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A Duck flies north - to Sweden and Norway

OZDUCK

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The next day was probably the brightest and warmest day we had. The temperature crept up to the mid 20's which with the 75% humidity made itself felt. We drove to Selje which is on the coast. It was about a 84 Km trip but with a ferry crossing and the normal narrow roads the drive took us around 2 hours.

The sunny days made the views of water and green grass even more colourful

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The drawcard at Selje is Selje Abbey a 12th Century Benedictine monastery abandoned in the 15th Century. It is located on an island just offshore. We were lucky as this late in 'the season' there is only one tip a day to the island. We lucked out by accidentally arriving about 10 minutes before the boat departed. It was only about a 15 minute trip. There were only six of us on the boat a Swiss couple and two young American guys.

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Being cast ashore

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The restored bell tower

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Looking to the upper ruins

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The ruins from above

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There was a fairly rugged flight of stone steps from the lower ruins to some more up on the hillside. They have a great view but also gave my knees a good workout. I am in the shadows trying to workout how to safely navigate the uneven step heights and crumbling stone.

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OZDUCK

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We had to walk to the other side of the island to catch the boat back. It does the school run for the kids living on the island - today there was only one. It was made to seem that it was an easy path but it took us an hour as it crossed through swamps and rocky outcrops. As became more obvious the longer we spent there, the Norwegians like you to earn your pleasures. There were Juniper Berries - for Gin lovers - and Blueberries growing wild.

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My wife found a couple of these hiding in the long grass

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There were plenty of flowers on the island

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Looking out to the village of Selje

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The returning boat

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I went for a paddle here. The water wasn't too cold and the beach was sandy with lots of crushed seashells. I almost went for a swim but I was worried about being in Norwegian waters with their penchant for hunting large blubbery mammals

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Without the blot on the landscape

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We went for a bit of a drive north of the village but the usual narrow roads got the better of me

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The 'monastery' island

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OZDUCK

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Some of the road trip. Often the roads ran right by the water

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Fish farming is obviously a big industry

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The ferry crossing point

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Another winding single lane road with fencing on one side and hillside on the other

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A fishing hut on a lake in the hills

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OZDUCK

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The next day we headed off for Bergen. About a six hour trip with a stop for lunch

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Our last view of the glaciers

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These tranquil waters are those of the freshwater Jolstravanet Lake

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You can find many reasons to build a monument

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So you think you can't read Norwegian

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A better view of the recharging station for the ferries - note the name of the ferry. This ferry was across the Sognefjord which leads up to Flam

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Two tall bridges outside Bergen over the shipping channels

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OZDUCK

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And now Bergen itself.

We had our third sunny day in a row - a record for our time in Scandinavia. As soon as we got into the city from our 'flat' in the suburbs we took the funicular up to the lookout. As we were early we beat the crowds that had formed by the time of this photo and went straight up.

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We had some great views from up the top

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The area around the Fish Market

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The funicular carriage

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The old wharf area

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Old wooden buildings certainly need upkeep

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OZDUCK

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Some more of central Bergen.

The lookout from below

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A bit more of Jugendstil design

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An old Fire Station

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Lots of fish for sale - at prices designed for Cruise Ship passengers - cooked King Crab legs for around $145 a kg.

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A rather lovely rotunda

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Bergen's favourite son - Edvard Grieg

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A rather lovely sail training ship was in port. She was built in Germany in 1914, taken by the British as a 'prize' after WW1, bought by a rich Norwegian in 1921. She was reclaimed by Germany during the occupation of Norway in WW2 but returned afterwards.

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A lunch that was pretty good value at just under $10. It tasted very fresh. Bought from a supermarket not the Fish Market

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OZDUCK

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More of Bergen.

My wife convinced me to have a look in the old Bergen Castle - Bergenhus Festning. I initially demurred but then agreed - that was a mistake.
The outside was being renovated and almost all of the windows were covered, the rooms were very bare with little information. You had to follow the 'red arrows' stuck to the wall for the tour route. Unfortunately half of the arrows were missing and people were going the wrong way up and down tight spiral staircases. It was one of the poorer visits I have made to a historic place in Europe.

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Later we went for a stroll through the old buildings on the hill above the old port area. This was very interesting area to walk through.

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The oldest elementary school in Scandinavia

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The postie on his rounds up and down the hilly streets

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OZDUCK

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Later that evening there was a huge downpour and the next day was what we had become used to - low clouds and intermittent showers.

We drove out to the island of Sotra. Our destination was the Fjel Fortress which was the biggest fortress built in Norway by the Germans during WW2 Fjell Fortress - Wikipedia The main armament was a triple 11" Turret from the Battlecruiser"Gneisenau". It was emplaced here after being removed from the ship in 1942 after she had been damaged in air attacks.

We had to park the car just off the main road and due an about 6 Km round trip walk up to the main area. It was drizzly and cold.

A couple of observation turrets

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This bunker contained a 'Field Hospital'

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The gun turret was removed in the 1960's and a couple of years ago a cafe was built over the Gun Pit.

