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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Thursday, 6 September 2001
--> Bergen (N) last day

From a relaxing day at Anna Margit's place I hopped some streets and ended up in Marken Gjestehus, a guesthouse/hostel in the centre of town. As they don't really serve meals, fortunately Siri Giil helped me out with that and took me out to town this night as it would be my last night in Bergen!
When I woke up at 10am, Anna Margit Grindheim and her friend Suzanne let me sleep in, I found a letter and todays’ newspaper in the kitchen. Anna wrote that I could make myself breakfast and make coffee and take all the time on her computer, to do my updates.

We were all three featured on page 2 of the Bergen Tinede, the city local newspaper (see photograph).

So I spent most of the day writing on my reports and I had to wait for a place to stay for tonight.

This week the Norwegian Coastal Company Hurtigruten sent me this email:

“Dear Ramon,
Your unique way of traveling was brought to my attention this morning. I promptly contacted our marketing manager and told him that we have to give you a chance to see Norway from the seaside! Perhaps you have heard of The Norwegian Coastal Voyage or Hurtigruten as it is called in Norwegian. There is one passenger ship leaving Bergen every day, it goes to Kirkenes and back in 11 days, visiting 35 ports each way. We would like you to travel with us from Bergen to Trondheim (2 nights), free trip, cabin and meals while you are on the ship!
From Trondheim you could use your Scanrail pass to go to Oslo or even further north to Bodø. If you let us know when you would like to travel from Bergen (the ship leaves every night at 20.00) we'll check for available cabins and give you the ticket.
Welcome on board!”


Of course I accepted this offer because if I had to leave Bergen any other way it would have been by train, straight to Oslo again. From Oslo I could have gone up the real north again, because there are some fjords and mountain ranges between Bergen and the north.

Today I would hear if they had room for me on the steamer for today of else tomorrow.

In the afternoon I got the decisive call that I could check in on the boat tomorrow, totally for free!

That only meant that I needed to contact my last place to stay in Bergen for tonight.

I have received an invitation from the Marken Gjestehus, a hostel in the centre of town. The lady who had invited me, probably saw the chance for free publicity, but when I got there she wasn’t there, only a very busy receptionist lady.

She had heard about me and arranged me a bed and a keycard for the room. I got a four bed room which I had to share with somebody else, which was okay with me.

When I got to the hostel it was almost 6pm and as I got settled there I started wondering if the hostel also arranges a meal for me, because they don’t do normally.

I went back to the receptionist lady and asked her what was possible for a meal as I travel no-budget.

“We don’t do meals here,” she said. “Only breakfasts.”
“But,” I said and explained her about how the lady owner had invited me for a day: and a meal and a bed is all I officially ask. If I couldn’t get a meal, than we both had a problem:

I would be hungry tonight until breakfast (which I could handle) and the inviting lady would have been impolite to me and towards the goal of my project.

She understood that and made a couple of phonecalls and then concluded to me: “I could order you pizza?”.

That sounded okay with me and I prepared my bed with the sheets she had provided me.

As my current host was just a commercial company, I would have myself a night alone and I did not really fancy that as my last night in Bergen.

So as I had her business card or Siri Giil, my tourism board hostess, I decided to give here a call.

“Hi, any plans for tonight?”
“Er, nothing. I am just preparing dinner. Wanna join in?”
Her apartment was just a few blocks away from here and I could not hesitate. “I’ll be there in a couple of minutes!”

I left my belongings in the locker in the room and hurried to the receptionist who fortunately had not ordered the pizza yet.

“Cancel that pizza, a lady from the Bergen Tourist Board just offered me to join her for dinner,” I said to the lady and I left the hostel.

Siri made oven baked french fries with salad and bread. As she didn’t have any plans for tonight we watched [url=]Anna and The King[/url] on video and decided to hit the Bergen nightlife at 10pm, after a couple of glasses or red wine and coffee with Irish Whiskey cream.

We visited a pub in a Golden Tulip Rainbow Hotel where I found out through Siri’s stories that she is kind of the Bridget Jones of Bergen. Everything in [url=]Bridget Jones’ Diary[/url] is familiar to her, exept that Mr. Right.

A few hours later we drank a mamgo cobana cocktail in Metro, a hip nightclub where every good looking person knows that he or she is good looking and behaves like that on the dancefloor. We just didn’t feel like dancing, though.

It was getting crowded and I just missed something. A real hip nightclub should just have a little bit more than just a few lightbulbs that turn around and a deejay that plays the records.

After my cocktail was taken away from me by the bartender, before I could drink the last big draught, we hopped into Rick’s Café.

Here the British bartenderrs and the more easy going atmosphere were much more amusing. Barkeeper Mr. Fester from Manchester, an example barkeeper, even gave away a few Jägermeister shooters.

A while later it was getting enough for Siri and me and we decided to go home.

If I wanted I could use a computer at her office tomorrow, an offer I gratefully took and we said good night in the safe and quiet streets of Bergen.

Once in my room in the Marken Gjestehus somebody was already sleeping in one of the four beds. I sneaked into my bed and whispered

Good night Bergen!

Ramon.




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