Gone to See Norway 2013 Chasing the Northern Lights. Day 3: Bergen then Embarkation on the Northbound Hurtigruten MS Nordkapp Norwegian Coastal Voyage.
Prior to embarking on the Hurtigruten MS Nordkapp for a wintertime Norwegian Coastal Voyage, I spent the morning doing a walkabout in Bergen, Norway. During the walkabout I observed three birds. Several Mallard ducks, and an unknown Gull.
Gone to See Norway 2007 Family Winter Vacation. Day 3: Bergen.
While on a walkabout in Bergen near the Kunstmuseum, I noticed a large crow like bird with a white underbelly. Later identified as an Eurasian Magpie. These are believed to be one of the most intelligent of non-human animals.
Gone to See Norway 2013 Chasing the Northern Lights. Day 3: Bergen then Embarkation on the MS Nordkapp for the Hurtigruten Northbound Norwegian Coastal Voyage.
I rode the Fløibanen Funicular a cable driven train that provides a ride to the top of Mount Fløyen. During the winter season, the ride is free with the Bergen card. I missed the first ride at 07:30, but was able to catch the 2nd ride at 08:00. This got me to the top of the mountain before sunrise. Even though the ticket office wasn’t open (needed to get the ticket) the Funicular operator let me in and got me the front seat. While waiting for the train about 20-30 pre-school/kindergarten age children were dropped off by their parents to ride to the top of the mountain. The kids were all wearing heavy winter coats and had backpacks. When the kids and their 3 adult guides got to the top they stopped to sing a song, and then went for a hike. It was cold at the top of the mountain, and I put on another layer before taking a panorama of Bergen at dawn. On the right side you can see the unique pink color (Belt of Venus) and the earth shadow blue underneath. The kids seemed to have disappeared into the woods. You could hear them yelling and having fun — It surprised me that they were running around in the still dark woods.
One thing I noticed during this visit to Bergen were a number of folks sitting out at corners with cups begging for change. They did not look local, and the locals did not appear to be giving out any change. I checked out of the hotel and continued to walk around Bergen. I found the Japanese Photography shop where I went to look for some lens cleaner. They didn’t have any in stock – but went to the backroom and gave me an opened bottle for free.
Later in the afternoon, I went back to the top of Fløyen mountain to watch for the arrival of the Hurtigruten MS Nordkapp. I wondered how many of the folks watching the MS Nordkapp arrive would be riding on the Northbound voyage that evening. There were also a number runners doing a race up the mountain that afternoon. I think some were making it up the mountain faster than the Funicular (which does have several stops).
While wandering around on top of the mountain, I did find where all of the kids went running earlier that morning. There is a path going through the woods that has a number of large wooden trolls. Ultimately, the trail ends at a day school. By the time I got back to the top of the Funicular there was a long line of kids, runners, and tourists waiting to take the trip down. I was glad that they doubled the frequency of runs to handle the rush.
Gone to See Norway 2013. Chasing the Northern Lights. Day 2: Copenhagen to Bergen.
I arrived in Copenhagen at 07:00, earlier than expected due to the favorable tail winds. It was still dark and raining. I have to get used to the sun rising later as we get further north. There was a long line waiting to go through passport control. It didn’t matter since my connecting flight to Bergen wouldn’t leave until 11:45. I was glad that my luggage was checked all the way to Bergen. I was probably early enough to catch the 08:30 flight to Bergen if it wasn’t for the size of the Copenhagen airport. It is more a shopping center than an airport terminal. I exchanged some currency and then found a quiet area in the airport with free Wi-Fi and comfortable seats to sleep. A bottle of Coke at the airport cost 22.5 DK.
The SAS flight from Copenhagen to Bergen was on a MD-82 jet. The plane was only 1/3 full, so no problem finding space for my camera bag. Heavy rain when we landed in Bergen. Passport control in Bergen was closed, so only needed to pass through customs. It appeared that they were only checking Norwegians for excess duty items. One interesting thing is that you can use coins from a variety of countries for the luggage carts. There is a chart showing the size and value of coins that will work. With my heavy bag, I opted to take a taxi from the airport to my hotel in Bergen (376 NOK). The Thon hotel had a room when I arrived. Unlike earlier visits to Norway, the hotel did not ask to see a passport. Had a late lunch (or early dinner) – cheeseburger, fries, and a beer at the attached Egon restaurant (242 NOK). I can see that Norway is going to be expensive. I slept a few hours then walked the four blocks to the Tourist Information center to buy a one day Bergen Pass. It was still raining hard, and I was cold and soaking wet by the time I got back to the hotel. The weather forecast for the next day in Bergen was partly cloudy and above freezing. After a long day of travel, I fell asleep.
Gone to See Norway 2007 Family Vacation. Day 3: Bergen and Embarkation on the Hurtigruten MS Kong Harald.
When we woke in Bergen, the sky was clear and there was new snow on the ground. The locals said that it had been raining for the last 50 days. I think many took the day off to enjoy the sun and snow. The Hurtigruten MS Kong Harald would not be departing until later that night, so we had the day to visit Bergen. As part of our travel package, we had a one day Bergen Card for transportation and various attractions. After spending some time outside around the Bergen harbor and Bergen Fish Market, we took the Fløibarnen Funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen. We also visited the art museum to see some of Edvard Munch’s paintings. Finally, as it started to get dark we made our way to the Hurtigruten terminal. I’ve included a fisheye view of my cabin and the stateroom at the front of the ship. As we learned later in the voyage, rooms near the front (or rear) of the ship move the most in heavy seas. Since then I always request a cabin near the middle of a ship for any voyage that may experience heavy seas.