Wow! What a picturesque morning walk around the lake in Voss this morning.
As we are between the peak season of summer and winter the town is a little sleepy. It’s peaceful and serene. At 9:20 the sun still hadn’t risen above the surrounding hills and the temperature was -2C. Frost had dusted everything and puddles were frozen.
The lake was like a mirror. Just beautiful. We strolled part of it into the forest and then doubled back to watch some kids starting their soccer training. We could also see some of the debris from the recent storms all neatly piled ready for removal. We circled back into town in search of coffee and to do a few errands.
Our favourite cafe – Tre Bror – which we now know means Three Brothers, was just opening and Sofia opened the door to welcome us back when she saw us coming. Tre Bror has a bar underneath which we visited last night for a cosy beer and cider.
Sofia helped us with some Bergen knowledge in anticipation of our next stop this afternoon. We have a short train trip from Voss (2C) to Bergen (6C) where we’ll explore for a few days before boarding our ship the MS Nordlys to venture up into the Arctic Circle.
According to the weather forecast we will have the pleasure of Bergens 3 days of annual sunshine while we are there. Bergen is known in Norway for the city where it always rains.
We have arrived in Bergen and it indeed Beautiful. We had thought to find our hotel and rest, but Bergen is too enticing. We checked in and then got straight back out to explore.The city is colourful, historic, bright, and bustling. We missed the information centre and discovered that during the winter season – which started in October – it will be closed on Sundays. That means we are very much on our own for finding our way around. We did get some ideas from the lovely Sofia, so we looked up the map and set off.
We walked through the picturesque streets. It’s like a scene from the old biscuit tins or chocolate boxes that would depict pretty towns. The buildings here have more varied colours than we’ve seen before. Blues, pinks, yellows, greens. The light was fading from 3:30/4 and windows were lighting up making it even prettier. There are some Christmas decorations featured in windows adding to the idealised scenes.
We decided we would head up to the top of the mountain for sunset to see the view. We had a little bit of time to kill so we popped into a busy pub and tried more local beer. The Norwegians have nailed coffee and beer! We shared a bench with an old gentleman who was quick to strike up a conversation.
Our friend is a 77 year old who retired only recently from the aviation industry. He at one stage worked repairing propellors on sea planes up north in Tromso and was telling us of the beauty of the Northern Lights. I’m not sure what he was doing in later years but he did share quite a bit with us. He moved to Bergen 28 years ago and commuted 8 hrs for 4 days a week.
(Please excuse the font change – I have made notes on my phone and when transferred the font has chosen itself!)
10yrs ago his wife became ill with dementia and he changed to home office role followed by retirement 9 yrs after the official age of 67. His wife is now in full time care.
Proudly told us about Norway’s environmental achievements and in particular changes around Bergen.
Many of the buildings now have recycling chutes that separate waste instead of bins that get collected. The chutes take the waste underground where the combustible waste is burnt and the heat generated is used to warm the water that then heats the building. The ashes are then scoured for metal. Some of which is sold to metal merchants, any coins are purchased back by the bank of Norway.
Plastics are ‘chuted’ through to a central repository and sold to Germany where they are used in manufacture of fabric. He told us about his daughters new house which had waste sorting built into the kitchen bench.
He spoke proudly of his countries achievements following the discovery of a beached whale that was found to have a stomach full of plastic bags. This discovery has generated a hate for plastics and a proactive search for a solution.
In our conversation in Voss with Sofia we learnt about a scheme to basically vacuum the crap out of the oceans using technology and understanding of the maelstrom currents. I admit I haven’t googled this to understand it better, but it’s something to read up on.
I can’t help but feel that our encounter with this gentleman was as beneficial to us as it was to him.
After our cosy respite at the pub, we set of toward ‘The Floyen’. The Floyen is a funicular train that takes passengers to the top of one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen.
On the way though, we came across a famous hot dog stand – 3 Kroneren – that we had heard about. We decided to have a street food for dinner and Andrew went full Norwegian and tried a reindeer hotdog. It was good! Definitely glad we came across it.
On we went to the Floyen where we joined a carriage with a family of locals heading up for dinner at the top. Many of the girls from their group were wearing their national costume.
Timing was perfect. The sun was setting and the view was amazing. Bergen is larger than we had first thought and has a busy Port area. There are some Naval vessels in the harbour as well as commercial ships and ferries. No sign yet of our Cruise ship, we hope to see that in the harbour tomorrow.
Back down the mountain it was dark and only 7:30pm. Whether it’s the early dark or just that we have been on the go since we arrived in Norway, we were ready for an early one. We walked through the lively port to our hotel. We were exhausted! Not to miss the chance for a few pictures though we did snap a few.