A New Mode of Transportation

August 16, 2017 Bergen, Norway > Hirtshals, Denmark

Somewhere among the last few days in Bergen, I got to thinking: “The girls are headed back to the States and we as a family are going to Denmark. How are we getting to Denmark? Daniel hasn’t told me…I haven’t asked…maybe I should find out.”

His answer? A ship.
IMG_5889

Excuse me? Did he say…a ship?

033

Why yes. He did.
036

This one, in fact.

IMG_5910

It couldn’t have been nicer.

IMG_5907

IMG_5908

When traveling with children, sometimes you just want a bit of privacy. You know, after public planes and public buses and public trains, it seems like your entire life is on display. Everyone can hear and see your child(ren) crying and you have to keep up appearances at all times for everyone’s sake. For this leg of our journey, Daniel selected a cabin with a window (oh bless him!), 4 pull-down or fold-out beds and our own tiny bathroom. I truly felt like I was in a book. “Betsy and the Great World” anyone? (Of course, she was very single in that book…and I am…very not…but it was almost the same. Somewhat.) It was about an 18 hour overnight trip and it took us down around the bottom of Norway, to the top of Denmark.

We spent our time alternating between our little room and exploring the ship. There was live entertainment at the bow of the ship with dining.

039 038

On various levels there was artwork to check out.

041 IMG_5925

Naturally, we spent a fair amount of time supervising Natasha who loved the children’s ball pit and play area. There was even a scavenger hunt for children to do with clues on various floors of the ship and a little prize at the end.

IMG_5913

Back in our little cabin, we could relax privately and enjoy the ride. I was slightly worried about being seasick, and both Natasha and I felt a little funny at times once we got out more on the open sea. But we just took ginger capsules and it was fine.IMG_5928
IMG_5940

Out on deck, we could let the children run more freely, to the great amusement of bystanders.

IMG_5957

IMG_5949 IMG_5951

IMG_5959

IMG_5922

IMG_5921IMG_5965

047

I truly felt like I was in a book. The wind, the salty air, the sunset…can you tell I was slightly giddy? It felt surreal.

IMG_5962 IMG_5932

And that, my friends, is how we arrived in Denmark.

053

If you go:

  • Get a cabin with a window. You won’t regret it.
  • Take snacks. We had our typical salami, meat sticks, clementines, apples, bread, chocolate, etc… Food on the ship is pricey. There is a small shop on board, but the food (well, probably everything) was highly overpriced.
  • If you want to sit in the common areas the best seats are taken fast. So if you see a desirable seat, snag it up.
Advertisements

In Which we Say Goodbye to Bergen

August 13-14, 2017

The last day or so in Bergen was mostly spent perusing the mall, bookstores and shops for last minute items we might like to take home. It always began by waiting for a bus. 011

One last stop at Det Lille Kaffekompaniet pretty much completed our stay in Bergen.021020018015

The walk back to the bus station was not without a final goodbye from Bergen to us: Yet more rain. It’s inevitable. Never go without an umbrella to Bergen, Norway. File_003 (4)File_002 (12)File_000 (21)

And yet, the sun does appear for brief moments as shown here on our last walk up the hill to our AirBnB. The girls were headed to the airport the next day and we were headed to Denmark for the remainder of our stay in Scandinavia. It was the end of an era, in a sense really. Maria, who has been our traveling companion for three trips now was to be married in about two weeks after returning to the States. Happily, her {now husband} loves to travel as well, so any future trips will include them both. File_001 (18)

Thanks for Melody for sharing her pictures with me.

A Funicular, A Hike and Coffee with a Toddler

August 12, 2017

If you are visiting Bergen, one of the “not-to-be-missed” activities is somehow getting to the top of Mount Fløyen. The view over the city is striking and however you end up at the top, it is an adventure. Right at the base of the mountain is a funicular, which Melody and Natasha decided to try out, while the rest of us followed paved walking paths up the mountain on foot. File_000 (20)File_001 (17)File_002 (11)

Of course, Melody and Natasha beat us to the top and made friends with local trolls while waiting for us stragglers to catch up.File_003 (3)

Meanwhile, we were huffing and puffing our way up, discussing how various adventures we have had in the past can feel like a lot of work or even not fun in the moment but later on we all have fond memories of it. This was one of those instances. It’s just hard work walking uphill, no matter how you put it. Very fit Norwegians were running past us practically the whole way up. Obviously, I wasn’t attempting that with a toddler on my back. 312

The view from the top though…wow. IMG_5862303

We all walked back down together and enjoyed mystical mossy forest sections at the sides of the path. It did seem like trolls live there. File_004 (2)

310.jpg

311

At the bottom, we took over all free chairs at Det Lille Kaffekompaniet and enjoyed some quality coffee and refreshments.File_008File_005 (1)

I tried to keep Lincoln’s hands out of my torte, and even my cappuccino, but I was unsuccessful.

