Posts Tagged With: Church

Bergen to Jostedalsbreen National Park

After 2 days we are leaving Bergen but not without seeing the stave church (a wooden church built by the Vikings). There are 28 stave churches in the country but this one is going to be our first one. Unfortunately it is not original anymore but has been rebuilt.

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Driving along road 16, we pass the Tvinnefoss, a majestic and very impressive waterfall. It has been raining a lot last night so there is a vast amount of water coming down. At the tourist shop I then find a postcard of the waterfall in winter: completely frozen!!! Absolutely amazing.
We also buy some more lures to be able to go fishing in lakes as well. Before Gudvangen we spend the night at a lake but again Logan doesn’t catch any fish. This lake may actually be too far away from the fjords and only have smaller fish…?

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The next day we are driving through the world’s longest road tunnel. 24.5km of boring blackness? No, when you make it to quarter, half and three quarters of the tunnel, you will see a spectacularly lit up part of the tunnel, reminding me of an ice cave.

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After the tunnel we take a right turn to get to Borgund where one of Norway’s oldest and best preserved stave churches is located. On the way we drive past a former excavation site where Viking combs, jewelry, keys and other objects have been found when building a new road from Bergen to Oslo in 2009.

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Borgund Stave Church:

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Eventually we turn around, taking the historic route, and cross one of the many arms of the Sognefjord with the ferry, to get to Jostedalsbreen National Park, the place with the largest glacier on the European mainland.
One of the many glacier tongues is the Nigardsbreen glacier. The last part of the road is actually a toll road, we pay 30NOK and get there just in time before sunset. Unfortunately the sun is only still reaching the mountain peaks, not the glacier anymore but we still get to see the fascinating shades of blue in the ice. A raging current is coming out underneath the glacier, forming a lake.
The glacier was measured to move up to 1.5m downward per day, therefore it is not the safest place to be in. We take some footage and enjoy a few minutes of looking into the icy blue colours of the giant before we have to leave.

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Bergen and Hardangerfjord

After finally having caught the ferry, road 7 to Bergen leads us along the Hardangerfjord, with 180km Norway’s second longest fjord which is not only popular for its sheer beauty but also for the many fruit trees along the shores. We drive past many pretty villages before eventually arriving in Bergen.

Hardangerfjord

We spend the night at a car park near the port as parking is free from 8pm. In the morning we desperately look for a free car park around town but it seems that you have to pay everywhere. Suddenly we come across a car park in a street called Klosteret 6-17, very close to the centre. We can’t seem to find any signs nor a parking meter so just freely park up. We hear someone say that the car park may be for residents only but shouldn’t there be a sign then? We give this one a try anyway as there are also other cars, including one other mobile home, parked up with foreign number plates. (So far we have been standing here for 2 days and haven’t received a parking ticket – touch wood)

When leaving to explore the city, we realise how much our waste water pipe is actually leaking. Since we are parked on an angle, water is running down over the car park and into a gutter. Logan tries to fix it but instead a much larger volume of water bursts out before he can attach it back on. Oops, I guess we need to buy some sealant.

Parking in Bergen

In Bergen our first destination is the Floibanen (www.Floibanen.com) which takes us up a hill from which we get to see all of Bergen city including the surrounding fjords. The price one way up per person is 40NOK (4,50EUR or $6,50).


We choose to walk back down, a good decision as we come across a real troll forest!

Troll Forest Bergen

Back down in the city, we walk along the hanseatic Brygge which is part of the UNESCO world heritage sites. We are sitting down for lunch and a drink at one of the beer garden-type restaurants outside and enjoy the sunny summer weather overlooking the port.

Nearby are the Bergenhus Fortress, the Mariakirke (church), shops, fish markets and also tourist market stalls. Eventually we get to the city centre and to the lake Lille Lungegardsvannet and this beautiful flower pavilion. Some students seem to have their graduation today and we keep seeing themed groups of young people running around in the streets, cheering and dancing everywhere.

