Lerwick to Bergen, June 23 to 26
We’re in Bergen, Norway, a change from Scotland.
On our last day in the Shetlands we took the bus to Scalloway, saw the old castle, and headed back to Lerwick for a last walk around the town before boarding our overnight ferry to Aberdeen. It was a comfortable night.
We arrived at Aberdeen at 7:00 Wednesday morning and after breakfast cycled to our hostel to drop off our bikes and bags. We were in luck – our room hadn’t been occupied the night before and we were able to check in at 9:00! Our next mission was to buy supplies for packing our bikes and panniers for the flight the next day. We each had two rear panniers to check. We wanted to bundle each pair together to make one piece of checked luggage each. We also had to wrap our bikes so no grease got on other luggage. Rolls of plastic food wrap (150m in total) and a 50m roll of packaging tape to the rescue. See the photo.
Then a walk around suburban Aberdeen before the rain began in the afternoon. Aberdeen has lovely areas of old townhouses that have been carefully kept.
Thursday morning we left the hostel about 8:30 for a dry 10km ride to the airport. At the airport it took about two hours to get the bikes ready for transport and to wrap our panniers. We’ve never used the plastic food wrap method before (an idea I got from another bike tourist’s blog). It works well when the airline doesn’t provide a bag or a box. Curious passengers watched from their check in lines. Then another two hours: lunch, security check (take off those cleated bike shoes before going through the metal detector), sitting at the gate. All for a one hour flight. Short-haul air travel is inefficient.
The flight was smooth and our bikes arrived in good shape, mostly. Some baggage handler, believing the old myth that bike tires must be deflated for air travel, had let the air out of the tires. But when we tried to inflate them, the first one we tried wouldn’t inflate. Tried a different tire. It inflated. We discovered that the valve stem had been torn off the tube on one tire by the handler. The stem stays in the rim, but the tire won’t inflate. Fortunately, we carry spares. Of course, it was a rear tire.
The 20km ride into Bergen is easy, mostly on dedicated bike lanes. A bit confusing where construction of the new tram line to the airport disrupts everything, but otherwise just follow route 556. We had a heavy shower on the way in, as if to say “Welcome, but remember, it rains here.”
Bergen is lovely. Our hotel was in the centre. The town is lively and colourful, full of graceful buildings, open spaces, and sculpture. Everyone can speak English.
Prices in Norway are a shock. Especially restaurant food and even more so alcoholic drinks in a restaurant or bar. A very basic bottle of wine is $80 Cdn!
Friday we walked, bought a new inner tube (and spent lots of time chatting in the bike store), visited two art galleries and made a simple pasta dinner in our hotel room kitchenette.