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Updated: December 4, 2010 20:37 IST

Where seeing is believing

HEMAMALINI SUKUMAR
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BREATH-TAKING Sheer cliffs and icy waters of a Norwegian fjord
BREATH-TAKING Sheer cliffs and icy waters of a Norwegian fjord

Catch breathtaking views of Norway's mountains and fjords as you journey to Bergen

Gargantuan cliffs pierce the sky and then drop abruptly into the ocean — Norway's fjords are dramatic. My ship was a tiny speck between two mountains, a few seagulls pirouetted ahead to form a landscape that was mind-blowing. A small signboard at the pier of Bergen said, ‘Welcome to Norway'.

We chose the most scenic way to get to Bergen by taking a ride that's called Norway in a Nutshell. The first leg of the journey was by train from Oslo to Myrdal where landscapes slipped past rapidly like a picture postcard gallery — dark chocolate horses forming a silhouette against lush green meadows, water gushing across rocks and cascading into a stream below. From Myrdal, we took a rather antique train to Flam. We could feel it creak as it took us slowly through steep ravines. Flam to Voss was by a ship that zigzagged through the famous fjords of Norway.

Bergen's cityscape is dotted with cafes and markets humming with activity on balmy summer evenings. Once you turn away from the main street, the city folds into rows of narrow streets lined with small wooden houses, like a complex piece of origami. But the streets almost always have either a fountain, a market or a pier at the end, making a stroll interesting.

Mountain climbing

The summit of Mt. Floyen is a good vantage point from where you can gaze at the city. If you are interested in dining at 1050 ft above sea level, there is a restaurant on top of the mountain with a folksy menu. There are walking trails near the top that take you right into the belly of the dense woodlands. Considering it rains quite often in Bergen, the woodlands shine a bright green. Many a bewitched Nature lover has been known to get lost in the dense vegetation.

Bryggen Wharf

The Bryggen Wharf, lined with candy-coloured houses, is a world heritage site. But the place is more about sounds than the view. I sit by the water and close my eyes. I hear the strains of a distant violin playing in harmony with the sound of horses hooves. I hear the gentle ripple of water as the yacht near me tries to break free. I hear the hubbub at a fish market. A bird call. These make up a pretty mental picture that I take back with me.

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