Bergen and Bryggen

The City of Bergen transports you back in time, to a time when life was simpler.  A life that revolved around good fresh food, healthy outdoor activity, family and friends!  As a tourist, you only have a glimpse into the lives of the people who live and work there.  Three days wasn’t enough time to explore the surrounding area, but I was able to relax at my comfortable Airbnb apartment, when I wasn’t browsing the streets of Bergen and the area known as Bryggen, which means “Wharf” in Norwegian, and consists of 61 wooden buildings, along the waterfront.  What’s remarkable is that the City of Bergen is almost 1,000 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Incredibly, it stays light in Norway until 10 or 11pm and daylight begins around 3am in the late Spring.  During our three days in Bergen, it sprinkled rain perhaps a third of the time, but Norwegians say, “It’s not bad weather, just bad clothing choice”!  Having arrived in town the evening before, tired from our spectacular day traveling from Oslo to Bergen through the Fjords of Norway, we decided to wait until the next morning to go grocery shopping.  I awoke earlier than my three Tour participants, as usual, so I went off in search of the closest grocery, which was thankfully only a 5 to 10 minute walk from our Airbnb.  I purchased eggs for omelets, bacon (because one of the others wanted it) bread, cheese, lunchmeat, and a few other staples, to help with the high cost of eating out in Norway.  The only coffee maker in the apartment was a French press, which I’ve never used, but with a bit of instruction, I caught on quickly, and made a nice pot full.  I then proceeded to make a nice breakfast for everyone.  The main tourist attraction I had planned for us was to go to the top of Mount Floyen, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post!

Here are some photos of the captivating town of Bergen…

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Palace Splendor in Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal is a wonderful day trip from Lisbon.  In less than an hour by train, you can step back in time and feast your eyes upon a splendid castle that dates back to the 8th century!  The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the view of the surrounding town from within the fortress walls is…so European!

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The Pena Palace was built in the 1840’s and even has a drawbridge.  I took this zoom photo of the Palace from the Castle and then we walked to it.

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Here is the view as you’re approaching…

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Whenever I’m exploring something or somewhere new, I get a rush from the anticipation and literally have to hold myself back from running to it!  It’s a photographer’s dream!

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The Pena Park surrounds the area (Palace and Castle).  We hiked through a small section of it and would have seen more, but it wasn’t clearly marked and we got lost a few times.

Upon arriving back in Lisbon, we boarded our overnight train to Madrid and upon arrival in the morning…immediately boarded a three hour train to Barcelona, Spain!

Hiking Machu Picchu

Hiking Machu Picchu is one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences and I enjoyed every moment of the three and 1/2 day, 27 mile hike!  I was traveling with 10 other fellow adventurers on a G Adventures trip in May of 2009.  We had visited the absolutely breathtaking Lake Titicaca  and were on an all day public bus ride to the beautiful and vibrant town of Cusco, which is located about thirty minutes by train to the start of the Inca Trail hike.  Typically, we traveled by private van, but this trip was an exception.

The road to Cusco from Lake Titicaca is very curvy and mountainous.  Unfortunately for the other passengers, I had intestinal problems.  The bus was swaying from side to side along the twisting roads and the restroom was small, dark, and void of toilet paper.   I couldn’t avoid the imagined glares from passengers as I had to utilize the facilities a few times that day!

For the previous two weeks, we had gradually risen in elevation within Peru, which is a good thing when you’re going to hike the Inca Trail.  Altitude sickness can strike young, old, fit or not…so if you can acclimatize…all the better!

Cusco reminded me of Europe.  Cobblestones, narrow streets and history everywhere!

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Positive Energy Adventure – Colorado/New Mexico 8/2011 – Day 3

This morning I made us an omelet, 12-grain toast, strawberries, blueberries and banana for breakfast.  We drove 1 1/2 hrs. to the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  I was driving and after we paid the $15 entrance fee, there was another somewhat “scary” mountain road to traverse before arriving at the top where the Park was located.

We waited in line for about 30 minutes for tickets to the Cliff Palace and then went to the Museum for a 20 minute video about the Park.  We then toured Spruce Tree House.  This is the walk down to it…

After eating our picnic lunch, we were ready for the 1:30pm tour of Cliff Palace.  It almost looks like a miniature reproduction…

The tour guide was very friendly and made the tour interesting…

We had to climb some ladders…

We got back to Durango at 4pm…explored the town some…ran into Oprah…(not really)…

This is a Hummingbird Moth…at first I thought it was a Hummingbird!

We had dinner at Francisco’s, which was very good.  Next stop was the Balcony Bar & Grill, where there was live music and very strong drinks!  We had a long island, which we nicknamed “After Mesa..Got Verde Wasta”.    This is the duo…it looks like she’s naked, but she’s not!

It was another great day!!