The Rambling Family



Chasing the Aurora

Our final night on the Hurtigruten Nordnorge was monumental  for Zoe and I.  Since Avi fell asleep at dinner,   Bryan took him back to the room to read and go to sleep early.  He was tired as well and not interested in the late night port call at Svolvaer.  So, Zoe and I donned our winter gear and followed rumors of some northern lights action out the port side.

Our first glimpse was a bit vague.  The sky had puffy clouds which would occasionally hide the full moon, and behind one of these clouds, seemingly emanating from a mountain was a green haze similar to the orange glow that might show up in the sky above a distant city. It was unique and pretty, but still not breathtaking.

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After a fun couple days hanging around the fjordlands of Voss and Flam, we returned to Bergen for a rainy day before boarding our ferry boat.   Logistics were funny.  Bryan dropped the kids and I off in downtown Bergen, and then drove to the airport to return the rental car and take the Flybussen back into town.  In the meantime, it started raining and both kids were grumpy: we tried going to a toy store but it (along with most of the town, it seems) was closed for Easter week.  The downpour got pretty heavy when I noticed a small pedestrian tunnel for us to duck into for a spell.  Turns out, it was actually the entrance to the funicular to the top of Mt. Fløyen.  I had no Norwegian money (Kroner), since Bryan had a stash we had been using. Luckily, the place took credit cards and  wasn’t very pricey…so we went up.  It was a fun, quick 5 minute ride with a pretty view of town until we reached the top and were inside the cloud that had been raining.  So, just a picture of white over the railing.  The rain let up a bit up there, and was more of a fine mist to wade through.   AND, lo and behold, this is where the Bergenites were on such a day.  While the town itself seemed dead, Mt. Floyen was crawling with families… decked out in full body rubber rain gear…. and playing at the super cool playground.   Though the kids had no actual rain gear, they were in water resistant coats and fleece lined repellant trousers, so I let them go to town and get as wet and muddy as they wanted.  We busted out the hats and gloves and they had a blast.  There was a traditional playground, a troll-themed forest play area, and even a ropes course.  We had a lot of fun, and then had to run to catch the down-funicular so we could meet Bryan at the designated time.

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A long long time ago Bryan and I stayed in a little cabin in the woods in upstate New York. It was owned by a Norwegian lady and she talked her country up so much I wondered why she lived in NY! It sounded heavenly: especially the trip of a lifetime aboard the Hurtigruten – the coastal ferry that cruises from south to the very north and back again. She even gave me a tour book of it that I’ve worn thin with dreaming. It’s not cheap, and that is my style… The cheap. But this spring I found a very good special deal on the Hurtigruten website and now, it’s Easter week -Semana Santa in Spain – and the daffodils and trees are blooming, but I’ve lugged my family to cold blustery Norway. And we all love it! She wasn’t exaggerating, that lady from the WellNeste Lodge.

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