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Slow Travel Google Map: Norway, Coastal Areas
Reasonably priced, excelent views, good views over the fjord and no distance from the quay and station.
Elegant late 19th century decor inside and out. Not by any means expensive by Bergen's standards.
A rorbu [pl-rorbuer] is a hut that was built for inhabitation by fishermen [not sexist - they were built for men] during the season now converted for use by visitors. Actually many so-called rorbuer were built for tourism but at Svinøya they are the genuine article. The picture on the 'read more' website is actually the one we used - the full hut now being two sets of accommodation.
Areas of Natural Beauty
I've not been as far south as this marker in Lofoten but it's a chance to provide another website for this wonderful archipelago.
Fantoft Stave Church
A 'new old' stave church. I don't know whether they would ever call it that but it is; old in design - a faithful copy; new in building; last fifth of 20th century following destruction of the former church by fire.
I've seen a few of Bergen's attractions and enjoyed them very much but I've not seen enough to be able to give much by way of advice - except that the trip up the funicular to Mount Fløyen and walk down is a must.
Oslo, the capital of Norway, merits a map of its own and I shan't attempt to cover it here. There is a good website for those who want to 'read more.'
Large? Certainly the 'capital' of Arctic Norway. If you are on the boat going north, I strongly recommend getting a local bus to the funicular and going up for the view, rather than taking the shore trip. So would our table companions who were tempted by the shore trip. [NB If you are taking the southbound voyage as well, you may prefer to do this at midnight. Check times!]
Ancient capital of Norway with a wonderful Gothic cathedral, the farest north of this type of building. There is an exceptional music museum in the Ringve district, a short bus ride from the centre.
Norwegian Coastal Voyage
I have covered a lot of general information on this voyage in my Travel Notes, which complement the map. The Hurtgruten ships are NOT amphibious, whatever some stages look like at high zoom levels! This is only an approximate indication of route. All the towns and villages from Bergen to Kirkenes near the coast are ports of call plus Geiranger, where a small boat ferries people on and off.
Børsen Spiseri Restaurant
This is owned by the Svinøya Rorbuer [qv if interested in accommodation] but it would be a fine place to eat, even if you are not staying there. Wonderful fish dishes [and others if you can be bothered.]
Fisheries Museum *
Not your scene? Precisely what I thought. I only went to kill a couple of hours waiting for the ferry to the far side of the fjord. Was I wrong! The museum is situated on a beautiful island 10 minutes boat trip away and the Open Air tour [with a number of insides Included] is a superb social history of the fishing industry.
Ringve Music Museum *
Strong preference should be accorded to the summer season when the full visit is possible. This is wonderful time out from Trondheim.
Surrounded by greenery, the Pale waterfalls are the result of a 200-metre drop taken by the Menotre river after the village of Pale. After the waterfalls the river runs through Belfiore to then join the river Topino
Trollfjord * (SV)
VERY rough location - I can't find a reasonable scale map with it on. In the summer [not spring because of falling rocks] the Coastal Voyage goes in here and only just has room for at least a three point turn! We were only taken to the mouth of the fjord.
The old town was largely destroyed by fire at the begining of the 20th century. Considerable international aid was received and the town was rebuilt to the latest fashion. Thus we find a town with splendid art nouveau buildings on the coast of Norway, quite unlike any other Norwegian settlement. Ålesund is also splendid by virtue of its location and would make a fabulous holiday destination.
Terminal to rail from Trondheim - ferries to South Lofoten. Hurtigrute [Coastal Voyage] calls on northern bound voyage in time to connect with a city tour - very good; it includes entry to the modern cathedral.
A terrific journey starts it, whichever way you come. The Coastal Voyage includes it in summer on a long [and its only] trip up fjords that stretch well inland. Otherwise the ferry from Hellesylt is excellent and should be done on preference to the more expensive boat 'tours.' By bus it's a superb mountain trip from Åndalsnes or from Ålesund.
A pleasnt town which claims to be the world's most northern. The Museum of Post-war Reconstuction is supposed to be great but we wanted to see inside the modern church. There wasn't time for both.
Harstad is in the Vesterfalen Islands. It's a pity that there isn't longer to look at it because it seems - and sounds - well worth several hours at least. A good point for ferries to various parts of the islands.
This is where the boat turns round and therefore there is some time there. The company provides a trip to the Russian border for which numerous people paid £16. In 2003 we were baffled to know what they expected. A far cheaper bus ride [local service bus] takes you to the most interesting museum.
I was asleep - 01.30. This is sometimes written Kristiansund N to distinguish it from Kristiansand in the south of the country.
Why city or town of Roses? I can only say that it was not obvious in July; however, the International Jazz Festival and the street markets more than compensated. Unfortunately the cloud precluded what I believe to be fabulous long distance views.
Not to be confused with the port of this name [marked as a village on the Voyage route] Røros is a really fascinating town. Its whole centre is a UNESCO world heritage site. Its history is based largely on copper mining and visitors from the UK may detect similarities between the old customs here and those of the slate mining areas in North Wales.
Principal town of the Vesterfalen Islands. Little children were waiting with a carer to play in the ship's creche while we were waiting.
After our only boring stretch [4 hours without much to look out] we were looking forward to the magical Lofotens. The rain was such that we didn't even leave the boat; of mountains there were not! However, even in these conditions a bit of magic showed through. Luckily we were leaving the boat at Svolvaer on the return voyage.
Svolvaer is the capital of the Lofoten Islands. We stayed in the Svinøya Rorbuer [qv] and found the town far more attractive than the guidebooks had led us to expect, probably because they want to emphasise the spectacular beauty of the islands further south [that I have yet to see]. There are boat trips to the Trolsfjord but not in the Spring, when falling rocks mean it is closed to navigation. Scroll down on the 'read more' website - there's a wonderful photo of the Svolvaer Goat, a rock with 'horns' towering on a ridge above the town.