File_006 (2).jpeg

File_007

Raisins just weren’t cutting it for this little boy, to the great amusement to the lady sitting inside the cafe, watching us the whole time. She left before we did and as she passed us she commented, “That was fun.” I know she was speaking from experience, having been in my shoes at some point with her own children many years prior. IMG_5868IMG_5876IMG_5869IMG_5873

We dubbed this the best coffee shop in Bergen, and so enjoyed our time there. It’s quaint, you can tell the locals visit it regularly and it’s worth your time. The sun peaked out some on our way back to the AirBnB, and gave us a glimpse of the mountain we just descended from. A perfect ending to another day in Bergen.IMG_5880

{Many thanks to Melody for a good hand full of the above pictures.}

The Waterfalls of Norway

It’s been one year since we were in Norway, galavanting around with Lynette, Melody and Maria. When we look back at pictures, most of us look the same. Except, the youngest of the group, who rode around on my back teething his way through Scandinavia.

On August 11, 2017 (I’m probably off a day or so…), Daniel and Lynette took the bus to Bergen’s airport and rented cars. I wish I had a link to share with a super savings for this rental that we found, but that’s sadly not the case. We wanted to get some driving time in and see some fjords and scenery outside of town though, so even though it wasn’t all that budget friendly, we did it. I remember there being some debate whether to get a van, which would seat all of us, or two cars, and for some reason, two smaller vehicles won out. So with Lynette driving one Volvo with the girls, and Daniel driving our family, we all headed out in search of some amazing views and waterfalls.

We were not disappointed. Skjervsfossen was the first stop and we saw it from above, before going below.

293

Photo by Melody

Lincoln was such a trooper. If I coaxed hard enough, I’d get a smile. IMG_5817

But not for very long. It seems he was thinking, “If I prostrate myself at Mom’s feet, maybe she’ll pick me back up.”290

292

296

Photo by Melody

The mist coming off the falls was pretty strong in some places. None of us ventured up real close, but if you went out a bit on the rocks, you could get misted quite easily. Which Natasha enjoyed.IMG_5829

Is walking behind a waterfall on your bucket list? This can successfully be checked off if you visit Steinsdalsfossen. It was next on our drive and after a slight hike up the hill, you can truly walk behind the falls.

IMG_5835IMG_5836IMG_5837IMG_5842

What is it with gift shops that lure all children closer? The shop here at the base of the hill had many typical souvenirs and among them are little troll figurines which were popular in Norway. None came home with us, by the way.IMG_5845

Ah, the cars again. They matched! IMG_5848IMG_5852

Fjords were harder to get close to and/or find than we anticipated. I was expecting something more like Milford Sound down in New Zealand, which was simple to view without getting out on the water. Getting a boat tour here in Norway to get that close wasn’t on the itinerary so we just paused near the shore to observe the view.IMG_5855IMG_5857IMG_5854 (1)

Moody, Rainy Bergen

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve visited this little space and haven’t finished up our last trip, which was to Scandinavia in August 2017. If you remember, we had just traveled by train from Sweden to Bergen, Norway.

Ah, Bergen. Let me just preface this with an interesting tidbit concerning weather: It has been said that Bergen, Norway is called the “most rainiest city in Europe”. This seems to be a hard fact to verify since several areas of Europe are pretty wet. But I daresay, Bergen is always in the top 5 of these and it’s there for a good reason. It is very wet a lot of the time. 
23-IMG_5802

That said, it can still be a lovely city to visit and enjoy, as long as you have proper rain gear. Which we didn’t. But one can’t purchase quality rain protection for a mere 5 day visit and expect to get your money’s worth once you return home where it’s NOT the rainiest city or even region of the States. So we made do with what we had and were grateful it didn’t actually rain every single moment of every day.

30-205

Photo by Lynn

I’m sure each of you would recognize the song, “In the Hall of the Mountain King” or “Morning Mood“. The composer Edvard Grieg wrote both of those for a play titled, “Peer Gynt” which premiered in 1876. I didn’t realize that Grieg was from Bergen till I was reading through the travel brochures at our AirBnB. But what a happy discovery! It’s fascinating to me to link a town to a composer whose music I have heard so often but don’t have any other connections to otherwise. My sister plays violin and has performed “Morning Mood” before with the orchestra she is a part of so I had to get a picture with Grieg’s statue to send back to her.

 

 

22-IMG_5795

Why yes, there is a seagull sitting on top of his head. It wouldn’t leave for my picture.

Ever on our quest for coffee (and waffles, which we heard we had to try), the first coffee shop we stopped at in Bergen was BarBarista. Perhaps the most eccentric place I’ve ever stepped foot into. Melody captured my thoughts about this establishment perfectly below:

Untitled

Photo by Melody

It indeed was odd. Some folks would love it, and it has great reviews, but it was not my cup of tea. Or coffee, if you prefer. Still, a memorable stop.

Untitled

Photo by Melody

I was glad to step outside and get some more views of the city. It had even stopped raining.

18-IMG_5771
04-282

05-283

Our meal out for the day was at Pingvinen or, The Penguin. Everyone knows prices in Norway are outlandish and I would say this is true especially for eating out. But we had expected this and that’s why we try to save money by cooking at the AirBnB for most meals.

21-IMG_5780

20-IMG_5783

We still like to try the local cuisine and this meal did not disappoint.
06-285

24-IMG_5803