A Travellerspoint blog

Day 80

Day 80 - Geilo, Norway to Baldersnas Herrgard, Sweden

sunny 18 °C

After a peaceful night on the side of a mountain in Norway, we woke this morning to a bright sunny day.

Art exercised his prerogative as a father on Father's Day to choose the scenic route to our destination. We were not aware of what our GPS had in store for us but we should have been warned when we were on a gravel road within minutes of leaving our ski lodge.

Everything went pretty well after we got off the gravel road. We drove through a small town called Uvdal and found a Stave Church. We had not seen a Stave Church since we found a reconstruction of one in Minot, North Dakota a few years ago. The internet tells us that the Uvdal Stave Chruch is a Norwegian Heritage Site.

Stave Church at Uvdal, Norway

Stave Church at Uvdal, Norway

The next interesting site was a tunnel. There are many, many tunnels in Norway but this one appeared to be older than many we have seen before.

Tunnel  along highway 40

Tunnel along highway 40

When it got to be lunch time we were looking for a picnic stop. Reta was looking at the maps and could not find any of the towns we were driving through. Then she realized that we were about 50 kilometres south of where we needed to be. Our GPS had led us to a ferry to cross a fjord south of Oslo. We did not want to take a ferry because we did not know how long it would take us to travel with it, and we did not know how much it was going to cost us. We looked at the map and figured out a way to drive where we needed to be, and eventually the GPS was able to take us were we needed to go. We got to our rural hotel in Sweden about 1/2 hour before the office closed. We had driven almost 8 hours to get here and when we left Geilo we planned to drive for 6 hours.

We got more of a scenic route than we planned.

We have a very nice rural hotel. We enclose a picture of our view from our room.

View out of our hotel room in Sweden

View out of our hotel room in Sweden

We had supper/dinner at the hotel restaurant. They have just one menu with one soup, one main course and one dessert. We chose to have just the main course. We were told it would be sirloin steak with parsnips and roast potato. When our dinner arrived, we did have parsnips and roast potatoes but the steak was very large and mostly rare. The server waited until the plates were in front of us to tell us it was deer meat (that is what he said in English), we would have said venison. Anyway, we ate it and it was very good even if it was way more than we would usually eat.

Another strange day weather-wise. The day started bright and sunny then turned cold and cloudy with intermittent rain and now we are enjoying a bright and sunny evening.

Posted by A-RPoulton 12:47 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

Day 79

Bergen to Geilo

overcast 16 °C

We had a night of all-night noise because of the music followed by the yelling on the street and apartment doors opening and slamming shut until 4 AM. We had a great little apartment with what would likely have been a great location but the Bergenfest and, we found out later, a football (soccer) tournament, meant our area was full of happy people having a very loud great time. Location, Location, Location.

We woke this morning to find the mountains across the harbour covered in fog.

We got ourselves going and got to the tire place shortly after they opened. They had the tire we needed. They got the tire on the car and off we went.

By the time we stopped for lunch at the same pretty picnic stop we stopped at on our way to Bergen near the town of Voss, the sun was shining and the temperature was up to 21 C.

After lunch, we travelled through tunnels and up and over the mountains at Halne. We were amazed at how much of the snow and ice had melted since Wednesday when we passed by there before.

We arrived at Geilo in time to check in for the night. Geilo is a ski resort so we are guaranteed a quiet night.

We did not take any photos today.

The weather changed from foggy in the morning to bright and sunny at noon and by late afternoon we were back to cool weather and clouds.

Posted by A-RPoulton 08:32 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day 78

Around Bergen

semi-overcast 18 °C

Today we planned to spend the day getting to know Bergen.

First off, we must say that last night the windows did not rattle because of the music at Bergenfest. Some others must have also felt the volume was excessive and asked the sound people to use a little restraint. The music has been going most of today but while you can hear it, it is not obnoxious.

We took a picture last night ten minutes after sunset, which was 11:20 PM, and as you can see, there is plenty of light left.

Ten minutes after sunset June 16

Ten minutes after sunset June 16

Tonight the anticipated sunset is 11:10 PM and the sunrise tomorrow is 4:10 AM.

Across the harbour from our lodging is the area known as Bryggen, which is a World Heritage Site. The area is full of historic buildings, many turned into souvenir shops. There are three items that can be found in every store, trolls, anything with moose on it and knitted sweaters, mitts, scarves and hats. We managed not to buy anything.

Trolls everywhere

Trolls everywhere

These are some pictures of the Bryggen area.

