Bergen: Winding up

June 19th, 2009 admin No comments

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

After the Myrdal Voss adventure , there wasn’t much to do in there. I mean there were a lot of possibilities of getting out, but i was tired. The travel was not very planned.  Another problem was the lack  of proper nourishment. :). I was surviving on fruits from 7/11 and juice !. Added to that i was exerting a lot by walking along the rather hilly landscape of the city which is very very intensive physical torture! . Elena on the train had told me that she jogs up the hill everyday , and i had even seen some people doing that! .But iam not used to it. Walking is fine , but not trekking all the time. :).

Food:  Mainly 7/11 :). Once i went to a small shopping street called Marken near the railway station. There i found a Kebab shop run by a Kurd guy. That was good. I had a Stor Kylling Rulle-Kebab which is a large Chicken Roll. 100 NOK!. wow money just leaks out of you. I had a chat with the Kurd guy who was  was the all-in-all in the shop. He told  – pretty emphatically- that he had just been given Norwegian citizenship. ” I can live as long as i want here”. But his family is still in Kurdistan, so he looked sad. Immigration due to the the homeland falling apart is the saddest thing that can ever happen to a human being. will be talking about my observations (not my opinion)on the immigrants in that i found will be a seperate post. Yeah . coming back, Montana gives an option order Pizza.Anyway since i am not particularly fond of Pizza, i didn’t try it. There was breakfast in Montana, which was pretty good – i mean, if you like typical european breakfast as I do :).

I wanted to take the photo of Bryggen in the night, but that was a tough call since the sun is gonna set at 11 PM and i’d really mind walking back to Montana in the midnight, that too freezing. I missed it.!. I walked around the city again , revisiting the places . Went to the tourist bureu and got some more NOKs by exchanging the USDs. I had got some USD while arriving in DK. Some of which i exchanged at Kastrup Nordea, some in the Alborg Valuta exchange and now some in Bergen. Hmm .. i am distributing widely.

The monday was too unventful. i checked out and went to the city. Spent some time in Bryggen and other places. Had a nice lunch at a restaurant  and got back the the Airport by catching the FlyByssen service . NOK 50 gone.!

It was pretty early i’d say  and probably waste of time. Had to spent a lot of time in the Airport. I found a lot of American tourists in the airport, mainly old people who have come on a group vacation. They are curious lot, with name tags and moving along in groups of 2 always.

In short. i bought an appelsin juice, a Rosdal spring water and waited and waited for the flight to CPH, finally checked in got in to the flight and reached CPH by 7PM and another long wait in CPH and catch the Alborg flight back home.

Bergen, the trip was excellent . It was my first trip and i started in high tension , anxious mode. But it went on very good . The decision to take the train trip to Myrdal was excellent i’d say and Bergen kept me pretty busy with my camera too

~D

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Bergen:Astounding Voss

June 8th, 2009 admin No comments

Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes


View Larger Map

Using google maps to give the reader a fair idea of the geography of the place. The most remarkable landscape of Norway are the Fjords (fyords) which are spectacular inlets of sea in to the land. As it can be seen in the map, the whole landscape is crisscrossed with the Fjords.Try zooming in/out to the map and check in the terrain mode as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fjord

The rail from Myrdal to Voss is along a narrow fjord which is wonderful i’d say. Seeing is the only way to explain. I took some photos through the train window. But i think the best way to see the place is to take a drive  so that you can stop where ever you want to have a good look.

Again i had the whole compartment all for myself – free to sit  wherever i can have a good look at the scenery.Took the ticket to Voss from the conductor ( I think it cost me a few hundred Kroner). Naturally there is no crowd on these parts of the world, more over it was a National holiday – Pinsdag in Danish. Whit Sunday is the more common name for that. Even monday was a holiday since  it was a Whit Monday. So altogether all the places where rather people-less.

I got down at Voss- which is another small station with a Hotel very near by. It is a Fjord Pass hotel. A Fjord pass is a discount card which gives you access to many hotels in the Norwegian attractions.

Voss is seated in a mountain valley. In fact the very famous Hardanger Fjord is accessible from Voss. The view of the mountain and a big lake makes Voss a special place. It appeared to be a common place for campers and adventure seekers. I saw many camping trailers (campingvogns) and even a camping area.

