Traveling to Oslo was again a great adventure. The Flamsbana Train is a vintage style train that has TV’s on telling you facts and information about what you are going past with prompts to look at the different sides of the train. The second train being more modern still wasn’t a let down as it hosted a cafe on board with pizza oven and beers!
Arriving in Oslo was I have to admit quite overwhelming after such a peaceful few days in the remote hills the hustle and bustle of a city hit me and I started to realize how relaxing it was in Flam. That said there was plenty to do in Oslo including another dock to visit, a boat that takes you over to the Viking boat museum and some funky abstract art strung up in the desirable shopping area.
And so that is the end of the great Norwegian trip! Thoroughly enjoyable and I think some of Norway will always be forever lodged in my heart.
Arriving in Flam was once again a treat. The coach, train and two hour boat trip provided endless scenery and coupled with my ipod (Of monsters and Men album all the way!) I really felt in holiday mode.
Flam is a tiny village at the top end of a fjord and is the most picturesque of all. A short walk from the dock is Flam Camping and although the small chalets were out of use at this time of the year the main house proved to be just as nice with views across misty mountains each morning.
At this time of the year there isn’t many people floating about and this gives you a real sense of being out in the true Norwegian mountains. Speaking with the owners of the camp site they say that up to 5,000 people can unload from a liner each day with roughly a million visiting a year. This really is hard to imagine as it was so peaceful and I don’t think it would have the same effect bumping into people as you walk down the lanes.
There were many special moments had in Flam including a fjord safari on a misty day, watching the fog rise each morning, listening to the small cracks of avalanche and just admiring the scenery – in a nutshell you have to visit here if you are in Norway.
I have to now point out that travel in and around Norway is completely different to anywhere else. It is unique in the fact that due to the landscape its impossible to go in a straight line over land and so the coaches, buses and any other vehicle you can think usually travel that straight line in a variety of ways. Some roads go through mountains and some go under the sea via tunnels. When the roads stop the boats start but either way the scenery is truly amazing and makes the journey so much more quicker.
So now here I am in Bergen, staying at the Marken Hostel which thankfully is a short walk from the main train station. Its a basic set up with a decent sized bed, fully working kitchen in the room, private bathroom and the bed linen and towels have been starched to within an inch of their lives.
As I am spending not much time in Bergen I only have time for a short walk along the docks. But there is a monorail ride at the top of the mountain that sits behind the town and lots of shops and pubs to visit.
Olberg a place with many wild and natural qualities I felt almost in a meditative state while wandering the sands.
As a child I visited many a shoreline across the country and more specifically Scotland. Yesterday the trip to Olben reminded me so much of those precious times, scavenging on the beach and listening to the waves crashing.
The wooden huts by the beach and the fishing tackle left in the open reaffirms my belief that the Norwegian culture is so laid back and honest. There is no need to hide your precious tools for the next haul that comes in and there is definitely no room for mess.
The color pallet and the textures of this slice of Norway has definitely made an impression on my and I hope to recreate this into my printmaking when I get back home.
Next stop is Bergen for one night and then onto the remote Flam (pronounced flom)
Flying has never been a favorite of mine so when the opportunity to go to Norway came up I was delighted it was only an hour away. A smooth ride over the clouds a few bumps through them and I could see the vast waterways and rock formations of Stavanger.
I was greeted by my long lost friend Kenny, my best and most valued friend at university. I can not believe it has been 8/9 years since we last met and it’s like nothing has changed!
Saturday was a day exploring the wild and windy coast down to Olberg (see my next post!) and then back to the docks for food and drinks. Everybody warns Norway is expensive and it is but it’s so clean, safe, good quality food and drink, the service is excellent and who can resist the architecture? I would rather pay a little bit more and earn a lot more to live this way.
A little over a year ago I went on the trip of a lifetime to see my relatives in Washington. I stayed in two towns, the first St.John a grain town with lots of beautiful rolling hills and one main high street. The second was Elk Washington, more of a huge pine forest with no high street just a one stop shop and a grange hall (white wood building similar to a town hall founded after the civil war).
What has this got to do with printmaking? I hear you ask? Well its got everything to do with being a freelance creative and understanding your own practice as well as being appreciative for what you have and have achieved.