Sunday’s Daily Mail newspaper had a great article on Heroin and UK’s involvement in Afghanistan. Click here to read the article.
This past week, Britain lost another soldier in Afghanistan and author Craig Murry offers an interesting look at the bumper crop of opium and now heroin and what has happened since we removed the Taliban and how they have been replaced by drug lords including top ranked officials of the Karzai’s government.
On July 7th, we headed north out of Sogndal and driving towards the Austerdalen Valley and the Jostedalsbreen glacier – Norway’s largest glacier.
As soon as we left Sogndal, we came around a corner and took several reflective photos of a lake and mountain. We then took a short side trip to Solvorn, a small village on the Fjord. Here we bot some more strawberries that were just picked by the locals.
We then continued up the valley and drove passed an 18km lake. The road was very narrow and many narrow tunnels. This time the tunnels had no lights, and Rick did not like driving through them.
After about 2 hrs, we reached the start of our 16km hike up to view the glacier. It was actually flat most of the way but very rocky and lots of water to cross. The final portion was pretty steep and then opened up to a really nice view of the tongue of the glacier. In 1894, an Englishman found this area and called it ” the finest ice scenery in Europe”. We felt very small sitting on the ridge looking at the glacier. While sitting there, we could hear the sounds of the glacier, cracking and rocks dropping underneath.
After we hiked out, we headed back to Sogndal. There was a “ride the rockies” type of a bike race going on and they were still riding into Sogndal.
At 07:07:07 PM on the 07 Jul 07, we celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary with a nice bottle of wine, some Norwegian Salmon, and expensive tomatos we purchased in town.
To view more photos of this portion of our Norway trip, click here.
On July 6th, we woke up to the “ship d’ jour”. Another cruise ship arrived about 7AM. It was not a large as the QE2.
Today, we decided to take a half day Fjord tour on the ferry. We left Flam and sailed through the Aurlandsfjord and into the Naeroyfjord, which is the narrowest fjord in Europe. We had wonderful weather, calm waters, and fabulous views.
It took about 2 hours each direction. Some of the villages in the Fjord, Drydal, are only accessible by boat. One person got off in Drydal and it appeared that the entire community came out to meet her. It appeared to be a “commune”.
The Naeroyfjord is about 18km long and only 6km is covered by roads and on just one side.
On the return portion of our tour, the seagulls followed our ferry almost all the way back to Flam as passengers were feeding the birds. Several times we had to move or duck out of the way of seagull droppings.
After we finished our tour, we drove to Aurland and found accomodation for our final two nights. Then we continued on and took a small car ferry to Sogndal area. We had booked accomodations in Balastran but found a place in Sogndal and were able to cancel our the reservations. After being in Norway for a few days we decided that we would enjoy this area more and looked forward to the next day when we would hike to a glacier.
To view more photos of this portion of our trip, click here.
On July 5Th, we woke up and looked our window and looked directly at the Queen Elizabeth 2. It had just sailed into the dock at about 6AM after being leaving the arctic circle. This is one big ship and seem to take up the entire end of the Fjord.
Today, we drove down the Fjord to Aurland (8km) and then headed up a road above the town. We stopped a wonderful view vantage point looking over the Fjord. Even the toilet had a view.
We then parked the car and started a hike up the ridge called “Prest”. Each time we get a little higher, we would stop and take more photos. After 1.5hrs and a pretty steep climb, we reached the “Prest” area. After signing the log book, we decided to hike up further to another point. This took about 45 mins.
We sat on the top and had lunch and enjoyed the views below.
After our hike, we continued on the road to Lardel. This was across the snow fields. They snow was piled up to 10-15′ in some areas.
Driving back to Flam, we passed through the world’s longest tunnel (24.5KM). Before they finished this tunnel the only way across the top was the long narrow road that we drove on. The tunnel really opened up the next Fjord area.
To view more photos of this portion of our trip, click here.
