December 10, 2009

Tour de Norvège

I have been out and about in Norway, visiting branch offices in my new job.
This week it was Tromsø and Bergen, next week it will be Stavanger.

Tromsø is situated north of the polar circle, and at this time of the year the sun never rises.
This is taken outside the airport when I arrived, 11ish am.

It is however a lighter period around the middle of the day, like twilight.
Tromsø is famous for its Northern lights (aurora borealis) at winter time, unfortunately I did not see any during my stay.

The lifeline of the coast in earlier days, Hurtigruten, lays to quay in Tromsø.
It is a coastal cruise line that still is important for transportation of goods and people (and quite many tourists), and is called the "Worlds most beautiful sea voyage" as it also enters the fjords on the scenic west coast.
The Norwegian coastline has the Atlantic winds and water coming straight at it, so weather can really be harsh.
Even so, it has been easier to transport goods and people by the sea than through the mountains.
Hurtigruten sails along the coast, starting from Bergen and ending at Kirkenes at the Russian border. It takes a week.

In the picture above and below we are looking back towards the city.
Tromsø has about 65.000 inhabitants, and is the 7th largest town in Norway.

At the right hand side of the picture, where the bridge ends, you can see one of the famous landmarks, the Arctic Cathedral (upside down V-shape).
Even if Tromsø is situated far north it is not so cold due to the Gulf stream.
It was just below freezing point during my stay.

Travelling in Norway is not easy.
The country is long and it is mainly mountains, so you have to fly.
Going from Tromsø to Bergen I got the "slow train" by air, going down in Bodø and Trondheim before arriving in Bergen.
It took close to four hours.

Bergen is the second largest town in Norway, and was the largest in Scandinavia until the 17th century.
In the middle ages it was an important Hanseatic city, and Bryggen in Bergen is on UNESCO's World Heritage list. You can see it above and below.

The second night I had some more time on my hands, so I decided to take a stroll over to Bryggen, and try to find a restaurant as there were some in the old buildings.

Here you can see what they look like.
Bryggen was founded around 1070, and was from 1360 to 1754 the site for the Hanseatic trading in Norway.

After trying two restuarants that were full, I was finally lucky with the third!
There is a lot of people dining out before Christmas.
Below is the entrance to the restaurant, Bryggen Tracteursted.

I got the last table!
Even if I was the first to arrive, the room was full after 20 mins.

To visit the toilets you had to go outside the restaurant (below).

It rained when I was there (as it often does in Bergen) so it was nice to walk along the old passages with some roof over my head.

As I was in meetings during the daytime, unfortunately all pictures had to be taken in the dark - sorry for that!
Now we're back at the hotel.
Thanks for accompaning me!


Grey Horse Matters said...

Thanks for the tour. It's a beautiful country with lovely sights. The toilets are interesting,glad you had a roof over your head in the rain. Have a safe trip back home.

Claire said...

i've been to all three - when i was young! and in the summertime.... lovely. and oslo too

my first trip to bergen was before there were roll on roll of ferries, an old bedford dormobile (well, it probably wasn't that old, then..) had to be craned on and off the boat

Anne i Hannover said...

I've never been to Bergen and after having seen your pictures I have an even stronger urge to travel to the city. Maybe next year...

I hope Fame didn't miss you to much while you were gone!:)

trudi said...

Fab 'pics and what a gorgeous country. Brings back happy memories of Bergen, such quaint places and very atmospheric in the dark.
The tour moves next to Stavanger! More memories, what an excellent tour guide you are ;-)

Once Upon an Equine said...

Thank you for sharing the interesting facts and pictures. Looks lovely there.

DQwannaB said...

This is just fabulous. Thank you so much for sharing. I wish I could travel to your country. BTW, I've been wondering... how many languages do you speak? You have mentioned translating different trainers for Elin and I know you are quite fluent in English.

I'm glad you're back. I hope you will have time to ride before leaving again. It has been raining here for days. I am getting very anxious to get back to being with my horses.

lytha said...

I just found your blog today and I'm enjoying your long winter in pictures. We are having it too, in Germany - the most snow the locals have seen in ages. I am new here, so 8 weeks of snow is a first for me.

I want to go somewhere special for my 40th birthday. I want to go somewhere far in the north of Europe, where the days are practically endless.

Maybe you can help me decide - is there a particular place you'd recommend?


~lytha in Germany