Sunday, September 15, 2019

Bergen, Norway


                                           
                                            Edvard Grieg Music, Morning


We're headed back to our last stop on our Norwegian adventure, Bergen, Norway!

The Bergen Tourism Board recommends "Preferably you should come to Bergen by sea.  It's the approach which shows the city the best."  We are in luck as most of you know we are sailing along the Norwegian fjords on the Queen Victoria.  If you have missed my last few posts about this adventure I hope you will scroll back and catch up with us! 

Bergen is the gateway to the fjord coastline of Western Norway.  Formerly it served as the capital.  The city boasts a population of 238,000.  So we are not here alone. 


As the ship sailed gently into the Hjeltfjord we began our transit of 30 miles.  The early morning sun shining on the mountains and clouds give a distinct beauty to our surroundings.


The various shades of green in the valley with the waterfalls rushing down are simply breathtaking. 


As we approach the entrance to Bergen, the Queen Victoria passes under the Askoy Bridge with a minimum clearance of 18 feet over the funnel of the ship!  It can be unnerving watching, but exciting as well.  Faith in your Captain and those you trust with your safety must be applied. 


As the ship docked in Bergen the colorful homes along the hillside came into view.  The cleanliness of this area is noteworthy as all the places in Norway were!  Typically a port can be less than clean in my opinion.


Grayden and I decided to take a self guided walking tour around Bergen.  I hope you will come along with us on our adventure in this unique city by the fjord. 



The Trikken is the tram system of Norway.  Sadly this system closed in Bergen. 



Bergen is a lovely town to walk about on this lovely morning.  The flowers and the trees are so healthy and lush.

Bergen is a center of culture in Scandinavia.  Edvard Grieg, the world famous composer, was born here.  Bergen has a concert hall and art galleries, museums and one of Norway's best universities.



Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright and director known for being the "father of realism."



The famous violinist Ole Bull was born in Bergen as well. 





Do watch your step as we walk along the cobblestone streets.  The city has a modern feel, but old European as well. 



The Sailor's Monument depicts the seafaring history of all the men and women that work the seas all the way back to the Vikings to the present era.



On our walking tour we are headed to the Funicular.  If you've never been on one it takes you to the top of the mountain in a cable car.  The ones we have traveled in the past were much smaller than the one here in Bergen.  Watch your step as we board and enjoy the view.



The funicular railway runs every 30 minutes from the lower station of the Floibanen on Ovregate.  We board the train for our 8 minute ride to the top of Mount Floyen.





The Funicular tracks provide an ingenious way to climb! 
As we rise to the top of the mountain we are treated with glorious views over Bergen and into the fjord. 







You can also see how large this city is.  Here at the top of the mountain there are shops and restaurants.



After taking the funicular back down the mountain we made our way quayside (Bryggen).  As you can see it's a popular place to shop and visit.



These tall and narrow warehouses are reminiscent of medieval times.  There are lovely shops with a variety of gifts to tempt everyone.  I had to buy gifts for our family here. 







Unfortunately in 1702 a great fire destroyed most of Bergen, but it has been restored.  Bryggen is on the UNESCO's World Heritage List as one of the world's most important monuments to culture and history of medieval Europe. 






An enormous Fish Market (Fisketorget) is located at the head of the bay of Vaagen.  This very large market, not only sells fish, but flowers, and fruits and vegetables.  Also many handcrafted items were available at this market. 



It's time for us to make our way back to the ship.  Along our path back we pass many lovely spots.



I read where free concerts are given here during the summers.  Such a pretty bandstand.



We walk past the Kode 1 Museum building for fine craft and design.



The city is full of lovely cauldrons filled to the brim with flowers. 

Walking back rather briskly we get drenched by a rainstorm.  We had on our raincoats so we were fine.  Getting back on board the ship the sun starts to shine. 




As the ship dropped its lines and headed out to the North Sea we decided to walk the Promenade and enjoy the most beautiful rainbow!


It was a beautiful ending to a magical visit to the Kingdom of Norway!  Thank you for coming along with us.  I'll be posting some photos of our trip back to Southampton and then our journey home on the Queen Mary 2 .








 
  






Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Meanwhile Back at Home




It's been a while since I've posted about life at home.  I find myself so behind in writing about our travels and have been playing catch up.  I still have not finished posts about our trip in 2017 to England.  I will try to finish those posts, but also write about life at home.  



Though it may not seem to you we love being at home, we really do.  I recently put a new valance in the kitchen.  I use red and white in our kitchen so the red and white Buffalo checked curtains suit it well.  Vermont Country Store recently acquired the Country Curtains line.  If you are looking for them they are now there.  

