Saturday, September 19, 2009

Norway in a Nutshell

After a day in Oslo we embarked EARLY the next morning to transverse the country of Norway east to west via the "Norway in a Nutshell" trek. This involves a myriad of travel modes. The day was dizzying both with transportation connections and the raw beauty of Norway. Totally worth it, but definitely eat your Wheaties before setting off on this travel commitment! Thankfully our hotel is used to this adventure and had brown paper breakfast bags packed and ready for us at checkout. We left our luggage in their storage room since we would be gone only one night "on the nutshell" before returning to the Thon for our last night in Norway.Just so you can fully appreciate the travel absurdity of the day, here was our itinerary.... seriously....and we did it with a wiggly two year old!
1) 6:35 - 11:40 AM - Train from Oslo to Myrdal
2) 12:10 - 1:05 PM - Scenic train through steep mountain passes from Myrdal to Flam
3) 1:20 - 3:30 PM - Boat cruise from Flam to Gudvangen through the Aurlandsfjord
4) 4:00 - 5:00 PM - Bus from Gudvangen to Voss
5) 5:50 - 7:05 PM - Train from Voss to Bergen

Here are more details of our train/boat/bus adventure!
Step One: 6:35 - 11:40 AM - Train from Oslo to Myrdal
Kirk dozed while Connor was awake....Connor dozed while Kirk was awake........I was awake the entire 5 hour train ride gaping at the scenery and the impossible views going by. Pinching myself to be sure it was real.Step Two: 12:10 - 1:05 PM - Scenic train through steep mountain passes from Myrdal to Flam

God and Mother Nature must have arranged a very special day for us because check out what we saw!A perfect rainbow right before our eyes as we were boarding the train. Every color was distinct and it was very special. The rainbow only lasted probably 45 seconds before it disappeared.Rick describes this scenic train journey like this: It's party time on board, and the engineer even stops the train for photos at the best waterfall, Kjosfossen. According to Norwegian legend, a temptress lives behind these falls and tries to lure men to the rocks with her singing...look for her.We found her - but Kirk didn't fall for her tempting tricks! Do you see the temptress in the photo above?!? It was a little cheesy with the piped music and the lady dancing along the rocks, but I gotta say it was different and surprising along with a jaw-dropping turquoise blue waterfall. Pretty cool.Step Three: 1:20 - 3:30 PM - Boat cruise from Flam to Gudvangen through the Aurlandsfjord
Now we're really talkin'!!!! This boat took us up close and personal with the goats, sheep, waterfalls, and awesome cliffs. Here is Rick's description of the cruise: For two glorious hours, camera-clicking tourists scurry around the drool-stained deck like nervous roosters, scratching fitfully for a photo that will catch the magic. Waterfalls turn the black cliffs into bridal veils, and you can nearly reach out and touch the cliffs of the Naeroyfjord. It's the world's narrowest fjord: six miles long and as little as 820 feet wide and 40 feet deep. On a sunny day, the ride is one of those fine times - like when you're high on the tip of an Alp - when a warm camaraderie spontaneously combusts between the strangers who came together for the experience.We had to jump into a few of these photos just to prove that we were really, truly there! Thankfully Connor napped serenely in the Bob for the bulk of the boat ride. I am sorry she didn't get to see this with her own eyes, but it did bring peace to her parents and let us sit and really focus on the beauty all around us. Well timed naps are such perfect gifts.Step Four: 4:00 - 5:00 PM - Bus from Gudvangen to VossOn the bus ride Connor awoke from her slumber refreshed. However we "Nutshellers" were beginning to feel the exhaustion of the here, there and everywhere day! Yet the scenery kept revealing itself so we refused to let our eyes droop. On the bus ride we caught sight of this glacier (in the middle of this photo, slightly left).Step Five: 5:50 - 7:05 PM - Train from Voss to Bergen
The troll greeted us in Voss. This is the "Voss" of the Hollywood craze, Voss bottled water. The water that tastes like every other water but costs $6 per glass bottle to pay for the fancy dancy packaging. No wonder they are so rich in Norway! They claim it is oil money, but I think it is the water!!!In Voss I dashed over to a gas station in between bus and train to snag dinner. Gas station dinners have actually become a staple for us in Europe. It sounds gross, but really they have some healthy, yummy, well-priced meals. I went in hoping for hot dogs and instead I found "roller burgers"....yep, you read that right. Burgers rolled like hot dogs - you can even get them with cheese embedded inside. I grabbed three of those and a bag of carrots and all was well with the world. The last train still had very pretty views, but we were ready to 'crack our nutshell' and to arrive in our final destination of Bergen.

All in all the "Norway in a Nutshell" day was fantastic even with ambitious travel plans. We saw and did so much; we really felt like we had accomplished something by the end of the day. Kirk had planned perfectly.

Please note if you are going that while these 5 legs are designed to domino off one another seamlessly, each step has to be reserved ahead and paid for separately. Also it is possible to go at a slower pace rather than all in one day. We were tight on time though so the Nutshell day trippers, we had to be!

1 comment:

Dallas said...

Hi - I'm still referring back to your old blog. We just booked this trip - the Norway in a Nutshell tour - for July. It's funny to see how little Connor was in these photos. About the size N is now. :) Miss you guys!