12 Aug 2014

Norway

Waterfront at Bergen

And then we were off to Norway – Sylvia, friend Bonnie and me. Ryanair flies from Beziers to Oslo Rygge and none of us had been to any Scandinavian countries before, and it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. So we booked a car to be picked up at the airport, planned the route and booked the accommodation. 

Seven days driving a loop from Oslo, across to Bergen and back around the south coast. What a beautiful country it is. 

For the first time we used AirBNB for a couple of nights’ accommodation and both turned out really well. The first was a large room that slept three, in a private flat in Oslo. Such a different experience from a hotel. The owner and his partner lived there and were charming …. we could use the kitchen and their bathroom – well that whole flat actually. 

The second AirBNB experience was a basement flat in Bergen, right in the down-town area and only about 100 metres from the waterfront. In this instance we didn’t meet the owner – she just left the door unlocked and we let ourselves in and spent two days there. 

The view from our room
The most interesting accommodation experience was in Stavanger. I thought I’d booked a triple room in a regular hotel. But when we turned up, we noticed quite a few people outside in wheelchairs – and some with oxygen bottles. 

In the reception, we noticed two desks. I didn't know that Sykehus means “Sick House” i.e. hospital. The rooms that are rented are also part of the hospital – often used for patients’ families or recuperating patients.

So our triple room (two singles and a folder bed – this is a normal ‘triple’ room in Norway we were told) was not only very compact, but very safe – safely rails in the bathroom and an emergency button on the wall. 

The lobby was also full of the walking wounded and their families and visitors. Breakfast was delightful – not only because the self-service cafeteria food was excellent, but because we were surrounded by new-borns and their parents. While we were having breakfast we counted twelve!

Driving was easy on really good roads, if a little slow – very few stretches of road were over 80 km/h. Though I imagine with the snow in winter, that’s more than enough. The scenery and the fjords were as beautiful as I imagined, and everything was just as expensive as we’d been warned. But we were prepared and budgeted accordingly, and ate in our accommodation when possible.  On our last day in Oslo we had a meal in a Vietnamese restaurant with some friends of Bonnie’s and had one dish each, with I think one beer – cost €35 per head.

And here - a few photos of our week in Norway:

Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo
The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo
Houses with sod roofs
Hardangervidda plateau
A Norwegian friend who lives here in France said we had to try to Norwegian meatballs - delicious, served with Lingonberry sauce and mashed kohlrabi.
Stave church
Grass AND flowers 
Vøringfossen waterfall near Eidfjord
Bergen
Beer break - Bergen
We did see rather a lot of whale meat for sale - in its different forms.
Bergen
Bergen
Bergen
Bergen - monster wooden sculpture of a dried cod
Steinsdalsfossen waterfall - one you can walk beneath!
Stave church outside of Bergen
Stavanger - we were lucky enough to arrive on a day with stunning weather - AND a music festival
Stavanger
Stavanger
Stavanger
Oslo - new Opera House
Vigelandsparken sculpture park Oslo


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