The Train to Bergen
After two days in Oslo, it was time for us to hit the road yet again to visit Bergen. We had been told that after a few days in Oslo, you have basically seen it all as Oslo is a smaller capital. I don’t necessarily agree, but none the less we wanted to see more of Norway! We had been told that Bergen was one of the best places to go as the city is wonderful and the train ride there is known as one of the top 5 scenic train rides in the world. Count me in! So on Wednesday of our Norwegian trip, we headed to the train station, bought some food at the station and grabbed our seats for our 7 hour train ride to Norway’s second largest city.
On the Way to Bergen
I had been warned that the first two hours aren’t that spectacular and the person who told us this was right, it was pretty, but reminded me of any other train ride, so I cracked open my fish salad. Yep, I said it; fish salad. Noah thought I had a death wish buying fish salad from a 7-11 type place, but it was the only thing that didn’t have beef or pork which I don’t like. It was okay, but the mayonnaise was a bit much and I didn’t recognize the fish. We checked our Norwegian dictionary to find it was Crayfish…hmm… nothing like bottom feeder. So, I set the salad aside and began to work on my carrots and candy bar instead.
I took nap as I was still jet lagged and was woken up about an hour later by the sounds of cameras snapping. I turned and to the window to see a beautiful hillside surrounded by lush green lawns and quaint houses.
Now this is what I came for. As the hours passed the views became more amazing, I kid you not. If you are into nature, you will love this train ride. It is a photographer’s paradise. I was snapping like a maniac and ended up with about 250 photos by the end of my Bergen adventure and some of them are the best photos of my life.
On the Way to Bergen
The train makes a several stops, but it is better to stay in your seat as they will blow a quick whistle and then leave. The train goes through the mountains and it is snowy and cold, so trust me, you don’t want to be stranded at any of the stops.
Towards the end of the train ride it got a little rainy which apparently is not unusual for Bergen.
Bergen is known to drop buckets of rain and usually sideways just to make your life hell. We had no idea and were concerned as my umbrella was pretty flimsy, but even so, it isn’t great for sideways rain at 40 MPH. Looking at the sky, we hoped that it wouldn’t stay rainy the whole time and began to question our choice. That soon changed as the dark clouds broke open exposing the sunlight in a golden stream that danced on the river. Seriously, it was amazing and a moment that I will not soon forget it was that beautiful.
A Piece of Heaven
That sad part was when this scene was enfolding Noah was in the restroom having a moment of his own and it wasn’t pretty as the restrooms get scary towards the end of a train trip. When he came back, he knew he had missed a moment as he said there were at least 30 cameras facing the window right when he was returning. He did get to see the final part of the cloud break, but it wasn’t the same.
When we arrived in Bergen it was overcast, but not horrible. That soon changed as we tried to find our hotel. The rain was coming at us from every which way and not in sprinkles, on no. This was a full on downpour. My umbrella would prove to be as useless as I though it would be. I offered part of it to Noah, but he is one who likes to brave the elements and shrugged it off. I kind of feel sorry for the fellow as we walked a half a mile in the wrong direction. It took us about 40 minutes to find out hotel. The good news was that that would be the end of the rain for the rest of the trip. But at that time Noah didn’t know that and he was a little bit of a hater as he was soaked. I didn’t laugh as that would be cruel, but Noah has bad luck with things like that while traveling internationally.
Example, he got pooped on in Buenos Aires by a hit and run bird. I learned that laughing at his misfortunes is not the best thing to do. I can’t help it. I am the youngest child, I mean well!
The Docks of Bergen
I have to say the hotel was quite nice and we even got a really small view of the water between buildings. The cool thing was that when you walk into the room the TV welcomes you with your names on the screen, a little creepy, but still cool! The second thing I noticed was that the twin beds were the half the size of an American Twin bed. Thankfully we are both thin.
Speaking of scary, this hotel had the most frightening and disturbing painting I have ever seen! I don’t even know how to describe it except that it is reminiscent of Frankenstein and his baby monster.
At least he appears to love the thing, but how they expect anyone to sleep with that thing in the hallway is beyond me. Seriously, I slept with one eye open.
Scary Hotel Painting!!!
We were both a little tired, but decided we were not going to waste the night as we arrived around 6PM. So, we decided to walk along the waterfront before heading to the tram that would take us to Mount Fløyen. The walk along the board waterfront was beautiful as the sky was peach with a kiss of pink. There are a lot of houses along across the water and several fishing boats. It looked like a page straight out of a calendar. Though the view was lovely, I quickly became distracted by the sight of a duck running from a flock of his brethren. I found it odd at first until I realized the little guy had a starfish in his mouth.
Half of it was in his mouth and the other part was hanging out. I didn’t think he would be able to eat it and feared he would choke. As the duck posse got closer, the little guy swallowed it whole. It was the oddest thing I had seen in at least two days as I had been out of NYC. The water looked pretty deep. Where would he get a starfish and would it taste any good? I for one have decided to never find out…
By the time we got to the tram it was almost 8PM but surprisingly still light outside which I found strange for that time of night in the beginning of September. Still who was I to complain, more time to explore Bergen. The tram was pretty sweet except for you are tilted at a noticeable angle and it made me a little wary as it doesn’t seem natural to be at an angle like that.
But here I am writing this Blog, so you know the tram was pretty safe.
On the Way to Floyen!