Bergen

 

 

I also finally register my Telenor SIM card, only to find out afterwards that Telenor has changed prices and I’m strongly being recommended not to use internet with this sim card, as it is too expensive. What a waste of money, don’t buy Telenor! I stick with my German Vodafone sim and the 2EUR for 25MB packages per day for the rest of our trip.

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10-15/12/11 Magdeburger Weihnachtsmarkt and Dom

 

The Christmas markets are on in Magdeburg and I have been waiting for my “Schmalzkuchen” (deep fried dough with powder sugar on top) for years! The Christmas markets are the perfect place in winter to go for snacking yourself through the evening and drinking yourself warm with hot drinks, including “Glühwein”. This is exactly what we are doing, so we are starting off with a bowl full of freshly fried mushrooms, then we have a “Rahmbrot” (hot bread with cream, ham and herbs), Glühwein and “Germknödel”, a yeast dumpling filled with plum sauce, vanilla sauce and poppy seeds on top.

          

While we are eating there are lots of stalls to discover. There is a lady handcrafting glass art, a man selling his self-made wooden art, tables and masks, other stalls offer creative candles, beanies and gloves, christmas decoration and more.

Many times I have told Logan about the Magdeburger Dom. The 803 year old cathedral is the oldest gothic structure in Germany, built between 1209-1520. The north tower is 104m high and the views over the city are stunning. Gothic and scary looking gargoyle creatures are attached on the outside serving as the roof gutter downpipes. The architecture inside is just as impressing as on the outside and there is a new organ since 2008.
I push down the door handle of the massive door and while looking at my hand, I realise it looks like a Lilliputian’s hand compared to the massive structures.  The cathedral garden is surrounded by an undercover walkway and in the middle are the monarch’s graves.
A shame the towers are not continuously open to the public.

Another attraction of Magdeburg is the Hunderwasserhaus. Hundertwasser used to be a popular Austrian artist and painter who was an opponent of straight lines and order. It was Hundertwasser’s last project before his death in 2000, although the house wasn’t finished before 2005. I found out he was actually buried on his property in New Zealand under a tulip poplar, without a coffin, naked and wrapped in the Koru-flag:

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28/11/11 Manila, City of Chaos and Insanity

Pinatubo, the volcano 3 hours out of Manila, is currently closed, so we have to fill our buffer day here else-wise. I check the internet for the best things to do in the capital of the Philippines and decide, I’d like to see the markets! I’m hoping to find a bit of real Philippino culture  and art.

We are getting into a taxi and once we tell the driver where we would like to go, he suddenly stops again, opens our doors and gestures us to leave. Logan and I are confused. The second time we ask the taxi driver first. He is okay with driving us to the markets but insists on dropping us off a few hundred meters before. Should I be worried?
Manila traffic is – as always – chaotic. Jeepneys, tricycles, cars, buses and motorbikes clog up the streets. Beeping horns and engines everywhere. Somehow we arrive safely at the Divisoria district and walk right into an even bigger chaos of cheap textiles, clothes, plastic toys, wigs, thongs, fruit, umbrellas and Philippino people. I don’t see any tourists, only locals and lady boys. There are so many stands basically selling cheap rubbish, I completely loose the overview. In addition to the visually overwhelming mess and the heat, we have to deal with a strong stench of feces. We quickly have enough and try to find the way out of the mayhem. We get past the river and canals that are full with rubbish and smell like untreated toilet waste flows into them. Manila is a dirty place in many ways, it is very sickening. The locals still stare at us, no one aware of how we may feel about this place and its people.

Exhausted we sit down in the church in the centre of Divisoria and listen to the prayers. It probably is the only clean looking and rich place in all of Manila. People in the Philippines are very religious and even though it is Monday, there are quite a few people in here with us and they all drop money into the collection baskets.

After going through traffic again in Manila rush hour (which seems to be 24/7) we are back in Malate trying to organise our flight from London to Berlin since our flight carrier has (without reason) cancelled the one we booked. After 4 used telephone cards and an hour in a phone cell, we seem to have successfully booked our new flight.

Tomorrow we are finally leaving this place of insanity, I’m looking forward to a change.

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