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Monthly Archives: December 2018

We initially made reservations for Bergen but when we found out that Stavanger was having a Tall Ships Festival we decided to travel from Bergen to Stavanger. There were a variety of options but looking at reviews on the internet we decided to take the Coastal Bus. It turned out to be a good decision. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was outstanding on the five hour trip.

A few shots of small towns along the coast.

The highlights of the trip were two ferry rides. We lined up to catch the first ferry.

This individual was rowing along on the water next to the ferry terminal.

Leaving the ferry dock. This was the longer of the two ferry rides. It was very convenient. The bus drove on and we were able to get out a enjoy the ferry ride. We spent most of our time walking around on the outside deck.

There were a number of fish farms along the ferry ride.

The ferry had a nice cafe with a variety of foods.

This was the second ferry.  We encountered a number of coastal express ferry’s along the way.

The bus stopped at a number of small towns along the route.

We arrived in Stavanger early in the afternoon and checked into our hotel before heading down to see the tall ships.

 

 

We arrived in Bergen via the Norway in a Nutshell tour from Oslo. It was late in the evening and raining a bit so we headed for our hotel and grabbed a bite to eat before calling it a day. We were only going to be in Bergen for a day so we new it would likely be a long one. Early in the morning we walked down toward the harbor. On the way we noticed a postman delivering mail using this interesting cart.

More photos from our day in Bergen can be found on my website.

We passed the McDonalds Restaurant. Much different from what we see in the states.Our immediate goal was to catch the Funicular to Fløyen. We arrived early and were able to catch the second car to Fløyen.

We we reached the top there were some spectacular views of Bergen and the Fjord. The fog was rolling in and out which made it even more spectacular. Later in the morning the fog was mostly gone.

There were some nice hiking trails in Fløyen but we didn’t have time to take them. We did walk through an area that was set up for kids.

They even had some goats which were a popular attraction.

By the time we rode the Funicular back down the line to take it to the top was very long and stretched for several blocks. We concluded that the cruise ships had disgorged their passengers. We felt very lucky that we had arrived early.

We walked down to the fish market from the Funicular. We were a bit disappointed in the fish market. When we were in Bergen 20 years ago they were selling fish off of the boats. On the positive side the fish market is much better than Oslo’s.

We continued walking along the harbor. There were some great shots as we walked along the harbor.

We noticed one sailing ship docked in the harbor. We assumed that it was on its way to Stavanger and the Tall Ships Race. This happened to be a German ship and it looked like it was taking on passengers for the next stage of their voyage. As we were watching a second sailing ship came into the harbor.

We ended up down at the cruise ship docks. There were a couple of cruise ships in the docks but it looked like most of the passengers had disembarked for the morning.

We continued on to Bergenhus Fortress. It is one of the best preserved fortresses in Norway.

After finishing with the Fortress we walked back down to Bryggen. Bryggen is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the Vågen harbor  It is one of North Europe’s oldest port cities on the west coast of Norway which was established as a center for trade by the 12th century. In 1350 the Hanseatic League established a “Hanseatic Office” in Bergen. They gradually acquired ownership of Bryggen and controlled the trade in stockfish from Northern Norway through privileges granted by the Crown. The Hanseatic League established a total of four overseas Hanseatic Offices, Bryggen being the only one preserved today. Bryggen has been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites since 1979.

We were looking for a place to have dinner in Bryggen but found that it was a bit too expensive for our taste. After looking around we wandered to another part of town where we found some quaint side streets and wooden houses.

I thought the add on the side of this plumbers truck was interesting.

Not too happy about the graffiti that we found on some of the back streets. Some of the true street art was more impressive.

We walked over to Lille Lungegårdsvannet Park and found some Pigeons to photograph. We had walked past the park when we arrived but it was getting dark and raining so we hadn’t gotten a great view of it.

Some young people were cleaning the slime out of the water. It looked like a big project.

