Friday, 20 October 2006

Scandinavia part 4: Norway in a nutshell

Another weekend passed and another adventure...
This time it was inside Norway, me and Aurelia (a colleague of mine) decided to take the famous Norway in a nutshell tour.

Our tour started on Saturday 8:30 a.m. by taking the Bergen train to our first stop Myrdal, if you're a nature lover this is a road for you, amazing places all around, greens, water, rocky mountains, small houses, forests, just awesome, some sites were really breathtaking especially that we were quite lucky with the weather, we had a beautiful sunny day. The trip to Myrdal takes about four hours of beautiful landscape all around you. And i guarantee you a lot of Japanese tourists there, nobody discusses the fact that they're taking loads of photos but imagine a family travelling together and each member of it has his own camera! They exceeded my expectations to be true.
On the way the train passes by a town called Finse, this town is located on the highest point of the Bergen railway at a height of 1222m above sea level, all the mountain peaks around are covered in snow, that was a huge sight, warm sun and cold icy breeze from those snowy mountains around.
Arriving to Myrdal, we switched to the Flåm (pronounced as Flom)train, this is quite an old (more tourist attraction actually) that takes you from Myrdal to Flåm via the most beautiful railway road you can ever see, it goes on the steep of the mountain, you're surrounded by green mountains and waterfalls, of which Kjosfossen (i'm not sure about the name, i'll check it later) is surely the most impressive, it's big, strong and really beautiful.
You reach Flåm which is a small town between fjords and mountains which is really sweet but really empty, my advise: if somebody advises you to stay for a day in each town, don't listen to them just take the whole tour to Bergen and spend a day in Bergen before going back. Anyway from there you take a boat that goes through Aurlandsfjord which starts in Flåm and you go in beautiful water between mountains and waterfalls again for about 2 hours till you reach Gudvangen.
What you can see in Gudvangen is summerized in one word ... Nothing! And if you miss the tour bus to Voss there, you're probably stuck till next day, and that what almost happenned to us...
We arrivedin Gudvangen at 5 p.m., having a schedule that clearly states that our bus goes on 17:45, so we went to get something to eat and drink, by the time we got back (which was about 10-15 minutes later) the bus was gone, we waited till 17:45 but absolutely no busses showed up, then we decided to ask the receptionist in the only so called hotel there. He took out some charts, looked into them and coldly said "You just missed the last bus to Voss today, the next one is tomorrow morning", we were like what?!!! This was the beginning of a nightmare, this meant staying in Gudvangen till morning, losing our day in Bergen and losing quite an amount of money on transportation (two train tickets will be lost and we'll have to buy new ones back to Asker). What could we do? He told us that the only solution we have is Autostop! I've never done that in my whole life!
We went to the main road going to Voss, which is 45Km away and started pointing to cars to stop, it took me a couple of cars before i could raise my arm and point, but...for an hour we were standing on the road out there and nobody stopped, till we started losing hope and going back to the hotel and considering our trip over and suddenly a car stopped...Inside was a good looking man around 30 years of age, we asked him if he was passing by Voss, he was and he agreed to take us there. He asked about our story and our destination, he knew that we were supposed to catch a train from Voss to Bergen at 19:20, and we all knew very well that we're not gonna make it. Then he asked me what we will do if we miss the train and i said "try to find any other solution to get to Bergen" he stayed silent for a minute or two thinking then he just said "I'll take you to Bergen, problem solved, i'm going there anyway", i actually didn't know what to say, i just couldn't believe how lucky we were now. It turned out that he lives in Bergen and was in Oslo buying a new car (the one we were riding).
The thing that really pissed me off is that we were standing on a Norwegian road for an hour and not a single Norwegian stopped, some were even going to the other side of the road! The guy who stopped for us turned ot to be SWEDISH! Looking back, i'm really sad i didn't ask him what his name is and didn't take a photo of him. But i'm really thankful and really grateful to him from the bottom of my heart.
So now we reached Bergen, thanked the guy and took the bus to the center of the city to start looking for our hotel, when we reached the center, i was quite sure that this will be far from that hotel, but as we were looking around i noticed the logo, and was like: Coool! so it's right here, we started walking, got some food, got our room, ate at the hotel and had the best night sleep ever, long, comfortable and relaxing...

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