PREIKESTOLEN TO BERGEN
22.08.2012 - 24.08.2012 17 °C
Once we spent an oh-so-comfortable night at Preikestolen Camping after the hike (hot showers and laundry were most welcome), we researched our route up to Bergen and back to avoid having to backtrack too much, and to maximise what we got to see.
The main tourist route up through the Ryflyke area takes you through fjords, valleys full of waterfalls, and rich coloured timber farmhouses that make up gorgeous little villages in the shadows of huge, almost round cliffs. There are towns where the road ends and the ferry across the fjord begins, and on the other side the spectacular jaw-dropping scenery continues.
We gave ourselves a free halfway stop in a riverside town called Odda – just one of, but perhaps the most picturesque of these fjord townships. As the sun set, the reflection of the houses glittered in the water, and we could almost feel the cool coming off the mountain behind us – which was still harbouring some massive blocks of ice and snow, and is also home to one of Norway’s glaciers, Buarbreen – welcome to the Norwegian summer!
Yep, that is ice...
The next morning we kept on driving towards Bergen, arriving early in the afternoon and finding no available free parking and minimal free attractions. We found some pay parking and parted with our hard earned for the privilege of 1hr worth of strolling the area immediately around the harbour.
The main and most famous attraction in Bergen is the Bryggen – Norwegian for “The Warf, here we have a UNESCO World Heritage listed area showcasing the towns original buildings from the 1300’s, possibly even earlier. They consist of creaky, wooden alleyways and floors and now mostly house craftware businesses and souvenir shops. It’s good for spending some time aimlessly looking at pretty things (silver jewellery, wintery Christmas decorations) and not-so-pretty things (moose leather goods including bags and jackets worth EUR1,000 to fur clothing). Throw in a token busker with an accordion outside on the water and you have yourself a positively touristy atmosphere.
Not too far from the Bryggen are the Fish Markets – pretty much exactly what it says on the box, a lively and smelly collection of stalls showing off their catch of the day and dishing out prawns, calamari and all sorts of other fresh seafood. We wandered through quicker than most as we aren’t the biggest fans of seafood, and even if we were, the prices were extreme… instead we came across some locals handing out free samples of reindeer and moose meat and happily had a taste which we really enjoyed… so much in fact, that Paul did end up coming away with a meaty, moosey souvenir of his own.
It gets cooked as it comes off the boat...
A few more photos of the thriving harbour area, and we called it a day on our quick visit to Bergen. Budget and weather permitting, there were certainly a couple of other things we would have done – there is a funicular railway to the top of Mt Floyen, which gives a wonderful view of the city and the surrounding area, but is not so much an option on a cloudy, misty day like the one we had.
We backtracked past Odda that night and came across a large rest area overlooking… well, I can’t really describe it, but thought it was just the perfect view to wake up to the next day, and to help us mentally prepare for the upcoming hike.
Waking up in a dream