Saturday, October 05, 2019

OK, I've been gone!

Yep, we just keep drifting off to new and different places.  This time it was another cruise with a little extra time padded on just for the fun of it.  It all started on September 8 when we flew off to Oslo, Norway.  You see there is this Viking cruise called 'In the Wake of the Vikings' which is a cute way to say the North Atlantic.  It is also a good way to move a ship from Europe to North America.  It leaves from Bergen, Norway so, as usual, we gave ourselves a few days to sightsee in the country from which the cruise would leave.

As it turns out, I twisted something and have been having quite a lot of pain ever since we landed in Oslo so our sightseeing was severely curtailed.  Oslo is a moderate sized city with lots of national institutions but we only got to see the outside of a few of them and took no tours.  We stayed in the Thon Terminus Hotel which is a new chain for us.  It was actually very nice.  Norway in general seemed expensive but the hotel did something I have never come across:  in addition to breakfast they served a light dinner to the guests.  It wasn't fantastic but considering that it was included in the price of the room AND that I didn't want to walk anywhere; it worked great for us.

We planned on three days in Oslo then a travel day ending with three more nights in Bergen before the cruise left.  The travel day was on the train from Oslo to Bergen.  There were several stops but no changes.  It was actually very comfortable and, since we are both seniors, not terribly expensive.  The countryside varied quite a bit from farm land near Oslo to a large lake to rough and rocky.  It went from sea level to 1,222 meters or 4,009 feet where there was snow and back down to sea level. 
When we made it to Bergen we went for another Thon hotel; the Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz.  This was about 1 km from the train station and I was happy to find that I could walk that distance.  It was a huge improvement over when we first landed in Oslo.  Anyway, one of the things you are supposed to do in Bergen is take the Floibanen funicular railway up Mount Floyen and check out the scenery.  Somewhere I read where one should go early in the day as it gets busy later on so we hopped up and went over to it.  The railway car is divided into half a dozen little areas each with a door on each side.  Our car had one compartment with adults and the remainder of the car was filled with little school children on some sort of day trip.  Wow!  Were they ever noisy little rascals!  However, the trip is supposed to be 6 minutes long so it wasn't that awful. Here is a photo of the car from a couple days later.  You can see the tourists along the fence up above.

We got to the top of the mountain and started taking pictures of the city below us.  You can see the storm coming in from the water.

Then it started to rain.  People were planning on hikes of all kinds and they were ready to do it in the rain.  Not so much us.  We are warm weather and sunshine folks so we hopped onto the next train going down.  As it turned out, we were the only passengers on the train!  When we got to the bottom there was a huge crush of people waiting to go up!  So I have to say what I'd heard is true:  go early!  BTW, the white ship in the last photo is the Viking Sun, the ship that would be carrying us across the ocean.

The remainder of our time was spent wandering around the old part of the city.  There is a nice Farmer's Market which was fun to see and cheap since we weren't doing any cooking!  We visited the Fish Market and the Indoor Fish Market where we saw some fish I'd never seen before.  (Not saying much since I'm no fisherman.)  We spent some time wandering around in the Bryggen which is the old part of the city.  It was built of wood so much of it has burned down over the years.  Now what is left is pretty touristy.
And then it was time to board the ship.  The 'cruise' begins by spending two days tied to the pier in Bergen.  Weird, yes, but I guess they want you to see their home country.  We took one of the tours offered which was a bus ride around the town.  Not too exciting.  However being back on board one of the Viking cruisers was fun.  We've been on a couple other cruises on sisterships so it was like re-visiting a favorite place. 

I'm going to stop here.  There are more places to visit on the trip but I have to go cook!  Thanks for stopping by.

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