The Bergen train station has a Deli de Luca. And do you know what Deli de Luca’s have? WAFFLES WITH BRUNØST.
I began the third day of my trip determined to correct my former flub and do breakfast RIGHT. Another cappuccino and…no waffles of any kind whatsoever. Who are you, Deli De Luca? And what have you done with all the waffles? I got a croissant instead. A tough-looking group of pigeons started hassling me. They looked very interested in that croissant. I stuffed it in my bag and ate it on the train. I’VE SEEN THE BIRDS, YOU GUYS, I KNOW HOW IT ENDS.
On the train, a woman asked me if I was going to Voss (only the terminus was listed so it was a little confusing). I told her yes and she her husband sat across from me. I asked if they were on the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour as well, and they were. She told me she was nervous about getting on the wrong train or bus or boat and messing the whole thing up. AND I FELT SO MUCH BETTER. I’d been worrying over the same thing. But I told her that we were on the same tour, so if we screwed it up, at least we’d screw it up together.
The scenery from the train was even more beautiful on this leg of the trip. More mountains and more water. More fjord-y in general. Farther north, the mountains become more imposing, and I felt like a tiny speck, tip-toeing quietly around massive structures jetting out of the earth. The train sucked us through numerous tunnels, the pressure pulling at my ears, then sudden relief as we burst back into the light. This rail system isn’t as large as the one between Bergen and Oslo, and the train car rocked and swayed a bit more, tilting heavily around the mountain curves. I imagine it felt like a carnival ride for some. Felt like a gently rocking bassinet to me.
I took a few more train pictures:
This train ride was only an hour long, ending for me and my Nutshell friends in Voss. The snow had caused a landslide on the tracks between Flåm and Myrdal, so the folks going that way had to be diverted by bus. Fortunately, I had a night planned in Flåm, so I crossed my fingers that they’d clear it before my departure. Let’s consult the map:
In Voss we got on a bus and had an hour ride to Gudvangen. The bus driver played tour guide, and I tried to imagine living a normal live in such a grand place.
Gudvangen is stunning. The bus dropped us off by the harbor. Mountains towered all the way around us. I kept turning in circles, trying to take it all in. My Nutshell friends found me again and we visited for a bit. They’re originally from Trinidad, but live in Dallas now with their three kids. This was their first vacation without the kids, and they seemed really happy. Not that kids aren’t great, but adults gotta go do adult things sometimes and not be mom and dad for a while. I snapped a few pictures for them and then I wandered around, taking pictures from every angle I could think to try.
I took a lot of selfies, so get ready for my smug mug a few more times. But before I move on, here’s one more (not selfie…the scenery!):
FOR REAL, YOU GUYS. That was the view standing on the dock. Just imagine standing on some unassuming wooden dock, but this is the business that you’re looking at. THIS.
We had about an hour before the ferry came, so after taking pictures, I grabbed some coffee, bought some post cards and a couple fridge magnets (hey C. Gudvangen, guess what you’re getting?), and chatted with my Nutshell friends a bit more. I think the lady has her PhD because she told me to enjoy graduate school and to stay flexible because the job market is tough. She sounded like she was speaking from experience. She seemed like a bad ass lady who gets shit done. I liked her.
We got on the ferry with no warning that the deck was riddled with ice. I spilled half my coffee recovering from “almost falls.” Very graceful. I think the jolt of almost falling a hundred times woke me up more than the coffee, so I finally just tossed it. The chilly air on the water perked me up too. I explored the whole boat, looking for the best angles for pictures. No bad view. (I’m not ashamed to tell you that I had Lonely Island’s “I’m on a Boat” stuck in my head for most of the ride. TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK AT THE MOTHER FUCKING BOAT. It enhanced the experience for me.)
Then the boat started navigating through the fjord and oh my, oh my, oh my. I took so many pictures, so many selfies, so many angles. My fingers were twisted ice sickles, but I couldn’t stop taking pictures. We passed this adorable little town…just existing in a fjord. Can you imagine living here, in the shadow of this great mountain?
It didn’t look real. I felt like I was watching the opening credits for Beetlejuice. Practically speaking, how do these folks get groceries? Does Amazon Prime deliver to them? Do they have cable or Dish? Do they take boats when they want to visit Gudvangen? I wish we’d had time to stop and ask. But all in all, these are probably the most content people in the world. In their blessed isolation, I bet they don’t even know who Donald Trump is.
Okay, more mountains:
And let’s just appreciate this one for a second:
Like, what’s even happening here? The earth really looks like this? I couldn’t keep my mouth from hanging open. Alright, Last set of fjord pictures then I’ll tell you some more things.
Near the end of the fjord tour, as we were approaching Flåm, a fella who I’d seen on the train from Bergen came over to ask me about the landslide, and if I knew how they were transporting tourists around it. We got to chatting, and it turns out he’s theater folk and he lives in London. You may recall that Emily is also theater folk and she’s taking one of her classes to London over Easter break. Isn’t that funny? He recommended a book, and we friended on Facebook, as you do. I’m hoping he and Emily get a chance to visit because it sounded like he had some good insights about the London theatre scene. London fellow and I parted ways and I wished him luck with the next leg of the trip. I also got to say good bye to the Dallas folks before they departed as well.
This post is already too long, and I have so much to say about Flåm! I’m going to cut this post here and I’ll pick back up in the next one at the harbor/train station/visitor’s center in Flåm. (It’s a very small town)