. There are always two different prices displayed - eat in, and take away which is cheaper. Hamburgers are $15 and pizzas $20. Restaurant meals are off the scale. Things in the supermarket seem to be about 50% more expensive than home. We can't work it out. Our only thought is that there must be a high tax rate applied to food, and a different tax rate for eat in and for take away. When we asked somebody, their comment was that they didn't have time to work it out, they just had to keep working to afford it.

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