This morning we drive through the scenic and breathtaking Hardangervidda, Europe’s highest mountain plateau and home to Norway’s largest herd of wild reindeer. We will continue our journey to Norway’s second largest city, the Hanseatic fishing port of Bergen. One of the prettiest cities in Norway, Bergen dates back to the 12th century when the port was an important centre of European trade for the all-powerful German Hanseatic League.
In the winter time, Norway is dark, dark, at 4:00pm until 9:00am. On June 21 each year, Norway is dark for just one hour. The languages of Scandinavia originate from an old German language. There are 43 National Parks in Norway.
Not the Sharpest pencil in the box.
How the Day Turned Out
After breakfast, we board a ‘new’ bus, which is from Sweden (must be cheaper from there), and head towards Norway’s second largest city, Bergen (pronounced ‘bargen’). We travel to the west of Oslo and travel along the edges of many of the fjords found along the coast of Norway. It doesn’t take long to get out into the countryside from our hotel. The countryside is very green and the trees are mainly spruce and fir trees – great for making Christmas Card photos. It’s quite obvious that the Norwegians are expert tunnel builders for we travel through many, many tunnels. In one, we come across two different round-a-bouts. It is an uncanny experience for us all, even having travelled through many tunnels around Europe.
The scenery is just ‘out of the box’ fantastic Nordic landscape. The red farm barns and the white houses are very common and enhance the view on the green background. Sorting out photos is one thing, but sorting out photos of beautiful scenery is quite a task. We have some great material to work with.
We stop for lunch at a large ski resort. There are many sales of ski and winter clothing but still the prices are above what we would pay in Australia, so not much money is left by us in those shops. A little further on, a chasm was the destination for a couple of imposing waterfalls. Many people have ventured a little too close to the edge of the chasm and have tragically died on the rocks below.
While travelling along the plateau, there is still snow that is melting to provide the waterfalls and some additional beauty to enhance the landscape. We stop for photos; some see snow for the first time. Our tour director sets up a cafe bar in the bus to offer tea, coffee or hot water, but no milo or hot chocolate.
When we come down from the plateau, the scenery changes quite a bit. We are now deep in fjord territory with steep mountain sides going straight down into the water. A large cruise vessel is in one town well up into the fjord. The locals have requested only one cruise ship at a time as there are not enough people in the town to provide for the tourists that visit.
So, so many tunnels. The longest I recall is 8 kilometres and it is bored straight into hard rock. Why can’t we have more tunnels in Australia – it makes sense to build a tunnel instead of a road that winds around many, many corners presenting a safety problem.
We arrive at Bergen at 5:45pm, given keys to our room, and venture out to see the lovely little town that Bergen is. We pass shops that look very old, but quaint, positioned near the wharf where ‘silver sailors’ have moored their yachts and launches and are enjoying a before dinner drink.
Tomorrow, we investigate around Bergen so we can report on our findings then.
I must apologise that most of our photos have been taken from inside the bus and so some may have reflections shown from within the bus. But the great scenery is just begging to be shared.
In an age of loosing things, it creeps up on most of us. A certain leader of the pack, purchased an expensive squashable vest in Australia to christen it specifically in Norway. Well, ‘the vest’ was left on the bus yesterday afternoon and won’t be with her until the last hotel we stay in in Norway. Interestingly, in the morning, we found out the Tour Director left her sunnies on the bus too. What a godsend as it was thought that the last had been seen of the vest, and now that the Tour Director wants her sunnies back, the vest will also be returned.