Archive for August 2008

Summer Hols – Part 4 – Around Feddet

Posted by on August 29th 2008 in Great Escapes

Click on any of the pics to open up a bigger version in a lightbox thingy.

The drive out of Copenhagen wasn't as simple as we thought it would be - we had adequate maps and directions, but the roadsigns in the city were sparse and difficult to follow. Eventually we escaped southwards and after a couple of hours we arrived at the Feddet campsite. We were assigned a pitch and soon had our tents (and tarp) set up at the edge of the site right next to the sand-dunes:

 

After going into the nearest town for supplies, we spent the rest of the next day on the beach, which was all of 30 yards away from the tent:

 

In the evening the sky was amazingly clear. I spent a few hours on the beach taking pictures of the Milky Way:

 

The peak of the Perseid meteor shower was still a few days off, but there were plenty on show this night:

 

The next day we headed off inland to visit a few of the local towns and villages. We had a pleasant woodland walk around Nygårds Vænge, a place of trees:

 

lakes:

 

logs:

 

and crisp-eating furriners:

 

Back at the campsite we had a go on the assault-course. Anna took it quite seriously:

 

while Ella used it as another posing-opportunity:

 

while the local squirrel population looked on, unimpressed:

 

In the evening I went back to the beach:

 

and took some pics of the strand-line:

 

Later that night a series of thunderstorms passed by. I couldn't resist the chance to get some pics of the lightning:

 

In the morning we decided to take a walk to the end of Feddet Strand. As we passed the washrooms, I nabbed this pic of a swallow in a nest in the eaves:

 

and another, this time a trio of a different species:

 

Soon we were making our way down the track to the end of the strand:

 

The observation-tower at the end proved to be a disappointment, there being no interesting wildlife there to observe. It did, however, prove to be a good shelter during a short storm. The weather brightened up considerably during the walk back:

 

through the woods:

 

and past more log-piles:

 

During a shower we took shelter in the woods, where there were many toadstools such as these:

 

and this:

 

We got back to the site just in time to have a go at making twist-bread over a wood-fire. Anna was really good at this:

 

The evening was spent in the company of the Baxter family from the neighbouring caravan, where we chatted away and consumed many of their drinks. The next morning we had to pack up and say our goodbyes to them:

 

and to this character, who took a shine to their caravan:

 

Then we were off again, driving to our final campsite at Billund to prepare for our assault on Legoland.

To be continued...

Shire! Baggins!

Posted by on August 27th 2008 in Pics

 

Hiding from the Black Rider

Summer Hols – Part 3 – The journey to Feddet

Posted by on August 25th 2008 in Great Escapes

Click on any of the pics to open up a bigger version in a lightbox thingy.

We really didn't want to leave Flåm, but Oslo beckoned. We packed up quicker than expected, and said our goodbyes to our hosts. Ahead of us lay a 6-hour 207-mile dash across the spine of Norway, passing through magnificent fjord scenery, such as this above Vassbygdvatnet:

 

and some huge lakes on the plateau, such as Strandavatnet:

 

a wild and windy place with an impressive backdrop of moody-looking mountains:

 

We couldn't spare much time for picstops during this journey, but we did stop for lunch at a place outside Oslo before heading off to the port. After a nav-error just outside the check-in area (I was distracted by a couple of hookers) we parked up and went off to see some of the city. As usual, the kids found something suitable for climbing and posing:

 

before we reached the Oslo Opera House:

 

After boarding the DFDS Pearl of Scandinavia bound for Copenhagen, we spent some time on deck getting some great views of Oslo:

 

before the ship departed the rainbow-covered city:

 

After one last look back from the starboard side:

 

and one forward:

 

the others retired to the cabin:

 

while I stayed out on deck until we reached the open sea:

 

After another calm night-crossing, we arrived in Copenhagen. The weather was a bit grotty so we didn't hang around but decided to drive south towards the better weather and our next campsite at Feddet.

To be continued...

Summer Hols – Part 2 – Around Flåm

Posted by on August 22nd 2008 in Great Escapes

Click on any of the pics to open up a bigger version in a lightbox thingy.

 After negotiating a fair few of the road-tunnels on the rush from Bergen, we arrived at Flåm in the evening. At the campsite we were welcomed warmly by our hosts who gave us a choice of places to pitch. We chose a place with a view over the village, got the tents set up just as the light began fail and were soon sound asleep after a trying day.

