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Sogndal and Bergen

Bryggen and Fish Market in Bergen - Andrew Fernando

We had only one night in Geiranger. The main attraction in Geiranger was the Fjord and the Fjord cruise. It was nice to stay in the hotel and relax and also watch the huge cruise ships and the smaller ferry vessels passing by. The most interesting part of the visit was the drive to Geiranger and drive out of Geiranger along the golden route. We did the Fjord cruise in the morning and left our hotel around 11:30 AM. Our next destination was Sogndal. Our first part of the route to Sogndal was through the golden route.

Straight stretch of road through snow fields

Straight stretch of road through snow fields

We climbed a steep mountain and drove through some beautiful snow fields. It was Summer, but Summer in this part of the world is like Winter in Sydney. People are still visiting Ski fields. We saw people stopping their cars and playing on snow. In one place there was a family with a Husky dog. The dog was running on snow and playing with the children.

Dogs love snow - man playing with his husky

Dogs love snow - man playing with his husky

Leaving Geiranger - Snow and mist

Leaving Geiranger - Snow and mist

After passing the snow area, we descended to a fairly flat ground and drove through some beautiful villages. We stopped at a bakery and bought some muffins and cinnamon buns. That was the first good bakery we came across during our trip.

People having coffee outside the bakery

People having coffee outside the bakery

We then stopped at a nice rest area to take a short break. Mala has bought some long hot dog buns in a shop previously. At the same place, there was a man outside the shops, selling long sticks of Salami. We bought a stick of pork salami. When we stopped at the rest area, Mala made lunch using these ingredients.

Mala making lunch at the way side rest area

Mala making lunch at the way side rest area

Sogndal is a small town near a beautiful fjord. We have been driving along Fjord banks to reach this small but beautiful town. There were not many hotels in the area. We have booked the Best Western hotel, which was probably the biggest hotel in the area.We parked our car in the parking area outside the hotel yard and walked into the hotel. The receptionist, a man, was very nice and welcoming. He told us that we have to use meter parking and put money to buy a parking ticket. He also told us the trick of putting less money. It was already close to 5:00 PM and parking is free after 5:00PM till 8:00 AM next morning. What we needed to do was to leave the car there and in the morning, just before 8:00 AM come down and get a parking ticket for two hours. That would be enough till we have breakfast and check out of the hotel.

Having dinner at Chinese Restaurant Malin

Having dinner at Chinese Restaurant Malin

There was no restaurant in the hotel and we had to go out for dinner. There were only two good restaurants in the area. One was an Italian restaurant where they serve mainly Pizza and the other one a Chinese restaurant. We opted to have dinner in the Chinese restaurant. The food at the Chinese restaurant, Malin was exceptionally good. The restaurant was full of people, being the only one in the area. They added chili and made the lamb dish really spicy to suit our taste. We ordered fried rice and also some noodles. They served big portions and we could not finish all the food.

Entering the 24.5 kilometre long tunnel

Entering the 24.5 kilometre long tunnel

Lit in Bright Blue colour inside the tunnel

Lit in Bright Blue colour inside the tunnel

We had breakfast in our hotel restaurant and left the town around 10:00AM. Our next destination was the famous town Bergen. On our way we came across the world’s longest tunnel. The Laerdal tunnel connecting Laerdal and Aurland is 24.51 km long. Construction of this tunnel started in 1995 and the tunnel was opened in 2000. While driving through this long tunnel, there are three places where the tunnel has been lit in bright blue colour. I think it is just to get the attention of the driver and keep him or her awake.

Cherry Tree from our room window

Cherry Tree from our room window

He was selling fresh Raspberries from his farm

He was selling fresh Raspberries from his farm

We drove along highway E16 which is a very scenic route. There were numerous waterfalls and mountain ranges on the way. We found a few fruit stalls and bought fresh raspberries straight from the farm. The seasonal cherries and blue berries would come in late July.

We stopped at a small town to have lunch and then drove to Bergen. It was raining when we arrived at our hotel Radisson Blu. We checked in and went into our room to find that the view from our window was not what we expected. We were looking on a roof top and a wooden arch.
Mala called the reception and said she was not happy with the room and needed one with a good view. The receptionist was very apologetic, but could not help us. She said that all the rooms in the hotel were very similar and they all had the same view. I would have left it at that. But Mala wanted to pursue the issue. She called the reception again and asked her to put her on to the General manager of the hotel. There was a poster in our room that we could call him if we were not happy with anything in the hotel. The GM explained the situation to us. The hotel has been built in a major tourist area around the historical buildings. There are very few rooms in the hotel which are not facing these historical buildings. All the rooms were fully booked on that day. He would try his best and get us a room with a view the next day. We were happy that he at least listened to us.

Wooden Houses in Briggen, listed as a World Heritage site

Wooden Houses in Briggen, listed as a World Heritage site

After a change and a short rest in our room, I went down to the reception and asked the girl for more information about tourist attractions in the area. I have read that Bryggen area and the Fish Market were supposed to be two of the main tourist attractions in Bergen.
I asked the girl “ Can you tell me where Bryggen is “. I felt somewhat stupid when she said “ Sir, this is Bryggen. Our hotel is in Bryggen “
The point was that we researched the area on the web and then checked the hotel using hotel reviews, but never tried to connect the hotel to the historical area Bryggen.

A Narrow alley between wooden houses

A Narrow alley between wooden houses

Mala in historic Bryggen, outside our hotel room, between two wooden houses

Mala in historic Bryggen, outside our hotel room, between two wooden houses

We walked out of the hotel to see what Bryggen looked like. Bryggen consists of a series of historical wooden buildings built several hundred years ago. The entire area has been listed as a World Heritage site. A few hundred metres along the road, you can see the fish market. It was a rainy day, but the entire area was teeming with tourists. Tour buses and the Cruise ships bring thousands of tourists daily.

Fruit stalls at Bergen Fish Market

Fruit stalls at Bergen Fish Market

Fish Stall at Bergen Fish Market

Fish Stall at Bergen Fish Market

We walked long he narrow passages between the buildings and then briefly visited the fish market. The Fish Market is a small open area near the harbour front, where you could find not only fish stalls, but all kind of food stalls, fruit stalls and stalls selling souvenirs. Food is not cheap, but many tourists prefer to sit at a small table and eat something from these stalls. Mala bought a mixed fish plate. We decided to sit at a table and taste it. Just then a sea gull swooped in and picked one of the pieces from our plate. I was in no mood to eat the food after that. She had to eat everything on her own.
We could now understand why our hotel rooms could not have a good view. The hotel is in a prime location.
We have planned to spend two days in Bergen. The next day, true to his word, the GM has assigned a better room for us. We moved into the new room. We had a small window through which we could see the Fjord waters between two historical buildings. It was a good view.
Then we found something very interesting and amusing at the same time. Through the window, we could see the passing tourists. They were taking photographs of our building including our room thinking it was part of the historical buildings. Mala was standing near the window and telling me
“Look, they are taking my photograph.They think our room makes part of the historical buildings “

Our room window, Mala's green file visible from outside

Our room window, Mala's green file visible from outside

We also went out and took a photo of our building and the room. We could see the small window and Mala’s green file near the window.
We had a good time roaming around Bryggen and doing some shopping for souvenirs. We had one umbrella with us and we bought a second one. Each of us needed an umbrella to cope with the big crowds on the road.

Posted by fernando65 23:29

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