On July 4Th, we got up early and took the tube (underground) to Liverpool rail station and caught the 7:50AM train to Stansted Airport . This is a regional airport about 45 minutes by train north of London. We flew on Norwegian Air to Bergen, Norway. After 1.5hr flight, we picked up our rental car and started our 2.5 hr drive to Flam. Flam is called the “nutshell” of the Norwegian Fjord area.
After leaving the airport, we stopped by a shopping center to stock up on some groceries for our lunches. We were really impressed when we entered the grocery store when we noticed people using a recycle machine to return cans, bottles, and some plastic bags. Also the store used an innovative idea of displaying the prices for items on a digital display device under the items.
As we drove towards Flam we drove by the fjord next to Bergen and several lakes. The water was so flat and reflective, we had to stop and take some photos. We also drove through several long tunnels (11km). Everywhere you look you could see a waterfall. When we drove around the corner in the road, both of us at the same time said, “look at that!!!”. It was the largest and closest waterfall we had seen.
When we arrived in Flam we could not believe the view of the Fjord. It was absolutely beautiful.
After we checked in to our hotel, we walked around the area and enjoyed the views. It was still light out when we went to bed at almost 11PM. It also started to get light about 2AM.
To view more photo of this portion of our trip, Click Here
Just a quick post. We arrived safely back in London after a week in Norway. We had a wonderful holiday. Norway was beautiful with fjord’s, gorges, snowfields, waterfalls, and tunnels. Norway was very expensive even after living in London. One evening we decided to share a cheeseburger, fries, and a coke at in a small village. It was $19. We bought 4 vine tomatos at the local grocery store for $6. Petrol was over $7.50/gal.
Norway has the longest car tunnel ,through it’s mountains, in the world at 24.5KM. We did 3 serious hikes. The first one was a very steep climb to the top with a dramatic view looking down into the fjord. We also hike up to the largest glacier in Europe. While eating our lunch next to the glacier, we could hear it creeking, cracking, and rocks falling underneath into the glacier flow. Our third hike was up a valley to view the 2500M mountains but our view was blocked by the clouds except for a brief peak when we drove into the parking lot.
I will review the rest of the photos and make some additional post in a couple days.
Since summer started, it has rained almost every day. This is really played havic on Wimbledon Tennis tournament. Matches start on one day and finish over the next couple days.
Today has been the worse since it rains and then clears up quickly. Nadal’s Saturdays match actual started playing yesterday (3 Jul) and had several “delays” and he was up 2 sets to 0 needing one point to win the match. He hit what appeared to be a winner that was ruled out and then it started raining again. After several more attempts to get in the match, they ended tied 2 sets to 2 and Nadal up 2-0 in 5th set. That was last night. Today, after several attempts, they are tied 4-4 in the 5th.
It does not look any better for tomorrow.
Since last Friday’s failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in central London, there has been a noticeable increase in security and when you are outside you hear “Sirens after Sirens”. I thought it was bad before last week but now it seems like a continuous sound.
They have arrested 8 people believe to be part of the latest attacks. The profiles have changed as several of the people arrested are Doctors and have come here within the past couple years from Jordon and Iraq. The two people that drove a SUV into Glasgow’s airport terminal apparently were Doctors. The police found another car at the local hospital that contained bomb material and had to be control detonated.
Yesterday, I had to go to the Liverpool Rail station and I used the underground (tube). This is the first time that I have seen police riding on the tube. Since we are staying directly across from Scotland Yard, I can see the increase in the number of police with sub-machine guns. Also just along Victoria Street this morning, I noticed more police on the street.
London has more CCTV cameras than any place in the world. Somewhere around 3 million including vehicle registration identification cameras. It has been reported that a normal person in London for 1 day, that their image will be captured around 300 times. I walk by Scotland Yard almost daily and normally wave to the CCTV cameras.
We are headed to Norway on the 4th of July and will return on the 10th. At least we will be out of London on the 2 year anniversary of the 7 Jul 05 bombings……