Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Flam, Norway

 I arrived in Flam this afternoon. It was a culture shock, the place is so crowded and so commercialized. Its so crazy. The endless lines of Asians everywhere and the numerous tour buses. My god, I've never seen anything like it. Otherwise it is a really pretty place. I'm staying at a hostel/camping site. This place is something else too, there are tents pitched everywhere under the apple trees. There are RV's all over the hillside. One can rent private cabins or sleep in a dorm. I'm sleeping in a girl's dorm tonight, just for one night. I leave to take the train to go back to Bergen tomorrow.
 The wild flowers are still all over the hillside. It makes this camp ground really pretty.

 The lines and lines of huge tour buses and huge cruise ships. I don't know how they can drive those huge cruise ships up here.
 There is famous train and the lines of Chinese tourists at every running is crazy scary.
 I did a short hike and ran into a raspberry farm. I trespassed and went in to pick some. Three Chinese tourists saw me do it and they followed.
I'm taking this train tomorrow.

Balestrand, Norway

 Last look at Balestrand. My ferry ride arrives in a few hours and I got to be heading down to the harbor quite soon.
 I did walk around this morning before breakfast. Some hotels faces the fjord and some lucky people do wake up with this view. Not me, my room faces the back but I can see mountain tops with snow at their peaks. Its so beautiful. How wonderful to be living here even though they have to face a long dark cold and wet winter. These few summer months sort of make up for it. The sun is out today and I think summer has finally arrived in these parts.

This is the sitting area of my hotel, it consists of an old house and a new and modern annex. Its the only place in town that has rooms left. There's this big hotel that is filled up, with huge busloads of Chinese visitors. If I post again today it will be from Flam.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sognefjord and Fjaerlandfjord, Norway

 I left Bergen at 8am, went on the ferry to Sognefjord. I was going to make a stop at Balestrand, stay the night, continue tomorrow up to Flam, stay the night at Flam and then take the train back to Bergen. As we approached Balestrand, the captain announced that what we're seeing up ahead is the 6,000 year old Jostedal glacier, the biggest in Europe. In fact there is a boat waiting at Balestrand to take people there right now. So a bunch of us jumped at the chance. I took my luggage and got on this little skiff and off we went up the Fjaerlandfjord and on to Fjaerland to see this glacier.

 All the way up the Sognefjord we passed remote farm houses.

 Fjaerland is a very prosperous town. The retreating glacier has left behind some of the most fertile soil in Norway. The Norwegians prefer the warmer South of Norway and that is why most of the population is concentrated in the warmer southern cities. The North is very sparsely populated.
 It's summer and the glacier has retreated.

 Then we came back to Balestrand and I'm in my hotel, showered and fed.

 This is the view from my bedroom which is at the back of the hotel. Balestrand is a cute place.
 This is St Olaf, an example of a stave church. This is stave architecture. I was surprised to read that the church of England runs this place.
 This is the view from this apartment when they look out their back! Imagine that. This is July and the snow stays all year round.
This was what I ate for dinner, Norwegian meatballs. They were really good. What a day it was. I was wondering how to travel up the Fjaerlandfjord to Fjaerland and by some quirk of fate, I did it!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday in Bergen

 St Mary, built in the 12thC but rebuilt a few times. Its Norwegian and I think they are Lutheran. When I went this morning, an Anglican service was going on and they wouldn't let anyone in. Finally I persuaded the guy guarding the door to let me in to attend the service. I caught the last part, but if he had let me in earlier I could have participated in Holy Communion. Anyway I got in the last prayer, the last blessing and the last hymn which I sang with gusto. The usher remarked that I should join their choir.
 It had a very beautiful altar piece, a triptych, very nice.
 and an ornately carved pulpit, also very nice.

 It still has traces of medieval frescoes on some of the walls, also very nice.

 Then I went to the Hanseatic museum. The first time I went it was pouring cats and dogs. Today, like yesterday was very good, nice and dry.
 This is the defunct leprosy hospital. For some reason Norway had quite a few cases of leprosy until recently.

I love scenes like this, the roses rather than a Virginia creeper, climbing the walls of buildings.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


 Sunshine, what a rare sight. This was Bergen this morning, so amazingly beautiful when the sun is shining. Here a bunch of us was waiting for a ferry to Rosendal, 2 hours away in one of the fjords.
 We passed numerous wooden summer cottages, some seem so remote that I don't know how they can access them. The sea was calm, just a pane of glass, glistening in the sun.
 At Rosendal, there were numerous cottages with pretty gardens.

 The snow can still be seen on a lot of mountain tops and of course water falls too.
I love the local strawberries. I ate a lot in Finland and here in Norway I decided I wasn't going to miss this opportunity. They were good, so fresh, just picked.
 Rosendal is known for this estate, the Baroniet Rosendal, a castle with a huge park like garden.
 Everyone was enjoying the day. This little boy decided to roll himself down the hill.
 Another family was having a picnic down the slope.
 Others were eating at the Rosendal's cafe. I didn't eat here. I was starving and I ate at the first restaurant I saw.

It was just a perfect day, the place is beautiful and the sun was shining. I couldn't ask for more.