Thanks to the wonder of blogger's scheduling function, nobody (except a few friends outside of blogland) would have known that I went to Norway in April!
Which is just as well, as I haven't made a post about travel for ages!
Mum and I headed to Bergen to stay with her friends,18th-22nd April. This is the view from their house on the hillside. Isn't it stunning?
Norway has lots of breathtaking scenery and I was lucky to experience some of it!
On our first full day there, we took the funicular railway up Fløyen, one of the mountains surrounding Bergen. Luckily the railway carriage had a glass ceiling and big windows so we could fully enjoy the views!
Originally huge wheels were used to winch carriages up the mountain. This is one of them.
Another feature of Bergen is Bryggen, the old town, which is on UNESCO's World Heritage List. I loved the uneven doorways and little alleys that led to more shops and workshops. Check the link to find out more about this culturally-rich place :)
On one day of our trip, we went to Flåm in order to take the Flåm Railway up the mountain to Myrdal.
Now, before I continue about this portion of our trip, I want to have a word about diversions.
Originally our journey to Flåm was going to take 2-2.5 hours. However, a land slip had caused a road to be closed, so we had to take a detour.
A detour that meant a four hour journey.
All I can say is that Norwegians must be very patient people. Especially when I hear people complain they had to go a mere ten minutes out of their way because of a road closure!
Luckily, another of Mum's Norwegian friends was doing the driving and was able to keep us entertained with stories and facts about the places we were driving through. :)
The Flåm Railway is the steepest standard gauge railway in Europe and
its 20km length includes 20 tunnels!
On the way up, the train stopped so we could see some of the upper levels of the track. These two lengths of track were covered, though most of it wasn't. You can see how close the track is to a big drop!
A few times on this trip, I toyed with Photosynth, a free app that lets you take panoramic images. This picture was taken at Myrdal, the upper station on the line. Myrdal is
865.5m above sea level, whilst Flåm is a mere 2m above sea level.
On the way to Flåm, we were held up for a few minutes as an articulated lorry had crashed into the wall of a tunnel. Thanks to the glory that is smartphone technology, we discovered upon our return to Flåm that the road had been closed... Cue another detour, this time along tiny, single-track roads and through the mountains!
Going through these mountains was really awe-inspiring and amazing. There were tiny settlements in the middle of nowhere; nearly all of them had a church and one even had a school! Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any good pictures from the car.
The day after our trip to Flåm, we decided to do something a little more local! The original plan had been to take the cable car up another of Bergen's mountains, Ulriken, but due it was closed due to high winds!
Instead, we went to Edvard Grieg's house. The museum was shut and the house undergoing some work, so here's a picture of his statue instead :)
After Grieg's house, we went to Bergen Aquarium! This was nice to see, as I haven't been to any kind of aquarium or zoo in years. The way the aquarium is structured allows visitors to get pretty close to the wildlife--these penguins were in an open-topped pen surrounded by railings and glass. Lots of them were sitting on the rocks, but a few came to see people and swam around, showing off!
Likewise, the sea lions showed off :) If somebody was at one of the viewing windows, the sea lions would swim past repeatedly.
We were there in time to see the sea lions being fed. :)
On our last day - just a half-day, as our flight was in the early evening - we did some shopping and chilled out. It was much-needed after our busy few days of drinking in the sights!
Finally, here is another panorama shot using the app. It was taken on our first full day, on Fløyen.
Hopefully if we go back to Norway, we'll have a chance to go on that cable car!