illkommen in Deutschland!
Welcome to Germany!
There is a new subway connection opened from the Central Station.
Just two stops but in three minutes you are at Brandenburg Gate.
Subject you arrived with
Länderticket Brandenburg-Berlin (Day Pass for the States of Brandenburg-Berlin)
Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket (Happy Weekend Ticket)
you may transfer without additional payment.
Have look for the white "U" in blue square. Access is close to tracks 7 and 8.
The subway leaves every 10 minutes.
The second stop is Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate).
The stop between Central Station and Brandenburg Gate is Bundestag (Parliament). Reichstag building is in the center of both stations.
I think that this stop is the first attraction of your tour:
Berlin History in German and English and so you get a good overview from Berlin in the past until today without further admission fee.
Have a look to all writings on the wall. No it's no graffiti.
You exit to Pariser Platz / Brandenburger Tor.
This picture was taken during the Athletics World Championship in Berlin. Just behind is the Brandenburg Gate and you arrive in front of Hotel Adlon - the best hotel in town where also Michael Jackson showed his kid.
When you get back to Central Station: "Main-Line Rail Services" is the direction you need to follow.
Hope you have a great day in Berlin.
N.B. Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures but I was there without camera but mobile phone...
Bergen, Norway - "Norway in a nutshell" (Independent tour by Fjorrdtours), walk from Cruise Terminal to Train Station and Fløi-Funicular-Railway
Finally land in sight...
We had to slow down to pass the islands.
As there are fast ferries coming and leaving: we need to be close to a larger port.
I think that this is nice place for retirement to watch the ships arrving and leaving... For the summer and in the winter still on Bermudas.
Again a fast ferry...
Or maybe this is better for retirement... with a small lighthouse of its own???
And again a fast ferry...
It became more urban and urban...
...and behind the second bridge you see Bergen with the mountains in the clouds...
... an AIDA and a COSTA-ship were waiting already in port. The ship's shape looks like: EURODAM, QUEEN VICTORIA and now COSTA LUMINOSA.
The shore side looks very inviting.
Few minutes after 09.00 hrs the ship was cleared and we went to the exit.
The waiting lounge looked like it had a good internet access. Maybe we will have a chance to see it tonight when we are back.
There was also an interesting shop but it closed at 18.00 hrs although we are leaving at 23.00 hrs.
Right at the terminal building you need to walk in.
Later when we were back we discover another internet-café in this port building we berthed next to. But it's also closed now.
Outside the terminal building we could have transfered to the Mt. Ursula double decker bus.
When you continue to walk you see alternatives.
Bryggen is so close: just round the corner and you see it.
And at the end of the bay: you can see already the Fishmarket.
Unesco-World Culture Heritage:
Here starts the little train.
Unfortunenately there was not enough time for an intensive walk trough the market as we need to get as soon as possible to the train station.
So we passed the tourist office...
... and whatever this is...
And even a global acting company like McDonald's need to adjust their appearance to the stlye of the Old Town.
Originally I wanted to book a ship's tour. But I wanted to go on water from Flåm to Gudvangen through the Nærøyfjord.
This is also a UNESCO-World Culture Heritage:
With Fjordtours (http://www.fjord-tours.com/default.asp) - a subsidiary of Norwegian Railways NSB - we fould a tour:
935 NOK (= 108 EUR = 92 GBP = 153 USD / August 2009)
Bergen-Railway from Bergen to Myrdal
Flåm-Railway from Myrdal to Flåm
Fjordcruise from Flåm to Gudvangen through Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord
Bus ride from Gudvangen to Voss
and from here back to Bergen by Bergen Railway.
The tour starts at the train station in Bergen. From the Cruise Terminal you have to walk approx. 30 minutes. Alternatively you can take a cab for about 100 NOK.
Oops!!! Do they all want to go on the same tour???
We need to exchange our e-mail-confirmation against tickets.
An NSB-Regional Train is more like a Direct/Express Train and does not stop at every station.
Until 10.05.hrs the platform remained closed. There was no reason for rush as reservation is mandantory on this train.
Our ticket looks very elegant.
The length of the train is endless. Many cars were reserved for groups. But there were no cruise groups with us. COSTA LUMINOSA and AIDAaura were earlier in town that they made the 08.40 hrs-train.
These were our seats.
For 90 NOK per persson more we used NSB Komfort (= 1st class). There was free coffee, Norwegian newspapers and electric power outlet for my netbook and a working table.
To guide us ourselves: there was a brouchure available which shows all attractions alongside of the journey.
We passed the Osterfjord and just enjoyed the view of the landscape.
After two hours: We were approaching soon.
From 2 Meter altitude in Bergen to 867 Meter altitude above sea.
Our train will disappear very soon into the next tunnel.
Most passengers try to get some fresh air and nice pictures.
Later we saw that also high-speed-trains were available on this route.
Here you see that were right: the start of the Flåm-Railway.
You cannot see any train so far. 45 minutes more to wait.
Myrdal itself it's nothing exciting.
While Bruno looked around in the village I stayed on the platform.
21 km (13 miles) upto Flåm.
When the train from Oslo arrived a guide for "Norway in a Nutshell" appeared on the platform.
