Feb 17th to 19th, and Feb 19th to 21st
17.02.2013 - 21.02.2013 3 °C
So firstly Oslo. Not so much success in Oslo. We started our time there with a not so Norwegian pizza dinner. Then I read up on all the things to do there. They sounded great; the Nobel peace prize centre, munch museum, national gallery... And of course you know the unmissable Norwegian telecommunications museum, popsenteret (Norwegian pop music museum), Norwegian football museum, Norwegian magicians museum, and my favourite, the mini bottle gallery... Honestly don't see how they would get enough people visiting these places. And, relating to my problem, particularly when they all are closed on a Monday! (well the latter ones might have been open, I didn't check, just so no-one goes 'really? The bottle gallery? Not open on a Monday? But I was really hoping to go on a Monday someday!') Just so happened that our one day in Oslo was a Monday. So after much deliberation mother and I decided to go to the Hadeland Glassverk. Well we went to the Opera House first for the view from the top, but as the weather was quite terrible they had closed it.
So we headed on our ridiculously overpriced bus to the glass factory. It made sense as to why it was ridiculously priced when we got there... Two and three quarter hours later... The brochure had said an hours drive out the city but failed to mention the bus took three times as long! But it was quite interesting. There were good demos of glass making and info on how they do it, both for decorative pieces and wine glasses. Also there was a museum of glass which had some cool things, and really old glass pieces as well. There were also great shops but unfortunately everything was slightly impractical for bringing back. Well everything except a vase in the shape of a light bulb. Slightly awesome.
So half the reason I had gone there was because there was supposed to be some big artists thing on with woodwork etc. No idea where that was, did not see any sign of it. The other annoying thing was the closure of the honey and roasted nuts place. Would have been awesome on a freezing day like that but closed for the winter. And then we missed our bus because I crossed the street at completely the wrong time to check we were standing at the right stop. But that didn't end too badly as we manged to waste half the hour til the next one in the candle store.
So all in all not a great day in Oslo. Finished it with quite a nice sushi dinner though. So much sushi, apparently they didn't do small boxes, well that and I also really wanted a couple of nice hot spring rolls.
The next day was heading up to Bergen. We did the Norway in a Nutshell tour which is a self guided tour through some beautiful Norwegian valleys and Fjords. It started with a train at 8am, damn them, to Myrdal. This was a nice train ride with some great scenery, particularly when we got up into the mountains. The train goes to the highest station in Norway, so pretty much right next to some great looking slopes. It was just sun and whiteness up there, there was even a glacier, although I didn't see it.
Next was the Flam railway which goes from Myrdal to Flam and is supposed to be one of the most attractive lines. It gave views over the Flam Valley and stopped at a waterfall. Too bad it was too cold and the waterfall was frozen over, but hey, that was pretty too!
In Flam we had a little time to wait before our Fjord cruise. Here was a massive souvenir shop there and the guy let us dump our bags. We were going to out around the town but ended up spending the whole time in the souvenir shop, and also the ground was pretty much just a sheet of ice and impossible to walk on. There was a cafe in the building but it was closed. So we were by this time starving. At least though he sold cokes so I could have a drink. Unfortunately just before we left Melanie walked out and discovered a cafe which served soup right next door! Rather annoyed!
So the boat trip was really beautiful. It took us through two fjords; Aurlandsfjorden and Nærøyfjorden. Annoyingly though at the beginning of the second fjord we were heading straight into the blinding sun. The other annoying thing was we were in the wrong season to see the Bleiklindi, which 'sprouts yellow leaves in Spring and sheds green leaves in the Autumn' which I thought would be cool to see. But it was still stunning, massive mountain ranges, sometimes with ridiculously inaccessible farm yard, and frozen waterfalls. Stunning. It was freezing outside however so, as we were going so slowly I would sit inside until I saw something awesome and then go outside to take a picture, I had plenty of time to get out and line it up. The other really cool thing was that the moon was visible today, although not sure you can see it that well in the pictures, it is so small compared to the massive mountains. Because it was so cold there was lots of ice on the water, particularly when we came into port. It was quite hypnotising to watch the boat break up all the ice as it went through.
The cruise finished at a place called Gudvangen where we would catch a bus back to the train. We had a little bit of time and I was starving so I decided to go and find some food, as did Melanie. Everyone thought that there was no way we would find any as the cafe at the bus station was closed and this town consisted of about 4 buildings. However, being as clever as I am, I noticed one of these places was a petrol station and since when did a petrol station not have food. So found a chicken sandwich! Again the walk over was on sheets of ice and we were running behind so, in the rush back, Melanie managed a quite spectacular fall! Not as good as my stairs but still pretty good. Got back to the bus with about 2 minutes to spare.
The bus drive was pretty as there was a great sunset, however no chances for any photos from the bus. By the time we got to the train it was dark and we were exhausted. So we were in the station waiting for the train when I went on a toilet hunt and noticed a train way up the front of the platform. After great discussion we decided it was ours, so glad that we noticed! Would not have wanted to get stuck there overnight!
Arriving in Bergen we were still starved and so went to find somewhere decently priced to eat. After much searching we went for a place that seemed much like a Cafe Primo type place. It was great however as they did jacket potatoes! Although with corn which I thought was weird. The guy was really nice and gave me free bread, he couldn't tell if we were Aussies or Kiwis so I mentioned the fish and chips test and it was quite funny, he was like oh yeah! I totally get that now you mention it!
So for our day in Bergen mother and I firstly went up the Funicular to see the view over Bergen. That was stunning, although there wassnow everywhere up there and my shoes got soaked. We also got stuck up the top for a bit as the car broke down, but I figured at least we weren't one of the ones who got stuck in the car!
After that, took all morning in the end, we went for a couple lf tea and to warm up/change shoes. Then mother went to join Melanie and I decided to go do some galleries and shopping.
So I went to the first gallery, Lysverket the Kunstmuseene (art museum) I, and really enjoyed it. The ticket got you in to all three of the Kunstmuseene so I decided why not go to another one. Turns out the next one was a contemporary gallery. This kind of art I will never understand. I particularly liked the piece where they had got a bunk bed and turned the top bed upside down and dented the pillows. Apparently it explored the sense of loss, as the pillows were indented but no-one was there, as well as how children went to school camps and were taught to imitate other children. Oh yeah, that is totally what I got... There was another brilliant one which was an exit sign but, instead of saying exit it said like 'you are safe' or something like that, which apparently led us to re-explore the presence and meaning of using signs. Although to be honest I might not be artsy enough for that, I mean I'm not sure I really explored that presence in the first place so not sure I can re-explore.
I decided to not bother with the last one, which was design, and headed to do some shopping! Found a funky little homewares place I wanted to buy everything from, but settled for a mug. I also found a shop which sold old Laura Ashley wallpaper for €20 and almost cried that I couldn't buy any.
That night, as it was our last night in Norway, we did the traditional Norwegian meal. The place recommended to us was a pub called Pingvinen (translates to Penguin in English) and I went for the meatballs. I saw someone else having it and they said it was good, and also the menu was only in Norwegian. They really were good. Although the same cannot be said about the glass of wine I had, I understand now why Norway is not known for its wine.