Northern introductions2nd December 2016
Since my last missive on here, I enjoyed a visit to Norway at the end of the August. Adding a day to a bank holiday weekend made time for the opportunity. An evening was spent strolling around Oslo in sunshine before I travelled to Bergen by train since it is classed as one of the premier scenic railway journeys in the world. While in Bergen, I explored a little of the city and its nearby hill country in behind showers of rain.
The latter had me travelling on the Fløyen funicular railway to get access to loftier vantage points and to get me down again after a hike that followed the coast until I gained some height on the way to Munkebotsvatnet before I followed a track as far as Storevatnet. By that point, my desire for a quieter route took me over boggier trails to go around by Rundemanden. These gave me the space that I so craved though cloud cover had interrupted the sunshine by then. Still, it proved to be a wonderful introduction to the place.
In fact, the brevity of my visit had me feeling that I over skimmed the surface of what could be savoured. A longer stay would have allowed for more walking and a cruise around fjords as well as fanning out to explore other pleasing spots like Vass. In this respect, I felt much like how I did on my trip to Austria earlier in the year.
That sense has its uses because it foments a return. That would be a longer visit that allows deeper exploration and might even have me sticking with a single base like Oslo, Bergen or Stavanger. It seems that Norway would reward a few more trips before even thinking about its renowned Arctic reaches like Lofoten and Tromsø.
In the meantime, I am adding an album to the photo gallery for the elongated weekend proved to be a productive one for photography. Even the spells of rain around Bergen did not stop me and I have plenty of experience of dealing with that kind of weather in Britain and Ireland. One of the more recent of those took me to then unfrequented corners of Scotland at the start of November.
There was an overnight trip on the Caledonian Sleeper for the first time in over five years. That took me to Inverness from where some rail rambling too place. An out and back trip to Plockton was the main event and it revealed another swathe of empty open countryside for me to be exploring. There was some time in Plockton for ogling sights like hills on the nearby Applecross peninsula between the rain and there even were some photo opportunities. That spoke for Saturday and Sunday dawned a duller affair so I pottered about the Ness islands before travelling to Aberdeen to take in sights of Moray countryside that were beset with sunshine and rain showers.
The weekend visit might have been short but it was both restorative and satisfactory. There was enough sun to do justice to scenic Scottish delights and the prospects for further exploration hardly were a cause for melancholy. Somehow, Scotland’s being nearer at hand lowered my sights at this turn and travelling there did not need the effort or expense of going overseas either. Maybe that had something to do with it.
Though we now are in the last month of the year, there is no shutdown yet. A British weekend away is being plotted as is a warmer overseas escape. Though there is a major life task to be completed in the next few months, I am starting to ponder 2017. Those plans will be loose though for life can take unexpected directions yet.
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