We were shocked: The Oslo-train released so many passengers for the Flåm-Railway that we did not like to go anymore. The guide told us that we can use the entrances 3 to 8 as the others were reserved for groups.
When the train arrived it was like Sodom and Gomorra.
The train did not become very empty because a lot of travellers just stayed int he train to return and change the sides.
We were surprised of the 2-3-seat-configuration.
Two older German ladies attracted everybody's attention: they occupied seats by a German newspaper and disappeared to make sure that none would steal their bags from the racks before the train's departure.
The claimed loudly that they choosed the wrong side of the train. But this was nonsense as all sights were allocated 50:50 to each side.
It was very exicting to have the photostop at Kjofossen-Waterfalls. There was only the platform and no station.
Bruno walked out. I followed the discussion of the ladies which took several minutes to decide if they want to walk out or not. One decided to walk out the very last minute and ran over Bruno who wanted to rejoin the train.
We had a great journey. On the way the train to Myrday passed us and we could see our ship's passenger going anti-cyclic. They got obviously a more or less empty train and had reserved seats. So ship's tours have also their advantages. We were surprised to see some groups from CELEBRITY EQUINOX who were standing in a station in nowhere.
Originally Fjordtours published on their website to stay four hours in Flåm. But this little place is dedicated to Flåm-Railway and Cruise guests. A true cruise industry.
Our stay was a little short but sufficient.
We already inform ourselves for our next year journey on WESTERDAM.
The location of this place is just gorgeous.
We are looking forward to our next year's stay in Flåm.
Our highlight when we arrived in Flåm was CELEBRITY EQUINOX which was just there.
So we had a chance to check where we will stay in January.
We continued on a Fjord 1-Ship.
Now you get a reason not to book a private tour: the way Fjord 1 treated the "Norway in a Nutshell"-guests: They let us go onboard when all groups had taken their seats and no seats were left. I had the SUBJECTIVE impression that more tickets were sold than seats were avaialble. A lot of passengers sat on the stairways because of the missing seats.
Bye-Bye CELEBRITY EQUINOX. See you January in Fort Lauderdale...
and Bye-Bye Flåm and see you in July on WESTERDAM.
There in only one view to the front on the whole ship: in the caféteria.
But the journey itself was beautiful.
We made friendship with two American tourists. Because we will return next year on WESTERDAM we concentrated for the part of the Nærøyfjord (that's the branch to Gudvangen) which WESTERDAM cannot go.
The ships are also used as ferries (for 4 upto 6 cars), so we need to exit via the front hedge.
After two hours we reached Gudvangen.
Same like in Flåm - but due to missing Flåm-Railway and cruisers, not so crowded.
We were told that this was a liner service to Voss. But there were three buses available for us.
A lot of space for each of us.
We also passed at Stahlheim Hotel where our ship's group had their lunch.
First I thought it was wasting time.
And again an old rock which was not my world.
But then we had to descent the serpentine road.
My only concern was if Norway hat a technical inspection for vehicles and if it works successfully.
But this loop we made was worth the time.
All my blood, sweat and tears were feeding the stream.
The bus ride was about one hour until we were in Voss. On the way it was truly a liner service for the local traffic.
A troll bidded farewell to us at the Voss train stattion. There was no time left for Voss as I started to rain a little we did not worry about. Due to arrival in Bergen at 20.34 hrs none of the seatings will be caught on time: so we bought some sandwiches and had a picknick in the train with our new US-friends.
Again 2-3 seat configuration like on Flåm-Railway. It was a local train which need approx. one hour to get back to Bergen. As we saw already everything we let our new US-friends have the window seats.
The beautiful day has not ended yet. More in the next part.
For those who recommended to go on Flåm-Railway: thanks again for your advices.
The sun was still shining over Bergen and we missed our dinner-seating anyway. We did not feel comfortable to be back for the buffet until 21.00 hrs.
The Fløi-Funicular-Railway is on the half way from the train station to the Cruise Terminal.To walk downhill there was not enough time left. So we purchased a return ticket for 70 NOK per person.
You need to wait until another car will come down because the same rope is pulling one car upwards and let one car riding downwards. Very safe as long as the rope is fine.
We just enjoyed the view from the cars.
After few minutes we reached the station at the top.
That's the distance to walk down...
Somewhere there we spent our day.
Between the mountains you see the fjords.
We enjoyed the stay although we had only few minutes time to stay.
Somewhere there is the Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Line)-Terminal but we had no time to see.
Slowly the sun was going on to disappear.
So it was time to say good-bye to the mountain.
Subject we had more time there is Mt. Ulriken and the ropecar.
Meanwhile the service was now every 15 minutes so we need to catch the next ride. At 22.15 hrs we need to be back onboard.
It was shame that we had no more time but we definately would have missed something.
As the sunset went very fast we were curious if we would reach the cruise terminal as long as it was light.
On the way back we tried to catch the feelings around.
As the sun was now shining on Bryggen we experienced the colors of the houses in another way than in the morning.
When we left Bergen at 23.00 hrs it was already dark.
Afterglow means good weather - or???
Anyhow we are looking forward for next year again in Norway. It was gorgeous.