Posts Tagged With: Town

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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Scanno and the 700,000 year old site of Isernia

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After a very eventful day, we are exploring Scanno by foot today before heading to the Palaeo-Museum in Isernia.

Scanno is a beautiful small mountain village with small alleyways and old hilltop houses. There is a clock tower hidden within and a couple of small piazzas. It is the only village in Italy where some women still wear traditional clothing.

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Toni showed us a book yesterday with his grandmother on the cover. He explained that they are women with Albanian background and I realised why he looks different from Italians in other towns, even different from Guido.

While browsing through Scanno, we also find a “mechanic” and Logan discovers a welding machine outside of the small garage. That’s it, we should come back here and get our waste water pipe welded back on! We keep walking through Scanno and buy a few supplies in a small local shop. Instead of 300grams of ham, we get 3 slices. This is what happens, when there is a language barrier. Let’s hope we won’t have the same problem when asking the mechanic to weld our pipe back on! Back at the van we take it down to the mechanic and Logan shows him the pipe and points at the welding machine and then at where the pipe used to hang off the van. He asks: Is that possible? The mechanic smiles and says: Yes, possible! Within 10 minutes the pipe is back in place and we pay him 20 Euros for his spontaneous help.

Windy roads around Scanno:                                                          Lago di Barrea:

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In the Lonely Planet I read about Isernia and Europe’s oldest excavation site Once in Isernia, it is quite hard to actually find the site and museum and we soon find out why: They are still busy digging and the museum is also still being built. We are the only visitors and aren’t even sure, if we are allowed in?! We bravely walk into the building and a nice lady there, speaking English, takes us into the museum and gives us a FREE personal guided tour of the site and findings. I’m amazed. Amazed about the friendliness and amazed about 700,000 years of history lying in front of us. So far 80,000 pieces of animal bones and tools have been found and 5000 are visible to us in the small museum.

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There are three 4 stratigraphic layers and these bones where found in layer 3A, covered by volcanic ashes. A multimedia computer with a touch screen is placed in front of the findings. The lady goes through the menu with us, picking different animals and then a certain body part, let’s say the elephant’s tusks, and they are then highlighted in different colours on the screen and you can find them within the real bones displayed.

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I always wondered how palaeontologists know which bone piece belongs to which animal? Do they extract the DNA? No, she said. The bones are too old; there is no DNA to be extracted anymore. They simply compare bones and fragments to earlier findings. The bones found are all from animals like rhinos, elephants, deer or wild boar. They have been found accumulated in an area of 65 square meters, together with stone tools. So far there have been no human bones found and chances are 50/50 that they will. It may have been possible that those early humans were nomadic hunters and gatherers and after they had exploited the area, moved on to another place. Two young Italians then guide us down to the actual excavation site.

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I’m surprised how small the area only is, how close to the surface these bones actually are and how many bones are sticking out. Impressed we leave Isernia and make our way towards the east coast. On the way we stop at a gas petrol station asking the attendant whether it is possible to fill up our gas bottle with the same gas. He doesn’t speak one word English but nods the head and lets us wait about 10minutes. Then we move the van towards the gas station but then looking at our gas bottle, he shakes his head, pointing at the different adapters. Great. So we can’t refill our gas bottle in Italy without the right adapter. Let’s hope we’ll be able to buy one in Rome!

The day ends like so often: We can’t find the campsite. It is dark and we are getting tired, so we end up just parking on a farmer’s field.

 

 

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Country side town, Colmurano

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The white blinds are glowing from the sun shining against them. I open the one on my side and see blue skies and tall green grass. I’m feeling lazy today, no actually I feel like I would just love to enjoy the day, the view, the sun! We are having breakfast and grab the bikes to cruise up into town, as we need a few supplies. I realise that even though we drove through town twice yesterday, I can’t remember anything at all. Did we see any shops?
We are simply stunned by the views from the top of the village and stop for a few photos and some video footage at the stone wall that is built around the town centre. Four small alley ways lead around the stone built houses and there is a tall clock tower at the highest point of the town. Logan discovers a small shop in one of the stone houses, the door is open and we gather that it must be a fruit and vegetable shop. Four bananas, two apples, tomato sauce with olives and tuna and even a scrubbing brush for the dishes land in our bag.
A few meters down the street we go past a hardware store and Logan wants to go and buy a plunger as he blocked up our delicate kitchen drain (it actually is a hose) with two noodles. He thought pushing the pasta in will make them go through and now we can’t do the dishes anymore. 6Euros. Thinking about our tight budget I convince Logan to try differently at first. I’m hoping that a bit of the toilet chemicals we got will help dissolve the pasta.
We keep on looking for another grocery store but can’t seem to find one… “Wait! Logan, this is a shop too!” Italians haven’t really got it with advertising I guess. I only realised “house number 48” was a shop because a man just walked out the door and I saw food when riding by. Funny. We also grab some spaghetti and a packet of cookies, which I empty only 10 minutes later. Oops.
While I sit down and read my book “Inside of a dog” by Alexandra Horowitz, Logan goes for a 70min run. In the afternoon I boil up some water to “shower” ourselves and then to wash our (95% Logan’s) dirty clothes. Yupp, I’m feeling quite neo-hippie or whatever you’d like to call this lifestyle.

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Free camping and free electricity!

