Friday started promisingly, with the sun out and Bridget looking resplendent under her new hood. A minor false start when I notice her brake lights were permanently on, but it was just a two minute job to adjust the switch and we were off.
Finding the correct route out of Oslo proved straightforward and we were quickly shaking ourselves free from the suburbs. Within a few kilometres the scenery improved immensely. Initially meadows and woodland, then sea inlets with woodland down to the waters edge. The trees by no means just pine, but a mixture of birch, willow, as well as conifers and many more. At the roadside were plenty of signs warning of the presence of and deer crossings and the scenery became very similar to that of the Trossachs in Scotland. I have checked if moose and elk are the same thing and can confirm that they are and it is the American language that causes the problem.
There was a multitude of lakes, waterfalls, hills followed by snow capped mountains! I hadn’t expected snow to still be on the mountains in July, after all this is southern Norway and still some way from the Arctic Circle. And everywhere Bridget and I drive there is a roadside guard of honour from the wild lupins. White, pink, purple and a gorgeous blue.
We covered 320 miles from Oslo to Bergen with Bridget running almost faultlessly despite a less than perfect road surface. The Norwegian authorities clearly use the same road resurfacing methods employed by the Iranians. This involves removing the existing surface weeks, if not months, before the workforce is ready to relay the new tarmac. This maximises the potential for damage to unruly traffic that insists on continuing to use the authority’s roads, causes maximum inconvenience for the road user and ensures the least effective use of resources with expensive plant equipment laying idle.
Saturday and I set out to discover Bergen for myself.
Regular readers will know I am not a great lover of cities, but prefer areas that are largely unpopulated. Bergen is an old port city with lots of wide streets, many recaptured for pedestrians and therefore traffic free. Tourism is a major industry with a large percentage of visitors taking cruise ships to the fjords.
Bergen has little of classic architectural interest. There are several examples of early wooden houses that make for some pretty street scenes, but they have little architectural value. There are some remains from the early walled community that they call Bergenhus Castle and a number of museums. One such museum is dedicated to the famous composer Edvard Greig who lived at Troldhaugen, south of Bergen.
Amongst the photographs I took are a statue of Ole Bull, a famous musician within the borders of Norway, but little known outside. I couldn’t help but wonder with a surname like Bull, did his parents have a keen sense of humour when they named him ‘Ole’? The second item, I fell in love with, is a yacht. Not just any yacht, but a huge one. The Felicita West I have since discovered is the largest all aluminium boat built. It was flying the Red Ensign and the stern declared that she is registered in Douglas… surprise, surprise. Overall she is 210′ long with a beam of just under 42′. Those interested can visit her website (bet she doesn’t do this for Bridget) at http://www.felicitawest.com/.
And finally, the statue in the lead photo above is of Heinrik Ibsen, playwright, poet and, judging by the photo, inventor of the skittle pin! (see a larger version of the photo in the gallery).