Eleven Fjordy & Epilogue

Part #2 of my vacation coming in hot!  Another Tom-ism reference for the title.  I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was for him to go from an Irish accent to Norwegian seamlessly.  He was born with many gifts.

We woke up early in Ireland and booked it to the airport to make our flight to Bergen.  I’m still confused on how the customs thing works.  We ended up going through customs in Oslo on our way to Bergen.  As I stood in line, I noticed for the first time that 95% of the people were blonde.  I found my blondes!

Bergen, Norway

We got to Bergen at around 6:30 PM local time.  The guy, who I rented the Airbnb from, gave us incredible directions and we took the train to the part of the city we were staying in.  The Airbnb itself was pretty hilarious.  I give this guy an A for making it look way bigger in the pictures than it was in reality.   All of us standing in it was pretty cramped.

At this point, I’m starting to realize that very few people have an actual dryer even though they say they do.  By “dryer” they mean that air flows through their apartment and may work as a dryer to dry your clothes.  By using this same logic, planet earth is really just one big dryer.  Despite these two downsides, we had a grocery store nearby and we were walking distance from everything so it was fine.

In Norway, everything is more expensive.  Their economy is booming and everyone gets paid more, therefore everything there costs more.  We knew this going in so Tom and I wanted something easy and cheap for dinner the first night.  I ended up finding this pretty odd hot dog stand by the water called Trekroneren.

We split off from Chuck and Kiley, since they are vegan, and walked over to get one of these hot dogs.   I ended up getting a reindeer hotdog with a local berry jam and these crunchy onions on top.  Sounds sketchy but was the best hot dog I’ve ever eaten.

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Trekroneren Reindeer Hotdog

After the hotdog, we walked along the river and ran into a bar that Toms mom, Debbie, had told us about, called SjØbØden.  We grabbed some 12 dollar beers from there and took a similar picture to send to her.  There was a man playing live music with a big bowl of grapes next to him.  He was playing a decent amount of Tom Petty, another blonde they probably celebrate regularly over there.

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Later, when we met back up with Chuck and Kiley, we thought it would be cool to see the sunset on the water.  We walked down by the big tour boats and realized after about an hour the sun wasn’t going down.  It’s summer….and well…the sun just doesn’t go down fully there.  It ended up working in our favor, really, because our bodies didn’t really have a gage on when bedtime was there.  We got a lot done.

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This is what 1am looks like in Bergen Norway

Anyway, after our attempted sunset viewing, we ended up just walking around the city for a while.  We stopped in a few places to have a quick drink and just explored around this city that never seemed to get dark.  By 2 AM, we were headed back to the Airbnb and ended the night drinking some more beers while playing dice.

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The bathroom signs in Norway look like a selfie of me standing in the bathroom line.

The next morning we woke up and decided that we were going to split up again for a few hours.  Chuck wanted to see a church that had been rebuilt after some metal band followers burnt it down like 30 years ago.  Tom and I just wanted to walk around the city and get a coffee somewhere.  We all wanted to do the tram up the mountain so agreed to just meet around noon.

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After leaving the apartment, Tom and I started walking east and ran into the University of Bergen.  They had a café attached so we were able to sit and have a coffee on the terrace.  Ordering was kind of a challenge since we do not speak Norweigan but they were able to make out most of what we were saying.  I’m not sure what kind of coffee I ended up getting but it was very good.  I tried to really get them to understand I was lactose intolerant.  Cow milk = Bad.

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After breakfast, we walked north into the downtown area we were at the night before.  They have all of these homes built into the mountains.  We started weaving around these little pathways up and got pretty far up one of the mountains.  I love how every house there is a different color and style.  It would be so strange to open your door and basically be able to fall down a mountain if you didn’t watch your step.

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On the way back down the mountain, we ran into these cool sweater trees.  From far away they looked as though they were painted but up close, we realized someone had actually knitted sweaters around the trunk of all of these trees.  I was obsessed and took about 30 pictures with them.

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Later that afternoon, after we met back up with Chuck and Kiley, we headed to the tram area.  The whole thing seemed very touristy but I am so happy I did it.  The views from the top were amazing.  They even had goats up there that were just walking around.

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We had plans for dinner with Bente, a distant relative of Toms later that night so we all headed back to the Airbnb to get ready.  I didn’t really know what to expect meeting her.  I knew that she did speak English and she was very progressive.  I also knew that she was an older woman who swims in the fjords, which are like 45-50 degrees, every morning.  I basically expected a blonde super human and she did not disappoint.

She opened the door and was very nice right out the gate.  She looked at Tom and said right away that he looked like he belonged in Norway.  Which, by the way, he does.  I kept losing him in crowds.

She made us a great seafood dinner and talked about her life in Bergen.  She explained to us that even though it is light out all the time that in the winter it is the opposite.  They only get daylight from 11 AM – 1 PM.  Kudos to us for picking the right time of year to visit!

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After our visit with Bente, we went back downtown to this bar we had seen earlier that day Dyvekes Vinkjeller.  It was a great old bar to close our time in Bergen.

Flam, Norway

We woke up the next morning to rain.  We were scheduled to take the mail boat to Flam so had to be at the dock early.  We made it in time with 15 minutes to spare and got a great seat that included a table we could all sit at.  The rain obviously wasn’t ideal since it was not easy to see out the window but at least we weren’t sitting in the seats that were in the center with no view at all.

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The boat trip ended up being the one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.  Pictures do not even start to really convey how beautiful it was.  The boat we were on delivers mail so we made many stops along the way through the Sognefjorden.  As we got closer to Flam, the mountains and scenery got more beautiful.

