A Travellerspoint blog

July 2014

Oslo and Roald Amundsen

overcast 95 °F

I awoke at 3:30am to sunlight, not bright sun, but it wasn’t dark at all.

Finally washers and dryers, several of them! We all had clean clothes before leaving for the day of sightseeing.

Our 1st, and it turns out only stop, was to the Fram Museum. http://www.frammuseum.no/ This museum houses the boat that Roald Amundsen took to the South Pole for his expedition. If any of you remember the Masterpiece Theater program on this, several years ago, you will remember the race between Scott and Amundsen. This museum has the boat and the boat is open for viewing. Most of the boat can be touched and walked on, bedrooms are closed with a window for viewing and there are personal artifacts in the bedrooms. The engine room is open for viewing thru a window from the floor above. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/ice/peopleevents/pandeAMEX87.html

In the program the Fram seemed so small but in person it seemed larger, but then of course it is viewed from the bottom. Next to a large cruise ship it is quite small.IMG_20140722_145340_234.jpg

The museum is interactive with displays testing skills that would be needed as a member of the Fram. I’m afraid we would have been eaten by the Polar bears.

What surprised us was how the Fram was built in its day, to survive the stresses of being trapped in the ice. When one views the inside construction close up the beams are massive and beautiful solid wood. The ship was truly a work of art and engineering.

We were also surprised on just how many exploration trips the Frann was involved in. We were impressed with how versatile each crew member was, how educated and really brilliant each was.

After 5 hours we hadn’t finished looking at all of the exhibits, but it was nearly 6pm and we were getting quite hungry. It was time to get to the market for dinner. We decided that once we are back home we will watch the Masterpiece program again.

We actually made it to the food court (for lack of a better term), a place where there are lots of fresh food stalls: fish, meat, cheese, and found what we needed for dinner. As we could not find any ice in Oslo we were buying food items fresh as needed.

We moved our camp over to a site that opened up which had a table. We were feeling pretty smug, when we sat up our camp stove and started our pasta. IMG_20140722_105902_421.jpg

Watch out for that perfect spot! A big black cloud started over and soon there were a few drops of rain. We laughed and thought that we could weather this one. The Europeans kept walking on to the lake nearby, we kept cooking and setting up our table. Then the rains hit, heavy rain and winds blowing everything everywhere. Dale and Elias ran for the tarp while I scrambled to gather up all of the items on the table.

We sat with our uncooked dinner items in the tent/tarp waiting out the storm. Finally it passed and the sun was shining but the air had cooled off. It was probably 95F and humid earlier, now maybe in the 80’s.

We cooked our dinner, ate and went off to bed. Too much excitement for one day.

Posted by Miss Chris 07:10 Archived in Norway Tagged oslo boat travel camping europe norway eating roald_amundsen Comments (0)

Norway Glacier

And the perfect picnic spot

overcast 70 °F

So now a turn to the East, to Oslo, but first a stop in the Hardanger National Park.

Before we left home Elias saw Hardanger on the map and we thought that it would be a great place to visit. When we got into the area of Hardanger we stopped at the tourist office where it was recommend that we visit the Folgefonn glacier.

After a short ferry ride we were on the fjord, in the town of Jondal.

The road up to Folgefonn is very narrow (like room for 1 car) and steep at times. Much of the road just drops off into the abyss. After the tree line there is mostly tundra covered with green plants and there are lakes of all sizes everywhere. IMG_20140719_193209_691.jpg

The road to the glacier actually leads to a small ski resort, where people can ski all summer on the glacier. The snow/ice was being groomed while we
At the glacier the winds were picking up and it was really cold, maybe 30F. We looked, walked a bit and then drove back down to warmer grounds.
We found a campground just outside the town of Jondal, where we camped. The campground is located on the grounds of a working farm with sites set up where some of the farm land was before. All around are fields with some sort of undetermined crop and a lake at the end. Near the campsites are the tractors and implements, and a cow barn. We woke up to mooing and the sound of cow bells.

Another day of driving to Hardangervidda, but checked out waterfalls all the way while driving down the road of one fjord and up the road on the other side. I think we have seen every waterfall possible, one spot having 12 that we could see.

After we’d passed up a couple of campgrounds and we started thinking we really should stop of the night, we still had dinner to make. It was after all, after 9pm. Of course there were no campgrounds for miles, so we stopped at a rest turnout that had tables overlooking a beautiful valley. We got our dinner makings and went down to the table area finding one with a beautiful view. We set up the camp stove and started our dinner when throngs of misquotes came over, swarming us. (I felt a little like the Bernstein Bears story of the perfect picnic spot).

Dale and Elias ran back to the car to set it up for the night and I moved quickly with dinner. We couldn’t sit down to eat, had to stand and keep moving.
Elias and I laughed hard later thinking of the sight we must have made to the passer-byers; him running fast back and forth to get away from the mosquitoes and me waving my hand(s) wildly in the air.

Posted by Miss Chris 05:34 Archived in Norway Tagged nature hiking driving glacier europe norway Comments (0)

The Grieg House and Bryggen

sunny 73 °F

Next stop, Bergen! What a fun little town, although not so little by Norway standards.

We didn’t arrive very early so only stopped at the fish market where I could get online and we could get our bearings. I found a campsite just outside of the city which appeared to be large so we thought it would be a good place to regroup.