Street in Bryggen

Street in Bryggen

Bryggen building

Bryggen building

Another Bryggen building

Another Bryggen building

Bryggen building 3

Bryggen building 3

Another Bryggen streetscape

Another Bryggen streetscape

The "Fortress" is next to the Bryggen area. We wandered through that area as well. While we were there we discovered that there is a venue for Bergenfest in the fortress as well. We were getting sound from both sides of the harbour.

Rosenkrantz tower

Rosenkrantz tower

Haakon's hall in fortress

Haakon's hall in fortress

While we were on that side of the harbour we took a picture of our apartment building. We are on the third floor by American standards and our building is the green one on the left with the red roof.

Our building from across the harbour

Our building from across the harbour

We had a lot of company as we toured Bryggen because this is a cruise ship stop. Yesterday the Cunard Queen Elizabeth was in dock. The Queen Elizabeth is the newest luxury liner in the Cunard line. Today one of the ships was from the Princess line. We could not see the other ship well enough to figure out what it was.

After touring those areas we walked through the "fish market" which was interesting as well.

Later in the afternoon we went up to the 10th floor terrace to take pictures of the fortress and Bryggen.

Fortress from our rooftop

Fortress from our rooftop

Bryggen from our rooftop

Bryggen from our rooftop

Close up of water front Bryggen buildings

Close up of water front Bryggen buildings

We got a picture of the Bergenfest venue on our side of the harbour while we were on the terrace. This venue is likely 1/2 to 3/4 of a kilometre away from us.

Venue for Bergenfest near our lodging

Venue for Bergenfest near our lodging

This is our 10th floor rooftop terrace. It is very nice and would be very pleasant on a hot day.

10th floor rooftop terrace

10th floor rooftop terrace

The high temperature for today was 18 C ( 64 F) and the sky was semi-overcast. Great weather for walking around town.

Posted by A-RPoulton 11:09 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day 77

Fjord cruise

semi-overcast 20 °C

As we have mentioned a few times, we are close to summer solstice. Last night sunset was to be at 11 PM. We took a picture of the sky to show that there was reflection of a sunset in the clouds but we also took a picture of the parts of Bergen across the harbour from us to show how light it actually was. The young people on our cruise said it was still light out at 2:30 AM. We can not verify that as we were asleep then.

ITen minutes before sunset June 15

Ten minutes before sunset June 15

Ten minutes before sunset June 15 still lots of light

Ten minutes before sunset June 15 still lots of light

Last evening we heard the most horrendous music and it was very loud and very close by. We wondered what on earth it was. It went on from early evening until past midnight. Today we learned that there is a festival going on and one of the venues is just up the street. It is all hard rock bands and bands we have never heard of. They talk about Neil Young putting on a performance but not where or when. We would be happy to listen to that. It is only 4:30 PM and the noise has already started and it does not sound like Neil Young. This festival is on every night we are here, so we are in for noise, noise, and more noise.

We are happy to be across the street from the harbour but not up the street from that commotion. Another case of not knowing exactly where our lodging is and what might be going on in town at the time we are there. Travelers beware.

This morning we went to the fjord cruise location just a few blocks away. We had a bit of time so took pictures of things we saw as we waited for our catamaran. The first is a statue dedicated to 1940 - 1945 which we assume is something to do with WWII. Many seagulls have visited this tribute.

Tribute to 1940 - 1945

Tribute to 1940 - 1945

There was also a safety station with Bergen Havn (Bergen Harbour) on it.

Bergen Havn

Bergen Havn

Then our fjord cruise ride arrived. We were to cruise the Osterfjord

Our fjord cruise ride

Our fjord cruise ride

We spotted many of these lighthouses along our journey.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse

This picture shows the rock face along the way.

Cliff face by fjord

Cliff face by fjord

Once the boat entered the fjord the water became very smooth and acted like a mirror. We saw a beautiful reflection.

Beautiful reflection

Beautiful reflection

Reta got a close-up of a town along the fjord.

Close up of town on fjord

Close up of town on fjord

This picture gives you a sample of some of the sights we saw.

Fjord, shoreline, rocks, mountains and snow in the distance

Fjord, shoreline, rocks, mountains and snow in the distance

The end of the fjord we were in was named Mostraumen. There was a very small village there that is only accessed by boat.

Town of Mostraumen

Town of Mostraumen

School at Mostraumen - accessed by water

School at Mostraumen - accessed by water

The commentator was not clear about whether this school is still in use or not but it made an interesting story that students could only reach the school by boat.

At one time Mostraumen was the end of the fjord with a river running from a lake into the fjord. In 1913 a channel was dredged so today our catamaran could squeeze through the channel.

