Friday, 2 December 2011

I've been driving round Norway 6 days

The last day of the journey, but probably one of the most impressive since I'm visiting two of Norway's most famous sights.

First Geiranger, Norway's most famous fjord, and that is really beautiful. If there's one thing Norway excels at, it's the beauty of its special nature. Geiranger is no exception, beautiful, very beautiful... and with calm waters... wow. It's got a lot of waterfalls and some farms on the side of the mountain that are almost impossible, no wonder the people didn't last there. Then it's a beautiful drive up into the mountains again, some more amazing waterfalls and greenery all over.

The next and last sight of the journey was Trollstigen (the ladder of the trolls), this is a road down the mountain side into a valley, zigzaging like crazy, crossing a waterfall like 2 times and ending up on a flat ground heading back to the real life, back to the E6 road, out of that fairytale journey we had.

Now it's just the journey through the Dovre area, and back to Trondheim, home, as nice as the journey was, it was really nice to be home again too. :)

Norway is a beautiful country.

I've been driving round Norway 5 days

Now let me start by telling you that you won't hear much about Florø since there isn't much to say, it's just a small seaside town, cosy but that's about it. The fifth day was used to get from Florø to Ulsteinvik where my sister in law lives. Nothing much to say about Ulsteinvik either, it's just a small ship building town.

But that was not all, the way included a beautiful trip to the westernmost point on the Norwegian coast, and a real sandy beach, too bad it's always too cold to use it... Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, you can probably enjoy a sunny day on the beach but go into the water at your own risk... hypothermia is almost certain.

Vestkapp which is the westernmost point of Norway and the whole of continental Europe was supposed to be special, sadly it was so cloudy on that day, that the whole mountain or cliff was covered and it was impossible to see anything at all... maybe next time. The beach at Ervik though was quite impressive, didn't know they have such places in Norway but apparently they do, and apparently Ervik is not the only one, it's definitely beautiful, sad it doesn't get warmer here to really enjoy it.

The rest of the road was just the usual West Norway terrain, mountains, ferries, tunnels...But there was one moment that scared me half to death and I probably never felt such adrenaline before, mountains...going into a tunnel then coming out into a turn on a small road over a cliff, the water was far below and another mountain across, breathtaking view! but at the same time AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! :0

We also passed through some small cities in the middle of Norway, why did people come here in the first place? There's nothing around here, and it's far from everywhere! weird people.

Finally Ulsteinvik, a pizza and a nice chat over a cup of tea, missed half of that though as I was so tired and partly drifting away, the guest room bed was a most welcome place to be, tomorrow we head back home to Trondheim, but not straight, there's still some sightseeing to do :)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I've been driving round Norway 4 days

Too bad we woke up too late because that led us to get to Bergen to late for Urmita's train back to Asker. However we picked quite a pleasant pair of American hitchhikers on the way who left her a dollar :D

After getting a new train ticket, we decided to keep our friend company so we went to Fløibanen (one of the few places in Bergen where I haven't been), It's a cute funicular ride to one of Bergen's 7 mountains, it's not the highest (Ulriken is), but it's right above the city center granting a great view down on Bergen, especially if you're lucky enough to get a sunny day in this city, for all those who's been there it's a common knowledge that that rarely happens.

It's a popular trekking area too, close to the city, loads of paths up there, pretty scenic too, lakes on top of mountains and so on. The restaurant on top of Fløi is quite nice too, recommended.

The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful, leaving Urmita to her train journey, we just headed to our next overnight spot, the small town of Florø.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I've been driving round Norway 3 days or The Mighty Preikestolen

Sunday: Bergen - Preikestolen
This was a totally out of the blue idea, a bit of a gamble given the amount of time vs. the amount of ferries to get there. But being us, we went anyway.
The trip itself was quite nice, beautiful scenery, pretty good weather and fancy new car ferries :)

We managed to get there without much trouble, parked and started my first proper hike ever! Preikestolen is located in Rogaland, the "fylke" or state Where Stavanger is, it's a flat plateau over a fjord at a height of 604m above sea level, with quite an ominous looking crack along the middle of it, just to add to the thrill...

The hike takes the average person with a moderate amount of fitness (like me) about 2 hours to get there and another 2 to get back. It's mostly OK if you take a couple of breathing stops along the way :).

The view from the top is worth every single minute of it though, it's just fantastic, but it's not for the faint hearted (or people with Vertigo issues like my man). It's pretty high! and it's not a roll down, it's a drop down, so it's pretty freaky, I didn't dare walk to close to the edge, but sitting down and shuffling along worked just as well :)

After getting down, it was time to find the hostel we booked for the night, after a bit of Googling and GPSing, we came to discover that we were actually parked right next to it ...ehem.
And here's something for you, hostels in Norway are pretty damn clean, they had a nice restaurant, and the view from our room! that was cool.

Too bad we woke up late next morning...

Friday, 2 September 2011

I've been driving round Norway 2 days

Saturday: Voss - Bergen
 Yup, we did river rafting and it was loads of fun. Quite scary though when I got caught in an underwater eddie after falling out on the last bit, I seriously thought I was dying. But apart from that real fun.

