Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Norwegian Coastline

After a very scenic morning drive and a few fjord-crossings, we hit the outskirts of Bergen at lunchtime, managing to find another no-frills cabin* for a two night stay here :-(. That brings us to the end of approximately 3500km/2200 miles of Norwegian coastline. The exact length is hard to determine due to the mix of road, coastal ferry and fjord-crossing throughout the 10 days. To put that in perspective for long distance routes I'm familiar with:
  • Australia: Sydney to Cairns is 2800km
  • USA: Seattle to LA and back is 3100km
  • UK: Land's End to John O'Groats and back is 2800km

or in more visual terms:

Billions of miles.

* For some reason all the no-smoking cabins smell like they just went non-smoking on the day I arrived, that is to say that opening the door would make a nightcub bouncer gag. However most of Norway (and Eastern Europe for that matter) has had bed linen smelling like cigarette ash regardless of the room status. Either the linen is not segregated or not cleaned properly or the laundresses of this part of the world are chain-smokers.

Unicorn: Psst. Don't turn around, but there's a f----ing big dog behind you.

Afer being suitably recaffeinated in the town centre, I decided it was time to shed my polar explorer tresses which revealed a bad case of skullcap hair. Convinced that Vikings only had long hair because of the cost of Norwegian barbers, I had postponed this for a while, until I found someone whose English extended to "You want cut like mine? [Not quite] Good. [2 minutes of shearing]. 130 please."

Feeling rather light-headed after that, we wandered over most of the city centre, and then over to the old waterfront waterhouses in Bryggen, a World Heritage Area covering the remains of the few wooden buildings remaining from the height of the Hanseatic trading league of 500 years past.

Bullwinkle, is that you?; Bryggen alleyway

Finished reading the very insightful "Undercover Economist" by Tim Harford.

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