Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Tvinde Camping, Voss - l8 July 2018

We sat through a torrential downpour around breakfast time but it didn't last. We retraced our way back to Indre Arna, stopping for a resupply and wifi at the Rema 1000 at Knarvik on the way. We set the satnav for Voss (Vossevangen on the map) as there is a campsite there. Upon arrival, we could tell immediately that it wasn't our sort of site - jam packed and a large children's area and a swimming pool. The next one was Saue Camping - we went in and they had space but it wasn't really a site for tourers so on we went. The next one, or so we thought, was Taulen Camping, but before we reached it, we came across Tvinde Camping where we were transfixed by an amazing series of tumbling waterfalls from high above - Tvindefossen. It's very well known with coach parties milling around but the adjacent campsite is very nice and so we booked in. 

This evening, I walked a winding uphill route to the top of the waterfall which was worth doing. 

Although it was grey and overcast this morning the view across the water was still lovely, but we had the best of it yesterday evening, when the light on the water was constantly changing through shimmering shades of pink and silver. We even had a rainbow.

We retraced a large part of yesterday's drive before turning off the road to head north east on the E16, leaving the expanses of sea, islands, and bridges, always with layers of hills fading into the distance in the background, behind us, and heading back to the gorges and waterfalls, and tunnels and roads cut into the sheer rough, rocky mountainsides of the more majestic fjords.

We rejected the first two campsites we stopped at, the first in the centre of Voss, and are so glad we did. The spectacular view from where I am sitting couldn't be more different from last night's. The site is laid out around the base of the beautiful , multi-stranded Tvindefossen Waterfall, said to be 152 metres high. The roar of the waterfall drowns out any noise from the main road! It is hard to take your eyes off the mesmerising sight of it.

We dined well tonight on some of the mackerel Geoff was given last night, with the rest of it, and salmon, cooked ready to enjoy cold tomorrow night. My filleting of it in order to pan-fry it wasn't exactly expert, but I was pretty pleased with the result of my first effort.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Gone fishing

Åvika camperstop, Njöti island - 17 July 2018

Where to go today? I thought we might head north east towards fjord land but Amanda wanted some sea views. I identified a nice looking camperstop so there we went. Our route took us up the E39 signposted Ålesund (where we were over a week ago) but then went westwards. 

The roads became more minor, then narrower and windier until, finally, a gravel single track road brought us to Åvika. It's on a small island and occupies a large gravelled area overlooking sea and other islands. There are three unoccupied wooden bungalows. There is supposed to be room for 70 campervans but only one other, from Denmark, was to be our only neighbour. 

It's ever so quiet, the only sounds are from oyster catchers, gulls and engines of occasional boats. We met the site owner, a friendly fellow, who came over to say hello. This evening, he and a young lad, pulled up nearby in a small motor boat and called me over to go aboard, which I did. We then picked up the Danish chap and the boat then motored a short distance to where the owner had placed a fishing net. He proceeded to haul the net up and throw some fish into the boat at our feet - salmon, mackerel and sild. I returned to the camper with a couple of gutted mackerel and a fillet of salmon. That's supper sorted for the next two nights!

Time to drag ourselves away from the comfortable and familiar surroundings of Bratland Camping. But where to head for first? Geoff found a promising looking 'Bobil Parkering' on one of the little islands, Njöti, to the north west of Bergen. A lovely drive of 50 miles or so took us away from the busyness of the area immediately around Bergen, partly retracing our steps from 10 days ago, and then going west and over bridges linking several what are in fact islands. The roads got narrower and more remote until we reached the end of the road and a large gravelled area with three smart looking little wooden lodges, and one motorhome which had just arrived. There was no-one else around. On closer inspection the lodges were in the process of being done up, and the interiors were definitely works in progress. But within one, which was open, was a table with all the information needed, and a working bathroom for our use. Our neighbours also told us that they had been shown the ropes by a lady who had been there, who had also told them that there had been 40 motorhomes here last weekend.
We have spent a very peaceful afternoon just watching the changing light over the water and the hills/low mountains beyond. I love these less dramatic, softer fjords. A brief thunderstorm cleared the air - it had become quite muggy - and it is now a beautiful evening.

After supper, Geoff had an unexpected adventure when a small boat with an outboard motor, skippered by the chap in charge of this place, who had introduced himself to us earlier, pulled up in front of the camper, and he beckoned Geoff to get in. Geoff, always game for an adventure, got in and was whisked away round the corner and out of sight, leaving me slightly open-mouthed. I suspected that they had also picked up the Danish chap from the neighbouring van, and sure enough, they both returned some 30 minutes later, beaming, with several freshly caught fish, cleaned and gutted and ready to cook! So that's the next two evenings' suppers taken care of!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, 16 July 2018

Bratland Camping, Bergen - 16 July 2018

We decided to go into Bergen today. The no. 90 bus passes right outside the campsite. The cheapest way to buy tickets is to first download the Skyss app and buy tickets just before you travel. They are then valid for use within 90 minutes. The senior fare for within Zone Bergen is 19kr but considerably more if bought from the driver. The bus took us to Nesttun where we switched to Bergen Light Rail, a tram service, to Byparken, the end of the line in the city centre. 