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Looking Down into the pit

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Looking up

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A 3D representation of the fortress

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An anti-tank gun

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The view from the top

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OZDUCK

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A bit more

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Some remaining armour plate

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My fat foot gives an idea of the thickness

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A protected door into some sort of watch room in the forest on the way up

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Actually we were a little disappointed with the displays here as well. There was not much information - in any language. There were display cases full of diaries and letters from someone we think had been a Russian POW at the site but no descriptions whatsoever. There were also empty display boxes with information about non-existent items. You were unable to access much of the site and part is still fenced off for military use. T^here is only one guided tour a week on a Sunday which may provide more access and information. The site is still the legal property of the Norwegian Armed Forces so there are probably ongoing problems with access etc.
 

amaroo

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We really enjoyed Bergen, the timber houses look very smart.
 

tgh

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Loved Bergen , did you see the leprosy museum?
We had planned to drive around a bit but swmbo was unwell so I walked mile or two.
Should have stayed longer
 

OZDUCK

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Afterwards we drove through some of the other islands west of Bergen. The weather was a lot better.

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That evening we visited the last home and final resting place of Edvard Grieg - 'Troldhaugen'

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Part of the view

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His composing hut

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The final resting place of Grieg & his wife. Cut into the cliff face of the promontory where his house stands.

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The little private jetty

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OZDUCK

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Loved Bergen , did you see the leprosy museum?
We had planned to drive around a bit but swmbo was unwell so I walked mile or two.
Should have stayed longer
No, for some reason I completely missed it in my research and it seems like it would have been a good place to visit. Ah well - another reason to go back.
 

OZDUCK

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Finishing off Bergen

The grounds of Troldhaugen would have been a good place for a Troll home

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We stayed in an unusual place in Bergen. It was the basement of an old house that had been converted into a little flat. Everything you needed was there for a short stay and it was half the price of most other units. The Light Train into the centre of town was only a five minute walk away and very importantly there was free parking for our car.

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The stairs were blocked off

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You had to be careful when using the front door so cars going to the flats above didn't remove the door - or you.

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Ans a few more old houses

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OZDUCK

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The next day we drove to Haugesund. The weather was again pretty bad and it was a very tiring trip.

We had to use ferries - much bigger than the ones we used further north

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The longest tunnel we had been in so far - and again under water

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Consecutive large bridges between islands

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Haugesund is not a tourist city. It is a pretty gritty port that was once a big fishing port but is now catering to the petroleum industry. We only spent one night there. The Fisheries Museum was, again, shut for 'the season'.

It has what might be a nice waterfront area in good weather - not today.

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A pretty old advertising sign - I assume it has been retouched at some stage.

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Julesmac

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Now onto the car trip. Our first day was Oslo to Dovre (Toftemo Turistasjon) a distance of 308Km.

My wife managed to get a photo of an unusual bridge and a plane near Gardermoen Airport, Oslo

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Lake Mjosa - about 100km north of Oslo

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Something which we became all to0 familiar. We had a transponder in the car and are waiting for the bill to come - as some of the ferry crossings are billed in the same way the bill will be in the thousands of kroner. Driving is not cheap in Norway. Fuel '95' was about $2.65 a litre.

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Lillehammer, with the Olympic Ski Jump in the background.

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Lovely scenery on the way to Dovre

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Toftemo Turistasjon started life as a Hotel in 1820. It has basic but comfortable accommodation and an attached Caravan park

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The nearby river. The white tents are 'Glamping Tents'.

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The surrounding hills

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Something big and brown lurks in the woods

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Did you ever catch the tv show called 'Lillehammer'? I think it was SBS a few years ago. Starred Steve van Zant as a mafioso turned informer, who went into witness protection & chose Lillehammer on the basis that he'd seen the Winter Olympics. It was really amusing. FYI Stevie van Zant played one of Tony Soprano's offsiders and totally off the point is also a member of Bruce Springsteen's backing band
 

OZDUCK

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Did you ever catch the tv show called 'Lillehammer'? I think it was SBS a few years ago. Starred Steve van Zant as a mafioso turned informer, who went into witness protection & chose Lillehammer on the basis that he'd seen the Winter Olympics. It was really amusing. FYI Stevie van Zant played one of Tony Soprano's offsiders and totally off the point is also a member of Bruce Springsteen's backing band
I certainly did and enjoyed the first few series very much. That is why I made certain that I at least stopped there for lunch. No sign of gangsters or snow.
 

OZDUCK

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The next day we headed towards Stavanger. On the advice of the Hotel Manager we decided to head to the small town of Skudeneshavn on the island of Karmøy.

There is a very high bridge across the shipping channel onto the island.

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While we were in Norway the locals often complained about the number of Toll roads. This back-road on the island was a toll road for no apparent reason. Most of it was worse than a basic road in country W.A. - this was about the best bit.

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My wife had been reading the local tourist information in the hotel and it had mentioned Syreneset Fort - a German WW2 gun battery. When we passed the sign on the main road we decided to drop in for a look. We had to park and then walk for a few Km's though farmland

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It was completely dark inside so we had to use the flash.

These are old bunk beds.

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This appears to be some sort of warning about using Charcoal Heaters.

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I stepped into the gap between the boards on this hole. Luckily only my pride was hurt.

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OZDUCK

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Skudeneshavn is a lovely little town. To quote - "Founded on the incredible success of the early 19th Century herring harvests, the town grew at a startling rate. Even today, almost 130 original timber homes and seafront wharves have been preserved in "The Olde Town"."

These are new builds around the harbour

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Now onto the old town

The old customs boathouse

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This craft centre was a Foghorn Factory for much of its life.

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More of the old town

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It is obviously popular with artists

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This figurehead from an Italian ship has been placed here since 1925

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The harbour entrance - you can see the lovely weather

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