Well we are in Oslo now, having completed a really nice land-based tour of the southern part of Norway, between Bergen and Oslo. The weather overall has been pretty good, with only a bit of rain, and mostly when it didn't matter too much. Today in Oslo is raining pretty well, and this afternoons tour of the local sights could be a little damp. We then have a welcome cocktail party with all the guests for the ship and fly to Svalbard early in the morning.
There has only been fourteen of us, plus Vivian our local guide, on this part of the trip, so a nice small group, and good fun bunch. We had two nights in Bergen, with a lovely sunny day up Mt Floyen and around the city, before then heading through the next day to Lofthus on the Hardanger Fjord. On the way we did the famous Flam Railway, and a nice cruise on a ferry from Flamsbana to Gudvangen through Aurlandsfjord and Naeroyfjorden. Some lovely scenery that really reminded me of New Zealand, but with small houses and farms, orchards, etc scattered around the place. We had two nights at a lovely hotel right on the shore of the Fjord – Ullensvang Hotel – a place where Edvard Greig used to come and stay. Visited a few local sights and I led a hike up to some beautiful waterfalls through some forest. We haven’t seen a huge number of bird species, but did get a long-yeared owl on the hike which was nice (of course I had left my 400mm lens at the hotel!), and have seen a few other nice things – spotted flycatcher, fieldfare, etc. Also got a lifer in the form of a pair of common cranes in a field on the drive across to Oslo yesterday. We made some stops along the way and again passed through some stunning scenery.
So looking forward to getting to Svalbard tomorrow, but of course not necessarily looking forward to the 5:00am wakeup! Let’s hope the people at the airport checkin are nice tomorrow and don’t want to weigh my hand luggage!!!
|Edvard Greig's house just out of Bergen|
|Inside the rebuilt Stave church just outside Bergen|
|The 'Leper' listening post in the Stave church|
|Impressive viking dragonson the Stave church|
|Bergen from Mt Floyen|
|Common gull in the Fjords|
|Small towns along the coast of the Fjords|
|Stunning scenery and ferries abound|
|More waterfalls than you can poke a stick at!|
|And little shacks on the shoreline|
|Waterfall reflection...are you serious!?|
|Old style rooves grass and massive stone tiles, note the traditional flagstone with rock on top chimney cap.|
|Where's the goat?|
|Even the oystercatchers think the rooves are fine places to nest on|
|Waiting for the tourists to bugger off before I go back to my nest!|
|Alchemilla...the alchemists plant|
|Water droplets on the leaf of Alchemilla|
|The waterfall we walked to|
|The morning view, beaut!|
|Stunning glacial valleys|
|A stave church in Torpo, with the replacement beside it, the Stave church was mostly torn down, but luckily this part saved.|