A Travellerspoint blog

Day 23: 13th May, 2013

Berlin

sunny 14 °C

Last night we arrived late into Berlin and got to our hotel. It is a modern hotel and our room has been rated as the BEST of our trip. Well we should say our rooms as we have a huge bedroom and a separate living area. And a bathroom of normal (for an Australian) proportions - unlike some where we could basically touch the shower, toilet and basin all with one small movement of an arm! We have a lounge, 2 other relaxing chairs and even a desk. Perhaps most disconcerting is that we have 2 televisions operated by the one remote control but they can be doing different things at the same time and they have a habit of turning themselves on!

The only downside is that it is very very noisy. As well as a train station nearby there is a mall with buskers who have amplifiers. Even the double glazed windows do not block that sound out.

Berlin exploring today by foot, bus and boat.

A walkway connecting physically and symbolically the East and the West. We saw a model being photographed in a skimpy dress on this walkway with attendants nearby with a blanket to keep her warm between shots.

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In most of the countries we have seen shipping containers used as permanent buildings - sometimes as a single unit but most often in multi storey blocks,

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The remaining section of the wall is well frequented by tourists, souvenir seekers and others leaving their mark in some way or other. Close up it is a forbidding structure and surprisingly tall. How anyone managed to climb it and get over successfully is hard to imagine.

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Every city has to have a statue of a man on a horse!

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Queen Charlotte even got a gate of her own as well as a Palace!

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Some locals hanging out on a wall!

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The remains of a bombed church from WWII - unfortunately the new structures either side were covered in scaffolding so the contrast between the old and new was not apparent.

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At Checkpoint Charlie some enterprising young guys were charging for photos

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And other than us there was another VIP in town - we haven't found out yet who warranted the multi police escort including outriders front and back, support vehicles and many black police cars with blue lights - but they stopped the traffic.

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Posted by JHarman 22:52 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 22: 12th May, 2019

Bergen

sunny 7 °C

This morning I set off alone to find the nearest Catholic Church - luckily it was reasonably close by - lucky because it is the only catholic church in Bergen as the main religion of Norway is Lutheran and there were lots of Lutheran churches to be found! On the way I passed a park and lake which are very similar in look though much smaller than Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

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The tulips were magnificent and the flower heads HUGE! It inspires me to want to grow tulips!

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The city is sprawled out amongst 7 mountains and the main part of the city which is nestled by the fjord is only just part of the expanse. This was evident from the views on top of Mount Floyan - reached by a furnicular which travels 302 metres with a gradient of between 15 and 26 degrees which is technical speak for very steep! There are a variety of restaurants and shops at the top of the mountain. Because we could, we had dessert at one of them sitting outside looking out over the city. Later we had lunch at a seafood restaurant on the wharf.

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A couple of oddities from Bergen

Not sure if this is how Ibsen looked in life or if he was having a bad hair day or if the sculptor just didn't like him!

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It is a bit worrying when the sign at the airport isn't sure what or where the city is

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Some final street scenes

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Posted by JHarman 23:02 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day 21: 11th May, 2019

Voss to Bergen

sunny 10 °C

We had a late start today as our train to Bergen did not leave until lunchtime. This gave us a chance to have a lazy morning. The area near the fjord just below the hotel is a playing field. We got to see some people pay a crazy version of bubble soccer. The main point of the game seemed to be knocking your opponents off their feet!

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The train trip to Bergen was just over an hour and yet again magnificent scenery all the way interrupted only by the many short tunnels and cuttings that allowed the train to progress through the mountains at an even gradient.

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Later in the day we saw a ferry which goes from Bergen to Flam (where we were the day before) so obviously the fjord is one very long one and very deep as the ferry is a sizable boat.

In Bergen there is an area called Bryggen which is the dock area. The old buildings - some over 300 years old - are painted in bright colours reminding us of Murano the island off Venice where we were 3 years ago.

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As well as the buildings there are interesting laneways

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When we walked over the dockside we were amused to see on building was under renovation and the tarps covering the scaffolding were an image of the building front. Obviously nothing must detract from the picturesque views!

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A fish market was closing up for the day. It had many stalls and only a few were still trying to trade. Along with the normal offerings of fish, crab, lobsters and pacific oysters there was smoked whale meat

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And sea urchins
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One of the few English language television shows we have seen in Norway in the Australian series Border Security, so we resisted the urge to purchase such delicacies to bring home as we are well aware of the penalties and sanctions for bringing food into the country! Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that we did not want to try the food and to share it with you all!!!

Tomorrow we have half a day to look around Bergen some more before heading off to Berlin which is our final destination other than a full day stopover in Ho Chi Min City.

Posted by JHarman 01:32 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day 20: 10th May, 2019

Fjord day

rain 7 °C

Not much to say about today as it was just like being in a picture postcard. We travelled by bus, ferry and train from Voss to Flam and then to Myrdal and back to Voss. It rained all day but that did nothing to lessen the picturesque scenery. The schedule was pretty tight and we were on transport for most of the day so we had little time or opportunity to do anything much other than admire the views. There was a short break between the ferry and the train when we grabbed a bit to eat and had a look at some conveniently located shops.
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One oddity on the train trip from Flam to Mrydal was a stop at the magnificent Kjosfossen waterfall. As well as taking photos and enjoying the scenes we were treated to some singing "ladies" who haunt the area. It was made even more bizzare when some workman were doing some jackhammer work in the rocks nearby!

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Posted by JHarman 23:40 Archived in Norway Comments (1)

Day 19: 9th May, 2019

Oslo to Voss

snow -1 °C

A long train trip today from Oslo to Voss. It was supposed to be nearly 6 hours but was extended by at least an hour due to a stop at one point for "technical" reasons and also, we think, because of track conditions. Thankfully we were on the fast train option!!!!

It was raining as we left Oslo

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After a while we spotted some snow in isolated spots and then it became full on snow fields and it was actually snowing for most of the remainder of the trip. The quantity of snow varied but in some places it was still quite deep from winter with the latest falls just adding a fresh topping. It was hard to get good photos from the train but we tried though many magnificent images just flashed by - often obscured by trees or tunnels.

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Despite the snow it is spring here so much of the snow has already melted. This means there are many waterfalls and the rivers are flowing freely with what one can only imagine to be icy cold water.

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There was one older Australian couple in our carriage who are doing the same unaccompanied tour as us. This tour means that we have the tickets for all the accommodation, trains, buses and ferries and just go to places and do our own thing - there is no guide. The main point it is get a taste of the scenery with some opportunity to wander around a couple of ski resort towns. The package includes breakfast and dinner - at dinner last night there were other Australians obviously doing the same thing so no doubt we will see them again today.

The hotel is adjacent to the railway line and looks up into the village and hills beyond. Obviously people who come to ski do not spend time in their rooms as the room is TINY, the bathroom is to say the least compact but the common areas - bars and restaurant are huge. The view out our window is pretty good!
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This morning it looks cold and the clouds have yet to lift from the mountains. Having opened the window to take this next photo, I think that the warm clothes we have lugged around for the past weeks are going to become useful today! Given the cold outside and heat inside, layering is the fashion option.

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Posted by JHarman 22:41 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

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