Friday, October 14, 2011

Adventures in Hellesoy

Today I decided to take a bus to the end of the line and see where I ended up.  The bus I chose went to the west of Bergen to the Sotra islands.  Actually according to the Bergen guide, the Sotra island area is an archipelago of 1550 large and small islands.  The bus took about 1 hour 40 minutes to get to the end of the line.  In that time, we drove through some dramatic landscapes & over many bridges.  The chain of islands is narrow and runs in a north-south direction.  Most of the time we were on a narrow road that I thought was one-lane until we met a car going the other direction.  There is really only one road, so it's easy to not get lost, which was bonus for me and my directionally-challenged self.  I took some photos with my iPhone out the window of the moving bus.

Taking pictures this way reduced the motion from the bus and cut down on the reflection from the window because I could hold the phone right up to the window.
See it was a nice day.
The farther north we went, the worse the weather became
Until we reached the end of the line, where it was full-on raining
Aha, so now I reached the end of the line, in the rain & the wind was cold. I was happy I had worn two pairs of pants, 3 sweaters, a fur-lined hooded sweatshirt, a raincoat, ski gloves, and earmuffs.  Ha ha, yes I know, I'm a baby since it wasn't cold enough to be snow, just rain.  So for about 20 minutes I wandered around, trying to act like I had a plan, not that there was anyone around to notice.  I think this place is probably more of a summer place.  I couldn't even find a tiny grocery store.  Then I found this map, which was almost helpful.

The blue line on the left is where I came by bus. Which I already knew that part.
Unfortunately all the bits about what there was to see was in Norwegian.
Which I haven't quite learned much Norwegian yet. I know most food words, but not really much else. The only section of this sign that was in English was a bit that said that Hellesoy and the nearby islands used to be important for fishing and seafaring.  At some point I decided the best plan was to stick near that main road. That way whenever I got ready to go home, I could just catch a bus.  The rain stopped after about 30 minutes or so, and even the wind died down, so it was actually pleasant.  I took a lot of pictures.

The landscape was amazing

A lot of the inhabitants have boats

I'm convinced the entire area is inhabited by these guys since I didn't see any other humans

The curly-horned ones issued a warning
What happened to all the humans
Warning: entering fart zone
A troll jail--hey you didn't think I could go a whole post without mentioning trolls did you?
Well after I was tired and my feet were wet, I decided to call it a day.  I got back on the bus headed to Bergen, and had a nice conversation with the driver whose daughter is currently an exchange student outside of Kansas City, Missouri.  He said she liked it there a lot and that people are very kind to her. The only thing she can't get used to is all of the fried food. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trains & Trolls

Oops I got distracted by the 3 whole days of lovely sunny weather that we stole from LA and have neglected to upload pictures.  It turns out that if you make a sacrifice to the weather gods, they really do listen. 

So today's post will be mostly about the two trains I saw a couple of weekends ago on my way home from Flam. The first train was called the Flam Railway and it went for 20km, some of it through the mountain, to a place called Myrdal.  Then I took a 2-hour train ride back to Bergen. That was the famous Oslo-Bergen train that some of you might recognize from Harry Potter.

First a few shots from the Flam Railway Museum that was in Flam.  In the museum, there were lots of museum-y stuff, like below.  Also some fun facts, like that most of the tunnels were excavated by hand.  And that progress was usually made at the rate of 2 meters per week.  They would have been faster except for all the troll attacks (hey I did say trolls in the title).

Special locomotive built just for the Flam railway. It had 5 different braking systems.

Some old-timey stuff

The train arrives!

Surprisingly, it is difficult to take good pictures from a moving train, but here goes...
Hey look, man-eating sheep
For some reason the only thing I can think of when I look at this is: idyllic. Probably axe murderers live there.

I think this looks cool with the trees whizzing by & I'll pretend like I did that on purpose.
Kjosfossen Waterfall: free fall of 305 feet
We actually got out of the train here, which made photographs slightly easier, especially if one leaned way over
The conductors were debating on who would get eaten by trolls first

Holding the camera out the window is not too dangerous as long as you keep ahold of the strap
Oh and probably not while going through a tunnel
Ok most of my pictures were from the Flam railway.  It moved slower, so I was able to get more pictures that turned out.  All of the ones from above were from that one.  Here is the only one that turned out remotely well on the 2nd train.

Insert caption here
If you want to see more of the famous Oslo-Bergen line, watch Harry Potter.  Oh I guess it's called The Bergen Railway.  Thanks Google!  And according to it's the world's best train ride.

Today's post has been brought to you by the letter T.