It’s been a while since I’ve posted stories of my travels, and I finally had the time to write down this amazing Norway getaway trip from last March 2016. Check out my travel diary entry for a taste of Bergen and Norway’s famous fjords!
25 March 2016. We took the 22.45 late night flight from Stockholm to Bergen on the west coast of Norway.
We arrived in Flesland Lufthavn and hurried to the airport’s arrival hall to claim our seats at the airport’s comfort zone, only to find all seats were taken and we had to find another spot to camp for the night. We did some research on the airport beforehand, and true enough, if we wanted reclining seats with cushions to spend the night we should have arrived way earlier. Nevertheless, the airport was pretty empty so we got padded airport benches for ourselves at the self check-in area. Even though we didn’t have the perfect beauty sleep, I think we got a decent rest considering the circumstances. If you were wondering, the comfort zone is located just up the stairs at the airport’s arrival hall (right above a Narvesen store).
26 march 2016. Morning arrived and we headed out to Bergen’s city center.
We took a bus (Flybussen) that runs every quarter hour or so from Flesland to Bergen’s city center (and vice versa). The tickets cost 140 NOK for a round trip if you’re a student and if you buy it yourself from the ticket machines at the airport. You can buy tickets directly onboard the bus, but they will cost you more. We got off near Bergen’s fish market by the city’s port, and it turned out our hostel was just a mere 5 minutes walk away from the bus stop! Perfect location. I would recommend anyone going to Bergen to stay at the Bergen YMCA Hostel, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Norway is one of the most expensive countries to travel in, and 195 NOK per night is a really good deal for what I got staying at this hostel. We stayed in a 12-bed dorm (I know, don’t be sceptical yet) but never once did I wake during the night, plus the bed was comfortable. They even provide the linen for free. The kitchen was well-organized and fully equipped, and people can leave their food in a basket in the fridge when they leave, so plenty of free food actually (mind to check the expiry dates though). And since it’s centrally located, you can just literally walk everywhere.
We checked-in to the hostel at 8am. Our beds were understandably not ready yet, and we were told to come back between 12-15 pm to check-in again. So we left our luggage in the care of the receptionist (an awfully kind young lady) and left for our first destination, Mount Fløyen. Rather than taking the 7 minutes funicular up the mountain, we decided to get some hiking exercise. The route up the mountain was fairly easy, and even at a slow pace we reached the top in an hour. Bergen didn’t disappoint us with it’s title as the City of Rain, and soon enough after we arrived at the peak rain started to pour. Luckily, there was a restaurant there that sold hotdogs for a reasonable price, so we took a seat and waited out the rain while munching on hotdogs.
Sjomannsmonumentet at Bergen’s city center.
On the way to Floibanen funicular station.
One of the roads leading up to Mount Floyen.
View of Bergen from Mount Floyen on a rainy day.
Floibanen, the funicular that takes you up and down Mount Floyen.
After some contemplation, we decided to take the Floibanen down the mountain to try the feel of it. The ride costs 45 NOK one way, and it was something worth to experience. Back down in Bergen, we returned to our hostel to check-in and immediately headed out again to see Bergen’s UNESCO heritage area, the Bryggen harbour, which was established in the 12th century. Although the wooden buildings have suffered from many fires and have undergone many renovations, the architecture remained the same for decades.
Welcome to the World Heritage site, Bryggen.
Bryggen’s prominent colourful wooden houses.
The wooden lanes in one of Bryggen’s alleys.
Carved wooden statue of a cod fish at the Hanseatic Quarters, Bryggen.
An arts and crafts store built from timber in Bryggen.
It rained pretty bad (yup, again) soon after we started exploring Bryggen, so we stopped for coffee as we dried ourselves and waited for the rain to end. Our next walk after the downpour ceased took us to the streets of Bergen lined with pretty old-style wooden houses.
A cobbled path in a neighbourhood of wooden houses.
Colourful easter eggs decorated a tree in front of the houses.
Done with walking down the cobbled stone paths alongside storybook-like wooden houses, we set out to a hillside on the other side of town led by our Chinese friend whom we met earlier on Mount Fløyen. We had fun taking pictures, and was even invited to have a cup of tea at her place. It was a nice and memorable encounter.
Mural paintings along the road to the hillside.
Another view of Bergen, and my two friends having a blast taking photos. lol.
In the evening we went for an Easter’s Eve mass at St. Paul’s catholic church and had dinner at a Taco place after. It was called Los Tacos, and they had pretty good food with satisfying portions for 89 NOK.
27 march 2016. The morning of our highly anticipated Norway in a Nutshell trip arrived.
