At the end of June I had a wonderful visit from my American-met in Australia when we were both there in exchange-friend Linzy and her Australian-met each other in Barcelona when travelling-friend Steve. The two of them were coming over to Norway for a bit of a roadtrip with their mutual friend Cassie, who wasn’t arriving for another couple of days. So, that gave the two of them a bit of time kill with me before they headed onwards to Voss! They both landed on the Friday, on seperate flights, Linzy arriving first. It was so great to reunite with her after almost 2 and a half years, luckily she hadn’t changed a bit and she was as sweet and bubbly as I remembered. The weather was suberb that day, and her enthusiasm for the picturesque landing she had just experienced on the flight was infectious. I took her immediately home for her to have some lunch after her flight, immediately introduced her to an array of weird Norwegian sandwich toppings which she boldly tried without hesitation. We then pottered around the garden, picked some wild flowers to welcome Steve with at the airport. We then drove towards the airport, had 15 minutes chilling by the sea at Flesland Kai, before heading off to the airport arrivals to meet an equally mesmerized Steve who was also shocked by the views from his landing. Mum made a delicious dinner for us all of salmon, new potatoes and veggies and everyone got along like wildfire. In the evening, Peter and I decided we should take the two of them down for a little swim by the lake, which was very much the second shock of the day for the tropical-water loving Aussie and the sun-kissed Californian, but also great entertainment for us “hardier” northern dwellers. We did a lot of unexplained laughing; the two guests laughing probably because of hypothermia, and Peter and I because their yowls, screams and cold induced giggles were highly infectious. They were also mesmarized by the sun, still beaming at 8 in the evening, and the poorly devised, but repeatedly used throughout the rest of the weekend, Spanish phrase “El sol es mucho” was created (by me, trying to remember what little I could from my Spanish classes at school because Steve was part Chillean/Spanish speaking).
We then hurried our way up Fanafjellet because I thought the sun set at 9 o’clock. That was of course correct from the viewpoint of my house. However, the higher up you climb, the longer the sun takes to set (duh..). So when we got up their, to our amusement the sun still had aaaages before it was to set on the horizon. It was to be another two hours, to be exact, according to a quick google search. That didn’t bother us though, and so we spent two hours laying on the rocks overlooking the viewpoint over Fanafjorden and enjoyed the gorgeous golden landscapes, which was repeatedly described lovingly and quite simply by the Aussie as “that’s fahcked”.
The next day Peter and I took them into the city centre of Bergen, to show them the sights. We parked the car at “Bygarasjen” which is attached to one of Bergen’s shopping centres, and so we took the opportunity to show them inside the “Vinmonopol” (Government run alcohol monopoly stores) and Meny supermarket, to show them more aspects of the country’s culture. We then strolled towards the high street “Torgallmenningen, through the fish market and around the Bryggen, all to the sound of marching bands as we happened to be in town for the Norwegian Marching Band Association’s festival. Bryggen is always so beautiful, the buildings are the core heart of the whole city with so much character and history oozing from the crooked wooden walls and narrow allay ways. After strolling around the UNESCO site, we headed up Fløyen mountain. At the top we enjoyed an array of buns and pastries Steve had wisely purchased at Meny hours earlier, before having an ice cream overlooking the sapphire sparkling Bergen harbour. We then walked down again, took a quick detour via Nordnes before having a well deserved dinner at Inside.
Back at home I took the two of them out in the rowing boat. Boy, if that wasn’t a heart attach waiting to happen! The two of them were a health and safety risk with their sense of glee and recklessness. I felt like a mom with two uncontrollable kids, and I was pretty relieved to be back on land again where I no longer felt responsible for their safety. What a laugh!
On our final day together Peter and I took them to Lysøen. We drove on the narrow roads over Fanafjell, meandering through the tall spruce forests, down to the village of Nordvik, with views over the bright blue Lysefjorden and the little tree covered islands scattered in it, until we reached Buena quay and parked up. We made it just in time onto the little ferry that took us across to the serene island, once home to the famous violinist Ole Bull. We decided to do the little walk to the “tower” in the middle of the island, and walked on tiny sandy paths among spruce forests with blueberry carpets below. Linzy was thrilled to find out about the right to roam act, and that we could freely pick the wild straweberries and blueberries on our walk. We then headed back to the “beach” where the boat comes in and out and did some swimming in the freezing waters followed by some sunbathing. In the evening we came back home and had a BBQ with the whole family, with Steve (the Aussie) head BBQ grill chef. Later that evening we picked up the remaining third member of this travelling group, Cassie, played a little “hostel trick” on her before heading to sleep. The next morning I took them to the airport for them to pick up their hire car as they were onwards to Voss, and I rushed off to work!
P.S. If you are reading this post David and Jodie, I am sure you are seeing a pattern in my host touring choices lol.
All photos by Steve Astorga (instagram).