Sept 28, 2016
I was supposed to hike Preikestolen, located in Stavanger City, Norway. Also known as pulpit rock, it is a square flat bed of rock sitting atop a mountain that overlooks Lysefjord below. I stalked #Preikestolen on Instagram for weeks, hoping it will be sunny when I get there. But then, the sooner my trip gets, the rainier and cloudier the pictures were. I was obsessed about being in Preikestolen that I even had my blog post prepared for it even when I wasn’t sure of going there.I ditched my plan because: (1) I don’t want to betray my parents by going to a dangerous place alone – worse, when it’s raining hard. It is a 2-hour hike per way going to/from Pulpit Rock, average rocky trail with a few very steep paths, and on the rock itself, some 900++ meters sheer drop straight to Lysefjord below. There are no safety rails, and with the rain and clouds, the rock would be slippery and the surroundings – well, cloudy. (2) I’m quite nervous myself because I’m not even a hiker.
I initially planned for Bergen, anyway. I always see that UNESCO World Heritage site being projected on TVs for sale in the malls and in the lobby of our condotel where I presently rent. What a pleasant feeling when I see it now – “I have been there”, I secretly and proudly tell myself. On the other hand, I really didn’t plan on going to Oslo, Norway’s capital. Don’t get me wrong, Oslo is beautiful. I just chose to go to the countryside and see the fjords that the country is famous for.
Hence the Norway in a Nutshell tour. I know, it’s very touristy, and I like it that way. For a solo female Asian traveler who’s always mistaken for a teenager because of my height, I prefer to go to touristy areas instead of the “roads less traveled”.
I woke up at 330am and checked on my social media accounts, like a real millennial. I planned to go back to sleep, but failed because of a 3-inch spider that crawled under my bed. I waited for it to go out so I can bravely kill it, but who am I kidding? If it was my house, I’d probably burn it down and migrate abroad. I ended up sending a message to Sebastian telling him I will sleep on the couch in the living room instead. But I didn’t get my sleep back. I heard Sebastian’s footsteps and the noise in my room – he was looking for the spider but it was gone. He gave me an airplane blanket then went back to sleep and I just waited until 7am then I prepped up for my tour. (To be fair, the place is surrounded by trees so bugs and insects are common here.)
Norway in a Nutshell (NIN)It is a fully customizable tour that visits the fjords through a series of various transportation modes. The cheapest and most convenient route I found is a roundtrip Bergen to Bergen NIN. At NOK 1320 (around PHP 7800) it is indeed expensive for just a full-day tour but hey, it saved me lots of time and potential stress instead of booking the DIY version. I prayed for a better weather and mercifully, it was not raining. Still cloudy, but at least not rainy and windy like the day before.
First leg: Train (NBS) from Bergen to Voss (1 hour)
At 8am I was back in NBS Railway Station. It’s their regular commuter train that is part of the NIN tour. We rode the jam-packed train going to Myrdal (final station) but we are to alight at Voss station for the tour. The sun peeks every now and then – a good sign of a much better weather for the day.
Second leg: Bus from Voss to Gudvangen (1 hour)
Upon arrival at Voss, we walked our way out going to the buses. They are not difficult to miss considering the influx of tourists I traveled with.
Third leg: Ferry boat from Gudvangen to Flam (2 hours)
Fourth leg: Train (Flamsbana) from Flam to Myrdal (1 hour)
Fifth leg: Train (NBS) from Myrdal to Bergen (2 hours)
Uhm, I don’t have pictures for the fifth leg, but I think I had an Instagram video. It was the same commuter train we rode at the beginning of the tour, but this time going back to Bergen. The view during the commute was still breathtaking and thankfully the afternoon sun was shining.
I was really amazed by how accurate the timetable is for all the modes of public transportation here. At exactly 6pm I was back to Bergen. I took a leisurely walk around then went to Floibanen to take the tram going up to Mount Floyen’s peak.
And this is how I capped off my last night in Bergen, Norway. I made my way down to the city at around 8pm, had burger and coffee at McDonald’s, walked some more to the bus station, and went back to my AirBnB at around 10pm. My hosts are happy for me because of the improved weather that day – they really sensed how disappointed I was the day before. Interestingly, while Sebastian and I were talking, the spider suddenly appeared near my feet. More interestingly, I was able to keep my calm while he captured it and freed it outside. (They’re not used to killing insects there. Wow.)
I played with baby Aaron and had a little chat with the couple, then went on to shower and arranged my things for the following day. My flight back to Stockholm was scheduled at 1130am the next day.
Whew! I did it, Norway!
You can read my other Europe 2016 posts here:
UPDATE (Oct 27, 2016): I just computed my Europe travel expenses – europe-expenses