Saturday, August 9, 2014

Gamla Stan and Skansen Stockholm

Royal Swedish Palace, Nobel Prize Museum

Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

Toward Stockholm

Towards Stockholm
Oslo Gardermoen to Stockholm Arlanda

Friday, August 8, 2014

Our friend in Oslo gave us a ride to the Oslo Gardermoen International airport from our Hotel. The ride was pleasant as we chatted about our trip to Bergen and our friend updated about his family.

We picked up our luggage from his spacious Volvo car and run inside the airport as we had about an hour left before our scheduled departure to Stockholm. We were thinking it will be an international departure and hence more than 1 hour is needed. Fortunately for us we had more than 1 hour, the flight to Stockholm was delayed by 1/2 hour and the flight was more like a local flight and the crowd that morning was thin.

We picked some coffee and boarded the plane Blue1 for an 1-hour flight and arrived in Stockholm by 10:40 AM local time. Fortunately both Sweden and Norway were in the same time zone.

We then picked up our luggage and as we exited the arrival lounge found the Information Center. There we picked lots of information about Stockholm. Then we bought the to-and-fro tickets for Arlanda Express (since they were on sale for the summer), Stockholm Card for two days.

We then boarded the Arlanda Express and went to the Stockholm Central Station. Since we had difficult time in Oslo, we booked a taxi and arrived at the Omena Hotel at Torsgatan. As it turned out the Hotel was less than 3 minutes away and we decided to walk back on our return journey that way saving 110 SEK.

We arrived at the Hotel before noon and hence our pre-sent codes didn't work. We picked up the lobby phone and called the front desk. They checked to make sure our room was ready and it was and gave new codes to enter the building.

We came inside the room took shower. VtS and I went out to look for his record store and laundry. We couldn't find neither the coin-laundry nor his store. But found a dry-cleaner but he was closing for the weekend.

We then took some rest and in the evening walked around the neighborhood of the Hotel and visited the near by park. The park at Norra Bantorget was flanked by Olaf Palmes Gata and Torsgatan and we then picked some breakfast items at the corner 7Eleven and went to bed early for tomorrow's trip to Gamla Stan.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord trip

Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord

Norway In a Nutshell Fjords trip

Thursday, Aug 7, 2014

Today we left in the morning from Bergen, Norway using NSB Lokaltog (Local train) with our tickets from Norway in a Nutshell. The trip retraced the route we took when we arrived in Bergen yesterday morning. Finally we arrived in Myrdal after 2 hours. During the trip we met an American family from New Jersey.

We got of at Myrdal and we could see in the town and on the way there were ice covering the mountain sides. We were about 900 meter above the sea level and the temperature was 14 deg C. We waited for few minutes to get on Flam Railway (characteristic green colored train). The train journey lasted for an hour with a stop for nice water fall and slow descend back to sea level and we arrived at Flam. We visited the souvenir shop.

We then boarded Fjords1 cruise liner and took a two hour fjords trip via Aurland, Undredal, and finally arriving at Gudvangen. On our way we went through Aurlands Fjord and Naeroy fjord (very narrow and with different kind of mountain type).

From Gudvangen we took about 1 hour 15 min bus ride back to mountain side and arrive Voss (it was station between Myrdal and Bergen). We went to the souvenir shop there and took the NSB Lokaltog back to Bergen.

Since we already deposited our luggage in the station we had dinner (it started to rain) and stayed at the station until our night train back to Oslo S.

There we took the Router ticket and arrived at our Hotel. Our Indian friend gave us a ride back to Oslo airport.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In Bergen, Norway

Bergen, Norway
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Fantoft Stave Church and Hakon's Hall

We traveled from Oslo S to Bergen  in NSB (Norges Statesbaner) train and by 4:15 AM there was light and I could see the mountains and ice on the mountains while we were passing by Myrdal and Voss and finally arrived in Bergen, Norway.

We went to check into our Hotel but it was not yet open and so we went to Information Center and bought the Bergan Card for Wednesday and checked into our Hotel. Soon we visited the Bergen Domkirke (Bergen Cathedral) in Kong Oscars Gate (very near our Hotel) and its impressive organ. 
Then we went to the harbor and and walked through the downtown before catching the tram to Fanfoft station to see the Fantoft Stave Church. The walk from the station was about 15 minutes. We noticed a station called Florida on the way to Fantoft.