There is an adventure club in Voss which conducts para jumping from the mountain – but you jump in to the lake :) . I saw the skillful jumpers steering clear ( that was amazing!) of the lake and landing on the banks. Not so skillful ones went straight in to the lake. There is also provision for parasailing ( i have done that in Bangalore) over the lake where you get tugged along by a boat. :). That should be very exciting – nevertheless rather scary as well .

I passed the camping area to get on to a suspension bridge (very shaky one) over a river (or was that part of the Fjord?) and got on to the other side with a lot of summer houses. Walked along a few roads – but the roads were rather narrow and i had no idea in mind where to go but just carried on. The view of mountains was very exciting indeed.

I returned along the bridge again to the camping area near the lake. The banks looked murky or rather a little dirty. I saw something like a theater on the lake banks -  some kind of curious construction. Later i got out of the camping are to the main road, walking along some trees. There was a  church on the way where people were just leaving after the Pinsdag service. Native Norwegians in their black ,red and white traditional dress. For some reasons(unexplained) i have never seen a Danish traditional dress or rather people wearing it during any festival . May be i wasn’t at the right place at the right time to see the right stuff.

Reached the main road and walked along for some time. Being a sunday most of shops etc were closed. And due to this pinsdag holiday even the restaurants were closed. Later i found a chinese restaurant which was open and had lunch there. Had a little doubt whether the Danske Card will be accepted there ( I needed the change NOK  for the train fare). Anyway nothing happened and i paid by card and got out. It is a chinese restaurant + a hotel run by a Chinese family. Hmm .. Chinese are everywhere and running pretty upscale businesses indeed. The interior decoration of the restaurant was great.

Nothing more to see, so i caught the next train back to Bergen.

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Bergen: In Myrdal

June 6th, 2009 admin 1 comment

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Myrdal: i had thought of it to be a small town, but it turned out to be rather very different. It is a station in a valley between snow covered mountains and there is nothing there except the station building and a few wooden houses. Myrdal is in the rail map since it is the place where the famous Flåmsbana ( Flåm  Rail) starts. The rail line from Bergen bifurcates at Myrdal in to the Flåm  Rail and the rail to Oslo.

Feeling a little disappointed at myself now. I didn’t try out the Flåm Rail since i didn’t have enough NOKs and being a sunday the  ticket counter was closed. Had no idea that i could use the DanKort (Danske bank card) in the billetautomat(ticket vending machine), later i learned that during the Oslo visit. Anyway i should visit Bergen again with a good itenerary. Well .. the unplanned one was also fun so far!.

It was hopelessly cold in the station. I think Bergen city was in the early 20s at noon. but this is almost 0!!  and i had to put on my Jacket – i already had a tshirt and a pullover. It was not snowing but snow was everywhere melting away in to small streams. I could feel the fresh air- it was really fresh.

The station itself is pretty simple with 2(??) platforms. One for the Flåmsbana and other one for the Oslo route. There was a curio shop and a restaurant in the station. The station really brough the memories of a Gorky story which describes a Russian rail station.

There were a few houses – little ones with yellow roofs further down where there was a stream. But the pathway seemed to be too steep and dangerous. Well we never know that whether that is Adgang Forbudt or Not. :) . So i went back to the station. Felt like drinking something hot, so went to the restaurant – i was the only guest- and ordered a Hot Chocolate (Varme Sjokolad in Norwegian). 25NOK!. Hmm ..

Trains from Flåm and Bergen came down periodically carrying a lot of tourists. In the train Elena had told me “I can hear,see just tourists in the train” :) . I noted the time for the next Bergen train in the time table (Tidtabel). Must have stayed there for an hour or so . the Varme Sjokolad became the Kold one in no time and here comes the Bergen train.

An hour and a half in Myrdal , that was an experience indeed. Ahh yes , i really missed a ride to Flåm !