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Day 9 (by Francy)

I wake up freezing and frustrated! My head is cold and my nose feels like a piece of ice. We had 2 degrees last night and weren’t able to heat. I just want to leave this place, turn on the car heating and drive as far south as possible.
Indeed we are packing up rather quickly and start driving south along the beach.

We still avoid the “autostrada”, or highway, as we enjoy driving through smaller and bigger towns. Unfortunately the region “Le Marche” doesn’t quite fulfil our expectations. As we drive through beach towns such as Rimini, Pesaro, Fano and Senigallia, we are not impressed at all. Much of Le Marche’s coast is lined with rather depressing high-rise hotels and apartment buildings, partly old and dirty. The beach is wide but has a rather brownish colour and especially in Rimini is made unsightly by hundreds of, what seem to be, change rooms! Yes, on the beach! Because of these hundreds of colourful box-shaped change rooms, you can hardly even see the beach from the esplanade. The train line also runs along the beach in pretty much all of Le Marche, giving it an industrial kind of look. The buildings being run down, the unattractive beach and the industrial suburbs make us change our mind and we decide to head inland towards the mountains.

I give it another try and seek out a free campsite supposedly with electricity, toilets, water and grey water disposal drains. The road inland leads us through the kind of Italy we hoped for: green hills, fields, pretty farm houses and small medieval hill towns with clock towers, fortresses and massive stone walls. In the distance we see the 20 snow-capped peaks in the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini. The change of scenery works like magic on us.

After an hour and many wrong turns, we reach the small and pretty town of Culmorano. The campsite is supposed to be near the sporting fields at the outskirts of the town. We drive through town slowly and at the end we find the sporting fields and a small car park. No electricity, no toilets, no water. I’m disappointed and scared I’ll have to freeze again tonight. Not even a waste water drain?! ‘This is strange’, I think, when Logan says: “There were some kind of sporting fields in the beginning of town too.” My hopes are raised and I beg for it to be the place described in my Board Atlas.
Driving past a basketball field and a playground, we suddenly see a sign “Campervans this way”. Secretly hidden we find a small car park surrounded by bush, trees and high grass. An amazing view over the rolling hills and another small town lies in front of us. After an intense search around the toilet house, we find an electricity socket and after connecting the lead, we are super excited about the green switch at the fridge and a warm blow out of the heater. Free electricity?!? Really??? I thought we’d need to pay at least 50cents a night but it actually is free! A look at the toilets keeps the excitement limited but since this will obviously be our home for a few nights, I grab the cleaning liquid and start scrubbing down one of the toilets. After the dirty part is done, I’m feeling pretty good about our new “home”. How lucky are we tonight, to stay in such a beautiful and solitary spot for free and we can even heat our van! We spend the evening with researching the area in Lonely Planet’s Italy guidebook and find quite a few things to do, such as Europe’s largest cave and hiking around Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini where there are even supposed to be wolfs, bears and wild cats!

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02-03/12/11 London Sightseeing

5AM ! Great! Good morning time difference and thank you for waking us. It is still dark outside and we feel like it’s midday. I turn on the laptop and catch up on a few blog entries while Logan is watching a movie on his iPhone.

Two hours later it is still dark but Kian and Jane, our hosts, are heading out for work, so we can now officially get up too.
Fortunately Logan feels much better today, so we make our way from Camden to Trafalgar Square and book ourselves onto a sightseeing bus tour.

So here we go: past Oxford Street, the National Gallery, Big Ben and the Parliament, the London Eye, Covent Garden, London Bridge, London Dungeon, the Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and many more. Near tower of London we get onto a ferry and finally get the opportunity to warm up a little. The hot chocolate and 20minutes inside are just enough to help me stop shivering. At the end of our ferry ride, we get out near Big Ben and are being held back by these east Europeans dressed up as the queen or Captain Jack Sparrow. They want us to take photos with them but don’t understand that we haven’t got any coins on us. I know that behind that smiling queen mask is a very angry east European guy but we really don’t have any money on us nor did we want to get into this situation anyway. Woups.

Logan has the great idea to sit on top of the bus again: in the outside! May I just mention once more: it is December, a very very cold time in Europe! The wind is blowing through my beanie and I don’t know how to hide from the icy cold wind that is blowing around us. I know this will be the end of my 2 years flue-free time. Logan doesn’t believe me – yet.

After a long, interesting and exhausting day, Logan and I try to heat up with a hot chocolate in a cafe at Trafalgar square. Back at Kian’s and Jane’s place, we are so tired, we stay home while they go out on their Friday night. We are feeling rude but the jet lag gets us once again and we pass out very quickly.

Saturday morning, 5AM. Oh no, this seems like we will never get out of this doom loop. Three hours later it looks like our planet is slowly turning towards the sun – unfortunately with a thick layer of clouds inbetween us and the warming star. We are trying to quietly have a shower, which turns out to be a bit of a mission in the old London unit. The doors and floor are squeaky and I feel a bit bad for being noisy at 8am on a Saturday morning. Logan heads out to get our hosts a little thank-you present and then we quietly leave around 9AM. Our plane will be leaving midday, so we haven’t got much time to waste.
We are heading straight back to Victoria train station, pick up our bags, and keep going to London Heathrow airport. I’m excited to see mum and dad finally after over one year, excited to return home the first time after two years and I’m glad we finally don’t need to carry around our 60kg of luggage anymore…

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