Summer has whizzed by this year as does every season seem to do now!  I must say that by late August I'm ready to say goodbye to the hot and humid weather.  The most glorious season will be here soon and I am so glad!  My prayers go out to all that have been affected by Dorian.  The news photos are just devastating.  

Our youngest grand turned 15 in August.  We all got together and celebrated at a seafood restaurant.  Miles loves food and especially seafood! 


The grands are now back in school.  Our eldest began his junior year of college and the middle is a junior in high school, and the youngest is a freshman.  Wow! 

In the garden I've had to water more often than I'd like.  Without additional water plants in our pots would perish.


Our miniature rose, Popcorn, finally treated us with a blossom.


Butterflies have been abundant in our garden as have the birds and bees.





We unfortunately have had a large yellow jacket nest take up residence in a birdhouse.  Grayden had to get rid of it to our dismay.  They are so aggressive and were really close to our patio. 


We still have an abundance of bumblebees that love visiting the blossoms.


I have a fascination with dragonflies and enjoy seeing them flit about the garden.  I've been unable to take a photo of them as they seem to be quite busy.  This little fellow treated me with a long pose on the trellis.


I find I never have my camera in reach when needed, but sometimes I get lucky and remember to take my camera to the patio when we have afternoon tea.  


A very large turtle visited us recently.  Grayden almost stepped on him while making a trip to our compost area.


We are now having some days that tell us that Autumn is coming!  The long shadows tell us the seasons are beginning their change.  I love living where the seasons change.


Seeing the baled hay reminds me that soon we will be seeing more changes.  Can you see changes where you live?



  




Sunday, September 1, 2019

Flam at Sognefjorden and Osterbo, Norway




Today we will continue our travels through Norway into the Sognefjorden to Flam.  With the pilot on board, Queen Victoria began the long trip into the longest and deepest of the Norwegian fjords.  This fjord is 115 miles inland and is 3,700 feet deep.  It is also very narrow and is seldom 2 1/2 miles wide.  The mountains rise 2,000 feet at the entrance and climb to 6,000 feet at the head of the fjord. 


We pass by many waterfalls that plunge into the glacial waters below.  The reflective waters are stunning as the ship glides effortlessly and quietly along the fjord.  This peaceful ride fills my soul with awe! 


As the ship passes Vadheim on the northern shore we see sheer cliffs and farms dotting the landscape.  

At the head of the fjord we reach the small village of Flam.  This lovely community rests between two mountain peaks.  With only 350 inhabitants, Flam is a favorite spot for tourists.  


There are local shops and eating establishments in this small, but lovely village.


The Queen Victoria lines are held fast and we are ready to go ashore and explore.  Again we chose a bus tour of the area and over to Osterbo.   Join us as we travel about the area of Flam and Osterbo.



Grayden and I chose to wear our London Fogs as the sky looked a little threatening.  We were lucky as it proved to not be needed on our tour that day.


Our darling Italian tour guide immediately makes us feel ready for our adventure through the mountain tunnels.  This particular tunnel was very narrow and our bus driver came upon another bus as we entered the tunnel.  He carefully backed out and then allowed the other bus to continue and we did as well!



Though taken from the bus window, the above photo shows the mirrored image in the lovely still water.



As we rode up the mountain our bus stopped to allow us to view the beauty around us without the confines of the bus.  Our guide reminds us that our view is not afforded everyone.  The day before she bought a group to this overlook and because of low lying clouds, there was no view for her tour that day.  We are so thankful the fog cleared for us!



We stopped at Osterbo Fjellstove.  Osterbo sits nestled in th Aurland mountain valley.  Our guide wanted us to have a taste of Norway and mountain life.  Here we were served Norwegian waffles with sour cream and raspberry jam.  



They served these along with your choice of tea and we all sat around a long table family style.  We also walked about the area inside and out to view the surroundings of this interesting area.



A lot of exposed wood and darling trolls and sheep adorned the shelving above our table.





There are bear that used to roam this area on display.



Walking outside and taking in the lovely views was a favorite of mine.  Notice the grass roof tops.  This style of roofing was popular as a way to keep the cold out and the warm inside.








Inside of this grass roof hut you could sit with the fire roaring inside.  Beyond the hut is a popular place for camping.



The valley is quite remote and the sounds of silence were wonderful!  Norway really gives your senses a workout, a wonderful one!



Our guide tells us it is time to get back on the bus as we continue our tour.



Passing waterfalls on our way, the peaceful landscape delights us.





Riding along the byways the still glacial water comes into view as we approach Flam and the end of our tour.






On the way back to the ship we notice the clever viking carving in the tree stump.  



Back on board the Queen Victoria sailed away from Flam.  As we reflected on our day, our hearts are full of joy and gratitude for the privilege of seeing the beauty that surrounds this area.  I do hope you will continue with us on our journey as we continue our trip in beautiful Norway.