As we walked along the lake there were some great views of the mountains around Bergen.

We found this beautiful Music Pavilion near the lake. The flowers were amazing.

We noticed St. John’s Church at the top of the hill so we walked up to see if it was open. It was open so we went inside to look around. We also discovered that there was an organ concert scheduled for the evening so we decided to come back for the concert.

We were still looking for some place to eat dinner and had a good recommendation for a place to eat near the University but had a very hard time finding it. When we did we discovered it was closed because the University was closed.

There were some beautiful botanical gardens at the University and some beautiful homes along the adjoining streets.

We walked through a residential area near the University. Some beautiful homes and a nice park.

 

We headed back down town. In the plaza there was an growing memorial to those killed during the 2011 Mass Murder on the island of Utøya. It was the the anniversary of the event.

We had stopped at Ole Bull Fountain to watch the kids playing. Some had climbed onto the rock formation they were afraid to come down. We noticed Pizza place near the fountain and decided to have dinner.

After dinner headed back toward the harbor passing the Sailor’s Monument on the way.

First stop was the fish market. Not sure why since we had already been through it several times already.

It was getting toward evening and there was a band playing at Bryggen and people were gathering for dinner.

My wife had been looking for some traditional Norwegian stew and had not been able to find any. Turned out to be on the menu of this food truck. Unfortunately we had just eaten.

We then walked along the harbor which was quite busy this time of the evening.

We did see a number of bicycle rental places throughout Bergen.

Our last stop of the day was St. John’s Church where we took in an evening organ concert. It was quite good but we were getting tired after another 14 hour day.

 

 

It had been a hot summer in Oslo and we were looking for someplace cooler to visit and after looking at the weather, decided that Bergen and Stavanger might be  good candidates.  We initially decided that Bergen would be a good place to visit and made hotel accommodations. We were going to take the train then started looking at the Norway in A nutshell tour which call for a train trip from Oslo to Myrdal, another train from Myrdal to Flam, a ferry from Flam to Gudvangen, a bus from Gudvangen to Voss and another train from Voss to Bergen. We didn’t take the tour package but my wife, who likes to plan trips, duplicated the tour.

More photos from the Norway in a Nutshell trip can be found on my website.

We were at Oslo Central Station early to catch the train from Oslo to Myrdal. We we arrived we found out that the train was delayed. It turned out to be 45 minutes late. Fortunately it was able to make up most of the time during the trip. This is me waiting for the train.

The first section of the trip was through relatively flat farm land and small towns. One of the unfortunate facts of public transportation is you can’t pick your traveling companions. One of the folks in our car had a loud grating voice. It wouldn’t have been so bad but he was full of himself and didn’t stop talking until he exited the train in the mountains. The folks around him were rolling their eyes.

We gradually started getting into the mountains. The scenery was spectacular.

Trees finally gave way to rocks as we entered the mountains.

We finally reached Myrdal and had made up most of the time from the delay in Oslo. We quickly changed trains and grabbed a seat on the train to Myrdal. It was a beautiful trip down the mountains to Flam. About 20 years ago we had hiked down the valley from Myrdal to Flam. It was a beautiful hiking trip.

We exited the Flam Railway and started looking for the ferry which would take us from Flam to Gudvangen on the Nærøyfjord.

We found the ferry without any problem. It was dwarfed by the large cruise ships in the harbor. There were some small kids on the ferry and they were tearing around the first part of the trip. It wasn’t long before they were tired and were sleeping.

We passed many small villages on the trip down the Fjord. I assumed these could only be reached by boat.

The day was overcast but the scenery was still spectacular.

It started to rain as the ferry pulled into Gudvangen. We switched from the ferry to one of many buses that waited at the ferry terminal. The buses had to travel down this narrow winding road to get to Voss.

When we arrived in Voss this person was directing people to the train station. There was construction at the station and the buses had to park outside the construction zone. We had some time before our scheduled train departed so we grabbed a bite to eat at the station. We discovered that our train would not arrive but that we could hop on another train that was going to Bergen.