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When we arrived in Flam, we walked about a mile to the hostel we booked.  The hostel ended up being the coolest place we stayed in as we found out that it was 300 years old.

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After we unloaded our stuff, we made our way back to the center of Flam to go to the micro brewery called Ægir Microbrewery.  The guy who served us was a 7 foot tall blonde that I’m sure doubled as a Viking.  They had a amber beer, Rallar Amber Ale, and it was the best tasting beer I had in Norway.

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Ægir Microbrewery

A few amber beers later, I was finally ready to jump into the fjords.  That was the one thing that Tom and I really wanted to do while we were in Norway.  We expected it to be cold but so many locals told us the water was fine.  We took their word for it but in retrospect…..we should have known that “fine” to them was probably not the same kind of “fine” for us.

We walked north of the brewery to where they rent out kayaks.  The place was clearly closed and no one seemed to be on the beach at all.  Tom spotted a long deck on some private property north of the kayak place and we decided that would be the spot we jumped.  Once we jumped in, we would only have to swim about 100 yards back to the public beach.  No problem.

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Tom jumped in first.  When he popped out of the water I could see the shock in his face.  This water was not 60 degrees.  I knew I had to jump in before I got any feedback from Tom or I wouldn’t do it.  Without even thinking, I jumped.  The second I hit the water it felt like a million nails on my skin.  It was so cold.  My body stiffened up and I thought for a split second that I wouldn’t be able to move to swim.  Turns out though it was just shock and soon I was swimming back to the beach.  It’s funny because at one point I started feeling warm during the swim.  Then I wondered if what I was experiencing, was a stage of hypothermia.  Luckily, I made it back to the beach and had a towel waiting for me.

After drying off and warming up at the hostel the one last thing we wanted to do in Flam was hike up the mountain to see the huge waterfall.  It was raining again at this point and I was terrified.  The mountain was mud.  Tom was the only one of us that seemed unphased by this and hiked up the mountain with a beer in his hand. (He’s mine ladies!)

After many, what seemed like near death falls, we made it up to the waterfall and it was 100% worth it.  The views were breathtaking.

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Our night in Flam ended with beers and dice again.  The dice game ended up being a nice staple of the trip.  It’s easy to play and fun to drink during.

Oslo, Norway 

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The next morning, we were set to take the train to Oslo.  This train ride was supposed to be amazing and most of it was.  But as we got closer to Oslo, I think all of us fell asleep.  Oslo is the city we flew through to get to Bergen and we were excited to hang out there for our last weekend in Norway.

After we got settled in, we went to a vegan friendly burger place, called D∅gnvill, with Chuck and Kiley.  Aside from the meal that Bente made, I think it was the best food they were able to get during the entire trip.  I really felt for them because they did not have a lot of options most of the time.  The meal we got there was good though and I was happy they finally got to eat something other than fries and lettuce.

After dinner, Chuck was all pumped about this ice bar, called Magic Ice Bar, he read about online.  It really did seem cool so we stopped by and it ended up being one of the dumbest and most pointless things we did through the entire trip.  Almost instantly, when they put the cape on Chuck, he was pissed off at what he was dying to do as soon as we got to Oslo.  Tom, Kiley and I had a lot of fun with it though.  For 50 bucks, you get to hang out in a bar made of ice with a free drink…that had very little alcohol in it.  For Chuck, this might as well been a torture chamber.  The picture I now have for Chuck in my phone, is a picture of him in this Ice Bar.

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Magic Ice Bar

After the Magic Ice Bar debacle, we ended up at a really cool hipster bar called R∅∅r.  That was a really fun place where we got some good tasting beers in a place that easily could have been in Logan Square.  We ended the night at another hipster arcade bar called Tilt.  We didn’t play any games, oddly, but we did talk about strip clubs for a really long time.  That was pretty fun.

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R∅∅r

The next morning we woke up to our last day in Oslo and our entire vacation.  It went by so fast!

We knew we wanted to see certain things before we left.  The first place we headed to was the metal record store that Chuck really wanted to go.  This ended up being the smallest store every filled with just a ton of records and used t shirts.  I had a good time looking through stuff though.

We bought some beers afterwards at Joker.  Side note – the 7/11 like convenience stores there are all called Joker.  Tom also kept referring to me as a Joker so I got a picture in front of one of them.  So dumb but entertained us at the time for sure!

Anyway, we took our beers to a park and finally had “beers in the park” which Tom had been suggesting we do since Dublin.  Our beer of choice was Toms families beer called Aass.  Just like the name….it also tasted like aass…if you get my drift there.

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Tom enjoying an Aass in the park

The last big thing we did in Oslo was go to the famous Gr∅nlandspark-botsparken/Vigland Park.  I would really like to meet the pervert who designed some of the statues in this place.  It was unbelievable how massive and how beautiful this park was and it was well worth the walk to get there.

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We ended the day with dinner and beers in the park and one last dice game.  It was the perfect way to end our trip and dice may be my new favorite game now.

Epilogue

This trip was 2 months ago but writing the past 2 blog entries allowed me to relive and enjoy it all over again.  It was one of the best trips of my life and I was so incredibly lucky to get to experience it with my new husband (Tom…if that hadn’t been obvious yet) and our friends Chuck and Kiley.

Traveling somewhere new can be scary but it is well worth all the research and planning that is required beforehand.  When you get to see places in other parts of the world it does give you so much more perspective and appreciation, sometimes, for the place you come from.  It enables you to identify with different cultures and appreciate traditions that you learn about along the way.  I feel like I grew during this trip and I will never forget all of the things I was lucky enough to see during my 10 days aboard.

Cannot wait to return one day!

 

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