20.04.2009 10 °C
Motorbiking around the European Coast for Cancer Research - www.justgiving.com/edandjames
Oslo impressed us today. It was lively and bustling with lots of street music and activity. After breakfast at our hotel and a walk around we had lunch near the cathedral. We passed an area where about 20 or so bikers had parked up and were standing around chatting. They were getting a lot of attention from passers-by, especially a group of women who were all over them having their photos taken. "Yoo-hoo, we've got bikes too! They're not here, but . . . "
After that we went to the National Gallery and saw a lot of Edvard Munch paintings amongst others. The Scream is obviously a brilliant piece of work and a version was on display, but we didn't know much about his other works and to be honest found them to be largely underwhelming simple portraits. Maybe that's just us!
We also took a look around the castle and fortress which appear to have the most easily defeatable defensive walls of any fortress.
Just round the corner from the castle was a newly developed quay-side area of cafés which was very pleasant to spend a few hours in and grab done dinner before we made our way over to the bus terminal. We had wanted to get an overnight train to Stockholm, but it turns out that there was only one train per day at an inconvenient time, so we ended up on a coach.
The coach was unfortunatley considerably less comfortable than the one to Tromsø and we got less than an hours sleep on a 7 hour journey. Back on the bikes tomorrow thank goodness!
Sent from my iPod
17.04.2009 10 °C
We felt right at home as we got up for breakfast on our ship this morning and the weather was beautiful too so we sat in the sunshine on the rear deck for a while. Since the weather was so pleasant the Captain decided to take a detour through a very long, thin channel surrounded by hills and mountains. It was lovely and up at the front we went and had a chat with the crew in the business end. There was a good atmosphere up there with the doors open and music playing. I discussed machinery with the Captain who was overseeing things whilst the First Officer was actually doing all the work!
After a few more hours whiling away the hours in the sun we arrived in Bergen and said farewell to our home for the past four days. Bergen was a beautiful place to walk through with mountains, trees and water surrounding it and lovely buildings, cobbled streets and open parks.
Just a flying visit though as we jumped on a train to Oslo. Again the scenery was absolutely stunning, initially lakeside, then twisting up the mountains, then passing ski resorts with 2 metres of snow. It was very reminiscent of the Canadian Rockies and may have been a struggle for the bikes in places again.
We got to Oslo late, but found a good hotel/hostel close to the station quickly and got a room with a DVD player! Borrowed a Bond film and headed upstairs for the night.
The boat arrived in Trondheim at 06:30 this morning and parked there for three and a half hours to allow people to have a good look around. We noticed this as it was blissfully quiet for 3 hours or so, but we missed the town completely as we were fast asleep! (We had got a little carried away with yahtzee and beers the night before!)
The daily program which is given out each day details some of the main attractions for the day as well as highlighting the port stops. We read this over breakfast and the day had considerably less stops than the previous. This is good for our progress down the coast, but the stops are also a welcome change from the ship and help break up the day a little.
The sun was out in force today and some time could therefore be spent on the sun deck of our ship and as the general air temperature is slowly rising as we head South you could quite easily stay out for hours.
Towards the end of the day we pulled into the rather American looking town of Molde. Here we jumped off and had a bit of wander round. We hoped back on the boat an hour later and as we were pulling out the North bound Hurtigruten called the Richard With was pulling in. As it came alongside us some of our crew had gathered some towels together and started waving them furiously whilst making red Indian warbling noises at the same time. Of course we both joined in!
Look - the steepest road in the world!
The rest of the evening pretty much went along the same lines as the night before. Beer and yahtzee!
Well, yesterday's entry was a comedy of errors, wasn't it!? We'll try our best to do this one without a single typo.
This morning we again had breakfast amongst stunning views slowly passing by through the window. We'd sailed out of the Arctic Circle early in the morning and whilst there was still a lot of snow on the peaks there was noticeably less by the shoreline.
We went ashore a little later and grabbed some supplies from the supermarket. We also used the Wi-Fi in a bank to hurriedly finish the blog entry and fire it off.
The afternoon was spent amongst lots of books, music and yahtzee. We started to make friends with our boat, the Nordstjernen too - I had banged my head at least five times yesterday on doorways, ceilings and such-like but today nothing!
We had some dinner onboard in the evening and were just finishing as we docked in Rørvik alongside a Northbound Hurtigruten called the Finnmarken. Some of the passengers came aboard our ship to have a look around and we felt like a museum exhibit as they walked past grinning and taking photos of the ship. In fact we got a little defensive of our girl! We did the same thing and went to have a look at the Finnmarken and immediately felt very jealous. It's an enormous, plush, airy 15 000 tonne floating luxury hotel (ours is 2 600 tonnes to compare). Amongst the 8 decks are Internet cafes, Wi-Fi, jacuzzis, heated outdoor pools, gyms, saunas and lots of bars. And worst of all it wouldn't have cost us any more to get on a ship like this, maybe even a little less.
Still, we went back to ours and consoled ourselves with the fact that it was now the Summer schedule on the Hurtigrutens and ticket prices had trebled for some cabins, so whilst we ended up on the smallest, oldest, unequipped ship of the fleet from Tromsø due to our lack of planning at least we got tickets two days before they went up in price!
We played yahtzee and drank beer until the early hours as the rest of our boat said goodnight and went to bed.