One of my fave travel quotes says “I haven’t been EVERYWHERE, but it’s on my list”… So on my birthday, just out of randomness (and weirdness), I ran away alone and went to that “Everywhere”! :D **Ang arte lang!**
Preparing a week before running away, I searched for flights from London to “Everywhere” via skyscanner.net, which then suggested a number of flights around Europe. I chose the cheapest on the list, quickly checked on the “basics of traveling” (i.e., what to see/do, tourists’ reviews, weather forecast, where to stay, etc.) and tadah! NORWAY it is! :) —and oh, Norway rhymes with Birthday by the way! :p
I had a draft itinerary at hand and finalised it when I arrived at the Tourist Info Center in the City of Bergen—because I’m not so sure of how accurate the weather forecast is. And well yeah, I wanted Norway to SURPRISE me—in a good way though! After all, this trip is a birthday treat for myself! :)
A gloomy (and unexpectedly expensive) Bergen welcomed me on my birthday (ah kaya pala mura ang flight hohoho!), but still, I was thankful that it didn’t rain, and so I was able to roam around Bergen—
I looked around, hoping to find familiar faces, but I didn’t find a single one. So I continued with my solitary wandering–jaywalked, struggled with reading the map (as usual) so I asked for directions, smiled at random strangers (some of them I suspected to be Filipinos), ran, stopped, took some photos, walked again, until I felt cold and got tired, and decided to head home.
And yeah, for the third time in my backpacking life, I stayed in a shared dormitory up at Montana. This time around, I made sure I got to share the room with a female stranger hahaha!
While I rested my tired feet and aching back for a while before heading out of the hostel to go back to downtown Bergen, and experience night life, a lovely sun setting at Mt. Floyen surprised me! It’s a kind of sunset that brought me so much joy! (haha! ang babaw ko lang, di ba?!) Well maybe because it had been gloomy the whole time and seeing the sunset despite the freezing cold just turned my mood around! :)
I roamed around Bergen again, on my first night, but I found nothing interesting, except for a rally being held at the City Centre. But because I didn’t understand their language, I didn’t bother to stop and watch them. So I just familiarized myself with the place, the bus and the train stations, just so I won’t get lost the next day for my early trip to see the Fjords!
Second day – It was still dark at 7am when I waited for the bus to take me to the train station—the sun rises at around past 8am at this time of the year by the way. I went with a group of tourists taking the Bergen-Myrdal-Flam-Gudvangen-Voss-Bergen tour via a train-boat-bus-train ride to see the famous Fjords…
From gloomy to icy—the 2-hour train ride from Bergen to Myrdal was simply amazing!!! Again, it surprised me! :D
From autumn, it was suddenly winter—as in everything’s white! Hahaha! (and I was so ecstatic, seriously! :D excuse my kababawan!). I don’t know, but it all felt like Christmas to me! ‘Cause you know, when it’s Christmas, we are (supposed to be) happy. :)
I was in awe and was full of excitement, probably because everything was new to me… I felt like I was saved from the unpleasant familiar!
..and yeah, I didn’t let an opportunity of taking a shot of my feet (with my not-so-appropriate pair of shoes) just pass by; and I also asked a fellow tourist to take a photo of me with the train and snowy Myrdal.
The surprise didn’t end there—the train ride from Myrdal to Flam was equally awesome!
We had to stop at one point during our trip to see the Kjosfossen Waterfall, which is just alongside the train railway… My heart leaped when I saw the waterfall still flowing despite the icy surrounding.
Truly, a waterfall, just like the rain, just does what it’s meant to do–to fall… And sometimes, despite the land (and everything around it) being cold and frozen…
And I got lost in my random thoughts again! :)
Not long after that, we finally reached Flam’s rail station. The snow-capped mountains and the autumn colors slowly fading into oblivion as winter comes—once again they all left me ahhhhmazed!! :)
It might not be convincing if I go on describing, through words, how lovely Flam is; I hope the photos below would convince you and would make you want to see Flam for yourself! :) **They made me sing a line or two… They made me want to write a poem for you…**
♫♪ I came along, I wrote a song for you; and all the things you do, and it was called “Yellow” ♫♪. –Coldplay
♫♪ I took my love and I took it down; I climbed a mountain and I turned around… And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills; ’til the landslide brought me down…♫♪ –Fleetwood Mac
It’s like when the autumn and the winter meet—beautiful but tragic…
*Snapping back to reality*
It’s not snowy in Flam, so an easy hike on the hills, while I waited for the cruise, was a good idea… And so, I continued with my musings and daydreaming (…and selfie-ing), while hiking…
♫♪ I get lost in the beauty of everything I see; The world aint half as bad as they paint it to be. If all the sons and all the daughters stop to take it in; Well hopefully the hate subsides and the love can begin..♫♪ –One Republic
I was glad, and happy, and all that; I just couldn’t help but let a certain melancholic feeling kick in (oh the senti side of me! =p)—really felt like I could write a (sad) poem while hiking! But what’s ironic was, it was the kind of melancholy that made me feel more alive and made me want to participate more and not just exist… ’twas weird! :) **sign of aging??! :)**
Just like in Bergen, I walked, smiled and talked to random strangers along the way, stopped to take photos (and a lot of selfies!), and immersed myself in my disconnected thoughts! And when I saw the ferry coming, I had to turn around and go back to where the ferries and the ship dock… I had to go back or I might be left behind with my tortured mind… :p
And then there’s the cruise along the Arctic Circle–the Norwegian Fjords! Everyone boarded on the ferry and chose their respective seats to get a good view of the icy cliffs. I chose to stay at the highest viewing deck; you already know why! :D (Imagine me with the tall Europeans blocking my view! haha!).
The lovely rock formations on the cliffs are breathtaking. I can only imagine how equally lovely (or how lovelier) they could be during summer!
And then everyone became busy taking snapshots of the cliffs despite the freezing temperature–I guess ’twas close to 0°C that time! And so once again, I got melancholic–that realization that I am so far away from home was just inescapable…
The cruise lasted for almost 2 hours, and we ran out of daylight at around past 4pm, even before the ferry docked in Gudvangen. The half-moon seemed to have signalled me that my daydreaming and reflecting are over—that I should stop listening to my own tangled thoughts! :D
We took the bus from Gudvangen to Voss, and from Voss we took the train back to Bergen. And from Bergen, I took another bus to Montana, and then I’m home at 9pm! That was quite a trip! :)
And once again, before I tucked myself to sleep on my second night, I waited for the apparition of the northern lights, but they didn’t appear as it was too cloudy… And so I dozed off into a dreamless sleep.
Third day – I woke up to a gloomy and windy and freezing Bergen. But inspite of that, I saw the sun struggling to make its way up from behind Mt. Ulriken, spreading its fiery color to light up the entire city–’twas superb!
I’ve got nothing much on my list on my third day; except that I planned for a hike up Mt. Ulriken to get to the city centre instead of taking the bus. But then, as I was starting my way up, the wind was just too strong for a hike, considering that I was carrying my heavy backpack and I was wearing winter clothes–hiking up (alone) would be quite a challenge!
So I changed my plan after a couple of meters of hiking, because I was struggling with the strong wind… Went down to the bus stop and I was back at Bergen’s city centre, just before the heavy downpour! Fair enough! I guess my decision of not getting on with the hike was just right. :)
I passed the time away at one of Bergen’s malls, waiting for the bus to take me to the airport. I watched as the rain kept on falling relentlessly, adding to the gloominess that I was starting to feel; and I watched as it drifted my mind into my own world again, away from Bergen… escaping from whatever’s unpleasant for one last time, taking my last chance at having a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :)