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July 12th, 2000 · No Comments

Bergen, Norway Flight

Day 194

We were very lucky our schedule was changed from a ferry to Bergen to a flight. TK&A staff took the ferry from New Castle, Scotland to Bergen as did all the folks with rental cars. The North Sea was not kind to them. Larry and Joan reported being sea sick for 13 hours on board the ship while it heaved up and down. They were all green

My personal experience was very relaxing. My flight was the second and later one, deliberately scheduled that was so I could take advance of sleeping in. I was the only person in the cafeteria having breakfast that morning, it was that late! The bus to the airport took us on a mini tour of Aberdeen, purposely arriving at the airport at a time when none of the other buses were there. It was nice to have only a short wait in line for a seat. (Is somebody learning how to control the crowd?)

A few other people on the first flight goofed up and were brought back to the University when they arrived at the airport without their passports. We haven’t had to show passports in the European countries, but now entering Norway it is once again needed. One lady, who shall remain nameless, actually boarded the wrong plane! Lucky for her, she discovered it in time.

P0002765 On a more exciting note, some one walked away from their baggage at the Aberdeen Airport. Security noticed the lonely bag and put the entire airport on emergency notice. Wow, they sure get strict these days. It is really too bad we have to worry about such things.

Tim Kneeland got on our bus to be sure we all had our passports. He said all these goof ups cost them about 5 hours of work that morning. Tim must feel he is in the adult day care business.

The flight was short and sweet, only 55 minutes. From the comfort of the plane cabin, I got to see a few Oil platforms in the North Sea. That’s about as close as I’ll ever get or want to get to one. In Bergen, I did notice a huge fleet of very large helicopters, all used for supporting the oil business in the sea.

My biggest problem, my ears did OK on the flight. Linda and Charmaigne (pharmacist and physician) suggested I take a decongestant prior to boarding. I did get a lot of crackling, but no pain to speak of. I think this last round of antibiotics are working. Hoo Ray!

I am in Norway, country 26 this year. It is raining and about 48 degrees.

P0002751 We were taken high up on a hill to the Montana Hostel in Bergen and given assigned rooms. I am given an assignment with 3 other gals, Ramona, Denise and Marguerita. The hostel is large having 255 rooms accommodating 4 to 5 persons in each room. The best part of the hostel were the two very large community rooms, one for smoking and the other non smoking. We filled up the non smoking immediately.

The view from the Montana hostel is terrific. The following morning when the sun actually shone, I snapped a great picture of the harbor and surrounding mountains.

Norway reminds me of Colorado. All one needs to do is imagine Colorado with the temperature turned down, filled with water so the mountains jut right up, sprinkle a few fishing villages here and there, and you’ve got Norway! Oh yes, everyone will have to speak Norse and have blond hair!

Bergen to RisnesDay 195

I feel pretty good today and would like to ride, but I have four days left of antibiotics. After speaking with “my doctor”, we agreed that I should not ride until I am completely done with the medication, so I don’t have another setback. Instead of staying on route, riding the punitive “sick/sag wagon,” I hooked up with Lynne, Shirl and Jane.

We have to check out of the Montana Hostel because believe it or not the entire place is full tonight. They did give us permission to leave our bikes there, because we can return tomorrow night. Off to town we go, lugging packs and panniers onto the bus. First shock, the bus fare is 25 krona (almost $5!). The reality of Scandinavian cost of living is starting to sink in.

P0002760 The best way to find a room is to go to the Information center, which we did. It was late morning and the place was absolutely packed. We had to take a number for service and wait. I am continually amazed at how many people are traveling. Everywhere you go there a tourists!

We were looking for “cheap” lodging, the clerk referred us to the YMCA, which was conveniently located across the street. She tried to telephone for us, but they weren’t answering, we decided to walk over. We got there only to discover it was closed between 10:30 and 3:30, that answers the question why they didn’t respond to our telephone call.

Back to the Information bureau we went, this time Jane had found an ad for a place that fit our budget (sort of). The clerk called for us and we had a room. It was noon already.

Our accommodations turned out to be part of the “backpackers” network. We shared a room with 2 bunk beds and 4 locker type closets. The bath, toilet and kitchen were down the hall. The place was spotlessly clean and well kept. We were required to rent sheets and towels for an extra fee, unless we had our own.

For this Spartan room, we paid altogether $100! Split 4 ways it wasn’t bad, but I wonder what a real nice room costs at the Marriott? Just the same, I was delighted to find the place because it was located right downtown in the middle of everything.

We split up, agreeing to meet at 3:15 for our “White Lady” boat tour of the fjords. In the meantime I was anxious to explore the fish market and surrounding stores.

The fish market was so interesting, not only is there every kind of seafood imaginable, but you could purchase sweaters and ugly/cute trolls. The fish vendors had caviar, shrimp, crab, lobster and all kinds of big ugly fish I’ve never heard of before. They also made sandwiches on loaves of French-type bread for on the street consumption.

I love Norwegian knit designs, so when I found store after store of wonderful sweaters, I was delighted. The prices were good, but they weren’t exactly giving them away. After awhile the thrill wore off and I managed to make it through the day without buying a sweater. I still have time left…6 more days in Norway.

P0002788 We met at the docks to board the “White Lady” for a 4 hour tour. I had the maddening tune of “Gilligan’s Island” running through my head, but I couldn’t remember the words, neither could anyone else! It is a good thing otherwise I’d still be singing it. The “White Lady” is a double-decker boat, enclosed on the lower level and open on top. We all opted for the open section, delighted at the sight of complimentary blankets to wrap around us. It was obvious that we were going to need them.

P0002779 The Norwegian coast is beautiful with rugged green mountains everywhere. Once we left the Bergen area, it became very rural. Every now and then we would pass a lonely home, the folks would always come out to wave to us. Some waved so ferociously, I swear they were getting paid to do so. Finally; I figured out these are vacation homes. The folks inside were being friendly because they only had to do it for a week or so. I can’t imagine someone living there full time waving to the boats like that everyday!

I learned that in Norway the fishing industry is very big, Norway produces 1/2 the world’s salmon. All along the coast we saw fish farms where they were “growing” salmon. They were easy to spot, because there was a large concentration of sea gulls just above. The salmon made the water looking as though it was boiling, they kept jumping up giving the impression of bubbling water.

P0002792 The boat took us through several fjords, finger narrow thin strips of water where it looked difficult for the ship to pass. The land jutted out from the water almost straight up, like a wall. We saw and heard several thundering waterfalls. The views are majestic.

The harbor in Bergen is a popular Port of Call for the Ocean Liners cruising the North Sea. We saw three huge cruise ships docked for the afternoon. No doubt the passengers we all out buying sweaters for the cold nights at sea. The ships looked very comfortable and inviting. Maybe when I’m too old to ride a bicycle, I’ll take a cruise!

P0002769 We stopped by the grocery store to pick up pasta, bread and drink. By doing this our dinner came out to be a fraction of what it would have cost eating out. We were happy to have the use of the kitchen, it had been a long time since any of us had cooked!

After dinner was cleaned up, I went out to look for a telephone. In town this was the night the stores stayed open until 2 a.m! The downtown area was packed with bargain hunters and people out enjoying the evening sun. Yes, sun. When I tucked into bed at 11:30 that night, the sun still had not gone down. It is a very strange feeling to have so much daylight.

One thing I don’t understand, if there is so much sunshine, how come it is so darn cold here?P0002758

Tags: Norway · Scandinavia