12th to 28th of August 2003
Tuesday, august 12'th
When you have used SAS to San Francisco and Las Vegas, you get enogh bonus-points for a free trip within Scandinavia. I thought I better had to use this opportunity before SAS got broke - and in this way the idea of a late summervacation to the western part of Norway was born.
And here I am in Bergen - after a flight from Billund to Copenhagen and another one to Bergen. I have checked-in at the cozy Crowded House (no bath, no tv) and has spent the day looking around Bergen. Bergen is a little more "alternative" than I thought. It's a nice place to walk around - not many cars around - because you have to pay a toll to get your car downtown. I like that. Weather is really nice - no rain at all - I thought it was raining all the time in this city.
I take a look at Bryggen down at the harbour. Some old houses made of wood before the leveller was invented. At least all the houses, stairs and doors are all oblique. But I guess thats part of the charm.
I end the day in the hyper-trendy cafe at Crowded House. A little to trende to my taste, so I just order a cup of coffee before turning in
Wednesday, august 13'th
Express-boat from Bergen at 8 am. Nice trip - change og boat along the rout - before I lnad in Florø just before noon. I find my Bed and Breakfast Stranda B&B - pretty spartaneuos (no bath, no tv - but an electric kettle). But it's a cozy place, but you have to remember to put your shoes in the hallway.
Then it's time for taking a look at what has been named the cozy'est city in Norway. About 8000 souls live here, so it's such a big place. A long walk to the Coastal-museum of Sogn and Fjordana. A lot of old stuff from the city and the fiords, and a small museum telling about the oil-rig Snorre. The museum is here because Florø is the service-harbour for more oil-rigs.
Later a walk along Storåsen - with a lovely view of Flory, the bay and the small islands around.
I end the day at Florø Stadium - Florø against Førde in 3'rd division part 11. 3-2 victory to Førde in front of a crowd of 400-500 people that are very quiet during the match.
Thursday, august 14'th
"You must be from Denmark going to Kinn in this kind of weather"; that was what the captain told me when I boarded the small boat from Florø. "It's not that bad" - I replied - and he replied back "It's hell......."
And of course it was a little windy - and the clouds didn't exactly look nice - and I was the only one visiting the island of Kinn today, but for a happy traveller you always should be ready for a new adventure.
Kinn is a small island, ½ an hour sailing by motorboat from Florø - one of the outermost islands around her - so the wind is really strong out there.
Very few people live on the island, and a few more sheeps. And then there is a church that is 1000 years old, where they actually run a guided tour for the tourists (thats me!) between 11 and 12 am. It's the churchwarden that show me around, and ends the tour by playing the old Procol Harum hit "A whiter shade of pale" on the church-organ. After the tour there are coffee and waffles for the participants of the tour - that's still only me!!
After this I start to walk around the island. Now it's very windy, but still dry. The is a huge hill called Kinnaklova, that looks like an axa has cut right through the middle of if.
To get to the other side of the island you have to cross a small hill between two big hills. Here you can talk about a tail wind. The hills around will pressure the wind forward in a wind-tunnel, so you almost pass this place flying. And suddenly the wind dies, because the hills is covering. The whole trip around the island takes about 1½ hour on a path that sometimes is there - sometimes isn't. I don't like paths that suddenly disappear, and you can start feeling something wet under your feet. That's a bad sign.
Back for the boat at 3.15 - and back in Florø at 4 pm. Now it's both windy and rainy, so it's just time for a pizza before I head out to Stranda together with a newspaper and a great Gunnar Staalesen book.
Friday, August 15'th
Transportationday - and all day rain. First the Fylkesbåd to Måløy. Then bus to Maurstad, another bus to Hareid and then boat to Ålesund. It would have been a nice trip, if it wasn't for the constant rain.
Check in at the cozy Brosundet Gjestehus. A stroll around Aalesund and dinner at the local Krambua, where all meals are served in 3 sizes. Normal, un-normal and abnorm.
Saturday, August 16'th
It's a 4 km walk to Atlanterhavsparken, when you miss your bus at the busstop. But anyway its better than waiting for the next one in an hour.
Atlanterhavsparken is a huge aquarium with plenty of fish. You will find heering, cod, coalfish, plaice - yes in fact all the fish you just normaly meet in the freezer at your local supermarket. Some of them are being fed by a diver in the aquarium. And some of them even have names. Mike Tyson for instance - once tried to bite off the ear of one of the divers - and Big Mama is the oldest one in the pool. She is blind on one eye and halfblind on the other. It takes her 5 minutes to swin around the aquarium she is in, and always in the same direction.