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Bergen: Aboard the Norges StatsBaner

June 5th, 2009 admin No comments

Reading time: 4 – 7 minutes

On Sunday i decided to take a break from the city and travel east towards Oslo (not to Oslo) by Train. The train Norwegian train comp is the NSB – Norges StatsBaner (Norwegian States Rail). The Bergen Oslo route is said to be one of the most scenic of all rail journeys.

Bergen is a terminus – means the rail ends there . I looked at the city map for the JernebaneStasjon and it is very near the Sentrum at a walking distance. There is a small shopping street called Marken  in the Sentrum and the station is just behind that.

I reached there around 9AM and the Oslo Tog was ready on the first platform. Bergen is not a very very big station. A medium one. You can see the trains on the platforms while on the ticket counter/ waiting room. Unlike Kobenhavn H / Arhus where the station is above the platform level and you got to take the elevator down.

At the ticket counter you got to take a queue ticket ( token) and wait for your turn. The station was almost empty save one person buying ticket in the counter and another middle aged lady waiting for her turn.

It was a close call since the train was just ready to go and the person at the counter was taking much more time (he was talking to the counter person rather) .The train blew a whistle and me and the lady shared an anxious look. Then “tak tak tak” she ran to the train.. i stood there for a moment and ran off to the platform . It is possible to buy tickets from the conductor in Danish trains although i have never tried that out. Anyway i was sure that She didn’t have a ticket, so it is highly likely that i should be able to buy ticket from the train itself.

Anyway i had a moment to ask the conductor -who was outside and looked like  Obelix- whether i can buy tickets from him. I am not sure whether he understood me . he asked – in a rather gruff voice-”Are you in the Norway in a Nutshell trip?” . I said No. “Where do you want to go” , I said Myrdal (which is some station that i found in the map).He said “Okay..Just get in” and i jumped straight in.

NSB trains are corridor type, you can walk all along the train.  There are 2 types of seating, you can find some seats just after getting in near the doors/ conductors area. And there is a cabin rows of seats etc etc. I got in to the cabin and found that most of the seats are reserved – Anyway i saw the lady at the counter seated outside the cabin and there was a vacant seat in front of her. By that time the train had started , so i went and sat down on the vacant seat.

I still had the doubts on the ticket, so i decided to ask the co-passenger lady. I asked in english ..err .. she can’t understand much! . probably its my accent. So i asked in broken Danish, Kan Jeg Koeb billet i togen. Ok. the word “billet” which is dansk for ticket,struck. Danish and Norwegian are highly related. She told me – in english- that i can ofcourse buy ticket in the train. Infact she did buy tickets herself and showed me the tickets.

We had a casual chat. She is a Bergen resident and going to her summer cottage (sommerhus) in the mountains to join her husband. Has 4 kids and she works as a kindergarten teacher etc etc.And her name is Elena (or Yelena?)  It is strange connection that most of the people whom i talked with in trains were teachers of some sort. Probably it has to deal with the profession , teachers have to be communicative and connect instantly with people.

later the conductor came to me and asked Myrdal ehh?  hmm ..he remembered! . He fished out his PDA and instantly gave me the ticket and i handed over the NOK. NSB train officials have a different gear , with a PDA and coin stack on their belt. The coin stack infact looks like bullet :) on the belt.

I felt a lot relieved after buying the ticket and kept on watching the scenery and at times conversing with my co-passenger. The scenery is excellent, the snow kept getting more and more as we gained altitude. Water falls, gorges, mountains, rapids, bridges and what not.!. It is a some thing worth seeing and quite unexplainable.

Elena went to the bristo in the train to have a coffee . ” I have to wake up“  well that is the most common excuse for the coffee addiction. She came back with some chocolates and gave it to me . Orange flavoured chocos – the taste of summer.

The train reached a station called Voss – which is very famous for adventure sports, i had read in some websites. I decided to get down in Voss while getting back. A few more stations , the snow started increasing from sparsely snow covered to fully snowy. Elena said there was a snow storm last week but now the snow is melting.  After a while the train  reached Myrdal and i bade farewell to Elena and got down. I remember the parting words “All the best and have a good life” .. Nice lady! . I’ll remember her for ever.

The first step in to Myrdal (dal means valley) and it was FREEZING!