We had only gone a few stops before an announcement came that due to an electrical failure the train could not continue on to Bergen. At this point we were in a very small station. There was a small waiting room with bathrooms. Finally the train staff announced that buses would be called to pick us up and take us to Bergen. It was raining fairly good at this point so we got back on the train out of the rain. Finally some buses came so we got off the train. Just after we got off the train left the station and went back to Voss. Somehow we missed the announcement but fortunately we got off in time. We finally caught the last bus to Bergen.

We finally made it to Central Station in Bergen late in the evening. It turned out to be a 12 hour day.

During our stay in Oslo we had walked past and into the Opera House on a number of occasions. They had public restrooms so it was a convenient stop. On our last visit we decided to take a tour of the Opera House. It was well worth the time.

More photos of the Oslo Opera House can be found on my website.

The wide walkways round the Opera House offer a great stage and seating for public events.

The floating She Lies Sculpture can be seen from the Opera House.

In the lobby there is a restaurant, a glass sculpture depicting a glacier and the wooden facade of the performance area.

The back stage ares were very interesting. They had a number of performance stages as well as rooms where sets and costumes were under construction for the upcoming season.

One of our goal for our stay in Oslo was to revisit Akershus Fortress. We had walked through when we were in Oslo last year but had less than an hour  in the Resistance Museum. We took the metro into Central Station then walked over to Akershus Fortress. It is so nice to live in a town where it is easy to walk to most places or take public transportation. The origins of the fortress go back to the 13th century. It was besieged by invaders many times but never captured. In 1940 it was surrendered to the Germans after the Norwegian government fled the country. During German control Norwegian resistance fighters were executed at the Fortress. After the war a number of Norwegian traitors were executed at the Fortress.

More photos from Akershus Fortress can be found on my website.

Our first stop was the Resistance Museum. We spent several hours walking around. It is well worth the visit.

As you can see the grass is brown on the Fortress grounds. It was a very warm dry summer in Oslo. The last rainfall was in May and it was the end of July when these photos were taken.

One of the cruise ship docks are located right outside the Fortress. It makes for some interesting shots when the cruise ships are in port.

 

A month ago I joined a Wisconsin DNR program called Snapshot Wisconsin. I went to a training session in Spooner, Wisconsin where I was given instructions and the camera equipment. The DNR is looking for volunteers to place trail cameras all over the state. The data is then used to the conditions of various species. The trail cameras are free but you are required to upload the photos periodically and then go through the photos and identify if they contain people (these are deleted), if the photo is blank or what type of animal is in the photo. I’ve been through the process several times and it does require several  hours every few weeks. It depends upon how much wildlife you have in your area. These are a few of the shots from the first month of activity.

Most of my activity consisted of White-tailed Deer including a nice buck that has been hanging around. I extracted the photos near the end of deer season but I don’t know if the buck survived. Since the season ended I have seen the four does that were hanging around.

White Tailed Deer

White Tailed Deer

White Tailed Deer

White Tailed Deer

Skunk

Raccoons

On a recent trip to Duluth we noticed that the Neah Bay was in the harbor so we walked down to take a look at it. I don’t believe I have photographed this ship before.

 

On our recent trip to Duluth we took in the 2018 edition of the Bentleyville Tour of Lights. Every year they seem to get better. This year was the best ever

with a number of new displays.

 

Our first ski trip of the season took us to Ironwood Michigan. The drive over to Ironwood was OK but just outside of Ironwood it started snowing. It was snowing so hard that we had trouble following the road to the ABR Ski Trails. The trails had been groomed the night before but by 11 am they had received 7 inches of new snow. It was beautiful on the ski trails but the wax was not working good and it was tough going.

These are a few of the birds I’ve seen around the feeder the last few weeks.

Northern Cardinal

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Downy Woodpecker

Blue Jay

Black-capped Chickadee