Stress has taken a toll on me these past few months. Physically, I got migranes and low energy. Mentally, I got depressed because of the situation we are in. Despite the effort to exercise and eat healthy, I felt that nothing is working. Good thing I have friends who motivate me to take a break and relax. I’m also thankful for those friends who stay despite our distance and lack of time to talk with each other.
Last month, I took a very short trip to Stavanger and Førde. The latter was an unplanned trip. My friend from Sandnes picked me up and then we drove to Førde to fetch our friend and her baby. Before we left and drove back to Stavanger, we went to the tourist attraction in Førde which is the Rex Garden. This garden is just a hundred meters away from my friend’s home.
So, what’s the story behind Rex Garden? Well according to my friend, this nature park is run by someone who apparently has a huge passion for landscaping. The park/garden has lots of plants and flowers. That’s why it is attracting visitors from other places. The wooden statues and sculptures here were made by a local artist from the area. The place is also beautiful because it is situated by the sea and a perfect place for grilling during the summer days.
Lyngheisenteret or the Heathland Centre is a museum and an information centre about preserving the culture, traditions and lifestyle of coastal heathlands. According to their websitethis unique and beautiful landcape is dissappearing in a high rate not just here in Norway but also in Europe. The Heathland Centre is located at Lygra in Alver Kommune. From Bergen it is about an hour car ride. You can also reach Lygra by taking the boat for only 40 minutes from Strandkaien.
I took this trip out of curiosity (and spontaneity) and because I wanted to see and explore a new place that is not so far from home. Since I had a day off last Wednesday, I took the opportunity to be extra active by taking long walks with my dog. I was also lucky because the weather was perfectly sunny.
From where I live, circa at Vågseidet, it takes around 15 minutes to drive to Seim. Then from Seim to Lygra where the Lyngheisenteret is, in theory should only take around 15 minutes. So, in total 30 minutes. But, I found the car trip longer as I’m not familiar with the roads and plus the roads are also narrow as well. So yeah, I took it slow.
As I was getting near my destination, the views were also getting more and more picturesque. I had to stop at atleast one of them! My favorite is the bridge that connects Lygra to Børøyna. I find it fascinating because of how low this bridge is!
After a couple of minutes, my dog and I were finally there. There are signs along the way so it’s not easy to get lost. There’s a large info board by the parking area with a brief history of the Heathland Centre and the map of the place. It’s actually very detailed.
The Heathland Centre is closed during the offpeak season. However, people are free to explore and wander the place. Just don’t forget to close the grinds because there might be sheep grazing here.
As expected of the west coast, the land is wet and moist. It has been raining a lot these past few months so there are short muddy trails. So I highly recommend that you wear good footwear here.
What I love about this place is that it has a beach. It’s not a typical mountain hike where there are mostly thick pine tree forest. Zorro and I took a break here on the way back.
To sum up, I can say that this is a very easy hike for people of all ages who love to take long walks with their love ones or with a dog. The trails are easy to spot and the information is not lacking either. The duration of the hike from the parking area is around 1 to 2 hours depending on your tempo. My number one tip is to use a pair of waterproof boots or hiking shoes.
When it comes to public transportation, check the bus company Skyss’ website for the schedule. For the information about overnight stays, camping and other concerns, check out the museum’s information site.
The Tall Ships Races is one of the biggest events in Europe every summer. The idea is to build good relationships between the different countries and cultures through sail training “tall” ships or sail boats. The participants should be at least 50 percent young people.
This year, we are fortunate enough to have witnessed this event because Bergen is one of the hosts. Even though Bergen is just 45 minutes away drive from where we live, we booked a room for 3 nights because we really wanted to see the festivities and to make most out of our city trip. The first days were rainy but it did not stop the people in checking out the sail boats.
The weather has finally cleared up the following day and up to the day the ships had to sail to their next destination which is Aarhus Denmark.
Rena is a small town in Hedmark region. Seven and a half hours car drive from Bergen and is located in the eastern part of Norway. Bf and I visited a relative who owns a camping place at Åsta just 15 minutes away from Rena center. We went here on the third week of July this year. We were invited so we didn’t have to pay for our stay. How cool is that? 🙂
Kvile means “relax” in Norwegian. I can say that my bf and I had a very comfortable and relaxed week during our stay here.
The cabin that we got is around 25 square meters big. It has a double deck bed, a dining table, chairs, heater, small fridge and a small kitchen counter with cabinets. So in short the cabin has everything that we need. However, there is no water supply and toilet inside the cabin. We had to go to the common washing area which is located just a few steps from the cabin.
