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!

A Weekend in Oslo

On this day last week, Bjørnar and I were sitting in the airport, waiting anxiously to board our plane to Oslo after seeing a small propellor plane parked at our gate. (For those of you that don’t know us very well, we are both nervous flyers and have always insisted that we would never travel by propellor plane!) So I popped a couple of diazepam, washed it down with a glass of wine (don’t try this at home) and crossed my fingers in hope that this would not be our mode of transport that day!

After thirty minutes, the small aircraft moved and a large red-nosed Norwegian plane took its place! I was very relieved and realised that I had overreacted initially since Norwegian don’t have any small propellor planes within their fleet!

Anyhow, we arrived in Oslo after a slightly turbulent 55 minute flight and made our way to Helsfyr to check into the Scandic hotel.

Our view for the next few days would be this lovely building… Skatteetaten 😀 (These are the people that collect the taxes in Norway 😉 )

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The skies were dark and grey on the Friday and the weather forecast had predicted thunderstorms and rain for the duration of our stay. Yet when we woke up on Saturday morning and opened the curtains, the sun was shining and there was not a cloud in sight!

The primary reason for visiting Oslo was to attend the wedding of Bjørnar’s sister. So after tucking into the free breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant, which by the way was amazing, we made our way back to our room to get ready for Monika’s wedding. The ceremony was held at the stunning Kampen Kirke, which had beautiful stained glass windows and decor throughout. After attending a couple of Norwegian weddings since moving here, one thing that I have learned is that they like to have a lot of speeches! I think it’s great in comparison to British weddings, as only a couple of people are expected to stand up and speak, or sometimes not at all because people feel too nervous and shy. In Norway, anybody and everybody could do a speech if they wanted to!

Before travelling to Oslo, I wanted to find if there were any local museums that we could visit during our stay and discovered that the Munch Museum was fairly close to Helsfyr. On our final day, we went and viewed some of Munch’s work along with some of Jasper Johns’ pieces.

 

Unfortunately, the museum did not have the painted version of The Scream on display 😦 We found out afterwards that this was currently at the National Gallery in Oslo.

Across from the Museum were the Botanical Gardens and the Natural History Museum. Pressed for time, we only managed to visit the greenhouses. These wonderful, old buildings were filled with an array of exotic flowers and plants.

Overall, we had a great weekend in Oslo and would have loved to have spent a few more days there to see some of the other museums and the city itself. Our flight back to Bergen on Monday evening was delayed 45 minutes, resulting in me missing the first half of the England v Iceland football game 😦 In hindsight, the flight should have been delayed much longer so I would have missed the whole game since it was so disappointing to watch! 😀