Thursday, 16 August 2018

Bergen, Norway (Strandgaten 201)

I was up and ready for my all-day tour today. All I had to do to get ready was to shower, dress and walk out the door. I prepared to be gone all day the night before.

The tour started by bus rather than by boat. (Was given the option when I made the reservation. Could have started by boat.) The plan was to travel to the end of the fjord by bus, then return to Bergen by boat from Vik, which was at the furthest end of the fjord. Now to find the bus station and the place to meet the bus.

The bus station in Bergen was very large with many slots for arriving and departing buses. Glad I showed up early since it took a bit to confirm the departure point since the name of the journey on the piece of paper from the tour company was different than the name on the bus stop. I met a couple with two small girls who had the same questions as me. It seemed that we were the only ones on the tour, and the bus was carrying many people who were traveling in the same direction.

Our first stop of our tour, as we waited for the next bus on our journey to Vik, was in Voss. Along the way I got to know the couple who got on with me in Bergen. He worked in IT so we had plenty to talk about in that regard. Their girls were a little restless but the couple managed them very well and kept them under control and entertained.

Voss is the name of the (overpriced) designer water from Norway. Only the name is from Voss, the water actually comes from a location at the southern tip of Norway. We got off the bus at Voss and I went to look for a place to get something to eat and to use the restroom. I found a small cafe and ordered a shrimp sandwich and a bottle of water. (Not Voss water.)

At 12:30 we met up and boarded the next bus that would take us to Vik. As it turned out, the couple with the two young girls and I were the only ones on the bus. This huge bus was completely empty except for us. This worked out well. We really enjoyed each other’s company and got off at several stops and took pictures together.

Our first stop was at Tvindefossen falls that poured off the side of this one mountain. You could walk up close to the falls and experience the power of the water that came down from above. The couple that I met (who have visited Niagara Falls) were originally from Albania and their families moved to Lebanon to avoid the trouble in Albania in 1997. They now live and work in Saudi Arabia. Both spoke nearly perfect English.

Our bus driver was our unofficial tour guide. We had him all to ourselves and asked him many questions along the way. We all took many pictures of the landscape and falls as we traveled the back roads to Vik. Amazing how many small farmers lived in this remote area of Norway. Nice looking and well-kept homes with a fair number of sheep and cattle grazing on the grassy slopes.

Around 2:00 we entered Vik and got off the bus. We had three hours to explore the town of Vik before a boat would pick us up for the return trip down the Sognefjord, the proclaimed “King of Fjords” and is the longest and deepest of the fjords.

Now, what to do in Vik? There didn’t seem much to do there. At first I took off by myself and found a coffee shop to drink coffee, rest, and play a few games of pinochle on my phone to relax. I met up with the couple later and we walked around while waiting for the boat to pick us up. We never did exchange names. Guess we were happy to enjoy time together, knowing that we would not see each other again.

Finally the boat arrived. Three hours in a small town was a bit too long. Voss would have been a better choice of a place to explore. But Vik was okay too.

When the boat arrived at 5:10, we boarded the boat, and because it was so crowded we couldn’t sit together so I found a place to settle in and away we went. The weather was very wet but I could see the view out the windows. Very similar view of water and mountains from the day before. I kept thinking of the Columbia River Gorge. We stopped a few times along the way to let off and let on passengers. No announcements of what we were seeing. Just miles of picturesque landscapes.

I was ready, after three hours, to get off the boat. I met up with the couple and their two girls as we disembarked. We wished each other well and went our separate ways. I took a taxi back to the flat and, because it was after 9:00 I was hungry so fixed another omelet meal with crab. Also ran a load in the clothes washer and hung them out to dry.

At around 11:30 I couldn’t keep my eyes open so I went to bed. I have nothing planned for tomorrow. Just to prepare for my flight to Helsinki on Saturday. I feel satisfied that I saw what I came to see in Bergen. Glad I made the effort visit here and may return again some day.

To see pictures: 
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