I have got a little behind with my updates as we have had long days and I just ran out of time to do any writing. Today we have a free morning while waiting to board our cruise ship at 1.00 pm this afternoon.
Back to where I left off.
On Thursday (June 2) we left our hotel at Flam and drove through a number of tunnels to a ferry terminal where we caught a local ferry back to Flam. This was designed to give us a taste of local travl but we didn’t see much more than the type of scenery that we had seen on our earlier fjord trip. However the Flam railway that we took from Falm to Myrdal after lunch was a fantastic train journey. It took about an hour and we had spectacular scenery over its 1:18 gradient along the valley to Myrdal. The trip provided fantastic valley views, tight corners, tunnels and waterfalls. At one large waterfall a number of mountain nymphs (actors) apeared at the base of the waterfall and further up the valley to (according to mythology) entice us into the mountains. We had a long wait at Myrdal for our train to Bergen to arrive and then a two hour relaxing trip to Bergen.
Our hotel there was at the end of the Bryggen; a world heritage area of old buildings along the waterfront. After dinner, we went for a walk along the harbour and watched the departure of the Royal Ship (Norge) which was taking Queen Sonja back to Oslo after being in town along with the King and Queen of Spain who were on a royal visit to Norway. We watched her board the ship from across the road and then as the ship left, she was standing at the stern waving to us. I noticed that she also took a couple of photos of the harbour, so we would have been in them. I think that this is the first time that I have been in a photo taken by royalty.
We had a morning tour on Friday that included a trip to Edvard Greig’s house at Troldhaugen (the composer who wrote the Pier Gynt Suite). From there we went to a lookout for a view over the city and to an older part of town that had survived fires and the explosion of an ammunition ship during WWII. This is a very scenic town. Most of it is not old as much of the cirty was burnt down in a fire in the late 1800’s.
We had a look around the fish market where many kinds of fish, including whale, were on sale. It looked tobe very dark and red in colour lke beef. We had a great seafood roll for lunch which we sat and ate on a seat by the harbour. In the afternoon, I caught the funicular rail car up to the peak and got a great view of the harbour and the central city. We also looked at the Hanseatic Museum as Bergen was a memberf of the Hanseatic League because of its codfish and oil.
On Saturday, we had a long and tiring day getting to Copenhagen. We left Bergen at 7.00 am and drove all day to Oslo airport, nearly 500 kms away, which we reached by 4.00 pm. On the trip, we had one ferry crossing and travelled through 35 road tunnels. Our flight to Copenhagen was leaving at 6.10 pm. For some reason, Scenic Tours had sent our tickets to Vancouver and I had to pay 1000 Krone to get them reissued. I’ll be claiming that back when I get home. Our plane landed on time but a couple of bags were missng (not ours, thankfully) so we took an extra hour to sort out the paperwork before we could head off to our hotel. We finally found a restaurant fior dinner at 10.30 pm which still had its kitchen open. We are staying right at Nyhaven, a canal dug out in the 1700’s and now a strip of colurful old buildings and restaurants. Prices here are a little lower than Norway, but they are still very expensive. Oslo and Copenhagen are now the two most expensive cities in the world to visit.
The weather has really improved now. Ysterday in Copenhagen it was 26 degrees and Oslo was nearly 30 degrees . We have moved from cold rain to weather that is getting very warm in which to walk around.
Yesterday, we had an interesting tour around Copenhagen. Our first stop was to Hamlet’s castle, some 45 km out of town. I found out that the story of Hamlet is an original Danish one going back to the year 1100. Shakespeare may have converted it ino a play, but it certainly wasn’t an original story. That shakes your faith in your education doesn’t it – maybe a case for a good IP lawyer.
From there we went to the royal summer palace and arrived just in time for the changing of the guard. The young soldiers had some good drill and I noticed that they still carried Armalite rifles – the same as I had in Vietnam. The band marched right up to the palace door and it opened so that Queen Margarite could watch them. She was in a wheel chair after some knee surgery, but she waved to the crowd at the gates where we were some 200 metres away. We didn’t get to see Mary although we understand that she is in town as on the previous day she opened a new wing at a childrens hospital. We also found out that it is impropper for people to speak to the royals so even if we had seen her, we wouldn’t have been able to say G’day. We also saw the winter palaces in the city centre and the balcony on which Mary and Frederick apeared after their wedding
In the afternoon, I walked arund the city for an hour or so. Jill didn’t like the heat so she went back to the hotel to catch up on some personal maintenance. I walked along the walking street and around past the canal to the houses of parliament and stock exchange building. Unfortunately, all the shops were closed because it was a holiday for the Prince Consort’s birthday.
I had wiorked in Copenhagen for a few days over 25 years ago but I couldn’t remember much about it. I find this city to be very appealing and would liketio have more time here. We didn’tget to the Tivoli Gardens because of our latenes in getting to the hotel but we could hear the fireworks at midnight.
Dinner last night was at a very nice restaurant. It was located in the cellars of an old monastery dating back to 1369. The whole place was lit by candles. The food was excellent and the toilets (up a circular staircase) were very grand. We sent the ladies in the group uop for a look as well.
This marks the end of our land based tour – now it ‘hello sailor’ as we join our cruise. At least we will know some of the people on it.