7-11 Aug 2013
We arrived in Oslo early morning. I had a good sleep in the bus. Actually, I am blessed to have the talent to be able to have a good sleep anywhere. We purchased our 2day Oslo Pass (270NOK valid for museums and public transport) at Narvessen, and then we headed down to our accommodation, Anker Apartments. It was 10-15 minutes away from the city center.
Check in was at 12pm and there’s still much time before that. We just went ahead and started our city exploration. First stop was the Vigelandsparken.a park with uniquely positioned nude sculptures, flowing to the forms of real human movements. Human builts were like how a normal everyday people would look like, not like some Greek gods or godesses. The park represents the life work of Sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The park proudly showcases more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and iron. Vigeland himself, was responsible for the layout of the park. Impressive.
I’m not sure why but I could really feel the emotions the sculptures are trying to exude. My personal favorite was the man and woman in love.
After the park, we went back to the hostel for our check in, bathed, prepared then continued our Oslo adventure. We went back to the city and our first stop was, Oslo Cathedral, then, Karl Johan Street, where my friend realized my bag was open. I didn’t really check immediately carelessly thinking that I may have left it open after I took something few minutes before, I just closed it back.
Leisurely, we continued on walking along the busy street of Karl Johan. I even had a cup of coffee, Kaffebrenneriet, according to the tourist information brochure, best coffee in Oslo? The barista was a cute middle eastern looking guy with dimples. See, it may not be the best coffee for me nonetheless, I enjoyed the coffee.:)
Few meters from the coffee shop was the National theater, Parliament which was under renovation at the time and the city hall. Upon reaching the city hall, I realized that there was actually something missing from my bag. My travel pouch with all my cash and credit card has gone missing…..
My hands turned cold and I was unable to think for a few minutes. After gaining my senses back, I asked Joyce if it’s ok to go back to the hostel first and check if I left it there, though it was pretty obvious that it was pick-pocketed from my bag. She agreed.
OSLO STOLE MY HEART…..AND MY WALLET TOO!!!
We went home, searched high and low and still couldn’t find it. In the hostel the internet connection was not working properly that day, and I had no idea what’s the number to call to cancel my credit card. I decided to talk to someone who was obviously able to access the internet and asked if it’s possible just to search something from his Ipad mini, and luckily, he said yes.
We went back to the city and looked for the police station within the area and reported what happened. Just worth mentioning, despite what happened, I couldn’t help noticing that in that particular station, policemen where awwww…good-looking. Just to extract a little positivity out of the experience. Anyway, I was able to obtain a police report for possible insurance claims.
Since I was only using pre-paid card, I couldn’t make use of it to call overseas, because I wasn’t very sure how long it would take to reach a bank costumer service , but based on my experience, it could take very long. So, we looked for a public payphone. That was the first time I had to use a payphone since a long while, almost close to never. Surprisingly, I was able to reach the customer service after few rings. I reported the loss and cancelled my credit card.
I was a bit lonely about the loss. Remember the previous story at the airport, I returned a stack of money to one guy and now, I lost mine. I think it’s about 2K SGD.
That night, I decided this incident shouldn’t hinder me from enjoying my holiday. I still could live independently for a few days because I separated my NOKs from the rest of the other currencies I was not using in that particular country. Yes. I still had NOKs. Luckily!
And oops, that night, I realized my sandal was broken too. Bad luck just won’t leave me as soon. hays
The next day, I was back on track. We first went to the Munch Museum, Munch 150, which was said to be the most comprehensive presentation of Edvard Munch’s, (a famous Norweigian painter) art ever displayed. We were there to see The Scream in person, and more. Eye feasted. I noticed that he duplicates his paintings. Anyway, entrance was free for Oslo Pass holders but photography was not allowed inside the museum.
We went to the Royal Palace, Nobel Prize Museum, Harbor and the Holmenkollen, an impressive ski-arena but we didn’t go there to ski, we went there for the tower and to check out the amazing view of Oslo from the top.
We had to rush home again because we planned a Norway in a Nutshell, DIY. We followed the route but we booked the train-bus-ferry tickets by ourselves. This made us save quite a bit of money because we took advantage of NSB’s mini-pris prices.
Here’s the plan;
Oslo-Myrdal > train
Myrdal-Flam > train
Flam-Gudvangen > Boat
Gudvangen- Bergen > Bus
We reached Myrdal at 5am, and the train to Flam would only start operating at 9am, hence we had to wait at the train station for almost 5hours. The station was quite safe and quiet. We were able to sleep and rest because there were benches available in and outside the train station. There were only 7 of us who planned to take this itinerary hence, there were enough space for everyone to doze off.
At 9+am the train arrived and we excitedly boarded one of the world’s most beautiful train rides and indeed, without hesitation, the sceneries alongside the rail was beautiful. HAY!
We reached Flam and conveniently, few meters from the train station was the ferry port. We boarded the Fjord1 ferry, which we were enthusiastically looking forward to, because of the World Heritage views of Naeroyfjord and Aurlandsfjord, which were considered the most scenic fjords areas on the planet.
The view was really stunning and there I was in the cold outdoor, admiring the striking beauty of the Fjords. There I was, once again, despite penniless, thanking God for giving me the opportunity of seeing such an amazing view.
It was just a 2+hours ride and as we reached Gudvangen, we were instructed that the Camp would only be 600meters away from the port. But hell, no. It was about a Km, I think, based on my estimation or because maybe, we were carrying our heavy backpacks, that was why it felt longer?