Later that day it's soccer-timer at Kråmyra. The hometeam of Ålesund against the highly respected team of Rosenborg. Ålesund plays with all men in the back and they loose by 2-0 anyway. The stadium is kind of special. A large part of the 8000 people crowd is placed on a natural part of the "fjell" in a mixture of stone, mud, commercial-signs and strange plants.
The walk down from the stadium is through the forest and down the city-fjell. Here there's a nice view of Aalesund.
Sunday, August 17'th
"Til fots i Ålesund" (Walking Aalesun) is a nice little booklet, that via 24 numbers lead you through the city of Aalesund. The walk start with a nice uphill-walk (418 steps) to Aksla Fjellstua, with a nice view over the city. When you are there you are pretty tired already. Then you go for an ice-tea in the cafe - and they charge you 35 Nkr. This is Norway!!!
Then it's down the stairs again to take a walk in the city. Major parts of the city is build in socalled Jugend-style. That means a lot of houses with small towers and spires. The reason for this is that there was a huge fire in 1904. So they had to rebuild the whole city - and this time they for good reasons wouldn't use timber. So instead they rebuild the city with stone in the Jugend Style that was fashion those days.
Monday, August 18'th
Exit Brosundet Gjestehus - a nice place with a nice feature - free coffee in the lobby. So when I left, there were 8 coffeemugs back in room 308.
And then - a wise man once said that there is nothing so bad, that it's not good for something.
I have to change my travel-plans. Plan was bus to Åndalsness and bus down the famous "Trollstigan" to Geiranger. But the rain last week has closed the road down Trollstigan.
But there is a very good alternative route. Hurtigruten sails from Aalesund to Geiranger in the summer. A little expensive, but worth every penny. A great trip through the fiords, all the way in to Geiranger Fiord. And the weather for the day is perfect.
In Geiranger I have to check in at Hotel Geiranger - but no - they have "forgotten" my reservation. But I have my own e-mail confirmation, so now they are in trouble. But they solve it quite nice - they give me a room at the nearby Grande Fjord Hotel, and put me in a taxi out there. A room might be a wrong word in this case - it's more like an apartment, with my own balcony with at great view across the fiord.
Tuesday, august 19th
I start this day by moving back to my Hotel Geiranger. I think they know they blew this one, so they have given me a very nice room at the top op the hotel, with a great view across the fiord and the "city" of Geiranger.
I spend this day walking around the area. I also visit the small but informative "Norsk Fjordsenter", that tells you a lot about life and dangers around the west-fiords of Norway.
The city of Geiranger is a hole. Mostly souvenir-shops. At "Friarens Pizza" I get my worst pizza for years. But the surroundings - they are fantastic. It's not a mistake when Lonely Planet has crowned Geiranger with the title as the nicest place in Scandinavia.
Wednesday, August 20'th
Anorther day of transportation. It's a nice trip - eventhought it's raining again. First another trip on the Geiranger-Fiord by boat to Hellesylt. Then bus to Strun and another bus to Sogndal
Sogndal is a cozy little town, with a reputation for a decent soccer-team. I check-in at Loftesnes Pensjonat - a nice little place, with a pretty weird hostess.
Thursday, august 21'st
Raining cats and dogs once again. But a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do - so I put on my raingear - and take my umbrella on the bus to Kaupanger. It's a short 15 min. busride out there. I jump off the bus at the local mall - which is nothing more than a supemarket, a hairdresser and a sunbed. Then I walk down the hill to the harbour. I pass Kaupanger Church - an old stave church from the 11. century.
Actually my plans was then to take the bus uphill again, but the bus only leaves from the harbour on sundays, and that's too long to wait. So I have to walk the 3 km uphill - not as nice as downhill.
Later that day another walk around Sogndal. Nice town - no tourists like in Geiranger. But the weather is still awfull.
Friday, August 22'nd
Exit Sogndal and bus to Flåm. This trip passes the longest tunnel in the world. That is between Lærdal and Auerland and it's 24,5 km long.
Saturday, August 23'rd
Weather has cleared up. A nice day for a trip on the Auerlandsfiord and Nærøyfiord to Gudvangen. Very nice area and plenty of waterfalls. One of the is Kjelsfossen - 840 m. high. Should be the 4'th tallest in the world, but not counted as such. It doesn't qualify bacause it falls in more than one step.
