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Mel’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 15 Sep 2007

Location: Norway

MapNorway, western Scandinavia. Home of the Vikings and what many describe as the most stunning scenery in the world… well we had to find out first hand.

First stop was Bergen, Norway’s “Western Capital”. Set on the shore of the Norwegian Sea and spreading into the surrounding hills, Bergen was a great introduction into the beauty that was to follow. Highlights were definitely the seafood rolls (fresh as!) from the famous fishmarket by the marina and the colourful, wonky, old houses by the shore (check out the photo’s). I also had my birthday here and enjoyed a home cooked (thanks Pete!) mixed fresh seafood (bought from the market) linguini. I should mention that we travelled to Norway with Mark and Shell and met Anja and Pete (who had been travelling Norway for the 3 weeks before we arrived) on our first night in Bergen.

After 3 lovely days exploring Bergen it was time to depart. Day 3 of our trip saw us going from Bergen to Flåm via Sognefjord, almost the best day of the trip (unbelievably it did get better!). First we took the train to Voss (apart from the lush country side nothing too noteworthy), then the bus to Gudvangen (check out the photo of Mel and I at the start of Sognefjord) and then the boat cruise to Flåm. The boat cruise along Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, and Aurlandsfjord was as beautiful as expected (this was Mel’s highlight). In fact, it’s truly too hard to describe in words and the photo’s don’t do it justice… so you’ll just have to go there and see it yourself! :)

We spent 2 nights in Flåm (at the head of the Aurlandsfjord) and had one very adventurous day! Who would think riding up a 1200m high mountain is a good idea? Well, the mighty six did… well at least some of us did and the others tagged along. The morning was spent walking our bikes from sea level to a fjord viewing platform 1200m above sea level only to find the clouds had beat us there. Yep our view of the fjord was partially blocked by thick clouds… at least it was windy so every now and then we got a descent view below. Now you’d think going down would be the best part and for some it was, but for Pete and I it was a little over adventurous. We were told from the weirdo in the Tourist Information office, who we hired the bikes from, there was a downhill cross country mountain bike trail we could take down – so we thought we’d have a go. Turns out it was an overgrown, hardcore, hikers trail with only spray paint on trees and rocks every couple of hundred meters to guide the way. Not so great when your on a mountain bike! Check the photos out to see some of the places we ended up. It took us just as long to get down as it did to get up. Mel and Anja also struggled to get down the hill, having to stop on the side of the road numerous times due to dizzy spells and nausea (must have been altitude sickness?)!

From Flåm we went to Oslo via the Myrdal. The train from Flåm to Myrdal rises 1m in height for every 18m travelled for 80% of the track, making it one of the steepest railway lines in the world. Along the way we saw rivers cutting their way through steep gorges, snow capped mountains and some giant waterfalls. This was my highlight and it was truly breathtaking!

We then spent 3 nights in Oslo exploring the city. Oslo was a vibrant little city, and like the rest of Norway, surrounded by coastal beauty. Highlights included; the Viking Museum (Vikingskipshuset), the Nobel Peace Prize Museum, Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Munch-museet (original The Scream paintings) and a night out with the locals (Anja’s cousins).