Jane's Travel Blog

New Chapter: Explore the World


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A Bike Ride in Norway

One of our day trips in Norway can be boiled down to “bus–boat–bike–boat–bus”. Obviously, this doesn’t completely capture the breathtaking experience of the day, so allow me to continue.

We jumped a bus to Norheimsund in order to catch the boat. Traveling by bus gave us yet another view of Norway’s emerald pine countryside, as well as a taste for a few of the whimsical smaller towns.

Norheimsund greeted us with cobblestone streets dotted with brightly colored flower pots.

We quickly transferred to a ferry boat.

As we cruised, the power of the fjords calmed my mind. Calm was the perfect mood for the next leg of our excursion–biking the fjord.

We land in the small town of Utne, and it’s a quick stop. The ferry operator walked the bikes onto the dock, waved us goodbye, and turned back to the boat.

At that point, I was expecting some advice or at least a map. Since the ferry operator shared nothing, I asked wide-eyed and wondering, “which way?” He flicked his hand to the right and that was it. We were on our own. Thankfully, Bob always does his homework, so we had a good idea what was to come. The fact that there was only one road from Utne to Herand helped too.

After a few false starts to find that “one road” to Herand,  we hit the road and we’re on our 5 hour/15 mile bike ride.

Simple, right?

Actually, yes. Five hours was excessive time to bike 15 miles,  but I’m so appreciative the of  time. There was so much to savor.

The road winds through farms and countryside, all with the mighty fjord on our right.

The first thing we noticed was the quiet. The birds chirping, the wind in my ear, the quiet and peace of nature. It didn’t feel right to talk, only to listen.  We traveled through a few tiny towns, but even then, no noise. There were very few cars or people, only us and nature and the road.

The Norwegians have mastered “bench placement.”  You can be assured that a bench offers an amazing view, so we stopped at most of them simply to devour the sapphire sky, the mountains and pristine water, and eat our lunch. Food on a hike or ride always tastes so much better. The sweetness of an apple is multiplied. The views captivated us, and it would’ve been just “wrong” to not stop and soak it in.

Sometimes the hills were so crazy steep that my granny gear failed me. Or was it my untrained biking legs that failed me? No matter, walking up a few hills was just part of the day.

The plus side of the hills was the down side of the hills. (Get it?)  Much of this ride required little peddling and the last hill entering Herand felt like skiing down a mountain side. I was grateful for the well maintained brakes on my bike.

We arrived in the sleepy town of Herand and rested in the sun while waiting for the ferry boat to pick us up. Another boat and bus ride and we’re back in Bergen. The bus–boat–bike–boat–bus day adds another wonderful experience to our memories, and proves the magic of Norway.


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The Fjords

As much as we love Bergen, it was time to explore a bit. We jumped on the NSB train to travel through the countryside. We continue to be amazed at Norway’s beauty.

It’s an unseasonable 70 degrees. The lakes become the perfect mirror of stillness reflecting the strength of the snow capped mountains. It’s a perfect symmetry. A light wind occasionally stirs the mirror.

As the train climbs, isolated homes dot the landscape. No foot paths lead to the homes making us think these are summer homes just waiting for their people to return.

The train comes to the end at Myrdal and we switch to the Flam Railway. This railway winds us down the mountain, near shear cliffs, through numerous hand-dug tunnels, and past the first of many magnificent waterfalls. Much of the train ride is at a very steep grade down to the fjord.

We travel to sea level in Flam at the Aurlandsfjorden. The mountains tower over us while the water opens and asks us to travel on.

We enjoy a picnic lunch near the water, then climb aboard our boat for a “two hour cruise”. (Luckily, The weather didn’t start getting rough, the tiny ship was NOT tossed. A little Gilligan’s Island reference)

The seagulls fly near us announcing nature’s beauty. The mountains meet the sea creating a calmness and strength inside you that’s difficult to explain. I feel at peace. Waterfall after waterfall carve the mountainsides. The trees stand tall, holding their ground, as the snow collects at the base of some waterfalls fighting the sun and the falls. The tree line stops, and the rocks are exposed, soaking up the sun. We are in a state of awe as we travel through the fjords.

Norway is truly magical. If you don’t have Norway on your travel “bucket list,” I’m saying, it’s a must.

 

P.S. The trolls are everywhere.


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Bergen, Norway – Country Seven

We arrived Monday afternoon

to a rainy day.

I woke up Tuesday at noon

and headed out.

My walk around town captivated me.

 

Every detail of this city

intrigues me.

The muted reds, oranges and blues

of the clapboard homes

tucked into the hills,

the openness of the water

on either side of the peninsula,

the calmness of the city center

all keep drawing my attention.

 

I am instantly in love with Bergen.

She’s sophisticated,

yet not snooty.

She’s trendy,

yet down to earth.

No other city has felt like this.

 

In the few days that we have been here,

I find myself wanting more.

Each and every neighborhood

calls to be explored.  

The surrounding mountains

call as well.

 

Bergen seems to be the perfect place

to be for the next two months.