Mum’s (2nd) visit to Norway

Earlier this month, my mum came to spend some time with us in Bergen again.

The first time she came to visit was the last weekend of August in 2015. In true Bergen style, it rained a lot! So this time, I told her to come around the start of May, and promised her a weekend of great weather. (Luckily, it didn’t disappoint… phew!)

Saturday

On the Saturday, we took a 6 hour round-trip to the Hardangerfjord.

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During our journey, we stopped off at Fossenbratte, Steinsdalfossen, Øystese, Hardangerbrua, Eidfjord and Voss.

Steinsdalfossen was a magical place! We walked on the path that led us directly under the waterfall. As I stood underneath, I was more than grateful for the nice refreshing mist after walking up the steep path on a warm day!

After enjoying a picnic in front of the waterfall in the sunshine, we made our way onwards towards Øystese.

Here, we stopped off at a lovely rocky beach. Whilst there, I managed to find a large, beautiful piece of quartz. ❤

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Hardangerbrua – longest suspension bridge in Norway – 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) long

Our final destination, was Eidfjord. Words can’t even describe how beautiful this place was!

Close to the water, were a row of trees that had something different knitted around each one! Our favourite (especially B’s) was the lady – she even had glasses and a handbag!

After a long day of driving and sightseeing, we made our way back to Bergen through Voss

Sunday

I’ve lived here almost 4 years and had never been to Fantoft stavkirke; a place I’ve always wanted to visit. So we figured we would check it out whilst my mum was here. Little did I know that it was closed until the end of the May! 🙈

Afterwards, we took the Ulriksbane (a cable car) to the top of Ulriken; the highest of the seven mountains in Bergen. Despite me being a wimp when it comes to heights and sitting down on the floor in a London Eye pod with my head in my hands many years ago, I managed the trip quite well!

In the evening, we went out for a lovely meal at Zupperia – Torget. The “Kokkens Krumspring” was to die for! King prawns, squid, scallops and chicken with ginger in oyster sauce, served with crispy noodles. Yum! Afterwards, we took mum to Apollon Platebar – probably one of my favourite places in Bergen. A small, cosy record shop/bar that has many craft beers on tap!

Monday

Before she flew back to the UK in the evening, we visited Gamlehaugen; the King’s residence in Bergen, and then Peppes for Pizza and wine in the sunshine. Unfortunately, King Harald was in Oslo so we didn’t get invited inside for a cup of tea…

It was such a lovely weekend, having my mum visit us in Bergen again and being able to spend some time with her. We both had such a great time with her and look forward to her next visit, so that we can plan another exciting road trip and make more new memories. ❤

Road Trip to Fjørtoft

Every summer, Bjørnar and I head to Fjørtoft; the beautiful island he grew up on in Sunnmøre. In the past, we have taken the bus from Bergen to Ålesund, and then another bus, before getting on the final ferry to the island. This usually takes around 12 hours and is very draining! So this year, Bjørnar decided to drive.

The journey itself is wonderful and I am always captivated by the beautiful views of the mountains and fjords. I pack a book for the trip every time and never end up reading it because I’m either gazing out of the window or sleeping! There are 5 ferries in total throughout the journey, allowing you to stretch your legs, breathe in some fresh air and grab a bite to eat. Since I’m a fan of brunost, I opted for a brunost svele and was not disappointed! It’s safe to say my love for brunost has gone up a level. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

Brunost = Brown Cheese  |  Brunost is a common, Norwegian name for mysost, a family of cheese-related foods made with whey, milk and/or cream.

Svele = Svele is a Norwegian batter based cake. By size and texture they may bear some resemblance to American pancakes, but are usually eaten for afternoon coffee or as a snack between meals, served with butter and either sugar or brunost, folded in half to the shape of a crescent.

 

On our way there, we stopped off at this beautiful spot at Vassenden. The water was completely still and the place was overwhelmingly peaceful and serene. It was one of those views that takes your breath away; the photographs don’t do it justice.

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We stopped off at the same spot for another photo on our way back to Bergen. It’s amazing how different it looks when the sun in shining and the water is moving.

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During our stay, we travelled to Borgund to visit Sunnmøre Museum. Here they have an open-air museum with 50 well-preserved old buildings, that display various architectural styles and lifestyles from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century.

At the museum, they also have replicas of the two Viking boats that were found in a marsh on Fjørtoft in 1940.

The largest boat is about 10 meters long with the hull made of oak. The smallest boat, almost a rowboat, was much smaller and in very poor condition. They were set down in the marsh, with the larger one filled with stone. There was no other equipment or objects in the boats, leading them to believe they were sacrificial gifts.

Sealing material in the largest boat is C-14 dated to 860 AD. The boats were built some time between 500 and 900 AD.

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Some of our days on the island were spent relaxing, sunbathing and swimming. Whenever the sun came out, we made sure to take full advantage of the weather. Especially since we’d forgotten what a blue sky looked like! 

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13835767_10154388046321079_1367001774_oLuckily there was no sign of brennmanet this year, but there were plenty of glassmanet in the sea! I initially freaked out when I saw one as I’ve never come across them before and didn’t know they were harmless! The one we saw on our final day was huge, so I took a few snaps of it in the water. Afterwards, I tried to push it far back out into the deep so that it didn’t meet the same fate as the others that had washed up along the shoreline and dried out that day.

Brennmanet = Lion’s mane jellyfish

Glassmanet = Moon jellyfish

 

Our journey back to Bergen took a little longer than anticipated due to increasingly bad weather. The closer we got to Bergen, the greyer and darker the sky became and as we approached Hordaland kommune, we were greeted by heavy rainfall and a thunderstorm directly above us! We both laughed about it… After all, we wouldn’t expect it to be any different!

Skogsøy

After living in Bergen for almost 3 years, (wow, has it really been that long?!) I’ve started searching for new places to explore since I’ve seen the majority of the tourist hotspots here; museums, the mountains, art galleries etc.

The great thing about Bergen is that it’s fairly easy to get around thanks to the bybane and bus services, but there’s a lot more that Bergen has to offer that can only be accessed by car. On rare days that we have access to a vehicle, I like to take full advantage of this by exploring some place new.

I came across the beautiful Skogsøy after searching for things to do in Bergen on Visit Norway, and decided that this was a place I needed to see and explore. So, I asked 2 of my expat friends if they would like to join myself and Bjørnar on our little adventure and off we went.

The 55 minute drive from the city centre was wonderful! It wasn’t long before the urban scenery changed. The longer we drove, it became more beautiful and peaceful, with many rolling hills that sheep and lambs were grazing upon.

We began our hike by admiring some galloping lambs that were close to the path. They didn’t seem fazed by us or anybody else for that matter! I assume this is a very popular hiking route as they were different to the sheep on Fjørtoft – there they start to shuffle away before you’ve even seen them!

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The hike was described as being “medium” for effort level on the website and I definitely agree with that. Some of the terrain was difficult and rocky. The path was marked well and we would often come across stacks of rocks, (some of which were painted blue) which reassured us that we were heading in the right direction.

After walking for some time, we came upon a signpost for “Skogstuo” on the side of a hill that we climbed. The panoramic views from the top were breathtaking! The four of us sat silently and watched the ocean waves crash against the cliff walls, whilst breathing in the cool, salty sea air.

I definitely recommend visiting this beautiful island if you have the opportunity to do so. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of city life, so it’s important to get away from it every once in a while to unwind and relax.