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Bergen: The BergenHus

June 4th, 2009 admin No comments

Reading time: 2 – 4 minutes

Bergenhus ( Bergen house) is a fort situated near the Sentrum. I have seen such Hus’es all over Scandinavia , and i think in the older times provided a military fortification for the city. Similar ones are in Malmo,Oslo and even in Alborg ( although it is a little one comparitively).

Nowadays it seemed to be like a cantonement area occupied by the Norwegian military.Some places are “Adgang forbudt” but there are enough places to roam around.

May is an excellent time to visit – perfect weather and  and very green due to the start of the bloom season

One observation that i made on the Norwegian attractions is , some places are very dangerous. There are no barricades where people can potentially fall off  a high ledge! . You can walk over the BergenHus high compound wall which is very very high and made of solid rock. Anyway i did find some warning signs in English,Norsk and _CHINESE_  :) . Yeah, you can find a lot chinese tourists all over europe now a days. curious looking people who swarm the place “running” about  with cameras – click-click-click.  :).

I did see some curious looking pruned trees . It was very nice to walk along the “corridor” made by those trees.

Think i stayed and roamed around in BergenHus for some one hour. Felt hungry and tired . So decided to get back to Montana after buying some fruits from a 7-11. The Bergen 7-11 has a lot of vareity as compared with the Alborg one. Much more fast food – thai and indian variants.

So thats about the BergenHus visit.

~D

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Bergen: Det Hanseatiske Museet

June 2nd, 2009 admin No comments

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

The Hanseatic Museum.

This is another attraction in Bergen which should not be missed. :). A museum with a difference – unlike other museums,  this is just a preserved house from the middle ages. Another place where you get just transferred to a different age almost instantaneously.

The museum is arranged in 2 floors. There was an entry fee (i think it was 50NOK) and the Bergen Kort is not an entry pass :). You enter through the left of the counter ,walk along the marked path and get out from the other side of the counter.

Again, Like the Bryggen , it is 100% wooden and pretty crude in the finer details. The entry is in to a rather large room showing  a few machinery which is used to compress the fish :) . I even saw an old dried Cod ( that is a major catch) hanging from the ceiling.

I roamed around took a few photographs, it was pretty dark in  there since the lights were too dim . I think the most of the places were illuminated naturally (It is summer, you get light untill midnight!). I took most of the photos without flash using a long exposure technique.

After a while i decided to get out and walked to the exit by following the marks. I did buy a Post card from the counter  to my souvenir collection (that was 10 NOK) . Altogether it was a different experience- like falling in  to a time portal.

~D

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Bergen: Up the Fløibanen

June 2nd, 2009 admin No comments

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Fløibanen  is the funicular rail line that will take you up one of the mountains. The Bergen Kort included one ride on that so i decided to try it out. Fløibanen  starts at the small station – check the first photo (well it is a public photo and not taken by me :) ).- where you can buy the tickets. You got to walk a small distance along the tunnel when you reach the rails.

The ride is fantanstic although you feel a sense of insecurity! . There were a few passengers in the car including a gypsey woman and a dog. It takes a while to reach the top ,  and was there an intermediate landing .. i dont remember .

The top is a great view point with a restaurant, a play area ,curio shop (called Magasinet) etc. There is a large statue of a Troll in the play area for kids. I walked around here and there took some photos and decided to leave.

Now , i can wait for the Car to go down or i can walk down the slops along a hair pinned trail . well . i decided to walk down along the trail marked by beach trees.

Now ..that was a little straining . although it is hairpinned , it is comparitively much much steeper. Anyway i saw people going up  – Jogging to the summit. !! . They are used to it .. but that is unbelievable endurance. It was a long walk down , there are some six or seven hair pins . It is possible to by pass by short circuiting the hairpins . but too dangerous .


I met a few people who were going up when i got in to the middle (??) .. They asked me how many more :) . Had a casual chat with them .. Australian tourists from Sydney.

Anyway, finally i reached the landing point from the hairpins and from there you got to get down along the steps built in between the curiously built and cute houses.

It was a descend of a life time! .. but finally reached the main road where i could catch the bus back to the Sentrum .