And what better way to start the day other than waking up half an hour before our train was scheduled to depart? Yep. The both of us managed to oversleep and almost lost the trip that cost us nearly 1300 NOK each. Lucky enough, the train station was only a 15-minutes walk away. We basically ran out after jumping into our jeans, grabbing tightly onto our tickets and toothbrushes. Maybe next time I should just sleep in them jeans. lol. So we got on the train 5 minutes before it left and embarked on the ride to Flåm, with a brief change in Myrdal. The train stopped at some point between Myrdal and Flåm, for people to get off and take pictures of the Kjosfossen waterfall, which was apparently still frozen at that time of the year. Norway’s Flåm railway is famous for its scenic views, and sure enough it was one of the best rides I’ve ever been on. Would have been much prettier in summer when nature is more colorful I assume, but the views then were still awesome.
A frozen Kjosfossen Waterfall.
A picturesque view of Flåm valley taken from the train.
Our train finally arrived at Flåm, and we were greeted by majestic snow-capped mountains. It was one of those pretty little towns in the middle of nowhere that existed only in fairytales.
The Flåm railway station.
Snow-covered mountains in a distance.
Clear blue waters of Flåm’s bay.
Flåm Railway Museum.
Look who’s there! yep. me writing a postcard.
One of the many hiking trails on Flåm’s hillside.
The port of Flåm.
A seriously amazing lamb stew with mash potatoes for lunch. 99 NOK.
We spent 5 hours in Flåm, waiting for the next league of the journey which was… *drum roll* … The Fjord Cruise! We sailed through Sognefjord and its many arms, including the famous Naeroyfjord.
Leaving Flåm behind us as we embarked on the cruise.
Undredal, a village famous for their goat cheese.
The Naeroyfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The 500 metre Sagfossen Waterfall in Naeroyfjord.
Sailing through Sognefjord, King of all the fjords.
Styvi, a farming village on the southern side of the fjord. The view reminds me a bit of Arendelle in Disney’s animated movie Frozen 😍
And yep. That’s us aboard the fjord cruise.
The cruise’s final point was at Gudvangen, where we took the bus to Voss. The buss ride was another impressive trip, taking us through winding mountain roads and icy rivers.
Boarding the buss to Voss at Gudvangen.
Rushing icy rivers.
From Voss we immediately hopped on the train back to Bergen. End of tour. Our dinner that night were calzones, bought at the deli near our hostel. Good stuff, cheap and tasty. lol.
28 March 2016. Mount Ulriken.
We began our last day in Bergen by having an instant noodle breakfast, and proceeded to take the bus to Montana. Mount Ulriken is Bergen’s highest point, and we just couldn’t miss the chance to visit. Buss number 12 goes from the Olav Kyrres Gate bus stop (at Bergen’s city center) to Montana, where the cable car station to Mount Ulriken is located. One bus ticket cost 36 NOK when you get them at the ticket machines in bus stops. We thought that we were supposed to get off at the ‘Montana’ bus stop, which we did. Turned out the Montana bus stop was in the middle of a neighbourhood and we had missed the actual bus stop for the cable car station. Lucky enough, there were two kind Norwegians who happened to be walking by and thought we were lost, so they told us how to get to the cable cars. Weird enough, it was closer from where we were to be honest, only a 10 minutes walk downhill
So, finally at the Ulriken 643 cable car station. One way tickets cost 95 NOK, and two ways 160 NOK. If you’re not planning to hike all the way down, better get the two way ticket deal. Many people also hike for 6 hours all the way across to Mount Floyen, which I think would be an awesome experience in summer. Since wind, snow and rain were right at our faces and we needed to get to the airport on time that evening, we made the more reasonable decision of hiking around the summit following a map (available for free at the cable car station) to reach the highest peak of Mount Ulriken. We spent like 2 hours or so hiking, since neither of us were experts on mountain trails and walking through snow that went up to our knees. Also we were practically lost most of the time even with the map. lol. It was one crazy hike i have to say, but the vast scenery spread out before our eyes made us speechless. So let me give you a taste with these photos, although they’re nothing like the real thing itself.
The snow covered grounds at Mount Ulriken.
A house by a lake on a cliff side.
Scenic view of our hiking route.
Looking out at the cable car station from Mount Ulriken’s highest peak.
A stack of stones marking the highest point of Mount Ulriken.
Hiking back down to the station.
After taking the cable car and bus back to Bergen’s city center, we returned to the hostel to retrieve our luggage. We were miserably tired and wet, and thankfully the kind receptionist opened the bathrooms for us, so we managed to change into dry clothes. It was our final evening in Bergen, thus we decided to try out the local restaurant recommended by TripAdvisor. Anne Madam was a restaurant that served Norwegian fish delicacies. The food tasted pretty good and I would consider the price inexpensive for restaurant standards in Norway. We had fish burger and Bacalao for 109 NOK and 115 NOK. I would personally recommend the Bacalao over the fish burger
Bacalao – a spicy stew of dried cod, stewed tomatoes and potatoes.
And so… that was the end of our trip, with one last visit to Bryggen for a nice photo before taking the bus to the airport.
Oh, and to you who took the time to read my travel diary, a big hug of thanks and lots of love 😘😘😘