The final trip and new European destination before I left Glasgow and long-term residential status in Europe in 2017 was to Norway. Well that was a mouthful. Basically, I had to leave after my three-year term was up in Glasgow, but not before a final adventure, mostly solo. I had planned a weeklong trip, 4 days in Norway and 3 in Bordeaux, where I’d be visiting old friends and meeting new ones (one who ended up being my husband, just had to mentioned that 😛 )
The trip was made more pleasant by two things, first one being free flights from KLM! I had reward miles accumulated from previous trips with KLM and so I utilized them to the fullest and got free tickets from Oslo to Bordeaux and Bordeaux to Glasgow (only had to pay for the Glasgow to Oslo leg). Very much appreciated that, thank you KLM!
The second pleasant thing was the “Norway in a Nutshell” (NIAN) tour package, which I guess could be considered as the “beginner’s guide to Norway” package that is officially advertised in Norway. I didn’t book the tour through the official web site though, but I did book every leg of the exact itinerary, separately by myself (NIAN-DIY, as they say on the Internet). It was completely doable and by doing this, I saved quite a lot of money even though it was a bit more hassle, but the trip was exactly the same as if I had booked through the agency 😉 The description of the NIAN tour is as follows:
The Norway in a nutshell® tour takes you through some of Norway’s most beautiful fjord scenery. You will experience the scenic Bergen Railway, the breathtaking Flåm Railway, the Aurlandsfjord, the narrow and dramatic UNESCO-protected Nærøyfjord and a bus trip through the beautiful scenery of Western Norway. From May – September, the bus trip includes the steep hairpin curves of Stalheimskleiva.
Sounds intriguing? Yes it was, and it was every bit as beautiful as it sounded, even as a solo traveler. Let me give you a brief guided NIAN tour right here, in two posts.
As I had limited time, I followed the classic route with no add-ons or options (also because Norway was super expensive…) The first leg was a train trip from Oslo, the capital of Norway, to the city of Bergen. It was mid-October so I did expect snow eventually, but not before coming across some beautiful scenery along the way.
Such amazing colours! Sometimes I unrealistically dream of living in one of those small red houses surrounded by hills and valleys and lakes. The trees in the backdrops are like keys on a xylophone that give off the most melodic sounds, even when they can’t be more silent.
Gradually the scenery began to change and colours were replaced by pale white, though still beautiful nonetheless! There seemed to be many lone houses dotted here and there, literally in the middle of nowhere.
And some parts reminded me of the Scottish highlands, which I adore and can’t get enough of. This photo reminded me of the area around Glencoe in Scotland.
Here here we arrive in Bergen, after something like a 6-hour train ride from Oslo! This is the view from my hotel room. I’d be staying in Bergen for one night only before making the return to Oslo the next day, seeing the famous fjords by boat and taking the train on the Flam railway along the way.
I arrived in Bergen at around 3 in the afternoon and knew that it’d be getting dark rather early. I wasted no time exploring Bergen with the few hours of daylight left, passing by some public art along the way. I strolled around the city and wandered toward the the harbour, which was lined with quaint, colourful houses. Of course, my main destination was Fløyen, where I’d see Bergen from a high place, preferably after it got dark.
I took the Fløibanen funicular, which took me to the top of Fløyen (a hill in Bergen) in a few minutes. It was late afternoon but the sky was still bright, so I took a quick detour from the lookout point and arrived at a lake (I believe Lake Skomakerdiket) hidden behind a forested area. Late autumn is the most spectacular season, wouldn’t you agree!
Back at the lookout point at Fløyen, it was still not completely dark, but the view of Bergen was fantastic as expected. A thick layer of mist covered the mountains in the distance in a shroud of mystery.
Not wanting to get back to the city too late, I descended by funicular and wandered around a bit more before grabbing a simple meal and resting for the night. I stumbled upon a well-lit area of wooden housing but there was not a soul to be seen or felt, so I wondered if I had by mistake trespassed into a private residential area. “Baklommen” seemed to be a bar though. Maybe I was there too early and the nigh life hasn’t even begun…
Final look at Bergen with its brilliance reflected in the harbour. You could even see the lights of the Fløyen funicular leading to the top of the hill behind the houses. It was a short stay, but a lovely one nonetheless.