~D

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Bergen: In to Bryggen

June 2nd, 2009 admin No comments

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

 Bryggen (Bryooggen) is a set of old buildings near the Bergen harbor which provide a unique identity to the whole city.It is some kind of a logo of the city present in all the brochures, cards , maps etc etc

It represents the thriving trade past of Bergen when it was the centre of the Hanseatic League in the Nordic region.  To read more see here

Bryggen is an interesting place to be in – that you get suddenly transported to a 13th century ware house. It looks very elegant from far off, but when you approach near it is  a little crude. The buildings are not upright , they are a little skewed as if pushed from the side due to strong wind. It is made of pure wood- almost 100%- and rather unfinished in itself with No polishing or smoothing. The wooden beams and pillars are used as is with the imperfections.

I went there twice , once early morning when i was the only tourist roaming around and again in the after noon when there were a lot of them accompanied by guides. The good thing is that you can just follow one of the groups and just hear the guides. I heard one guide explaining about the wooden pillars. Most of them are constructed from a single tree with the root side up :).

I went up one of the buildings via a rather rickety stair case. had a feeling of Deja Vu. it was almost similar to a level in the game Prince of Persia 3d. I even saw some ropes hanging from the ceiling to cross over . Anyway i didn’t risk a jump.

There are offices functioning inside the Bryggen. That was nice to see, they have exactly maintaining it as it is + using the real estate.. Smart. And .. as usual there was a curio store selling memorablia.

Bryggen? I have been there!

~D

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Bergen: Walking the Bergen

June 2nd, 2009 admin No comments

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

So after freshening up at Montana, ohh did  i mention that the power came back after a while :), i got out of the hostel to Bergen Sentrum. Montana is on the slopes of the mountain ,there is a walking trail which goes all up there. There is another trail with which one can walk down to the city

I wait for Bus 31 Lægdene with the Bergen Kort in my hand. Yes , a 31 arrives but it is the one which goes the other way. Btw i walk about a little along the hairpins – it is a beautiful sight. You can see the entire city and beyond from the view point.

There is a very steep and narrow pathway that will take you to the mainroad down the mountain near the Haukeland Syghus (which is a hospital) . In fact you can see the Syghus while riding the bus to the Sentrum . I walked down that pathway later . It is very very steep since you by pass all the hairpins !. Infact there is a handrail on the side to grab for support.!

Getting back to the bus 31, there comes one and i get in , swipes the card and walks to a seat at the back. Not to mention -there is no rush. Thats something not found anywhere in the scandic region. The bus runs along the hairpins ,reaches the mainroad and  passes the Haukeland Syghus. I have no idea where to get down and decided to get down where all the tourist kind of people will get down.

I saw some of the buildings that i had become aware of during the net searches . Eg: the YMCA , Marken Gjest hus and Dorm.no . Huh .. a lot of people getting prepared to get down the bus at the next stop . I just followed them and got down at a stop near the Police station (Politi Stasjon) . Later i found that the place is called Kong Oscars gate . The bus will go further to the bus terminus further down.

A little walk along high buildings and i reached the famous fishmarket (FiskeMarked) of Bergen by the sea jutting in to the land. A typical Norwegian coast line surrounded by old buidlings with “that” typical architecture.


And ..It was just starting up.

~D

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Bergen : The BergenKort

December 30th, 2008 admin No comments

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Every city in EU seems to have its own tourist card- which is normally a smart card and can be used in many of the tourist attractions and in the public transport.
Paris has the Paris Visite pass , Bergen has the Bergen Kort . – or The Bergen Card.

The kort can be purchased for 24 or 48 hours and includes ride in all the Tide transport (Busses and Ferries) , A ride on the Floibanen and many other museum entries . The kort is timed from the first time it is swiped .

I bought a Kort from Montana. In some ways i think that the such cards are not worth . Some times we wont be just able to utilize everything that the card provides.The card makes us restricted :) . but anyway it was the first time that i got a tourist pass abd the initial research on the net made it look good. Anyway NOK gets out of my wallet. :)

I used it in the bus and in the Floibanen . Museums any way i was not interested. And the Hanseatic Museum didn’t allow this card. So altogether i think i lost the NOKs :). After the first day i walked all along the place

~D

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