After spending some time at the church we came back to downtown and met some Tamil people from Thanjavur living in Bergen, Norway. After purchasing some gifts at the local market we went to see Hakon's Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower near the Bryggen area near the harbor.

We went back the Hotel took some rest and walked to the Bergen station to collect our Norway in a Nutshell tickets from the NSB station. We also checked out the luggage storage area so that we could deposit our luggage after checking out of Hotel and collecting them before departing to Oslo S tomorrow night.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo Palace, and Nobel Peace Museum

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo Palace, and Nobel Peace Museum
Tuesday, Aug 5, 2014
Oslo, Norway

For the second day we decided to buy Oslo Pass. We obtained it from our hotel last night. The Oslo Pass allowed us to ride all the public transport units (bus, tram, and subway) as well as free admission to multitudes of attractions like Viking Ship Museum, Akershus Fortress, Nobel Peace Museum, etc.

We took the City Bus 30 to Bygdøy as we could catch it right in front our Hotel. We went first to see the Viking Ship Museum but missed our stop. A friendly driver (a Sri Lankan Tamil) helped us find the correct stop. At the museum we saw about 1000 year old Viking Ship.

After that we got off near Oslo Palace (National Theatre) on the return journey and went around Oslo University, Oslo Palace (Det Konglige Slott; The King's Palace), the Queen Maud's statue. We also walked along the famous Karl Johans Gate and saw the Norway Parliament.

From their we walked all the way to Oslo City Hall (Radhus) and the harbor. Then we visited the Nobel Peace Museum just next door to the City Hall. We made peace sign in Tamil (amaithi) and added to the wall of Nobel Peace Prize Museum.

After having lunch near-by, we walked all the way through the harbor to the Akerhus Fortress. Once again at many of these places, the admission was free since we had the Oslo Pass. The Fortress gave view of the harbor and the city. We could see many rooms and they in which the king would have lived.

The day was cloudy but didn't rain. Finally we decided to skip the Eduard Munch Museum since it was far away and we didn't have enough time.

We packed our travel bags and left reminder at the Hotel and took the public transit to Jernbanetorget to catch our overnight NSB train to Bergen.

We sat in our coach and spent the night traveling to Bergen, Norway.

Monday, August 4, 2014

In Oslo

In Oslo, Norway
Monday, Aug 4, 2014
Vigeland Park and Holmenkollen

After arriving in Oslo, Norway this morning and enduring some rain we checked into the Hostel (we thought it was Hotel).

We then went around the town after eating lunch at the local Subway (near Oslo Central Station). One of the places we visited in the morning was a store that sells local music.

Then we went around Oslo Domkirke (Cathedral) and nearby area of Karl Johans Gate. It started to rain again and one of our friend's friend came and picked us up and drove to Holmenkollen Ski Jump area and Holmenkollen Kapell (Chapel).

After that we drove to Vigelandsparken (Vigeland Park) where we saw the park and the sculptures done by Gustav Vigeland. There was still little bit rain but we were able to walk around with ease.

Finally we went our friends house for Indian dinner and met his parents and family. He graciously dropped us off at our Hotel.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Travel to Oslo

Travel to Oslo
Sunday, Aug 3, 2014

On Sunday, Aug 3 morning we left Jacksonville International Airport and flew to Newark Liberty International Airport to Terminal A. We had a lay over of several hours at EWR and therefore we had some snacks and ate early dinner at the airport.

We found a Travelex currency exchange office right at the airport. After speaking with the agents we were able to get exchange some American Dollars to both Norwegian Kroner (NOK or NKr) and Swedish Kronors (SEK or SKr). The advantage with them was if he had excess krone or kronor we could exchange back to USD without fees.

Then at 8 PM boarded the United flight to Oslo, Norway. The flight was about 7 hours long and we ate some dinner and early morning snack before we landed in Oslo, Norway in Oslo Gardermoen International Airport. It was bit cloudy and we went through immigration and customs and picked up our luggage.

We then bought tickets form the Flytoget train office to get to Oslo S (Oslo Central Station). We boarded the train and arrived at Oslo S after about 30 minutes. Just about that time it started to rain.