Having arrived, we made for nearby Espresso House, for coffee. A good place. We had no "must sees" to tick off. We made our way to the open air fish market. So many stalls selling fish (mainly all sorts of smoked salmon), lobster, prawns and whale. We sampled wild salmon and whale, both delicious. 

Then we wandered around Bryggen, the old quarter, comprising tall wooden buildings along the quayside.  It was busy with tourists. Cruise ships visit regularly and moor nearby. 

Returning to the fish market, we bought some smoked wild salmon and whale, together with a tube of Kaviar (a cod roe concoction) which is very nice. 

We really enjoyed our evening meal back at the site. Wild salmon, whale, potato salad with lettuce and tomato. Whale is meat, not fish, being a mammal. Not unlike cold roast beef. 

As beautiful cities go, Bergen must be right up there with the best - and the weather was amazing to show it off. People have told us that it usually rains a lot here so we are very fortunate.

The bus and then tram ride into Bergen from the campsite was very easy, and a bargain for an interesting hour's journey from country through suburbs to city centre. "Seniors" are over 67 here, so Geoff qualified, as of Friday, for a much reduced fare and as his spouse I was entitled to it too. £1.75 each single!

We had already decided that we would just mooch around, enjoy the two Fish Markets - outdoor and indoor - and Bryggen, the old town, and this we did. We refreshed ourselves with a coffee in a very atmospheric coffee house, before setting off via the main square. The fish markets were, of course fabulous. The buildings on the quay of the old town, just past the markets, are familiar from all the photos, but I had no idea that behind them was a warren of old timber buildings with little alleys between them, now often in use as little shops and suchlike. The only museum we might have been interested in, a small Resistance Museum, was closed today. We returned to the Fish Market on our way back to the tram for some push-the-boat-out  purchases of smoked salmon and whale(!) and Bryggen Caviar - otherwise known as cod's roe - for supper tonight.

And supper has duly been had - very good it was too!

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Bratland Camping

Bratland Camping, Bergen - 15 July 2018

A perfect day to declare a Home from Home Day. We massively overslept - partly because of the late night catching up with downloaded episodes of The Bridge before they expire, partly because it was just so comfy and cosy! So it was easy to make the decision to have a stay at home day. Washing and drying was easily done in the lovely weather. 

Rarely have we had the opportunity to enjoy being in the Camper with all available windows and doors open, a gentle breeze keeping it lovely and cool. A late brunch of Bacon and Egg Rolls, and an early supper, either side of Wimbledon - listened to rather than watched, sadly, - for me and a walk for Geoff, and Sunday Papers, have left plenty of time this evening to polish off the last two episodes of The Bridge without straying into the early hours. A lovely rest day, which has hopefully energised us for a bus/tram ride and sightseeing in Bergen tomorrow.

Bratland Camping, Bergen - 14 July 2018

How nice to wake up somewhere that is familiar. Osavatnet is such a nice place and not discovered yet by the campervanning community. 

We went for a short walk for Amanda to see for herself the tunnel into the mountainside. It's likely to be to do with regulating the level of the next lake above, Svartavatnet. 

We then did a quick shop at the Kiwi mini market just south of Indre Arna and then Bratland Camping where were for a couple of nights a few days ago. Showers and electricity; a really nice friendly site. 

From here, we can catch a bus into Bergen to explore. 

Well, it's good to be back, but I'm so pleased to have been able to get back to the UK for my cousin's funeral, and to catch up with family. Travelling did seem to take a long time yesterday - I set out just before 2pm and got into Bergen Airport just before midnight local time, and in that time only spent 2hrs 20 minutes actually in the air - but it was lovely to wake up this morning in such a peaceful setting surrounded by mountains and with the sound of tumbling water nearby.

A very leisurely start to the day, and a walk so that Geoff could show me this tunnel through the mountainside. I can quite see how astonishing it must have been to come across it unexpectedly, and why it made him think of Bond films with underground caverns where trucks beetle around in operations designed by a villain who is planning to take over the world. However, more mundanely, it appears to be a tunnel designed for access for maintenance purposes to a system carrying water through the mountain between two reservoirs on different levels. So riddle solved, I think.

It was lovely to see the scenery as we wove our way back down the way we had come up in the dark last night to do a shop for supplies and then head for Bratland Camping, where we were at the beginning of the week, in the hope of finding ourselves a space there for a couple of nights. So, here we are again, in a nice little pitch, with time to unwind and plan the next three weeks!

Sent from my iPhone