Yesterday, we had a long day of constant travel to Oslo and today we had a leisurely, although early, train to Bergen on the west coast of Norway.
We checked in for our flight in Reykjavi yesterday morning after driving from our nearby hotel and refuelling our rental car before returning it. I had booked our return flights from London to Reykjavik as a side trip using frequent flyer points while our paid international ticket took us from Australia to Oslo and return. Because of this, I couldn’t get our bags checked right through to Oslo even though both flights were on British Airways (but not on the same reservation number).
I’ve found BA to be a pale shadow of its past excellence as an airline. Not only could we not check our bags right through but the business class seats on short haul flights now have only as much leg room as the economy seats. They do have a divider in the middle seat so that you only sit two abreast but my need is for leg room; not for width room.
Our flight back to London was fine and we had a terrific view of the city as we flew right over central London on our approach into Heathrow.
To recheck our bags, we had to be cleared through UK Immigration and Customs, get our bags in the arrivals area and then go back upstairs to check in to our next flight. We had two hours to do this. at immigration, we were in a long queue and after 20 minutes, we hadn’t moved more than six places. I could see that we were not going to be anywhere near making it in time to catch our next flight. Jill was complaining that her back was sore and that she wouldn’t be able to stand for the time that ti would take to get to the immigration desk. I went back and asked some staff for help and fortunately, they redirected us to the special needs line and we were through immigration in just a couple of minutes. In the end, we had forty five minutes to wait until our flight to Oslo departed.
The express train from Oslo Airport to the city centre was fast and I could take a advantage of a senior’s fare that reduced the price by half. We arrived at our hotel just before 10.00 pm (after getting up in the morning at 6.00 am). We stayed overnight at a hotel by the station. It was very basic but that didn’t matter as we would only be the from 10.00 pm until 7.00 am.
This morning, we were up again at 6.30 to have breakfast and walk around to the station for the train at 8.25 am. It was a pleasant and relaxing ride to Bergen on a trip that took about 6 hours. The middle part of the trip was across the Hardanger Plateau with its spectacular alpine scenery. It was hard to take many photos as the train went through many tunnels and avalanche shelters with just a short break in between. It was a case of line up the camera and shoot madly when we were back in daylight again for a few seconds.
It was raining when we first reached Bergen, but it cleared after an hour, or so. Once we had settled into our room, we walked down to the harbour and to the world famous Bryggen, (the dock), which is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the Vågen harbour. Bryggen has, since 1979, been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites. We were disappointed to find the some buildings wee undergoing restoration, so it didn’t have quite the same charm as when we were here last.
I’m afraid that Norway is going to be even more expensive than Iceland. A beer and a glass of white wine at the bar tonight cost us about $40. Perhaps it is because we fein the tourist area of a very popular city and I’m hoping that we will not be paying near $200 again, as we did tonight for dinner for two. Perhaps it will do me good to drink a little less. The blood / alcohol limit for driving here is zero, so one glass wine in the evening is probably going to be all that there is.