14 Days in Norway
After 3 boring weeks at home getting geared-up for a completely different trip with lots of hiking and exclusive tent-living it was finally time to leave for Norway. I flew Norwegian airlines direct from Oakland, CA to Oslo and it only cost me $260 with a bag. Great price! [not sponsored] The flight went very well although since I chose the cheapest ticket option it did not include any meals. Since I’m a cheap-ass I did not buy a $30 airplane meal. A 10-hour flight without a meal was brutal, also you have to ask for water because they won’t pour any without asking. Luckily we brought food, booze, and full water bottles so we were all good! The flight attendant actually commented on all our little booze bottles and told us we couldn’t bring those on-board, we said OK but they were all gone by that time lol. I don’t recall reading any policy that forbade alcohol on-board and actually the TSA allows alcohol as long as it follows their 3-1-1 liquids rule so what gives? We were entirely within our right to carry these liquids.
Anyways, onto Oslo.
We absolutely loved Oslo (except the weather) and spent about 6 days here and we thought that was enough time, even a little too long. We bought a 3 day Oslo Pass which gives you access to many museums and transport, which was nice. It was 745 NOK (we got a 20% student discount off that price) which was expensive ($80) for our tight budgets, but we got our money’s worth. We went to sooo many museums: Norsk Folkemuseum, Olso City Hall (2nd favorite), The Viking Ship Museum (my favorite), National Gallery, Nobel Peace Center, The Kon-Tiki Museum, and Fram Museum to name a few. I won’t go into detail but my two favorite activities were absolutely free; the Botanical Garden and the Ekebergparken Sculpture Park (not to be confused with the famous sculpture garden Frogner Park). Not only was the Ekebergparken Sculpture Park one of my favorite activities it was right next to the Ekeberg Campground where we stayed. After our 6 days we left Oslo on a night train to Bergen.
The train ride is rated as one of the most beautiful in the world apparently but we slept through most of it. The train provided us with a complementary eye mask, blowup pillow, and ear plugs which really came in handy as it was summertime and never really gets dark in Scandinavia. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken but if I could describe it… in between trying to sleep I occasionally looked out the window and saw our train winding through the mountains, eventually into the snow around mountain lakes and tiny cabins up there. Really beautiful ride from what I saw (not much). We arrived in Bergen early in the morning, super tired, with a couchsurf lined up for the night but he was not awake yet so we had some time to kill in the city. We still had our bags so we ended up hanging out at a coffee shop charging our devices for a while. We met up with our couchsurf host eventually who invited us into his house to watch the 2017 NBA Finals Game 5 with him. After the game we were so ready for a nap that we passed out and spent the rest of our day just getting ready for a hiking trip to Trolltunga for the next few days. To this day that has been my one-and-only couchsurf but I had such a great experience that I would like to host sometime in the future.
Now, our plan was to take a ferry to Odda in Hardangerfjord from Bergen but we missed the ferry by literally a minute. We waved from the dock as the ferry left without us, truly a tragedy. Luckily there was a second, slower, option… the bus. I really regret not making it to that ferry because the fjords in Norway are gorgeous but we still got a very scenic bus ride. During that bus ride we crossed a fjord on a ferry which was unexpected and pleasant, so I did actually get my ferry ride in the end. We finally arrived in Odda on a bright and sunny day ready to be start our hike up to Trolltunga but needed to get to the start of the hike first. Since we missed the ferry in the morning, we also missed the shuttle to the trailhead so we hitchhiked there from a friendly local who was driving by. Finally arriving to the trailhead of Trolltunga around 2pm or so, we had some serious hiking to do. The beginning of the hike starts as stairs, an elevation gain of 900m over 1.5km. This flattens out for about 1km then back to steep elevation gain for another 2km where the hike stays quite level for the rest of the way.
Carrying our full backpacks, with full water bladders was a mistake that we quickly realized but we pressed on. Now, we both consider ourselves fit people but goddamn was that first part tough, but we didn’t quit until we got to the 5km mark where we set up camp for the night, just off the footpath. The next day we woke up early, stuffed our big backpacks in our tent and left for the rock with just a day-bag and some food. This turned out to be a smart move, with less to carry we reached the tongue in no-time. After queuing up and taking our pictures we began our descent. Somewhere during the path down, we took a wrong turn and instead of taking the stairs we found an access road making our descent even longer. By the time we finished we had walked about a half marathon by my estimation and still had to get to our campsite back in Odda that night. We hitchhiked again back to Odda where we had to walk uphill about a mile to our campsite. Needless to say by this point we were trashed. We showered, ate, and passed out. The next morning, we woke to an awe-inspiring lake and every time I look at this picture it makes we want to go back to Norway.
The bus ride back to Bergen was long but we still had 3 days left in Norway before heading off to Sweden for midsummer so we made the best use of our time and went to a touristy ice bar. The ice bar was just what you’d expect, everything made of ice, even the glasses. Funny enough, since alcohol is so expensive in Scandinavia the ice bar actually had comparable alcohol prices, and they had a berry wine free drink with ticket purchase. Too bad it’s freezing in there or else more than one drink would have happened. Other than that we didn’t do much else in Bergen other than walking around and shopping. I would recommend to anyone that wants to come to Norway to enjoy its incredible nature and get away from the cities. We spent far too long within the cities and wanted to do more hiking and camping instead. Bergen is called the “the capital of Fjord Norway” for a reason after all and we wish we planned more time in Norway.
We finally left Norway on a short flight to Sweden to celebrate Midsummer.