Little more than a village, Vardø attracts off the vast majority of Hurtigrute passengers to see its fort [photo on 'read more' website]. Shots from it have never been in anger - just to welcome the return of the sun after its long winter break.
Our return - Day 1 - Stage 1
Svolvaer to Skutvik car ferry.
Our return - Day 1 - Stage 2
Local bus from Skutvik to Ulsvåg.
Our return - Day 1 - Stage 3
Express bus from Ulsvåg [initially Narvik] to Fauske.
Our return - Day 1 - Stage 4
Train from Fauske to Trondheim. This was very comfortable and we had a good breakfast with unlimited coffee included in the price of the tickets. However we reckon we should like to do it by day and see it.
Our return - Day 2 - Stage 5
Train from Trondheim to Dombås on the main Oslo line. The early parts are perticularly impressive but, over all, the line is not as striking as the Oslo - Bergen line - but then few anywhere are.
Our return - Day 2 - Stage 6
Branch line from Dombås to Åndalsnes. Probably the most dramatic stretch of the Norwegian State Railway line that even rivals the better known Flåmsbahn.
Our return - Day 2 - Stage 7
Bus from Åndalsnes to Ålesund, where we spent the second night.
Our return - Day 3 - Stage 8
Bus from Ålesund to Stryn on the Nordfjord, via Hellesund. An excellent journey but by now we were feeling the best was behind us.
Our return - Day 3 - Stage 9
Short bus ride from Stryn to Loen, where we spent our third night.
Our return - Day 4 - Stage 10
Bus Loen to Førde.
Our return - Day 4 - Stage 11
Bus from Førde to Lavik where we spent our fourth and last night.
Our return - Day 5 - Stage 12
Last stage of return to Bergen. On day 5 we also went up the funicular to Mount Fløyen, took a bus to the airport and 2 planes for Copenhagen and Manchester. Then a train, a tram, another train and a local bus to get home.
I believe in debunking falsely high reputations but for the life of me I don't understand why some reports of Åndalsnes are so bad. It's a terminal for a branch rail line that rivals even the Flåmsbahn for beauty and engineering and at the end of the so-called 'Golden Route' over the Trollsnigge Pass to Geiranger. How's that for starters? This time you get more from me if you want to 'read more.'
09.25 Breakfasting. Some left for a shore trip to join us at Bodø. At last we were in the Arctic Circle; everything very picturesque and our first sea eagle.
Bigger than Flåm and theoretically with more choice of transport - but don't risk getting on the Gudvangen Ferry here - I did and it was full at Flåm and not taking any more on! The bus over the 'Snow Road' to Laersdal should be really good - I think! I certainly saw lots of snow but the weather allowed for little else.
This time the Hurtigrute and the Michelin map seem to agree but Google calls it something else. I think I remember the bridge but there are so many the same.
This seems to me the ideal place for a break on the 'Nutshell Tour.' The Heimly Pensjonat does half board at a reasonable price, it's only ten minutes from the station and ferry quay and you look out onto the fjord. I was so taken with the transport on both sides of Flåm that I gave up part of the Nutshell at Gudvangen to do them in the reverse direction.
What crowds for what must one have been a delightful little fjord village! People on the 'Norway in a Nutshell' tour in both directions. I find it upsetting that many felt able to pronounce loudly that they had not a clue where they were going. I chickened out of being one on a crowded bus in a chain of crowded buses and returned by the ferry to Flåm - thus not becoming a nutsheller; no regrets; the ferry journey deserves to be a return trip. However this is where I've put the official website of the trip, if you want to 'read more.'
For once I have the confidence to say that the Google map is definitely tendentious here. Nordkapp, as a municipality includes where it shows, which is actually Honningsvåg. Buses go to the actual Nordkapp [North Cape] from here and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it's at the end of the road going north. We reckoned the £16 for the company trip was excessive at a season before the Sami arrived with their reindeer. Friends tell me our decision was misguided and I believe them. Honinnsvåg is hardly full of interesting sights!
Whereas its nowhere near in magnificence to some of the places further up the Sognefjord, it was a very pleasant place to stay for our last night on the way back from Lofoten to Bergen.
We broke our return journey from Lofoten here for our third night. The Nordfjord didn't seem up to the magnificent standard of the places farther north, but that may have been largely becuase it was too early in the year for the buses to the glaciers to be running.
The northernmost port on the voyage.
I suppose there probably is a village? I saw a station - but to be the station where the Flåm railway leaves the Oslo-Bergen line - what an accolade. Please read the technical parts as well as the route description when you 'read more.'
05.25 - deep in the land of nod!
Marker location is not exact. It's somewhere round here anyway!
The area is marked with a terrific amount of weaving around to find deep enough channels. Fascinating.
03.45 Don't ask me what it was like!
In both directions the stretch between Tromsø and Skjervøy has to be among the favourite parts of the voyage - late evening enhancing its already stupendous charms. The view of the Lyngen Alps is something that will stay with me as long as memory lasts. The more distant photos or the sunset ones in the 'read more' website should show you why.
An instance of the difficulty with this map. Hurtigrute calls it Stokmarknes - the Google skeleton calls it something else but there is a building apparently called Stokmarknes Sykehus if you go to the zoom level two below the top. We should have been here for an hour and we had looked forward to seeing the company's own musum and one of their first ships. However we were running late and it was far too expensive for 20 minutes. This was the southern trip; we were fast asleep going north!
I hope this marker is roughly right - I spent an hour looking!
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