Monday 30 April 2007

Bergen (3) - Bergen to Måløy

Today I opted for less strenuous activity - a return boat trip up the coast to Måløy. This is a scheduled route serving the communities along the west coast up as far as Selje, giving access to both the Sognefjord and the Nordfjord. The service is operated by two charmingly named catamarans - M/S Fjordprins and M/S Fjordtroll. The distance between Bergen and Måløy is approximately 175km, and the boats cover it in a speedy 4 1/2 hours, with about 10 stops along the way.

As well as enjoying the beautiful scenery, I had the pleasure of meeting a Norwegian couple who were very informative about the region we were travelling through, as well as being able to tell me a lot about Norwegian life.

Download KML file for Google Earth.

Bergen (2) - Hike from Arna to Bergen

After warming up yesterday with a leisurely stroll around Fløyen, today was time for a more serious hike. Having searched on the internet and not found too many suggestions, I bought myself a 1:25000 map of Bergen and the surrounding areas and a book of suggested hikes (in Norwegian) and sat down last night to plan my route. I came up with a walk from Arna over the hills to Bergen.

Arna is a small town, situated at the end of an arm of Sørfjorden, and is the first stop on the Bergen - Oslo railway line. The station is sandwiched between two tunnels, as the railway line passes through the hillside.

The first couple km of the walk were along roadside, followed by a short section along a marked path. Pretty quickly though, as I climbed the hill and entered the boggy areas the only indications of the route were occasional waymarkers and cairns. As I only met one other person along the way, there were times where I was very unsure that I was following the right path, although the GPS was some comfort. Eventually, I emerged from the bogs (up to my knees in mud by this stage - not too much fun when KLM have lost your change of trousers) onto the first ridge and was finally able to see the point I was heading for - Vikinghytten, the halfway point of the walk. Before I could reach there, though, I had to cross a small valley and climb up the next ledge - sadly, more bog!

The first section leaving Vikinghytten was more of the same - struggling through bogs and keeping an eagle eye out for cairns marking the way. Finally, though, as I neared the marked path again, I began to spot other walkers in the distance, sure signs that I was heading in the right direction. Once I reached the marked paths there was a constant stream of walking traffic, mostly, I assume having walked from Ulriken - another peak in Bergen which can be reached by cable car. After struggling through the bogs, the last few km along the paths were remarkable easy work, and within a relatively short time I found myself back on the trails of Mount Fløyen and at the end of the walk.

View the walk description on GPS Tours.
Download KML file to view route in Google Earth

Saturday 28 April 2007

Bergen (1)

I arrived late last night in Bergen, and despite the reputation it has for being the rainiest city in Norway, the sun is shining and there is hardly a cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, my suitcase seems to have decided that it didn´t fancy accompanying me after all, and KLM have not yet been able to tell me where it might be.

This morning I took the funicular railway up to Mount Fløyen, from which there are spectacular views over the city and surrounding islands. I walked to a couple lakes and then back down the hill into the town - all in all, about 4 or 5 miles. I´ve now been to the map shop, train and bus stations and picked up some information to try and plan a couple walks for the next days.

Tuesday 24 April 2007

USA Road Trip - 2005

Nearly 18 months have passed since Mum and I made our road trip from Denver to Seattle, but since I was reminded of the trip this evening by a collegue, I've uploaded some photographs to Picasa. Click on the photo to have a look.

Sunday 22 April 2007

Norway, here I come!

After hours of searching for flights for the coming long weekend, I have finally succumbed to the lure of Norway - Bergen to be precise. I nearly bought myself a ticket right the way up to Tromso (two changes both ways, not a trip to be sniffed at), but the rather depressing weather forecast (rain, rain and even more rain) changed my mind. Despite the fact the Bergen itself is not known for good weather, the current forecast looks ok, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Wednesday 18 April 2007


Just received my results from the German course I followed at work - 87.5%!

Saturday 14 April 2007

Keukenhof Gardens

April has come, meaning that it's tulip time again. And unusually, the arrival of the tulips has coincided with some glorious weather. I haven't visited the Keukenhof Gardens for a few years, so I took up the invitation of some friends to go with them.

As ever, I found myself photographing every type of tulip from every possible angle and whilst I was disappointed with the initial results, after a little work in Photoshop I'm pretty pleased with what I've come up with - a mini portfolio of square-cropped images.

Click on either image to see the rest of the photos.

Sunday 8 April 2007

How to make your own preserved lemons

I haven't tried either of these yet, but here are some recipes if you fancy trying your hand at preserving your own lemons, Moroccan style:

Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons

Having come home from Morocco with a supply of preserved lemons and some spices, the Easter weekend seemed a perfect occasion to try my hand at some Moroccan cooking. We had the following for Easter Sunday lunch:


  • 2 tb Olive oil
  • 3lb chicken thighs (skinned)
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 ts Paprika
  • 1 ts Ground ginger
  • 1/2 ts Ground turmeric
  • 1/2 ts Pepper
  • 1/2 c mixed moroccan olives (we brought these home from Morocco with us, but calamata olives would be fine)
  • 2 preserved lemons, cut into quarters
  • fresh coriander

Pour the oil into a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and turn pieces often to brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Lift out the chicken and set is aside whilst you prepare the sauce.

Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add paprika, ginger, turmeric, and pepper. Add 1 cup water, chicken, olives, and lemon quarters.

Cover pan and simmer, turning once, until meat is cooked (about 30 minutes). Serve garnished with coriander.