Friday, August 5, 2022

Eurotrip 2022 - Days 11-12 (8/2-3/2022) - Bergen

Our self-guided tour continued with a 10:25a train from Oslo to Bergen. The tour company texted Fran to let us know that we would need to switch to a bus for the last leg of the trip, from Voss to Bergen. We later found out that this was due to maintenance being performed on the tracks. We had breakfast at the hotel (an impressive and varied spread of hot and cold foods spanning a couple of different rooms) and then walked to the central station. The train portion of the journey provided some nice countryside and mountain/hill views. At Voss everybody got off the train and scrambled downstairs and outside for the waiting buses. The rain did not help with the confusion. But in any case we got ourselves and our luggage on one of the buses. The bus ride was longer than scheduled because of both a car accident and roadwork; we arrived at the Bergen bus station a bit after 6p, an hour later than the original train would have put us there.

Once at the bus station, we needed to figure out how to get to Thon Hotel Orion - it was raining, and the bus station was farther away than the train station. Google Maps told us to take the #12 bus, but it took us a while to figure out where to catch it to go in the correct direction (Fran saved us from taking it in the opposite direction, avoiding a repeat of the Zürich fiasco). We eventually found the correct platform (U, despite the sign being knocked over), and with the help of a couple of other travelers downloaded the Skyss app to buy a couple of single ride tickets (which was probably a bit unnecessary, but whatevs). On a slightly related topic, I should say that I have been pleased with my Google Fi cell service throughout the duration of the trip; it's been great just being able to use my phone everywhere without worrying about lack of service or extra charges.

Across from Bryggen at the Port of Bergen

Anyway, we made it to the hotel and checked in. Then we headed back out for a bit of a walkabout and to find dinner. We settled on an India place called Maharaja, which was decent. I also got some ice cream on the circuitous route we took back to the hotel.


Our main planned activity the next day was a fjord cruise to Mostraumen (through Rødne Fjord Cruise) that Fran had added on to our tour. We ate breakfast at the hotel (this hotel also had a nice spread; and as with the last one Fran made a couple of bread and cheese sandwiches to take with us for lunch) and then walked to the pier to catch the cruise. We boarded about 7 minutes before the planned 10am departure time, but even by then most of the seats (and definitely all by the windows) were already taken; we initially took a couple of seats in the middle section. At this time it had been raining lightly but steadily so almost everyone was indoors in the lower deck. But Fran was not content with being stuck inside on a fjord cruise so she scoped out the outside area of the top deck and snagged one of the ~6 covered seats for me. This seat was next to a couple from Poland who (we found out in conversation) had planned their trip around seeing Björk in concert in Bergen that night; and so of course I inquired where the concert was happening, and it turned out to be at an outdoor venue literally next door to the hotel where we were staying.

Bergen-Mostraumen fjord cruise

In any case, the fjord cruise was pretty spectacular, despite the gloomy weather. The rain cleared up soon after we cast off, though it did return for a couple of sections of the cruise. The low clouds prevented us from seeing the tops of the mountains in many places, and (according to one of the ship's crew members) caused the color of the scenery to be more muted. That same crew member also told us that this had been the coldest Norwegian summer in 50 years (though some later research suggested only in 30 years), and a particularly wet one. I think the temperature hovered in the high 50s and maybe low 60s (Fahrenheit), which of course felt a bit colder outside on the boat. Nevertheless, it was a treat to float by the stunning mountains, cliffs, and remote villages. The trip out ended with a surprise stop beneath one of the cliff-side waterfalls; after that point we turned around and headed back to Bergen. We arrived around 1:15p, squarely within the planned 3-3.5 hour duration.

Bergen-Mostraumen fjord cruise

Back in Bergen we needed to back a pit stop at a couple of outdoor clothing shops so that Fran could buy new waterproof shoes - her sneakers were letting water in and her feet were soaked and cold (my toes were wet, but not to the same degree as her). After that we made our way to Fløyen, one of Bergen's city mountains, and hiked up that. It took about 40 minutes to get up there; the steep incline was enough for me to work up a good sweat, though I wouldn't call it too strenuous. After admiring the view for a bit we walked back down, then to the hotel.

I bought tickets to the Björk concert while we had a bit of a rest. Then after a shower we walked back out to grab dinner at a Thai restaurant, before heading to the Bergenhus Festning for the concert. The performance began at 9 and featured renditions of her songs with a live orchestra (setlist here). It briefly threatened to rain in the middle of the show, but thankfully held off. We both enjoyed the show, though wished we would have been able to see the Polish couple in the crowd to wave hello and maybe thank them for letting us know about it.


Full pictures for the trip here:

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