Back when Karel was working on the plans and arrangements for our trip (he does a great job!), he asked me how many days I wanted to stay in Bergen. Ask yourself the same question. Bergen shmergen, I thought, I don’t know the first thing about it. “Whatever you think is best, Dear.” Always a good answer.
Well, oh honored readers of this blog, please allow me to advise you that, if you’re in the vicinity, Bergen is worth a stop. There are many fine, old buildings clustered around the city harbor, including Bryggen, a UN Heritage Site row of wooden shops and warehouses, that have survived for 300 years. With its fish market, beautiful parks and hip shopping areas, funicular, and tile-roofed houses climbing the steep, surrounding mountainsides, Bergen feels a lot like San Francisco. It’s also a good starting point for exploring the Norwegian countryside and, of course, the fjords.
After one night in the city, we left most of our luggage with the hotel and set off by train to Flåm. The first part of the journey was nothing extraordinary, but the train took us ever higher into the mountains. Then we changed trains and began our descent on one of the steepest and most spectacular train journeys in the world. The train made one 5-minute stop at a waterfall. Karel was scrambling to change lenses. With only a minute to spare, he snapped three photos, only to discover that sometimes even the best camera gear in the world is not going to be enough to cope with the conditions.
All too soon, we rolled into the little town of Flåm, where I explored the souvenir shops for a couple of hours until it was time to catch our ferry to Balestrand.
The weather was rainy again, but the scenery was fantastic. After a gorgeous ride, we pulled up to our breathtakingly beautiful accommodations for the night.
This turn-of-the-century, grand hotel had fabulous furnishings, artwork, and seaside gardens.
The dreary weather gradually cleared, so by evening we were out with our cameras, soaking it all in.
It was so nice at Balestrand, we toyed with the idea of catching a later ferry the next day for our return to Bergen, but in the end, we were eager to meet up with our friend Peggy, who would be arriving in the early afternoon. After a scenic, five-hour ride, our boat deposited us at the pier, just a hundred meters from our hotel.This entry was posted in Vacation 2014: Europe