Tag Archives: Bergen

Viking Pagans Were of their Time, Monotheists Worse in More Recent Times

If I.S. have done one good thing for humanity and the world it is to show the horrors of war; of course, they weren’t meaning to do good for humanity and the world. As Simon Schama pointed out at the start of the Civilisations programme with the account of the killing of Khaled al-Asaad, 82, at Palmyra, for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of art pieces, they were doing it to intimidate and threaten, using new information technology.

Art of the Vikings

My interest in Viking culture (500-1100 AD) was inspired by The Vikings movie (1958), and when I was young it was all about their scenic sailing warriordom; as I was intrigued by wild pagan Native American horseriding culture from Hollywood movies.

However, in modern times; I intended starting my travels by taking the ferry to Bergen, Norway, but then changed them as I waited for the Monsters of Rock in late August, and so headed south straightaway, before reaching there for the Midnight Sun Marathon in 2007; I admire Scandinavia for its democratic civilised qualities and environmental initiatives.

In the latest NASA’s Unexplained Files I liked the story of the skydiver seeing a rock fall near him, causing a year-long search. When a NASA worker worked out it must have fallen from his parachute, the Norwegian investigator said he thought everybody would be angry, but they were all happy and congratulatory, because they’d been honest, and science had worked. That’s the kind of scientific ethos I try to have with my writing and research.

In Secret Knowledge: The Art of Vikings I liked the jadeYgrey Buddha statue they found some Vikings had from the 6th Century Swat Valley in the heart of Asia, which was then Buddhist (about 14 minutes of the documentary).

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Then just after about 20 minutes of the 30 minutes documentary, Dr. Ramirez says she thinks one of the main interests the pagan Vikings first saw in the Christian religion was the part played by fish, as they were a part of their natural folklore too, and they valued living things the most. This thirty-five piece gold, silver and bronze (me: Olympic medals relevance?) Viking fishtail necklace shows their respect:

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Vikings in Historical Context Compared to Monotheism

Inquisition Documentary Shows Christian Horrors

The Yesterday channel series about the Inquisition has showed the horrors of the Christian church in Europe from the 11th Century to the 19th, with the last episode focusing on the British witch trials. Thousands of people were killed, with most being women who were the community healers; or victims of grudges and land grabs. Britain wasn’t as bad as continental Europe, and one man called Matthew Hopkins killed the majority of victims in a three years period 1644-1647.

Muslim Pirates Acting Like Vikings Until 19th Century

Barbary pirates were raiding Europe as the Vikings had done up to the 19th Century, capturing victims for sale as slaves, until European nations united to repel them. Over a million Europeans were enslaved from 1530 to 1780. Some of the enslavers were European ‘converts’.

When I was reading about Iceland around my January visit I saw that it suffered horrific such attacks in 1627, with hundreds of victims killed, and hundreds forced into slavery. (Wikipedia).

Conclusion

I’ve grown out of my childhood and youthful Romantic Viking Hollywood movie inspiration now, and relate more to Odin than Loki of the Valhalla pantheon; wisdom over trickery; especially after seeing the Valhalla Rising film featured heavily in the Scandinavian section of XaW Files!

As Dr. Ramirez pointed out at the end of her Art of the Vikings documentary, the battles for ‘England’ in 1066 were basically a Viking civil war, with the Normans (Norsemen) Vikings who settled in northern France, and those already resident in ‘England’ having strong Viking links after hundreds of years of residency.

I updated my thoughts on the Americas migration, and its connection to the Middle-East, last night on fmpoetry.wordpress.com, arguing that what is most amazing about it is that the Mayans featured similar structures and symbols (500-800 AD) about 20,000 years after their ancestors must have left the Middle-East to start the migration to the Americas, and where the Mesopotamians would signify the importance of the bag-carrying Apkallu around 2500 BC.

Norway in a Nutshell Photos

Update: there are now more Voss, Naeroyfjord and Flam-Myrdal photos creating a folklorish short story involving a viking family, sleeping waterfalls and a lost quest on the greenygrey.co.uk blog.

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I was hoping to do the Norway in a Nutshell tour on my way to Oslo, but found out in Voss tourist info that it can’t be done as part of the train journey from Voss, only on the whole Bergen to Oslo train journey.

Norway in a Nutshell Naeroyfjord

A bus was leaving to start the Nutshell tour outside the station, so I  bought a ticket and was on my way to Norway in a Nutshell, including the steep-sided UNESCO heritage site Naeroyfjord and the steep winding Flam to Myrdal railway line.

Here’s some photos (they don’t really capture the scale of the Naeroyfjord; cars on the road around the fjord looked matchbox sized!):

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Naeroyfjord waterfalls.
Norway postal service flag and Naeroyfjord ice waterfall.
Norway flag and Naeroyfjord ice waterfall.
Seagulls fed by passengers.
Seagulls fed by passengers.
Narrow waterway through steep mountains.
Narrow waterway through steep mountains.
Naerofjord village.
Naeroyfjord village.
Trains pass on the Flam-Myrdal trainline.
Trains pass on the Flam-Myrdal trainline.