The fog didn't lift much from our hotel's awesome view, so sadly we didn't get to enjoy that in the morning before heading off to the rafting center. An interesting piece of info about Voss rafting center is that there wasn't a single Norwegian instructor, guys from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Canada and Zimbabwe! I guess the interested Norwegians are rafting somewhere in the countries above :)

The drive to Bergen after that (and the highly needed shower and underwear change) was event-less and easy, the reason I was in Bergen again after leaving it a week or so ago at crew change was a birthday party, my ex-operator on the Spirit moved to the manufacturing center in Bergen where he now lives and he had a small party with some friends and colleagues.

The party had an Indian theme (Hari is Indian :) ), so there was a lot of great Indian food, a guy in traditional Indian clothing (kurta etc...), a lesson on the rules of Cricket and an attempt of a Bollywood movies and dancing presentation, but (happily) the CD refused to work. I enjoyed my time though and had a good chat with pleasant people.

Hari was also nice enough to let us spend the night at his place, before heading south the day after...

Thursday, 1 September 2011

I've been driving round Norway one day

Friday: Asker - Voss
Erik's idea. And a good one as usual. Started on a Friday evening from Asker after working hours (someone was working, not me). The plan was to get to Voss by midnight to get some good sleep, but it rained so much over Norway the day before that quite a bit was flooded and some roads/tunnels were closed. Instead of a 5-6 hour ride, it ended up being close to 10 hours due to the retour/detour we had to take. (see map :s). The red line is what we were supposed to drive, the blue is what we ended up doing :(

It was def. good to get to that hotel room and drop. We got rooms at Stalheim hotel with a breathtaking view, too bad it was foggy and almost dark when we got there...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

More in paradise! The Maldives! Iru Fushi...

And if the last few days with my friends from the boat weren't enough, the day they left I dragged my husband over and we headed to yet another island, a 30-40 minute flight in a little sea-plane, but damn! This is what I call luxury, Iru Fushi is probably 2 or 3 times the size of Embudu, and taken over by non else but the mighty Hiltons. A bungalow over the water, with big glass windows and doors on the sea side, our own veranda and a ladder down to the water, our own recliners, our own jacuzzi, this was like a 2nd (or is it a 3rd?...) honeymoon. Absolutely awesome!

More days with sun and fun and cocktails on the beach... and obviously romance ;) This time it was also quite a choice of places to eat, dinner in a different place every night, with excellent food, mostly excellent service and the most beautiful atmosphere, moon-light, candle-light... nice!
One thing I want to mention that has nothing to do with the magic above and in the previous post, they have a lot of bats here! Anyway, again, I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking :)

Still in paradise! The Maldives! Embudu...

After a short stay in Male, it was time to head for our holiday destination, for sun and fun and cocktails on the beach :D My favorite trio.

Embudu is located a few kilometers south of Male, half an hour by the boat that picked us up in Male. A tiny island overgrown with coconut palm trees, and all kinds of small trees, palms and mangroves on the beach. The bungalows where pretty nice too, a few meters from the beach, from that beautiful turquoise water surrounding all the Maldivian little islands, swings in the trees, open bar/cafe in the middle of the greenery and good food three times a day :D

It's been a while since I relaxed this much in one of my "after crew change" travels. For 3 days in a row, I did little more than swimming, snorkeling, reading and eating. Well, and getting a nice tan as a souvenir.

Most of the islands here have quite an interesting topography, they're really flat, slowly going into the water and going for quite a distance with a depth of max 2 meters, then abruptly "cliffing" down into depths, if you want to check that yourself, go to google earth and zoom in on an island then check where the waves break, it's not at the beach! But the amount of corals and fishes and all kinda sea life on those cliff sides are totally A-W-E-S-O-M-E! Don't miss it, just don't! But visit the diving center first and find out about the currents whens and wheres, they're really strong, and I mean STRONG, in some spots you can't even swim against them.

I'll stop talking now and hang some photos instead :) Enjoy...

Thursday, 7 April 2011

I'm in paradise! The Maldives! Male...

Once upon a time, when I was 12 years old or so, I saw pictures of the Maldives in a magazine, and since then it just became a dream that back then I thought I'll never bring to life, but... 15 years later, I actually did...

Landed in Male in the middle of the night, got through the quickest immigration ever and walked out. The guy who met us at the airport, a Maldivian (yes, they exist!) was slightly suspicious, sounded as if doped... hmmm, didn't look good. It's not until the next morning when we went around the capital island sightseeing and spoke to more people that we realized he wasn't, they all sound like that, the accent is hilarious. I liked the Maldivians though, they're pretty relaxed and friendly, easy to have around... quite chilled.

There's obviously a lot of other nationalities from nearby countries working there, Indians, Bangladeshis and loads of Sri-Lankans.

Now Male is a small island, seriously small, but it's still one of the biggest in the country, small streets, no asphalt, streets are paved with special bricks, a pleasant city with not really much to see, bustling with people, full of small restaurants and cafes all over, a beautiful shore line, the clearest turquoise colored waters you'll ever see and a range of relatively expensive but good hotels. A one day trip, and it was worth the time.