Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oh Norway, in a nutshell...

We made it to Bergen! It was an amazing trip here. We left Oslo at 8:00 am (which was no problem, Jeff and I were up at 5:45 without alarms after sleeping very soundly) and took a 5 hour train ride to Myrdal. The train was super plush (normal by Euro standards I guess, but compared to our trains they seemed luxurious) and the scenery was out of this world. The rain held up but was threatening most of the time, which gave great light and made everything wet and sparkly. It was SO beautiful, and there weren't as many tunnels as I expected.

Here's the Oslo train station where we started our journey, pretty no?

Here are a couple pictures we took from the train in between Oslo and Myrdal:

The water was like a giant mirror, and so clear! We could see the rocks at the bottom. If it wasn't 3 degrees, we'd be tempted to jump in.

Geeking it up at the Myrdal train station. Those little houses at the bottom were so charming. There was a lot of heavy clouds lingering around which gave everything kind of a dreamlike appearance. Except for my hair in this picture. Not dreamy.

We were tempted to buy these as souvenirs for everyone. A bald eagle on top of the Norwegian flag! AMERICUH!! NORWAY!!

From Myrdal we got on another train, the Flåm Railway. It was about an hour long and winded through tunnels down to Flåm where our fjord cruise started. The railway was built over twenty years (it would take a full month to burrow out 1 meter of each tunnel- solid rock!) and completed in 1940. There were some beautiful waterfalls along the way:

The guide said that this was a popular biking and hiking trail. It's like 10,000 feet high and a 25% grade. Only a Norwegian would bike up that...

This town was nestled in a valley between these huge mountain ranges, and it was so dang cute! 

It looks fake, doesn't it? Like I took a picture of a diorama or something, right? REAL!

I took a picture of the church for you Mandy, isn't it the coolest?? Black and with a creepy graveyard all around it... I wish we were able to stop and look inside though.

All of the houses in Norway look like dollhouses. I love the scallop shingles and their little porches.

We first saw the giant cruise ship in the water when we got off the train and thought that it was our boat for the fjord cruise. It wasn't. We had the smaller boat instead, but wish we had the cruise ship. They really overbooked the cruise so seats were scarce. Jeff and I snagged some great seats by the window, but ended up having to move. I was comfy when out of nowhere this little old Norwegian lady shows up right in front of me. Before I can say "Move along grandma", Jeff was out of his chair and offering it to her which she dove into. Fine, whatever, he can stand. No sooner did she sit down, 3 other little old ladies appeared in front of us. Sigh. So we stood. Outside, in the rain. Well, for a few minutes, then we stood inside under the heater. It was a nice boat ride though, pretty scenic but not good for Kodak moments since it was pretty wet.

I did however snap these pictures. Along this fjord, there was NOTHING. I mean, a whole lot of nature, but huge tall mountains on each side with sheer cliffs dropping straight into the water. No beaches, no roads, nothing. And then we saw this:

A close-up:

It's a house!! Who the crap would live up there?? How did they build it up there?? How do they get to their house?? We couldn't see a helicopter landing pad anywhere, so we assume it's a mountain troll's home. It's the only explanation.

After the cruise, we took a bus ride to Voss which we thought would be pretty mellow. It was not. We went down an 18% grade mountain (which the driver said made the people sitting in the back of the bus 2 and half meters higher than him on descent!) with THIRTEEN hairpin turns. It was like Lombard in San Francisco, but way steeper and wet. Jeff almost peed himself.

Success! We arrived safely in Voss, pretty little town. We didn't have much time before our train to Bergen came so we just got this one picture.

It was getting dark in Bergen by the time we arrived, so no pictures yet. We're exploring around the city all day tomorrow and going to the harbor, the Bergen Art Museum, the Leper Museum (seriously!), and a church that dates back to the 12th century. Neat! Hopefully another post tomorrow!


ET said...

Hi Liv and Jeff:

I know you're soundly a sleep by now and hopefully will get a good night sleep so you have lots of energy for tomorrow's busy day running around Bergen. My Internet weather forecast for Bergen looked pretty reasonable so hope you get some decent weather, BUT you know the Bergen weather statistics, right? It rains, at least some, something like 340 days/yr, or something ridiculous. I was seriously considering a job in Bergen (Christian Michelsen's Institute, doing energy research) but the weather was one reason we decided to rule Bergen out.

I am very glad to see you had a nice trip from Oslo, even though the weather obviously could have been better, and that would have made the views even more spectacular. But perhaps next time.

Will check out your Flickr pictures. Enjoy the next leg of your trip.

Jerod said...

I was just about to post a blog about the way my 2/3 cubicle's walls reflect off my cloudy acidic glass of tap water and you HAD to go and outdo me.

L-O-V-E-ing the adventure so far!

P.S. I ate all your waffles.

Mandy and Seth said...

cool creepy church! thanks! i had a dollhouse kit when i was a kid that looked just like that house with the scalloped shingles!

Nikki Menda said...

Thanks for making me laugh - I needed it. The mountain troll's house is awesome. And the unicorn statue with the boner in your later post in hi-lar-ious. Lastly, I am so glad someone else takes pictures of cats while in a different country. I think I took one of every cat in Italy! Hugs.