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Bergen to Voss Railway Journey Poem and Photos

For five days I’d hardly written.

But walking down to Bergen
railway station new thoughts and idea
memories cascaded like Ulriken mountain waterfalls.

In ninety minutes waiting for my train
I wrote three pages.

Then I travelled.

On a trainline
I’d heard and read
is one of the most scenic
in the world.

Then I saw its start.

Bergen to Voss Train Journey

Here’ s some photos of my Sunday morning journey from Bergen to Voss on the Oslo trainline.

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Bergen to Voss on the Oslo trainline.
Hardangerfjord between Bergen and Voss.
Dale town, between Bergen and Voss.
River and mountains between Bergen and Voss.
River and mountains between Bergen and Voss.
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River, mountains and bridge between Bergen and Voss.

 

Troll provides warm welcome at Voss railway station.
Troll provides warm welcome at Voss railway station.

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Mount Ulriken, Bergen, Norway Photos

After following a sign on Mount Ulriken to Hostel Montana I thought I’d return to the path I’d ascended the mountain, but found myself in unfamiliar territory as I left the waterfall and reached roads and houses.

Mount Ulriken to Saedalen

Then I realised I must be the other side of the tunnel I’d visited a few days before on a random trek to the south-west. I was in Saedalen. I walked over the tunnel, as there was no pedestrian access, and returned to the road already trodden.

I’d enjoyed my time on Mount Ulriken, but it was also nice to be returning to civilisation; to a hot shower, food and relaxation with a morning’s achievement for contemplation. It reminded me of a Folding Mirror poem I’d recently written, and that I’ve just published on fmpoetry.wordpress.com.

Here’s some photos:

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Mount Ulriken Signs.
Looking back at my Mount Ulriken path.
Looking back at my Mount Ulriken path.
Returning to Colour from a monochrome world.
Returning to multiple colours from a monochrome world.
Waterfall noise and colour tells mind it is returning to normality; down from the unfamiliar sky world.
Waterfall noise and colour tells mind it is returning to normality; down from the unfamiliar sky world.
Goodbye to Mount Ulriken and waterfall.
Goodbye to Mount Ulriken and waterfall.

Videos of Mount Ulriken and Waterfall

Mount Ulriken: Before the Water
Mount Ulriken: Finding Water
Mount Ulriken: Little Waterfall
Mount Ulriken: Stronger Waterfall
Mount Ulriken: End of the Waterfall

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Trekking Mount Ulriken in Snow

On April 13th, 2013 I’d used Captain Lawrence Oates‘s famous last words from 1912 on my Greenygrey blog. Suffering from injuries, Oates walked into the Antarctic cold to try and help the rest of the Terra Nova expedition, reportedly telling them he ‘may be some time.’

On May 4th, 2013 that quote and my use of it returned to me, as I scaled Mount Ulriken and walked into thick snow and cloud. My situation was just similar enough to remind me. I cannot claim that the scale of my expedition and problems were anywhere near as massive as the Terra Nova expedition.

Mount Ulriken Videos and Photos

I’d been planning to trek some of the paths on Mount Ulriken on my last day in Bergen, and my guide book said they were well-marked, so I didn’t let the thick cloud and snow stop me.

It worked out well, and I enjoyed the couple of hours I spent in isolation. My feet were cold and wet after falling through thick snow into streams, but adrenalin and imagination fuelled my top half.

I started filming the water, and made it into a five-part Ulriken water video sequence; starting from the top like the water itself, and down to a bridge where I last sighted it.

Mount Ulriken: Before the Water
Mount Ulriken: Finding Water
Mount Ulriken: Little Waterfall
Mount Ulriken: Stronger Waterfall
Mount Ulriken: End of the Waterfall

Here’s some photos:

Mount Ulriken Snow Photos

Climbing Mount Ulriken for second time.
Runner races ahead as I climb Mount Ulriken for second time.
A lone spider on the snowbound Mount Ulriken.
A lone spider on the snowbound Mount Ulriken.
Penguin long way from home.
Penguin long way from home.
Cloud clears to reveal a cabin in 'Christmas Card' setting.
Cloud clears to reveal a cabin in ‘Christmas Card’ setting.
Route signpost.
Route signpost.
Descending from the top, finding more water and vegetation.
Descending from the top, finding more water and vegetation.

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

 

Bergen Fjord Boat-Trip

Posting the last blog inspired a second Folding Mirror nature poem from watching snow and rain on my third day in Bergen, and it is now published on fmpoetry.wordpress.com.

Osterfjorden Bergen Boat-Trip

On my third day in Bergen I booked a half-day boat-trip to the steep-sided Osterfjorden for the next day. That night, the weather forecast predicted heavy rain for the next day.

