The Retirees go Abroad – France, Norway, UK and Ireland – Bergen and Norway

Its 3.50 am when the wakeup call comes. Arising we find it is dark but not overcast – trust it to fine up as we leave. Down to the shuttle and across to the airport to board a plane for Frankfurt then to Bergen. Frankfurt is enormous. We land and enter the terminal at gate A5. Our flight to Bergen leaves from gate A69. Hmm a bit of a walk ahead but we get there in plenty of time in fact we could have caught a flight to Basel we were that early.

Cooled our heels for an hour and a half before we caught the plane and arrived in Bergen. We caught a cab into town and played a guessing game with the driver about his place of birth. It started when Doug asked him about refugees in Norway and comments were made about Afghans in Australia for 200 years. We went all round the world and he turned out to be Afghani. Checked in our luggage at the terminal (cab was the way to go – door to door) and took a walk through the city – did not see much but what we did see was appealing and cold.

We are sailing on the Hurtigruten line. Hurtigruten (“Express Route”) is a daily passenger and freight shipping service along Norway’s western and northern coast between Bergen and Kirkenes. Sometimes referred to as Norwegian Coastal Express, Hurtigruten ships sail almost the entire length of the country, completing the round-trip journey in 11 days. We boarded the ship and went through the safety ritual and the unpacking and then the evening meal – Doug and Kerry both went to bed while Nerida and I represented the team at the next information presentation. Well at least I did Nerida went to sleep in the presentation. Its now 9.30pm and Nerida and I check out the gym and then retire for the night. The ship sets sail at 10.30 and throughout the night we feel it go bump as it docks at various little villages delivering supplies.

 

The Retirees go Abroad – France, Norway, UK and Ireland – Bayeaux

Our hotel was very nice but small and offered a nice continental breakfast for 6 euros. So after filling up  we are off to the Tapestry in the Augustinian Abbey in Bayeaux. In true French style it was not open when we arrived  so we dropped in at the Bayeaux Cathedral, Notre Dame de Bayeaux – enthralling majestic and very interesting.

But we are here for the Tapestry so back to the Augustinians – but they are still not up. So we went across the road looking for other highlights of Bayeaux and there to my surprise was an operating water wheel. Still operating we could not determine if it was still part of a mill or generator.

Back to the Augustinians and they had finally opened. We were greeted by the security guard opening the door. Inside a former Abbey the museum is made up of two parts, the tapestry room and then the history of the tapestry. The tapestry room is an air conditioned large room with no natural sunlight. I estimate the room is about 8 metre square with a case containing the tapestry standing in the middle. If I am correct about the size of the room, then the case is 7 metres square and displaying the full tapestry under glass. Remarkable!  After viewing the tapestry we went to the history room which explains how the fabric of the tapestry was made through to how the tapestry survived the trip through history – it has not always been preserved in an air-conditioned secure environment. Well worth the wait though – remarkable piece of history and the history around its preservation is just as remarkable – a must see.

As we are due in Rossypole to meet Doug and Nerida Bishop and fly to Norway tomorrow morning we cannot spend too much time in the museum so we drive onto Rouen and had a brief look around spotting this unusual church, lunch then onto Paris and Rossypole.

Had some entertainment returning the car and then finding our hotel but we made it but now we have lost Doug and Nerida. Back again once we find them. They had left a note with their room number and collapsed into bed with jet lag but the wrong room number. Once raised they joined us for dinner, a wine tasting and some of the sights of Paris – everyone is excited about Norway tomorrow except it is a 4.00 am start.