At the campground we found a nice site with showers, laundry and a communal kitchen. The laundry has been problematic, especially for me having lost all of my clothes. Here we found 2 washers, one out of order, and a ton of people always lined up for it. Again I had to wash stuff by hand.

The huge feature, of the campground, was the kitchen; a nice size room with tiled countertops on 2 sides. 2 portable cooktops with 2 burners each, 5 large sinks 2 of which made great laundry tubs. There were a few pots and pans, dish drainers and cutting boards. Many couples worked together doing dishes after meals or cooking meals. People kept it clean so it was really useful.

The reason we chose to visit Bergen was for the Grieg house, this is where he lived and wrote music. Not only did we want to visit but thought that Elias might enjoy the music as he enjoys the piano. http://www.griegmuseum.no/

The visit was even more wonderful than we anticipated. The house is on a lake overlooking the city. Only the bottom level is open to the public but two rooms are much the same as when the Grieg’s lived there. The hut where he wrote his music is much the same as well.

The highlight for us was the concert hall; a small hall in very simple, tasteful décor. The center front is a stage with a grand piano and just beyond is a floor to ceiling window. Concerts are held every day at 1pm and last for 30 min. It is a stunning location and with the music it is truly amazing.
For lunch, this time we stopped at an inexpensive (as per the guide book) little place that serves local Norwegian food. We ordered: local trout for me, fish pie for Dale and whale steak for Elias. After settling in and waiting for the food we calculated the exchange and realized that we were about to eat a $150 lunch. It was too late to back out so we savored every bite.

We spent the afternoon in Bryggen (old city Bergen). There are 58 buildings with over 20 original ones from the 1700’s. Some are in a state of restoration and others have yet to be restored. The buildings lean one way and another making a person feel like maybe the eyes are not working well. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/59
After walking up and down the old streets I sat down at an outdoor café, drank a cappuccino and just soaked in the buildings while Dale and Elias looked at a rescue boat. Terry, my coffee drinking bud, I missed you!

Posted by Miss Chris 00:44 Archived in Norway Tagged nature travel bryggen grieg bergen_norway Comments (0)

Norway, A Most Beautiful Country

sunny 70 °F

Because we were not on a set timetable I didn’t worry about buying ferry tickets early so once we reached Hirtshels we had to determine our next move which was the Ferry to Kristiansand, Norway. The 1st available crossing was at 12 noon in economy. We took advantage of the morning to get a little coffee and explore the harbor area.
After a 3-1/2 hour sailing into Kristiansand, we found the center of the city only a couple of blocks away, then located the tourist information office. We needed to know which road would be the best to Bergen, a city on the coast. The lady at the information told us that the coastal road was faster and much nicer than the road running up the center of the peninsula.
We walked around the square a bit and we decided that this was the best country so far. We were in love with Norway already.

I remembered that the guide book said to go to the fish market for some fresh catch. We went and sampled some smoked salmon and smoked whale. I knew that there was a restaurant recommended and thought that it might be one at the fish market. I had the fish cakes, recommended, Elias the herring and Dale the local trout. All was great but pricey than I thought it would be. After getting back to the car I found that we’d actually gone to one of the most expensive restaurants. Fortunately we were careful in ordering so didn’t rack up a huge bill. The place recommended was actually a food stand with a line, we found it by accident but were already full.

We’d read in “Lonely Planet …”this is one of the most beautiful counties on earth”. We also read in another place that the coast route is “breathtakingly beautiful”. These are understatements. Photos cannot capture the wonderful sights around every corner.

We headed up highway #44 and drove until it was twilight. We stopped at a little pull out overlooking a fjord, and found that it was a site for a memorial where allies fought Nazi’s. There was a whole history about the area; Nazi’s hid prisoners, the British rescued the prisoners and several allies were killed.
We’d already eaten a large lunch so dinner was just bread, cheese and meat and another night of car camping.

Posted by Miss Chris 13:44 Archived in Norway Tagged driving europe norway ferry denmark Comments (0)

Off to the Hinterlands of Europe, Or Northward

overcast 65 °F

After a day of organizing, buying a camp stove and one last beer garden with Dieter and Inge we were off to the wild blue yonder of Northern Europe.
We car camped just to see how it would be to set up if we needed to in the rain, plus we really just needed to drive not camp.

In the morning we drove on to Schleswig, the site of a Viking settlement in about 1,000. Here houses have been uncovered and reconstructed using information recovered. The settlement is also a living history museum as there are ship builders, weavers, and metal crafters using methods from the time of the settlement. A link to the museum: http://www.vikingsofbjornstad.com/MuseumHaithabu.htm

The ship builders were most interesting, one was cutting the large planks with an axe while the other pieced the planks together and did the fine trim work. There is a museum which houses artifacts and shows timelines for the areas.
After the museum we were most ready to get on the road to Norway, driving all the way thru to the top of Denmark before 9pm. It was still light when we arrived at the docks only to find that we couldn’t sail until morning.

Another night of car camping, this time in the same lot the Denmark Circus was parked in but without the wild animals.

Posted by Miss Chris 00:35 Archived in Germany Tagged travel driving europe denmark schleswig Comments (0)

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