Norway Day 4 – picture postcard day

Everyone would recognise that iconic Norway postcard of a brilliant blue/green  fiord between snow covered mountains , well here it is. I hiked to the very spot today!

It’s known as the Flatbrehytta walk and is 9km long, which does not sound that much, but the elevation gain is 3140 feet – almost 1000m and is situated in the Jostedalsbreen National Park.
Again words cannot describe this unique hike in absolutely stunning weather conditions, so here follows a few pictures one of two of me again in basic black.

We are headed for the red cabin

And here is the view again from the cabin !

The Village of Solvern 

This idyllic village lies in the western region of Norway on the shores of the Lustrafjiotd and a few kilometres from the Jostedal Glacier. The previous fishing village now produces summer berries and autumn apples as well as the fresh fish. The wooden houses spread up the terraced mountains. 

At the waters edge is the Walaker Hotel, which has been untainted in its more than 3 centuries of existence. The current owners, the Nitter family , have run the hotel for nine generations!

Consequently I reckon This village and its’ iconic hotel deserves a separate blog article all on its own. 

The reading and music room

The Dining Room

The front garden – only part of it!

Norway Day 3

Not another bloody waterfall or fiord. We hiked some 7.5 km to the base of the glacier straight in of you in the picture below. 
As we approached. A deep rumble developed and we witnessed a glacial (ice) avalanche- different from the snow version, it was explained 

Still in black and after several days still smelling like a rose

Norway Day 2

Today was much better weather and the activities included a delightful meander along one of the narrowest fiords, then a boat cruise on the fiord and finally an incredible climb/walk to a 900 year old wooden church perched high on the mountain side.

Basic black seems to suit me, I think and yes my pants are falling down!

Inside the church which is essentially all wood the exterior is coated in bitumen

Hotel for the next two nights in a delightful cove in a fiord

The private dining room for our dinner on the first evening

Norway Day 1

If you read and understood my frustration with the Reykjavik Airport queues, rest assured the Bergen Train station is almost its’ equal. 

The Bergen station in the rain, still looks impressive

The queue for the train to Voss

Today was bleak! Dark grey clouds, drizzling rain and the air temperature a cool 7 degrees centigrade. This does not deter the average Norwegian male who, as it is officially summer, parades the streets in a T-shirt. Tourists who outnumber the natives by 100 to 1, are immediately discernible by their attire: down jacket, gloves, rain pants and boots, giving the distinct impression of  being Amundsen the famous Norwegian polar explorer, about to set out and reach the South Pole.

room with a view!

The hike day 1

Farmer’s hut – 150 years old

Our “private” dinner in an old farmers barn! Felt a little like Game of Thrones”

Bergen stop over 

A day and night in Bergen before the train to Voss where I meet up with my Backroads group. Bergen is the oldest port city in Norway and the old quay district, called Bryggen is an UNESCO world heritage site. 
A few pictures will give you a feel for the old town

These pictures show the original wooden shops and delightful alleys. Two of them are in the process of major renovation as rotting wood and sunken footings are causing significant structural instability 

I wandered into the Bergen Cathedral to a charming rehearsal of a children’s concert tomorrow, Sunday

Comfort Economy

I sit in the Icelandic Air Lounge, having bypassed yet another check in queue that brought water to my eyes as I entered the departure hall. One elderly couple confirmed that they still had fond memories of the last volcanic eruption which was around the time they had joined the queue. 

Yet again I question why we are encouraged, indeed forced, to check in either on-line or at the ATM-like machines that will very rapidly print luggage tag and boarding pass, only to then be herded into the same inevitable queue, to hand over passport and boarding pass to a living human, seated in front of a computer monitor, who checks all your details for the third if not fourth time.  I hasten to explain that I actually do prefer human contact, but not having to wait so long that by the time I get to the counter, I need to shave.

It is one of the many advantages if not the most useful, of flying Business Class, as the queue melts away, unless, perchance , you have in front of you a young German family with 5 children including twins at the toddle age, grandparents, nanny  and luggage which includes a twin pram, 2 pushers, and ski equipment for every adult and child. 

I am in seat 5F – Icelandic Air “Economy Comfort”. If I had the advertising/marketing account for Icelandic Air, I would NOT have called it “comfort” as it implies that their basic Economy class (coach – for the American readers) is thus “uncomfortable”! 

Last night I attended a delightful concert of Icelandic Folk Songs in the very modern Concert Hall in Reykjavik. A soprano, contralto and pianist. I went with Lena from our Backroads group. It lasted an hour and was very polished and slanted towards the tourist as the songs were all surtitled in English.  

We were supposed to meet up after with some of the Backroads group at a local wine bar, but we were stood up! Mind you it was standing room only when Lena and I arrived around 7:15, …… not my usual “cup of tea”! 

I am now sitting on the fly bus at Bergen, Norway, and about to start another Backroads holiday. If the members of the group I join tomorrow are half as friendly as the Iceland travellers, I will almost certainly have a memorable time! I miss them all already