Toughs Travels travel blog

The Flam railway at sea level.

An aeriel view of Bergen.

Houses on Bergen's waterfront.

Norway the last bit

14th July 2005

So, we awake to the sound of rain on the caravan roof - not what we were hoping for!

But we decide to stay anyway and try to use the library internet facilities and perhaps go to the glacier.

Well, the library is a great success, really quick upload of the photos, but still it takes an hour!!

Then on up the road to the Nigardsbreen Glacier, and it's a biggy, viewed from a distance it's a huge tongue of ice driving down the valley in an "S" shape. The info boards indicate that it has been receding considerably over the past 200 hundred years and must then have been really spectacular.

The photos do not do justice to the size of the glacier, but hopefully the ones with some humans in will give some scale.

For reasons of safety, it is not possible to venture near the glacier (pity) without a guide, which we did not have (this time)!

Please see the pictures of the little bits of ice that float down stream and land up in Carolyn's hands - one dinky one is shaped just like the iceberg that sank the Titanic!

Friday 15th July

Up sticks once again and this time go through the longest (for a change not the Northernmost, but then again it must be both the longest and the Northernmost come to think about it) road tunnel IN THE WORLD - yes, 24.5kms, so about 15 miles in real money - and it's quite interesting (if a tunnel can be so described). Every so often the tunnel engineers have built caverns which are illuminated in a soft blue light (apparently to give the impression of daylight!) Which does vary the journey for the driver - it takes about 20 mins to drive through this marvel of engineering.

So, eventually we arrive at a campsite near the famous (of course you have heard of it) Flam Railway!

Well, just in case you haven't - it's the steepest adhesion railway in the world - Ah, I hear you say, now you understand it's THAT Flam railway!

But, although we go to Flam in the afternoon, the weather is not great - cloud base about 1000ft and with the top being 3000ft - we decide to wait for better weather.

But, on checking the internet - we discover that a cruise ship, the Marco Polo, is due into Flam tomorrow from 8.00 to 14.00 - so all the "geriatric" cruisers (yes, I know that's not a true reflection on the actually demographic of people that take cruises - but it's a popular miss-conception, and it makes for better reading) will be taking the train up in the morning - so we should wait till lunchtime, at least.

Saturday 16th July

However, this morning dawns with even lower cloud and a feeling that we've missed the boat with the railway - yes, I know that it's contrived, but it's MY STORY!

But, as the morning progresses - and Neil buys some yummy locally grown organic strawberries - the cloud breaks and we see some blue sky.

So, we go off to catch the 12.20 train up the hill. It takes 60 mins to climb the nearly 3,000 ft and travel the 21 kms from Flam to Myrdal. And it's great, very scenic and the train is not too busy, and we stop at the magnificent Kjosfossen waterfall and are treated to a dance and music display - supposedly about some very beautiful woman with a cows tail that lures men to her and they are never seen again - just like Harry's Bar on a Thursday night (used to be called "Grab a Granny night" - or so I heard from folk tales - No direct experience you understand!).

But we take our bikes on the train and cycle (free wheel) down the 21 kms back to Flam - and it's really good - wonderful scenery, quiet roads- just the odd goat herd- and the thundering river at every other turn. GREAT.

Sunday 17th July 2005

Only two days to go - gosh, it's almost like being at the end of one's holidays. But not really, cause we still don't have to get up for work!! Yahoo!!

But we do have to catch a ferry from Bergen - so off we go again, but it's only about 160 kms, so about 100 miles, but we go through 37 tunnels on the way - yes, we are still that sad, that we count the tunnels - and what's even sadder is that Carolyn adds up the distance of each tunnel to arrive at today's total of 45kms- how sad is that!!

There are no campsites for caravans in the city of Bergen - so we chose one of the nearest called Lone Camping - except that we are not alone - it's pretty busy, but as we arrive early, we manage to get a really nice spot on an upper terrace, looking over the lake. But the weather is a little dull - but at least it's not pouring rain - did you know that in Bergen you can reliably expect rain or showers on at least 275 days of the year?

Monday 18th July 2005

So, bright skies warrant a shorts day - but we will take "long trousers" just in case!!

And, even though the campsite is on a city bus route and there is a road toll charge we take the car. Now why would you do that I hear you ask! And I expect the much-lauded "Professor David Begg" (Aachh, spit) would also ask, "Why dear boy would you be so stupid". WELL PAL. The answer is that the bus fare is 38 NOK pp each way! So that's 156 NOK and the parking, at the most for 24 hours is 75 NOK, plus if we have to pay the road toll is an extra 15 each way, so only 105 in total - and we have the flexibility of our own transport - SO, DEAR BOY, no incentive to take the bus!!

And we drive into town and find our selected parking easily and it's not that busy. So an easy 10 min walk rakes us to the main streets and we suss out the bus tours. We select the "Bergen in a Nutshell Tour" and whilst waiting for the bus tale a wee wander round the fish market - NOW, having been a fish monger (you did not know that! Shame on you) I know what a fish market looks like and this is not it - what this is, is a retail Market for the tourists and whilst it's very interesting and nice it's not a real fish market!!

So, we queue for the tour bus and when it eventually arrives there is a fair press of people waiting to get on - but much to her credit the small blond e girl manages to get on first - Sharp elbows area help I understand! - and we bag two good seats at the front of this enclosed open top bus - confused ,yes I thought so, well it's a traditional top topped bus with a glass roof - cause it rains so much here.

But the sun is shining today and it's like a F***ing greenhouse - we are roasted waiting for the bus to leave.

But it does and we are given short tour of the city on the way to the cable car to the top of Mount Ulriken - nice views but the bar a t the top only sells not alcoholic beer - WHY? Are we as adults not sufficiently responsible to have a wee drink before getting the cable car down again - Where's the logic?

But we manage to time\it just right and arrive back at the bus stop with the "open topped " bus waiting - and then we drive through the rest of Bergen - Well, it's not a great tour - so the only benefit is that it gets you to the cable car!!

Back at the main tourist spot, we buy a prawn/salmon sandwich for lunch - at 80 NOK, so about £7.00 - and whilst it's nice, it's a lot for a sandwich!!

We then have a beer at the Bosman pub - famous for the football ruling! - don't know about it - ask your dad!

Tuesday 19th July 2005

What a day to be leaving on the ferry - pouring rain and misty - such a pity that we will not see much of the islands.

But as we travel south the weather clears and by the time we are at Stavanger it's quiet nice.

Wednesday 20th July

Back in England - it's a bit of a strain to remember to drive on the left, after 14 months of continental driving!!

So, folks that's all for now - until our next adventure!

Neil and Carolyn Tough

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