I woke up to thick snow on the ground outside Hostel Montana, half way up Mount Ulriken; providing ‘Christmas Card’ scenery. It was even more so in the Osterfjorden.

While it would probably have been better to have sunshine and clear skies, the snow and low cloud gave the fjord a ‘land that time forgot’ atmosphere. There were just a few settlements on Osterøy island; which we were told is Europe’s largest land-enclosed island; meaning it probably looked similar to the Vikings more than a millenium ago.

Osterfjorden Photos

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Bergen’s Bryggen Unesco Site Old Docks Photos

After yesterday’s blog focused on my hike to Bergen‘s UNESCO site old docks of Bryggen, this post has lesser greenygrey photos from Bryggen. The Greenygrey blog has more photos from Bryggen; of a more greenygrey nature.

Bergen’s Bryggen Photos

On a day of sunshine and showers, the sun shone enough to get some nice photos, bringing out the bright colours of the docks buildings.

In photo 7 you can see the Floibanen funicular in the background. This is a popular tourist attraction providing transport up to Mount Floyen (320 metres) for a good view over Bergen.

The last two photos were taken the next day, as I returned from a boat-trip out to the steep-sided Osterfjord. Photos from that trip next time…

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Bergen Photos: Hiking Ulriken to Bryggen

On my third day I returned to the centre of Bergen, having only seen a little of it the first time, when I arrived at the bus station. Heading straight to Bryggen, I ended up going left and circling around Nordnesparken park. I had all day, so wasn’t bothered, and it was a nice detour.

In a double-day simultaneous blogcast with the Greenygrey I’ve divided the photos into pre-Bryggen (the UNESCO site old docks) today, and Bryggen tomorrow; and non-greenygrey photos here and greenygrey ones over at the greenygrey blog… although there is some greenygrey in these too!

Hopefully you’ll like them so much you’ll visit both blogs on both days. Here’s this site’s pre-Bryggen:

Bergen Photos

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Looking back at Mount Ulriken from east of Bergen’s centre, and west of a North Sea arm reaching into the city.
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Logen Theatre and garden, Bergen.
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Sardine Factory, Bergen.
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Storm over Sandviken, looking north from Bergen’s western Nordnesparken park promontory.
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Bergen old town alley.

Greenygrey blog pre-Bryggen:
http://www.greenygrey.co.uk/blog/?p=10864

Hiking Bergen South: Waterfall, Lake, Church, Sun and Storm

Heavy rain, sleet and snow fell in the afternoon. Although this would normally have been bad news, I was quite happy about it. It made me glad I’d climbed Mount Ulriken in the morning; and provided a perfect excuse to sit by the radiator enjoying the morning’s achievement while watching the inclement weather.

It cleared late afternoon, so I went out for a walk. As I’d hiked from the north to the hostel, and planned to return north to see the city centre, I headed south.

I had a nice walk, seeing some ordinary Bergen neighbourhoods, and reaching a hill with views quite far south to a lake. And the hike came in handy a few days later, after I returned to Mount Ulriken and descended from its heavy snow and cloud covered top in an unknown direction.

Here’s some photos of my southerly walk:

Waterfall runs between houses.
Waterfall runs between houses.
Lake Nesttunvatnet visible from my end point.
Lake Nesttunvatnet visible from my end point.
Landas church through a greenygrey fence.
Landas church’s greenygrey roof viewed through a greenygrey fence.
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Storm and sun over Bergen.

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Bergen, Norway, Fjord, City and Sunset Photos

After a mixture of sunshine and showers on the journey from Haugesund, the sun was thankfully shining bright when I arrived in Bergen. I’d been thinking about getting a city bus up to Hostel Montana, after reading it was up a mountain 5km (3.5 miles) outside the centre, but had also written out a rough map copied from the hostel website.

Bergen Mountain Houses Shine in Afternoon Sun

After seeing the colourful mountain houses circling the city centre shining in the late afternoon sun, as I’d seen in many photos, I felt like walking. So I headed south. After feeling a bit lost, I saw a #12 bus, which is the bus to the hostel.

So I followed the bus route up to the hostel, which was not a light stroll in the land of the troll.

Bergen Sunset Lights Fjord and Houses

While the walk had been quite tough, I was glad I was staying on the mountain when the sun set; which on that April 30th night I was surprised to see was already quite late at about 10.30-11; about the same time as British midsummer.

The fjord lit up like a real fire, and the mountain houses like precious topaz.

Here’s some photos:

Bergen mountain houses.
Bergen mountain houses.
Bergen street.
Bergen street.
Kong (King) Oscars Gate on the street of that name.
Kong (King) Oscars Gate on the street of that name.
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Trees line Kong Oscars Gate street.
A storm arrived from further south.
A storm arrived from further south.
Bergen sunset from the Hostel Montana.
Bergen sunset from the Hostel Montana.
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Bergen mountain houses lit by sunset.
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Bergen sunset darkens and deepens, providing another spectacular photo (in my opinion; not much photography skill required!).

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).