Up nice and early this morning to get ready, have breaky (and steal a lunch), check out and head to the train station (where I got lost again on the way frlom the hotel! – I somehow diverted off the main path into a construction site then had to backtrack once I realised :S ).
I made it to central with lots of time to spare and caught my train for the first leg of my Norway in a Nutshell Tour. This tour is basically a self guided tour where all your transport is booked and you have a little booklet to read about the places you pass. It's mostly just going on a train for ages passing all the magnificent scenery (and it really is beautiful!) The first leg is on the Bergen Railway from Oslo to Myrdal. On this 5 hour journey we passed many lakes, mountains and cute snowy towns.
On the train I was sitting near some people who I then started chatting with. They were 2 guys from America and 2 girls from England who were all living and working in Saudi Arabia. We were all taking the Norway in a Nutshell tour so it was nice to get to know them and do the rest of the tour with them. After the train at Myrdal we hopped onto the Flam which is a pretty old school style train that runs along the steepest rail track in Norway descending 1m for every 23m travelled.
The trip was about an hour long travelling 20km and passing many gorgeous valleys with pretty towns. Here we arrived in Flam where we had an hour before our next leg so we all went to a nearby (everything is nearby in Flam) cafe/bar which used to be an old church and was done up really cool inside with old wood and animal skins and such.
Anyway we chilled here for about we went to catch our next leg of the journey which was a boat tour through the fjords to Gundervegen. The scenery from the boat was magnificent with still waters and towering mountains on either side.
The ride was about 2 hours most of which was spent up the top admiring the scenery in the cold wind, and then the rest was spent drinking in the inside area. When we arrived at the next stop we had 20mins before our next ride which we used for a fairly violent (ands slightly tipsy) snowball fight. It was then time to board the bus for our 1 hour trip to Voss!
The bus ride wasn’t too exciting as it was dark by this time and as the bus takes the boring route during winter as the normal scenic route is too dangerous with icy roads. After the bus (during which I fell and tore my jeans) we reached Voss! Yay! It was very exciting and I took lots of pictures of me with Voss signs.
This was originally supposed to be my overnight stay and I had even already booked and paid for a hostel. However my new friends (Mack, Spence, Clare and Sophie) invited me to stay with them in Bergen which was the next leg of the trip and which I was supposed to do tomorrow. So after much umming and aahhing I decided to take up their offer and abandon my accommodation in Voss. This was mostly as they were very nice people and we were all getting along and when you travel alone, if you find people you like it’s good to go with the flow and have some adventures with them.
Also I had realised Voss doesn’t offer much whereas Bergen is actually a much bigger and more interesting stopover. So once I was satisfied with the number of Voss sign pictures I had gotten, we got onto the next train and headed to Bergen. After an hour train ride (again, in the dark), we arrived in Bergen and found our way to the hotel and then headed out again to find some food. We ended up eating at a local Chinese restaurant which was pretty good but also pretty pricey (but normal for Norway prices...). After a nice dinner and chat we headed back (in the rain) to the hotel where we stayed up drinking and playing card games before heading to bed for the night.
Saturday 21 January
This morning I woke about 9, showered and packed up while the others did the same. By 11 we were out wandering the old cobbled streets of Bergen.
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway (1st
is oslo) and used to be the capital before Oslo (which was called Christiana at the time) in the early 1900s. Bergen’s best area is it’s harbour lined with crooked old buildings that was once shaken by an accidental dynamite explosion on a boat in WWII. Anyway we grabbed some brunch from the corner store and wandered through the streets, window shopped, went through the small but interesting fish market (where we tried prawns, salmon, whale (!), and boiled cod eggs (:S), checked out the old fortress (that was ruined and rebuilt in the explosion), and got a coffee in a cute little shop in a cute little old street.
Next we took the veniscular (steep mountain train like thing) up to the top of a mountain which had an amazing view over the harbour and the whole of Bergen, which was alot larger than I had realised. By this time it was late afternoon and I had my train to catch back to Bergen so I headed back down, picked up my bag from the hotel and headed to the train station.
Then I had a 6 hour train ride ahead of me which wasn’t too bad as the first part was very pretty while it was still daylight, and the second half I mostly just did my pictures and blog, listened to music and slept. I arrived back in Oslo around 10.30pm where I got my bag from the locker, re-checked it into the locker and headed straight to the main Oslo airport.
Here I arrived at about 11.30, wandered around for a bit and then found a seat in the cafe, bought a big cookie and orange juice and settled in for the 'night’ – yes, I spent the night at the airport, but it made sense really since I arrived late and had an early flight.