Boat coming out of strait between lake and fjord

Boat coming out of strait between lake and fjord

Going through strait

Going through strait

We then turned around and sailed back to Bergen. Along the way we came to some shacks that sat on the top of high platforms. These are fishing shacks. The tradition is that fishermen sat in these shacks and when they saw fish swimming by would throw a stone with we think a net attached that the fish got caught in. This method of fishing is no longer approved but "locals" with special licences are allowed to use this fishing method occasionally to keep the tradition alive.

Fishing shack

Fishing shack

We sailed on and stopped by Heskjedalsfossen, a double waterfall.

Best waterfall picture

Best waterfall picture

At the end of our cruise it was raining, so all the folks who had been enjoying the deck outside scurried into the cabin.

We returned to Bergen and Reta was able to get a good picture of the three-mast ship, Statsraad Lehmkukl, in harbour. This ship has a long history. It was built in Germany and used as a training ship until the end of WWI when it was taken as a prize by England. it was purchased by the Norwegian government in 1921 and sailed under the Norwegian flag as a training ship starting in 1923. This ship continued as a training ship until 1967 except for the years 1940 - 1945 when it was captured by the Germans. This ship has had many owners and has been refurbished. It is presently owned by the Statsraad Lehmkukl Foundation that will rent the ship out as a training school or as a tour boat.

Three mast ship in harbour

Three mast ship in harbour

We can see through our windows that people are again walking with umbrellas and rain ponchos so we assume it is raining again.

Posted by A-RPoulton 08:58 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day 76

Norwegian tunnels and frozen lakes

semi-overcast 24 °C

Today we traveled from Geilo, Norway to Bergen, Norway.

We woke to a cool and cloudy morning. The temperature was 11 C (52 F) when we got in the car.

As we left Geilo we noticed that many homes had sod roofs.

Grass Roof

Grass Roof

We had not driven very far when we noticed that there was snow right by the roadway.

Snow by the road

Snow by the road

We traveled on and the road rose higher and higher until we reached a plateau that contained a frozen lake. We found out later that this lake is called Halnerfjorden. It is at the elevation of 1130 metres or 3707 feet. There were rocks stacked on rocks by the shore of the lake. The vegetation along the shore seemed to be alpine, short grasses and trees and very rocky. The temperature had dropped to 6 C (42 F).

Frozen lake known as Halnefjorden and rocky shore

Frozen lake known as Halnefjorden and rocky shore

Rocks stacked on rocks by frozen lake

Rocks stacked on rocks by frozen lake

Not much further along the road we noticed fields of fluffy white flowers. Reta investigated this flower on the internet and although she could not find out exactly what this flower is, she feels it could be a version of the eriophorum.

Field of white flowers at high elevation

Field of white flowers at high elevation

Close up of white fluffy flowers

Close up of white fluffy flowers

Shortly after spotting the white flowers, we came to an area where our progress was stopped because the highway folks were only allowing traffic to flow from one direction at a time. We had a 20-minute wait for our turn to go forward. Reta spotted a waterfall on the very high cliffs.

Waterfalls and high cliffs

Waterfalls and high cliffs

We were stopped by a cafe and souvenir shop so Reta took that opportunity to catch a picture of the Norwegian flag.

Norwegian flag

Norwegian flag

When we started to move we were taken through a number of tunnels. We eventually went through 51 tunnels from Geilo to Bergen. Some of these tunnels were 8 kilometres long and some even had roundabouts in them, fantastic engineering.

We were surrounded by deep canyons and followed waterways.

Lake and large valley

Lake and large valley

We knew that the highway we were traveling would cross a fjord on a bridge. What we did not expect was that we would come out of a tunnel and find ourselves right on the bridge.

Bridge over fjord

Bridge over fjord

Out of tunnel and onto bridge

Out of tunnel and onto bridge

On bridge over fjord

On bridge over fjord

We found a nice spot to stop and have a picnic lunch. Many others enjoyed the same stop.

Pretty lunch stop

Pretty lunch stop

After lunch we continued our journey to Bergen. We found our apartment. We had not expected that it was right on Bergen's harbour.

View from Bergen apartment

View from Bergen apartment

Someone's fancy yacht

Someone's fancy yacht

We had a variety of weather today. It started out cool and cloudy. We then had the very cold up at the frozen lake and then it rained on and off and then by lunch time had become warm and sunny and the temperature at Bergen was 24 C ( 75 F)

Last night, sunset was to be at 11 PM but there was still a lot of sunlight at that time. The sunrise today was 4:10 AM. We are getting closer to the day with the longest daylight hours or summer solstice.

Posted by A-RPoulton 13:36 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

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