Week 11 /12 - A little bit of land touring Norway.                                                Monday 5th to Friday 16th August  

080513 1 Excited viewing onboard Train to Bergen

With our Darwin guests returning to Australia it was time for Darb and Nell to rejoin us. First excursion Bergen via the train - a 7 hour journey from central Oslo to the west coast. Bergen was Norway's capital during the 12th and 13th century and up until the late 1800's had a strong Hanseatic League influencing trade in Scandinavia. Today Bergen has a population of around 250,000 and is a major tourist stop off point in summer despite the fact that it holds the record as one of the wettest cities in Norway with rain falling a minimum of 265 days per year - and as expected it rained whilst we were there.

080713 18 Ulriken643 Cable Car to Summit of Mt Ulriken around 600 meters

Bergen is apparently surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords - we didn't count them but we did walk the Unesco World Heritage Listed Bryggen District and Vagen Harbour, took the cable car to the top of Mt Ulriken (642m) for a scenic view of the harbour, surrounding fjord and city, not to mention trekked/trained to the Fantoft Stavkirk to discover it was only a replica of the original built in 1150. We found a quaint restaurant close to our hotel that served great food agreed it will be good to come back with Katherine. 

080813 6 Enjoying the view

From Bergen it was onboard the Norled Ferry for a high speed trip to the Sognefjorden - the worlds longest (203km) and deepest (1308m) fjord. Leaving Bergen we noted that there were a few bridges that would be of concern for Katherine with her 31.5m mast and an alternative route will be necessary for when we sail here next year. We left the ferry at Aurland some 8km before Flam the final destination for the ferry and large cruise ships. Aurland is a tiny community with the most helpful tourist office manager, a motel with a policy of pay your bill by 930pm the night before and a cafe that serves the best home made quiche but not much more. 

080913 9 The Flamsbana our transport back to Myrardal

The highlight of our short break to Bergen and the Sognefjorden was the Flamsbana Railway. The train winds its way just 20km to the township of Myrdal through 20 tunnels and up 864m. Unlike the Bergen train which was a standard train the Flamsbana had a past era feel to it and the waterfalls and glaciers that we passed were truly special. So many more scenery photos added to the collection. 

081013 14 Dinner with friends

Back in Oslo we were met by Kirsten and Lars Bilstad along with Ellen and Haakon from Koko who we had first met in the Caribbean last November. Plans were made and set in action and the very next day with just one night back onboard we were off again - this time to the hills of Valdres to stay at Lars and Kirsten's cabin - built in 1963 by Kirsten's father with so much of his ceramics, tapestries and carpentry it felt true to its name "Trosten" - The Comfort. The intermittent showers over the weekend did not stop us from taking in some scenic walks, riding the quad bike or enjoying the sauna and hot tub all timber fired. Kirsten and Lars were determined to ensure that we tasted some local cuisine so we were treated to reindeer, moose, local cheeses and of course waffles - not to mention a wee dram of Aquavit. Be it the ambience of the cabin, the tranquility of the candlelit dinners or just the good company it was an opportunity we were so grateful to have been given. 

For our last night in Oslo we were again spoilt this time with dinner at Ellen's and Haakons. Our location at Aker Brygge was handy to transports shops and sightseeing we could not have been better located but it was time to move on.
First night out was at Sandspollen - the anchorage recommended by locals and we could see why. 

081413 1 Evening Sky Sandspollen

Yes Lars we will never again anchor at Jelyn again as "No Norwegians" would anchor there !!!!!"

Today we are back in Stavern having tacked our way down the Oslo fjord yesterday where we will shelter for the next few days until this weather passes. We are hoping it is not a sign of whats to come - the weather we have been so lucky not to have experienced since crossing the north sea. We're hanging onto the idea that summer is not yet over - we don't know what really makes it so but we just love Scandanavia and Northern Europe it seems so comfortable to us "Trosten", guess we are still coming back next year.

Heres hoping the weather holds out for us a little longer.

(Click for more photos)

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain