Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Arriving Bergen very late

18th September 08 - Rainy

However much the people talk about the beauty of this town, it doesn't really matter because we arrived at Bergen so late.

Our GPS, yet again, pointed us to off-the-map road. Although so, we were very glad to be greeted with rolling hills full with farmlands, non stop photographing the strange looking farm house, poking around the stave churches. That really took a large part of our time away from our journey there.














Hills after hills, moutain after mountains, never ending tunnels, bridges after bridges... Eventually I have lost count and totally awed by the beauty of this country.

One of the many Glaciers seen from afar









Things started to get rainy when we finally made it to Bergen. Kinda cold too. As usual we must stop by at the supermarket for supplies. Supplies is a must because otherwise we only have our canned food for dinner!


By the time we checked into Marken Gjesthouse, the sky was already dark. I can vaguely make out the surrounding buildings at this old area to be somewhat historical.



Parking around Bergen itself is frustrating for us. Scandiavian, so obsessed with rules and regulation, yet still talk on the phone without handsfree, HMM! Eventually we decided to park illegally since we are leaving so early the next day. Sigh.

Hmm... even the elevator here looks too old too, say... around 1890's or so?



I sort of think my mom and the aunt enjoyed their stay here, judging by how they compliment how things are nicely equipped in the kitchens, and how clean things are. They even make friend with these bunch of exchange students from Hong Kong while my mom was busy prepping rendang beef for our next days journey.



Whatever it is, apparently we are not the last person to check in. After the reception girl has left, a Japanese middle aged man came wandering at the door front. He said it was very hard for him to locate this place and he was lost until then. I was wanting to offer him a pack of maggie mee, but my dad decided that we should just mind our own business. Later my mom said she caught him cooking one in the kitchen.

As he didn't have a room, this guy decided decided that he will move around from dinning area, couch place, toilets, corridors, kitchen... until my dad say someone actually let him in to sleep in one of the dorm rooms. Then the next morning this jap guy left as early as us too, before the front desk people arrive. So I guess he managed to get a free stay after all, combine with free hot showers among other things!

Oslo, Norway, next stop - Bergen

17th September 2009 - Clear

Today is a rather challenging day for us. We have planned in our itinerary to rent a Volvo S40 to go around places. For me, when I am in foreign place, the thought of driving actually gives me fear what more that the whole of Europe (except UK & few other place) are all left hand driven.

So, we went to pick up our car. I continued with many worries, and topped up with new ones such as how to fit so many bags into one medium sedan like S40, erm, and also where to park when most place we going are short of parking spaces, etc. As soon as we were at Hertz in Vasagatan, we realize the baggage is not longer and issue because they've upgraded us to a S40 wagon with no charge.



So far so good, :P. And so, we started our first long journey crossing border and continue driving to Oslo Norway.



First time being greeted by endless stretch of farmlands. Along the way with many lakes too. Found a cable car system running among farms only to discover is used to transport produce from one place to another!












Was quite stressful when we came across our first Toll Booth that is fully electronic. Not a single soul here. We were suppose to throw the coins into the basket but coming Stockholm we didn't had a chance to grab any coins at all. Then I tried with the credit card method, and it didn't work as well. Kinda depressing when all other cars are zooming pass us when we seemed stucked here.

Eventually my dad had enough and he said just go and decided where to pay later. In my mind I was already imagining hundreds of summon tickets already their way back to KL waiting for us when we get home. Duh. I tried to check on the internet about this much later, and was relieve to find that there was an unwritten rule that foreign cars does not have to pay any tolls (PHEW!).

How the toll system work is that if a car didn't pay, the number plate will be captured on the camera ahead. Then the traffic department will actually send a bill (Note : Bill/Invoice, no ticket) to the car owner's house in about two weeks time comprising of toll charges + handling fee. Then the owner can one lump sum paid it off. Pro-long delay of settling the bill will undoubtedly resulting a ticket for real after that. So, as you ca see, it is impossible to bill a foreign car isn't it? Hence we travel for free. Think of it this way, we as a tourist are bringing them foreign money and spend you know, what's this small petite amount $$ compare with other stuffs that we will be spending there ain't it.

Even when we arrive in town it was no better. Whole of Oslo looking so old and kinda depressing as well. Black people wandering around, shouting about. We don't see many people walking around at night, gives me a creep when looking down from the hostel from above.

It is a hush hush situation.

Everything cost a bomb here in Oslo, even to park our car for a night with the hostel, we've got to pay a extra USD30. I thought I didn't like Oslo so much after all.

Hopefully tomorrow when we are on our way to Bergen, it will be a better day ahead. I am keeping my fingers crossed for that.