Continuation of our May 2016 tour of Europe took us to Norway next. Our full route is below:
From Akureyri, northern Iceland, we flew south with a decent tailwind and returned to Vagar on the Faroes for re-fuelling before setting off on the long over-water stretch to reach Bergen in western Norway. We saw very little on the North Sea crossing other than how un-inviting the water looked – it was a very rough day and we had even less interest in an engine failure than usual! 3hrs 15 minutes made this our longest over-sea stretch to date (narrowly beating our flight to Egilstadir from about a week previously)!
The clouds thinned out as we approached the Norwegian coast, and the scenery was completely different as we came in – lots of light grey rocky outcrops, in contrast to the dark cliffs we’d left behind in the Faroes, and we could glimpse the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Bergen’s weather report warned us “wind shear likely”, and we certainly got some on the way in! Wind shear is a sudden change in the direction and/or intensity of the wind. If you’re going to encounter it, it happens as you descend or climb as the wind can be doing different things at different levels – the more different it is, the more you’ll notice the effect on your speed and required heading. Add a 30kt wind variation to a nice bunch of low-level turbulence caused by the difference in terrain and you have your work cut out. J’s comment when he was finally on the ground: “Well, that was sporting!”
We were instructed to park up on the technical apron and a ‘follow me’ car was sent to guide us. Bergen is a large and very busy commercial airport, so they want to be sure everyone is going exactly where they’re told!
We were told that a ‘minibus’ would be over to take us to the terminal shortly, so we started un-packing and re-packing our stuff in readiness. We shed some of the thick thermal layers we’d needed in Iceland and were able to lighten our backpacks considerably as a result! The ‘minibus’ duly arrived – actually a double-articulated bus that could seat 130 people (I guess that’s all they have!) – and we were the only ones on it. We (and the driver) stifled giggles as we headed over to the terminal and J and I attempted to sit in as many of the seats as possible during our 5-minute journey. Entering landside was quick and easy and we collected our hire car to drive into the city.
We ended up staying in Bergen for three days and exploring the beautiful surroundings by car, including a complete tour of the Hardangerfjord. Bergen is a very attractive city with plenty to do, and the area around it is definitely worth visiting as well:
After our stay in Bergen, we decided to head south towards Denmark and Germany via a flight across the centre of Norway for a refuelling stop in Kristiansand. We were treated to many more incredible views as we flew up Lysefjord, after which we climbed to 7,000ft to cross the mountains:
Next up: the Epic tour concludes with visits to Denmark, Germany and Austria…
- ICAO code: ENBR
- Elevation AMSL: 166ft
- Runway direction & length: 17/35, 2,990m
- Runway surface: Tarmac
- Landing fee (at time of visiting): 205 NOK. Avinor, the airport operator, will e-mail you the invoice if you ask (the same is true of other Avinor airports in Norway), to save you having to go and find them when you depart.
- Facilities: Full commercial terminal with cafe, shops, toilets etc. For GA you get a lift on the bus out to the parking apron
- Transport links: We hired a car, it’s about a 20-minute drive into the city and it’s great to have one to explore the nearby fjords
- ICAO code: ENCN
- Elevation AMSL: 57ft
- Runway direction & length: 04/22, 2,035m
- Runway surface: Tarmac
- Landing fee (at time of visiting): 205 NOK (also Avinor airport)
- Facilities: Not much – you can use the toilets when you go in to operations but there’s no cafe/shop or other facilities in the GA area.
- Transport links: Bus, taxi and hire cars available from the terminal (bus times correspond with commercial arrivals & departures only)