What I love about this place is that there are a number of activities to choose from such as fishing, hiking, swimming, kayaking and grilling. Also, Rena is just 2 hours away to Sweden and circa an hour away to Oslo by car.
The camping area is also near a huge field. Just perfect for morning walks with the dog.
Just 5 minutes walk from the camp is the longest river in Norway, which is Glomma. According to my bf’s cousin, the river is rich in fish and therefore people come here to fish. But there are rules to follow and people who wants to fish here must get a permit first, since this is a freshwater river.
You can find a handful of information about fishing by the river and somewhere near the railways.
More pictures of the river shot from different places.
The place is also near the railway where the Åsta train accident happened in 2002. Here stands a monument stone with the names of the victims engraved. The accident is one of the biggest in the history of the transport industry.
Speaking of railways, have you heard about making a wish while standing on the railway? I had a classmate before in high school who told me that her wishes came true when she wished for something while standing on the railway. I admit that I had to make one when I took a picture of it.
Anyways, as I’ve mentioned earlier in this post, we were just 15 minutes away from Rena town center. Here can we find the schools, shops, restaurants and a wooden church.
Moving on, the weather during our visit here varied a lot. One day it was raining hard and just after a couple of hours the sun comes out. I can say that the weather in this part of Norway is way better compared to Bergen.
I can say that the 7.5 hours car trip to Rena is worth it. There are lots of beautiful places to see and this is one of the trips that I recommend if you want to see the difference between the western part and eastern part of Norway because you can see how the landscape change as you travel from the west to the east.
I’m ending this post with the link of Kvile Camping, for those who are interested in renting a cabin/s and caravan/tent place: http://www.kvilecamping.no/
A trip to London is incomplete without going to one of their plays. When I was planning this trip, I checked the plays that they have in London. There’s the Harry Potter, Mathilde and etc. I wanted to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But I didn’t pre order, so what happened is that the tickets were sold out during our stay in London. Lesson learned! Being spontaneous is not always a smart thing.
We went to Stomp instead because it was the only available play during our preferred time of the day and we booked the ticket at a shop/pawnshop/ticket office near the Queensbay tube station. The man who is working there (who I think is the owner) was helpful and was full of enthusiasm. He showed us a brochure of the plays available in London and tried to convince us to watch a play at least. He also promised us a good seat in the theatre too (which we didn’t get). The man seemed harmless and it seemed that he was just trying to make a living. I know that the tickets didn’t cost a lot, but since he is a reseller, the tickets cost a bit more than buying it directly at the theatre. I trusted him, my friend trusted him. My friend and I agreed with the price and paid him using our credit cards. I only found out about what he did when my credit card statement came and to my surprise I paid 40% more than the price of the tickets. He robbed us!
Even though we didn’t get the promised seat, my friend and I had a great time watching Stomp.
Anywho, a long weekend is not long enough in London. I don’t have a proper picture of the Big Ben, The London Eye, The West Minister’s Palace and the London Bridge because I forgot my charger and we spent our last night at my friend’s flat. But that’s alright at least I have seen them from the bus. I’m sure that I’m not gonna forget how they look like anyways! 🙂
Nevertheless the bad experience, London is a great experience. Aside from crossing the road (well, looking from right to left), I’ve learned that the Londoners are friendly contrary to what is portrayed in the media sometimes. Because you know, the suit and tie.
One of the main highlights of my London trip is experiencing the Lunar New Year in Chinatown. This is special to me because it was my very first time to visit a Chinatown in Europe.
My friend and I got there by foot from Primark store at Oxford Street on the western side. I think, we walked for around 15 minutes. When we arrived, the dragon dance just started.
We had a plan of eating at one the restaurants there, but because it was Chinese New Year, all of the restaurants were packed of people! People had to fall in line and wait. We did not wait because we’re starving and running out of energy, luckily we found a small place that sells steamed rice buns. So the main lesson here: “The early bird catches the worm”. However, we’re still grateful though because the steamed buns are good.
Moving on, a tour to the Chinatown is not complete without visiting a tea shop or a Chinese pharmacy. As a tea lover, I made sure that I would not miss the chance of getting myself at least a pack Chinese tea.
The tea shop’s name is Beijing Tong Ren Tang and is located at Shaftsbury Avenue. I only found the tea shop accidentally on our way out of the China Town.