The rest of the day I stroll around Flåm - among other into the valley, where there in fact is a small town with real people living there.
Sunday, August 24'th
Leaving Flåm with the highlight-attraction in the area - the Flåmsbana to Myrdal. The railway-line is 20 km. long, and is a spectacular ride.
It's mainly used by tourists, but we are a lot this morning. Flåm is a popular destination amond bicyclists. You use your bicycle downhill - and the take the train uphill.
There is a special "photo-stop" at Kjosfossen. And suddenly when you stand there - enjoying the scenery and taking your pictures - a Hardanger-violin starts to play through the loudspeakers, and an elf-maid starts to dance in front of the waterfall. They sure do something to make the people using the trains happy in this area.
In Myrdal I change for the train to Bergen. That's a fast train running through a lot of tunnels - so most of this part of the journey is pretty dark.
The sun is shining above Bergen - and I find my hotel-room at Crowded House. This is almost like getting back home.
I head for the city again. I take the Fløi-banen to the top of the Fløi-hill overlooking the city. Very nice views from here.
Monday, August 25'th
Sometimes you have to get practical. This is today. Washing my clothes at Jarlens Vaskoteque.
Then bus to the outskirts of Bergen and the aearial ropeway up 642 to the top of Ulriken. Another great view of the city from here - and also of the fiords, lakes and mountains surrounding Bergen.
Down again - and by foot back to the city.
In the evening another walk, where I - kind of accidentaly - gets to see the nice neighbourhood of Sydnes. Old houses made of wood, and nice little streets. Then for the movies - Bergen Kino - to see the brazilian movie "City of Gods". Great movie that is.
Tuesday, August 26'th
After breakfast - a cup of coffee and a huge bun from 7-Eleven, it's a nice walk to Bergens Akvarium out on Nordnesset. An oldfashioned aquarium from the times before everything had to be interactive
Rest of the day is just strolling around. No particular place to go. I find more of those small neighbourhoods with old and very fine wooden-houses. Also I check out the University of Bergen, an art-museum, a nice park - Nygaardsparken - and a mall Bergen Storcenter - where I take home a nice win on one of the many gaming-machines they seem to put up on every corner in this country
Wednesday, august 27th
Start the day by moving out. Crowded House is full tonight - some musicians has booked the whole place. They have to take part in a Death Metal festival, so I'm pretty pleased that I have to finde somthing else.
I move to Bergen Gjestehus close by. A little more expensive, but then it includes own bathroom, tv and breakfast as well.
Rest of the day is another one without an agenda. Another trip up the Fløi-mountain, this time I walk down and then a walk out to the Sandviken-area - a very nice place.
Later more walking in this lovely town. Great athmosphere - just stay away from the worst tourist-traps around town down at the Fishmarket, where everything they sell is crap for the tourists.
Thursday, August 28'th
Leaving Bergen - and the ricicolously high prices - and the cars, that stop everytime you look like someone that just have an intend to cross the street - and where a garage or celler will never stay empty for more than 2 weeks, before one of the local discount-stores Rimi or Rema1000 will open another one.
Leaving with SAS at noon. But no way. An engine will not start properly, so they have to call Copenhagen for a spare-part. That means a 4 hours delay - food-coupons - and a boring waiting-time. Not much of a problem for me - but those missing a connection for Japan or USA in Copenhagen doesn't seem to happy about it. The will get a delay on one day!!. It's quite funny to see how a facade of an airline crushes when such a thing goes wrong. They all have their fine uniforms and their great smiles - but when you are in need of competent people who can make decisions and help the customers in need - they have nothing to offer except for a nice smile.
My 4 hour deley is 6 when I finally reach Billund, because I had to wait for another plane in Copenhagen. It's a great thing to travel - but the travel itself is sometimes quite anoying.
You can hardly describe Flåm as a town - it's more like a servicecenter for tourist, that arrive by the famous railwai Flåmsbana or by boat through the fiords. The town is nicely places inside the Aurlandsfiord. It's still raining here, but in a way it make the area even more spectacular. And a very nice rainbow is hanging from one side of the fiord to the other.
Flåm overnatting is not the most luxerious place I have been to - but it's cheap. Most of the other people staying here are actually workers on nightshift for cleaning up the mess in the area that was made by the awful weather last week.