The next morning we took a few pics of the view over to the harbour:

 

and of the cliffs overlooking the campsite:

 

then we went exploring on foot, making our way down to the edge of the fjord:

 

We found that Flåm is a great place, a jewel of a harbour village built around the southern tip of Aurlandsfjord. There is a quaint mix of the historic and the modern:

 

and the kids enjoyed the place:

 

The relaxing Scandinavian atmosphere was enhanced by the Latin American influence (and live Samba music) of the crew of the Cisne Branco, a Tall Ship moored in the harbour for a few days:

 

We were welcomed on board by the Captain to have a look around and to take photos of his rigging:

 

Here's a pic of the pointy end:

 

and a pic from the far side of the harbour:

 

where we got a better view down the fjord:

 

and found another of the racing Tall Ships, the Christian Radich:

 

Back at camp after nightfall, the view was worth another picture:

 

The next day we went for a walk up the valley, passing through pastureland:

 

playing Poohsticks (you're never too old for this):

 

and gaining sufficient height to get a good view over the valley-bottom:

 

We were on the way up to the Brekkefossen waterfall:

 

when the trees thinned out to allow a better view of the valley below:

 

One more pic of the waterfall:

 

and then we had to start back down the valley alongside the Flåm River:

 

to the harbour, where yet another of the racing Tall Ships, the Lord Nelson, had moored up:

 

The next morning we were treated to a bit of luxury - the QE2 backed into port while we were having breakfast:

 

Later we learned that this was the last voyage for her before she becomes a floating hotel, so we went off to the harbour to see her. On the way there, we found this coach parked up. No further comment necessary:

 

After some negotiation with the security gate staff, I was allowed to take this pic unhampered by the security barriers:

 

but I had to squeeze the lens through a gap in the wire grid fence  (and get a telling off from a different security officer for doing so) to get this shot:

 

Soon it was time to queue for our seats on the Flåmsbana for a 20km train-journey high into the mountains to Myrdal, a gain in altitude of 864m. Here's a sample of the scenery along the route:

 

and here's another:

 

and here are some purple-tinted people:

 

After passing this:

 

and this:

 

the train stopped at the Kjosfossen waterfall for a while:

 

so that we could take pics:

 

We disembarked at Myrdal and watched the train return to Flåm:

 

before leaving the station:

 

to spend the next hour exploring our surroundings:

 

which involved negotiating this dodgy flight of steps:

 

and throwing the kids into the river:

 

We walked down the valley:

 

past this magnificent view of the route back to Flåm:

 

to the next station (Vatnahalsen) to catch the next train back. From there we could see Reinungavatnet:

 

and lower down we passed these cliffs, which looked good for climbing:

 

That was our last day at Flåm. We had an early night in preparation for the mad 207-mile dash across Norway to Oslo the next morning, to catch the ferry to Copenhagen.

To be continued...

Summer Hols – Part 1 – The journey to Flåm

Posted by on August 19th 2008 in Great Escapes

There's not much to be said for the dull 200-mile race to Newcastle to catch the DFDS Queen of Scandinavia bound for Norway (a ferry service that will close at the end of the month). Suffice to say that the weather was uncharacteristically good and there were no delays, so we made it to the ferry check-in about an hour earlier than expected.

After boarding, we dumped the baggage in the cabin then headed off to the deck to see England fading into the distance and to play in the warm breeze:

 

Of course, it's always good to know where you are on (or off) the ship. According to the signs, we were just off the starboard bow:

 

Out at sea the weather was fine and mild with a few clouds:

 

Ella spent a lot of time on deck looking for photo-opportunities:

 

until the sun set late in the evening:

 

It was a calm crossing, warm and dry all night, and in the morning the seas were placid:

 

until we approached land, when the clouds started to gather as we approached Stavanger, passing some beautiful houses near to the water's edge:

 

Stavanger has some fine bridges linking the islands around the port:

 

A short shower ruined this pic of the Artemis:

 

but the weather cleared as we headed past these homes, on the way to Haugesund:

 

We passed many beautiful inlets during this stage of the journey:

 

and there were plenty of sailboats around:

 

I took a poor shot of the Karmsund Bridge:

 

before we passed beneath it:

 

After leaving Haugesund, we headed off for Bergen, passing many islands large and small:

 

before the mountains above Bergen came into view:

 

There are many more islands along the final approaches:

 

On arrival, we didn't have time to explore Bergen, as we had to drive the 100 or so miles to Flåm before nightfall. After escaping the city, we had a few stops in the mountains to break up the journey:

 

To be continued...

p.s. Click on any of the pics to open up a bigger version in a lightbox thingy. Let me know if it works!

Back in Blighty

Posted by on August 18th 2008 in Great Escapes

The skies are overcast, there's rain about and the wind's getting up a bit, so we must be back in England. It's a sharp contrast to the (mostly) glorious weather that we've been having during our summer hols over in Norway and Denmark.

There's plenty to blog about, so I'll have to split the report into sections to be posted over the next few days. You might have to wait for the pics though - I've got 831 of them to sort out. Here's one of them to tide you over, just in case you've forgotten what a clear sky is:

The section of the Milky Way in the eastern sky. Denmark, August 2008.

(Nikon D50 on fixed tripod, 18-55mm lens @ 18mm, f/3.5, ISO 400, 6 x 30s exposures stacked with DSS, processed in PS CS3)

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