So, what to find inside? Well, of course lots of teas and teawares! They got everything, from dragon tea, oolong, pur erh and you name it. I got myself a pack of pu erh, a pack of black tea, a clay teapot and a gaiwan (will write a separate post later).
Huge tea cannisters!
The teashop’s fasade.
Gaiwans in the display.
Anyway, I can say that I had fun at Chinatown. I’ll definitely come back here again on my next trip to London.
London is one of my must-see cities. So on my birthday week, I went to London with my friend who also has the same birthday month (January) as I am.
I flew directly to London with British Airways from Bergen. The airfare was not the cheapest (but has one of the cheapest fares) but I prefer it than SAS and Norwegian because it was the only direct flight to Heathrow. The SAS flight have a layover in Stavanger, which I really hate because it only means chaos in the airport and tax-free. While my friend flew with SAS because she was taking the flight from Stavanger.
When I left, the temperature in Bergen was approximately 10 degrees Celsius and to my surprise, it was colder in London! It was zero degrees! Good thing that we have brought our good warm jackets with us. It was freezing cold! When we arrived at the hotel, it was already dark so just stayed in the hotel and relaxed.
Our first day in London’s spent in sightseeing and exploring the nearby parks. Since we stayed at Byron Hotel which is in Queensborough Terrace, we were just a couple of minutes away from Hyde Park and the Kensington Palace.
The next park we visited is the Holland Park. Actually, we were looking for the famous Filipino restaurant in London, but we have decided to take a walk in the park first on the way to the restaurant.
Inside the Holland Park, you can find the Kyoto Garden. I would call this a gem because it captures not only our attention but also our senses. It is indeed unique in this place. Kyoto Garden was created by a Japanese designer to celebrate Japan Festival in London in 1992 according to rbkc.gov.uk. My friend and I spent at least half an hour here to unwind.
After a couple of hours walking in the park, we were off to find Romulo Cafe, the famous Filipino restaurant that I mentioned earlier. I’m sure some of you will ask why eat in a Filipino restaurant when you’re in London. Our reasons are because my friend and I were craving for Filipino food and there is no Filipino restaurant in Bergen and Stavanger. So this was our chance to satisfy our cravings!
After our dinner, we are on the move again! This time, to meet our friend in the Royal Victoria and Albert Museum.
My friend and I were on a budget trip, so as much as possible we went to places with either free entrance or with cheap entrance fee. We were lucky during our visit to this museum because there was a free concert too. So it’s like hitting two birds with one stone! 🙂
Sometimes the thought of travelling abroad to see new places makes us forget to appreciate our own country/home. I’m not saying that we should for example stop dreaming of seeing the Eiffel Tower or the Coloseum of Rome. My point is that there are also beautiful and unexplored places in your own country. Not only that you get to learn about the history of the nearby places but you also get to support the local tourism in the country. And besides local travelling can be less expensive too. You can also squeeze in a short trip to the next town or city in your busy week.
About a month ago, I took a 3 hour cruise to Mostraumen. The catamaran leaves at 10 a.m. and is back in Bergen at 1 p.m. I took the trip because I really wanted to travel somewhere I’ve never been to and at the same time near my place. My bf was out of town for work and I was left with our dog and the fishes, hence the short trip.
The trip is very relaxing. I chose to sit on the upper deck on the way to Mostraumen for a better view. I usually get anxious during boat rides but because of the beauty of the fjords, I didn’t get nervous at all!
The cost of this fjord trip is 550 NOK or 59 Euros. Snacks and refreshments are not included but there is a small kiosk on board if ever you get thirsty/hungry.
For more information about Bergen-Mostraumen cruise please check out this link.
Earth is not just a planet. It is our home and our one and ONLY home in the universe. Therefore we should take good care of it because this is the only home we have. I don’t care if you have the largest mansion or if you are the richest man in the world. If you do not respect nature then I suggest that you find another planet to pollute!
The pictures below were taken on the 2nd day of Easter. Hubby, Zorro and I went to Kaland Austerheim to celebrate Easter. We were fortunate enough for the sunny weather during that weekend. A very good friend of mine visited too, so we had a wonderful Lenten season this year.
Then there came the mood breaker. When we were walking along the shore we found some plastic trash! There’s the plastic grocery bag, a plastic bottle, small hard plastic bits which I could not tell what and smaller plastic bags! Instead of just sitting and enjoying the view, I picked up the trash because I cannot take it and never would I let these wastes get back to the sea. It is just painful for me to imagine that animals can die because of these plastics that we have found.
Anyway, have a nice day and happy Earth day everyone!