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Published: August 11th 2009
I have arrived in Oslo, Norway, it is 6 AM and have been on the bus all night with very little sleep.
I was awake at every stop that were just in the middle of nowhere, I was waiting for a bathroom break, when on one of the stops I asked the driver and he said use the toilet on the bus. Oh for heaven's sakes! First of all I am in seat #4 up front and never has there been a toilet on a bus in all of my travels overseas. In the UK when I traveled there you were threatened with bodily harm if you ever thought of using the toilet on the bus. I wondered why others weren't complaining about toilet breaks?!? OK so it was a blonde moment.
Of course everything here at the Oslo station is closed so I walk to a nearby hotel and they are booked and will not have anything open till 3:00. I walk back to the bus station and wait till things open up at 7:15 to get some information.
When then open, I find out my options and I decided to take the bus on
to Bergen, Norway which is my real destination anyway. So, I will be skipping Oslo for now and will continue on with the journey, the bus comes at 9:30 so I wait a little longer.
It has been very overcast and rainy ever since I entered Norway. So traveling is OK on days like this when site seeing would not be as enjoyable in the rain. So once on the bus again I am site seeing from the bus and keeping dry and the journey from east to west Norway is spectacular. The clouds are hanging onto the mountain tops in the distance and the green fields, forests and fast flowing streams eventually give way to mountains with waterfalls that cascade down the slopes or thunderous waterfall that forcefully tumble down the sheer cliffs in to the deep river gorges filled with white water gushing down stream. The quaint homes and lodges with their sod roofs sitting next to lakes or the riverbeds are so picturesque. This is Norway! This is what I have expected to see.
Then you seen the homes that have the trampoline in the yard, laundry on the line, or the junked car
sitting in the field and realize that no ones life is like a postcard. That's why we spend so much money on vacations because we want to see the postcard side of life.
On one of the breaks was a stop for dinner. I knew that Norway was expensive, I paid $5 for a hot dog, 6$ for a can of Coke, and 3$ for a Snickers candy bar. That's USD dollars. The exchange rate is about 7 Norwegian Krona to 1 USD. Which sounds good until the you go to buy something and the number of the Krona it takes to purchase things add up very quickly.
I finally arrive in Bergen and I am glad to see that it is a fairly large town. Of course this is Sunday and there is no place open at the bus station or the train station as far as information. So I walk to the nearest hotel and I don't like there price and they send me to another hotel and they don't have a single bed so I check out another hotel that is right on the square and decide that if they have a room, I'm staying
because I have been traveling now for 24+ hours and I am very tired.
The Thorn Hotels are a big chain in Scandinavia so I am sure they will have a room. The young man at the counter is pleasant and quotes me a price; I reply that I am willing to take any discount that he might want to give me, he smiled and said, very good! I got a little bit of a discount. Later I went back to the same young man at the counter and asked about Wi-Fi he told me that it costs, and that I could use the lobby computer for free, but I told him that I put out a blog and would need it for several hours. He handed me a card that gave me 12 hours of free computer time, and said it was his last card. I must remind him of his Mother or something.
The room is great and the bed is so soft and comfy. I don't know why but the beds here in Scandinavia are the most comfortable of any place I have ever been.
I quickly shower and change clothes so I
can go across the street to a pizza place that is about to close for a take away order.
I am freshly showered, with food in my belly and a soft comfy bed, How good is life!!!!!
My alarm woke me at 6:30, I plan to take a tour this morning, I get up get dressed and lay back down. I sleep for another 30 minutes then decide that I will take the tour tomorrow morning. I am still very tired so I have decided that this will be a leisure day. Just take my time and see the town, wander the streets and shops. Buy my tickets for tomorrows tour and train tickets. Better than having to constantly rush. So I sleep a little longer then get up and have a really good breakfast that is included with the room. Then I go back to the room to again rest till about noon then off to see the town.
But the first place I have to go is to the information office, there I find that I can take an afternoon tour called “Norway in a Nutshell” the most popular trip to take
around here. So that will be my activity for the day. I have to hurry to make the 1:00 train. It is a combination of trains, bus and boat transportation over the most sought after sights in Norway. I won't be back until 10:30PM.
I grab a sandwich, muffin and a drink for the journey at the train station and off I go exploring.
I take the train for 1 hour and catch a bus at Voss, this part of the trip is mainly sites of the typical country side with homes, fields, the mountains and streams along the valleys.
From Voss the bus ride includes the most fantastic stretch of road that I have ever been on. Down this mountain side the road is a series of hairpin curves, even more than the road in Monaco. (where Princess Grace crashed her car.) The large bus has to slowly maneuver to make each turn. But slowing down and even stopping at times is good because there are 2 amazing waterfalls one on the right and one on the left of the bus. It is so exciting because you don't know where to look or where to
city park lake in Bergen
snap the photo. It was lots of fun trying to get everything at once.
Needless to say we made it down the mountain and able to make it to Gudvangen, where we continue the journey on boat. This the the fjord part of the trip. We are on a small portion of the massive network of waterways that permeate the interior of Norway from the sea.
The height of mountains jutting from the sea is such a majestic sight. Sheer cliffs to gentle sloping mountains, massive and demanding. The small villages and houses are dwarfed by their size. While most people are looking upwards I am also watching the water. I happen to see blow spouts and I spot a pod of dolphins in the water. I call out dolphins but no one around me speaks English. So they go unnoticed by all but me.
There are only 2 young men from Switzerland and a young family from The US who speak English on the boat. But there are in different areas than where I was at. The boat ride was for 2 hours. A little long because the scenery was pretty much the same
with the huge waterfall tumbling down being the most fascinating of all the sights.
We dock in Flam and wait for 30 min. for the train to Myrdal. This part of the trip is for an hour and just as we get into the station the train stops so we can get out and take close up pictures of the most impressive waterfall that is right next to the tracks, it's called the Kjosfossen Waterfall.
The minute your step out of the train you are wet from the light mist from the falls. The ever present rainbow is breathtaking. We have only a few moments to snap the photos and back on the train. It has been fun taking pictures from the train as we run from side to side to the open windows in the car trying to get the prefect shot of the gorges or of the mountains. The train is not very full making this fairly easy to do.
The last connection we have to wait 45 min. and this train will take me back to Bergen where I started this afternoon. It is growing dark and not able to take photos, so
luckily I have my book with me to read. It is hard to find people that speak English so it's been a quite day for me.
The train station is only a few block away so even though it's late and the streets are not well lit, I have no problems walking back to the hotel. There are still some people out and there are always travelers going/coming from a train station.
No idea yet how I am going to leave Bergen tomorrow it will have to be by ferry, train or plane.
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