Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bergen - 60 23' 33" N 05 19' 24" E

After catching the early morning train across the stunning Hardangervidda plateau and through Finse with Norway's highest train station, we arrived in Bergen.  The railway is an engineering feat. Starting in the 1870s,  it took 34 years to construct, battling freezing winters, deep snow - and all with a slide rule and hemp rope!  It is 484km long with 17.7 km of tunnels  (182 tunnels in total).

The Girls on the train...

Hardangervidda plateau
Hardangervidda plateau
Finse - Norway's highest train station at 1222m
- somewhat of a mecca for cycling

Arriving to sparkling sunshine and a cloudless sky, we topped the day off with a beer on the patio at Fløyen - at the top of the Fløibanen Funicular...

Fløyen - overlooking Bergen and the Byfjorden
Now that's pretty nice!

Only 3304km to The North Pole
Again, our morning runs took us around Bergen checking out the sights without the hoards of tourists.  The tourists (of course, we do not fall into that category) seemed to appear late morning, building to plague proportions by mid-afternoon.  The early mornings were clear, sparkling and quiet!

Totem pole at Nordnesparken
Nordnes
Fløyen
Wendy finds her troll
Fløyen - they use goats to keep the weeds down
Lille Lungegårdsvannet
Sydnes
Nygårdsparken
Nygårdsparken
Store Lungegårdsvann
Store Lungegårdsvann - in winter, this is a skating area,
complete with warming firepits!
Oooommmm - Store Lungegårdsvann
Early morning Bryggen - before the crowds arrive

We had had some debate in Oslo as to buying an 'Oslo Card'.  These offer discounts to major tourist attractions and free use of public transport.  We decided against it but in hindsight, we thought perhaps we should have. So, on arriving in Bergen, we armed ourselves with a 48-hr Bergen Card! With the prospect of rain, we did some research and decided to visit the house of Ole Bull - simply because it required a tram, a bus and a ferry to get there and good use of our Bergen cards!  But who is Ole Bull?  Exactly the question we asked but now know he was Norway's virtuoso violinist and composer who built a rather gorgeous house which is now a museum.

So off we went on the tram to Lagunen, #62 bus to Buena and the ferry across to Lysøen where the museum is. This took us south of Bergen by 30km, past fjords, over mountains, along winding roads and magnificent bridges.

On the ferry with Ole Bull's house in the background
An interesting mix of styles
Now that's a front porch!
And we thought our new house had some wood!
The rain held off and we even had some sun
And the ferry ride back


Fully utilizing our Bergen cards, we explored the Bergnhus Fortress.  This included a peek into Haakons Hall and climbing the Rosenkrantz Tower.  The tower is straight out of the middle ages with winding stone staircases and a dusty, dank dungeon! I now have a new appreciation for the medieval soldiers in chainmail ofter trying some on! It took both Wendy and Susan to lift it and I had trouble standing, let alone brandishing a sword, running up narrow, stone stairs or riding a horse.

Haakons Hall
Haakons Hall
In the dungeon of Rosenkrantz Tower
Fancy a joust?
Making full use of our Bergen cards, we explored the Norway Fisheries Museum, the Bryggens Museum with it archaeological excavations showing foundations of the early houses and a quick flit around the stunning St Mary's Church.

Is that a cruise ship at my back door?
Lunch at the Fisheries Museum - cosy reindeer skins to sit on
She's got a crab!
Old warehouse at Fisheries Museum
A Popeye clone 


Bryggen from across the fjord
Bryggen
Shopping for beanies!
Somewhat wonky stairs seem to be the norm - Bryggen
Bryggen






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