Since Julia was working during this trip, she had a day or two off and she wanted to experience a bit of Norway. I don't know how she did it, but she convinced me to do Norway in a Nutshell again. This was my third time. Three times in 18 years. I guess I'll survive. *sigh*
For the uninitiated, this is a package that lets you see all the beauty and wonder of Norway in one day. It starts with a train either out of Oslo or out of Bergen and takes you to the middle of the country. Then you take another train up a mountain. Then you get on a boat and cruise through a fjord. At the end of the fjord cruise is a bus that takes you back down the mountain and back to the original train. You take this train either east or west, depending on where you want to end your journey -- Oslo or Bergen.
So we arrived in Bergen (my greenie area) at one in the morning and had to get up super early for the first leg of the Nutshell. As we were shoveling our delicious breakfast in our gullets (nothing better than Norwegian bread and cheese and jam, although Swedish cheese was really good, too), I glanced at Julia's watch and realized our train was leaving in 10 minutes and the train station was 20 minutes away. We thought if we could take a taxi, we might make it, so we ran out of the dining room and found that there was a huge line of people waiting for cabs because it was POURING rain. If you have been to Bergen, this will not surprise you. All of a sudden, Julia gets a brilliant idea. If we flag down a regular person on their way to work and offer to pay them, maybe they will take us to the train station. I'm laughing even now thinking about this idea of hers. I guess you can imagine that no one stopped for us and we missed our train. Since this was my third time, I knew we'd probaby be able to catch the next train and be able to catch up with the tour, and that's what happened. But it meant that we had about two hours to kill in Bergen before the next train.
First we walked to the gågate and looked around. I took this picture...
... because it reminded me of this picture....
... which was taken 19 years ago (I'm so old) and sent to me recently by that punk standing to the right of me. Next we got on the streetcar, which did not exist 19 years ago, or even 10 years ago when I last visited Bergn. We were going to ride it to the end and then turn back around, until we got to Fantoft station and I remembered that this is where the church building is located.
... and some beautiful tulips (they were about a month behind us in their spring season, which was awesome because tulips were everywhere).
We got on the train and traveled east to Myrdal and while we waited for our next train, we had a light lunch of another of my favorite Norwegian delights... panekaker (pancakes, shown here with cream and jam)!
This is the second leg of the tour...
This part cracks me up.... when I first took this train with my mom in 1993, they stopped the train so we could get a look at some of the waterfalls. When I took the train the next time in 2001 with Esther, there was this platform built so we could get out and look at the waterfall and take some pictures in front of it. This time, they announced that if we looked hard, we might see some fairies or something frollicking in the mists. (commence eye roll.)
Since I had done this boat ride and it was cold, I let Julia go outside and take all the photos, and I would get copies. I see now the flaw in this plan.
Approaching a little village on the fjord. I had a vision of getting a little cabin here and writing my memoirs. I think I'd love it. Could this city girl become used to isolation like this?
Once we were back on dry land, we promptly fell asleep on the bus ride down the mountain (it's really beautiful but I was still jetlagged). While waiting in Voss for the next train back to Bergen, we saw some more beautiful tulips.
Julia posed with the requisite giant troll.
And once we were back in Bergen, somehow I found a place that serves a traditional Norwegian meal. In fact, it was the exact same place that Esther and I ate in 2001! It was delicious and every bit as good as I remembered.
More of Bergen to come in Day 5....