When you finally get to the top, you are officially 1050 feet above sea level and also treated to one of the loveliest views of your life. That night, the clouds where an amazing blue and the sky was a light pink; the contrast of the colors was so beautiful. We were there an hour, but I kept snapping photos as the evening progressed because though the changes were slight, they were still noticeable and changed the whole image. We finally left about a half an hour before closing because it was getting very chilly and I didn’t bring a lot of warm clothes as I though it would be warmer as it is in NYC in September. Yeah, because NYC and Norway are so similar…
After we got off the tram, we decided to grab dinner.
We learned quickly that many places are closed by 10PM and the ones that are not are spendy. I suggested Friday’s as it was half the price of anywhere else and I was starving. I am not going to lie, I hate going to American chains while traveling, but we were getting very desperate as we hadn’t had a real meal all day. Noah fought me on this as he has worked at there before and felt dirty about going there. I can’t really blame him, but when I explained my reasoning he finally agreed. He would hate me later.
The View From Floyen
I ordered the chicken fingers and I have to say it appeared as if they had been under the hot light a long time and I use the word hot light loosely. For the love of God, I don’t know why, but Noah ordered nachos. Not just any nachos, but the Asian-Mexican infused ones from Norway.
Huh? Exactly! This had failure written all over it and he confirmed it. Noah will eat anything, I mean anything, but he was picking at these things. Finally, I told him they couldn’t be that bad, so he offered one up. So, I took a nacho and took a careful bit. All I have to say is that cheese and soy sauce don’t mix that well together. It was really, really disgusting! I don’t think these babies will be making it to the US anytime soon.
Fridays in Bergen really left us cold. It took forever to get the check and when we did, they didn’t give us our change and you don’t really tip in Norway.
Well, this tip was 35%. When we tracked down our waiter 15 minutes later, he seemed confused then disappointed even though we asked for change. We don’t even tip that much in the US and there is no tipping in Norway, though that is changing.
Dejectedly, we left Friday’s and took a walk around the city to try to digest that mess we had eaten. Bergen is very beautiful lit up at night and it helped ease our digestion. By 12:30 we were ready for bed as we had to be up early to catch a boat to see a Fjord.
Even though the beds were very small they were very comfy so we were sad to hear the alarm go off at 7:30.
We were not about sleep this trip and it was catching up with us. So, we both got ready and headed downstairs to breakfast. The breakfast was interesting. There was a lot of fish and cheese. I like cheese, I like fish. I don’t like strong cheese or herring or raw salmon; I didn’t eat much, though Noah did. As I said, he will eat anything. I did try everything though, but I won’t lie, I am a picky eater and ended up eating a lot of fruit and bread.
The Opening of the Fjord
After breakfast, we grabbed our bags and headed out to the ship we would be taking that day to the fjord. I am not a water person, but I was told that when in Norway, you have to see a fjord or never come back. Okay, nobody said never come back, but you get the point.
The ship was a decent size but not big enough to calm me down. I wouldn’t go up on deck until I heard every last detail about safety precautions. You can never be too careful, I saw Titanic, though I didn’t see any icebergs, so I felt pretty confident. Only a few of us were on the top deck; the reason being it was really cold and a little rainy. We had thick wool blankets to keep us somewhat warm, so it wasn’t that bad, but unfortunately we were stuck with these three people who were really loud and laughed at things that were not funny in anyway. “Look an ant!” Ha ha! “Here comes a bridge!” Ha ha! “Want to get a coffee downstairs?” Ha ha! I am not exaggerating, I wish I was, but I am not. A few people went downstairs because they couldn’t take it anymore. I can’t blame them, but I wanted to see the fjord dammit!
Houses in the Fjord
After about an hour and half, I did.
In case you don’t know a fjord is, it is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides, created in a valley carved by glacial activity. Sweet! I really didn’t know what to expect as this was my first experience with a fjord, but I am happy to report it was a positive one.
First off, it was very quiet peaceful in the fjord. We were told that there was a lot of wild life within the fjord, but we didn’t see anything the captain mentioned though we saw a few birds here and there. It was very overcast but the beauty couldn’t be hidden.
As we moved further along, I had to say I felt a little sorry for the people who lived there. Yes, there were houses in the fjord. I was kind of surprised too, but to tell you the truth it really is an amazing view and flat in parts so it is very livable. The down side is you have a bunch of tourists on a boat taking photos of your house and yard everyday. Still, I have to say they were some great photos and if they would like them, I would share.
Gazebo in Bergen
I think we were in the fjord for maybe 30 minutes. We chose a shorter boat ride as we had to catch a train out of Bergen at around 5:30PM. Yep, only 24 hours. After we left the fjord (how many times did I use the word fjord in this blog?!?) there really wasn’t anything else to do for the hour ride back, so I put my face on a table downstairs and took a nap. An hour and 15 minutes later I had my coats design on my face and a stiff neck, but I felt surprisingly refreshed!
After we got off of the boat we decided to walk around Bergen before going to our train.
It really is a beautiful city and one you must visit if in Norway. I am a little disappointed that we didn’t get to stay longer, but we had made plans with the host family we were staying with in Oslo and had to get back. I would have liked to have done more while there, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Just to let you know, there is a lot to do in Bergen including museums, fishing, hiking, kayaking and they even have an indoor sand hall! I am sorry I missed that and for once there was no sarcasm in that statement.
All and all, I would have to say that Bergen was definitely one of the highlights of my trip, even for just the train ride.
It really is as beautiful as they claim it is. On the way back to Oslo we took a few photos, but it began to rain and got dark earlier so we basically slept. Even though it was a quick
The Best Train Ride!
24 hours in Bergen, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Bergen really is that beautiful!