We reached Gudvangen Camp, exhausted; we decided to sleep in the rest of the day. And oh! At Joker, (our favorite convenience store, really cheap, in Gudvangen, it’s near the gas station,) A pretty girl approached us and asked if we were Filipinos. We happily admitted we were. She was so excited to inform us that she’s half-Filipino and she called the attention of her auntie who was with her at that time. They invited us to their house to eat some newly baked Filipino pastry. They were angels! We hung out with them for a while before we decided to call it a night!=) They were a bunch of crazy ladies, just like us! Oh Filipinos. I just love my people!
The next day, plan was to trek up or down to the Town of Bakka and then to another UNESCO Heritage Site, Rimstigen. The map looked easy. We were told just “to follow the road, then before the tunnel, cross the fence. And just follow the trail. It’s steep but there’s no need for climbing gears and its actually easy.”
We hesitated a lot of times because we thought, there would only be one fence to cross, but surprisingly, there were 3. One before the tunnel, the other 2 looked like a real privately-owned property fence. Only to realize that we could actually enter these fences but we had to make sure we would close it back after passing by. We hesitated to do so initially but we still did pass through them anyway.
Joyce: So how?
Pia: I’m not sure
Joyce: Let’s go?
Pia: Sure? Let’s go?
Joyce: We’ve come this far already? Should we?
Pia: Ok. Let’s go.
Because we were a bit terrified just seeing the marks of the landslides, both old and recent-looking once. We decided to pray the rosary while trekking and it did help. It personally made me feel more secured and I thought, if I die there, at least it would be in beautiful place, and I would be under Mama Mary’s intercession. *Reciting Rosary while trekking*lol
Midway, there’s another obstacle, there was a flock of goats with horns blocking the trail. We got really petrified to pass through the flock. We took a while to decide whether to continue or not.
Joyce: So how?
Pia: I’m not sure
Joyce: Let’s go?
Pia: Sure? Let’s go?
Joyce: We’ve come this far already? Should we?
Pia: If they don’t have horns, no questions, I would.
Joyce: Yeah. If they don’t have horns
*Obstacles are seen if you keep your eyes away from the goal*
After almost an hour of deciding, a blessing came about, a couple! We decided to follow them through the flock and unexpectedly, the goats just moved away and let us pass by serenely. Now we know, these goats are harmless..ok?
We reached Bakka Church and walk about a few Kms more to reach the foot of Rimstigen. The hike was quite steep, as expected. Unfortunately, due to time-constraint, we were not able to reach the summit though along the way, we were able to see magnificent views of the fjords already. Despite the heart-ache of not pushing further to the top, we had to start our descent because we couldn’t afford to miss our bus and train schedules. As mentioned, we, or I was already having some financial difficulties.=b
We went to collect back our bags from Gudvangen Camping (cute reception boy) and headed to the bus terminal near the port, which meant we had to walk back at least a Kilometer with our heavy backpacks. We were heading to Voss then Bergen. The bus ride from Gudvangen to Voss was an amazing yet a vertigo-precipitating experience. View was once again magnificent yet the curvaceous, 60-70’ inclination ride on the bus was not a matter to joke about.
We reached Voss. Safe! Thank God! We had a few hours to spend in this charming little city before taking another approx. 3hrs of train ride to Bergen. We decided to leave our bags in a hotel nearby the station for free, and they helped us keep them for a while. The station has its own locker room, but we couldn’t find it initially and using that, we had to pay; therefore, leaving it in that hotel was the best option. We spent about 2hrs walking around and eating out our packed dinner.
Train ride and then tadah, we were in Bergen. At the train station, it was already pretty apparent that it was the second biggest city in Norway because, it was tourist-congested. Outside the train station we had to walk these cobbled-covered roads, which I thought was charming and looked for our 2night’s accommodation, Bergen YMCA. It was a mixed dorm. Yey! (And we were giggling the whole time we were there.you may have an idea why.)
Anyway, we were able to sleep peacefully. Plan for the next day was supposed to be another hike to Mt. Ulriken but it didn’t happen because Joyce though it would be a waste of time to hike up again when we can actually take the cable car going up.
We got our Bergen 2day public transport ticket (110NOK). We visited the UNESCO Heritage listed site, Bryggen, first then we headed to the foot of Mt Ulriken, where the base for cable car was. We had to pay 145 NOK each for about 10-15minutes of cable car ride going to the top of the highest point of Bergen.
At the top, of course we were immersed in the tranquility of the mountain. There was a view point and there were still some more smaller peaks to explore. We trekked a bit more to check on the views on the other sides of the mountain. I trekked in slippers because I wasn’t really expecting that there were more areas to hike on around, hence I just wore my Sandugo slippers.
Despite we didn’t want to leave yet, we had to rush back to the city to, supposed to be, attend an English mass at St. Paul’s parish, but when we reached there, the church was closed, mass, non-existent. Disappointed, we just decided to walk around the city more until we were tired.
The next day, we went to Stave Church, which once again, we were not expecting that we had to trek a little to reach the picturesque church. Yah, it was worth the sweat. After this, we rushed to the bus station to take the bus heading to the airport, whereby we had to pay another 90NOK, privately-owned company hence, the 2day ticket didn’t include this transportation.
We were flying to Stockholm, Sweden
Tips, Practicalities and Blahs:
Take care of your belongings especially in crowded places!
Joker and Buni Pris are the places to be. Cheapos, we were!
YMCA accommodation, cheap!
Transportation, if you’re not into museums, day ticket’s good enough! Mt. Ulriken and Stave Church were the farthest to reach. Other than that, attractions were all walkable.
Despite Summer, bring both hot and cold, and rainy season attire! Its really unpredictable!
Norwegians are handsome! Prepare ur hankies, you might drool.lol
P.S. to the person who stole my pouch. May God bless you and I sincerely hope that you used my money on your child’s education or something, or to perform some corporal acts of mercy.