Monday 2nd of May –
Amsterdam, around 10 am: huge coffee, laughter and tears (mine), hugs, happy dances (mine too, I got moves). Kiss and fly, away. It is about time.
Aker Brygge, Oslo.
Oslo, 12.30. I remembered the city from a few winters ago: limited light, great blueberry muffin, dream stores with non affordable lifestyle gadgets, the Iceberg Opera, and ‘’fish’’ in tubes (you think it is mayonnaise, it is just fat with a synthetic fish taste).
I feel at home within a minute: the train to Oslo center is delayed and my hotel is on strike.
Finally found a bed in a hostel close by. Oh-slow, here I come. This time I’ll pass on the ‘’tubed fish’’, on the Tube too. These shoes are made for walking.
Around 15.00, I reach the harbor. Last time, at this hour of the day the sun was going down in a sky torn between pinks, oranges and blues. Today I am offered fifty shades of grey. The Kaffebrenneriet behind the tram stop is still there. They do not serve the blueberry muffin anymore (I basically walked here for no reason) but they still have the powdered cinnamon on the ‘’customize your coffee’’ corner. Last time I got mislead by my greed for chocolate and used a lot of it on top of my cappuccino. I did not renew the experience / mistake.
Following the harbor path, I got out of the maze/citadel in no time (pride! Last time took us too long to admit) and arrived at the Opera. Still impressive. Looking like an iceberg from the outside, the inside is very much Guggenheim inspired. People walk in the Opera (in surprisingly casual outfit ). The show is about to start, leaving the outside empty and quiet; I climb on top of the iceberg, and find a spot to enjoy the view of the city in the late sunlight.
On my way back to the hostel, I found a lost coffee place (I admit my eyes were caught with the handwritten inscription on the window ‘’coffee and crepes’’). The owner does not speak English and my Norwegian is limited to ‘’Heiii!’’ and ‘’Takk!’’. Drinking a cappuccino (yes in the evening, yes, I am crazy like that) in the empty and cozy place, I cannot help myself but to smile when they start playing old French songs … ‘’tant qu’il y a de la vie, y’a d’l’espoir’’ lalalala … If there is life, there is hope
nord coffee – Oslo
Tuesday 3rd of May –
Leaving my one night roommate, I head to the train station. Early tasty breakfast in Nord: yoghurt with 1 blueberry and 1 raspberry. So generous, not sure if I can handle it. The drawing in my cappuccino (right timing) and the tasty scone make up for it.
The ride to Flam will take a bit more than 6 hours. Stunning views on the line Oslo-Bergen. After 4 hours, all we can see is snow. Each time the train exits a tunnel – I stopped counting them as I fell asleep (Tunnels are the new sheep – be aware), the all train is drowned in light (is that even English?) by the powerful reflection of the snow. Impossible to picture. Could not look at it without sunglasses – drama queen much.
12.50. The first stop is Myrdal, we are 811 meters high. Next train a few minutes later: the Flamsbana will take us back to the sea level, all the way to Flam and its fjords. This ride is supposed to be the ‘’one of the most beautiful train journey’’. Sure thing, it is good competition to the RER C during rush hours.
Everyone is excited, camera by the hand, trying to picture the beauty running in front of our eyes through the windows. I chat with a British man. He carries a huge camera and we talk about the necessity yet the stupidity of picturing everything that moves us, especially when in movement. I lose him a few minutes later when he asks an American couple what their position is regarding Donald Duck, I mean Trump. (j’me suis –pas vraiment – trumpé)
Flamsbana, in and out
Arrived in Flam. Postcard landscape. Plus one hundred of Chinese people. Most of the train passengers are taken directly by boat for the rest of their organized journey. A guy next to whom I spent most of the trip from Oslo follows them. While waving goodbye, he admits envying my freedom of planning but doesn’t trust himself to go hiking alone. I start figuring out how lucky I am, and how cool this trip is about to be.
Flam valley, from the waterfall
In less than 1 hour, I am already on the way for the first hike to Brekkefossen – Flam’s waterfall.
The hike is breathtaking, and I don’t mean only the view. I wasn’t expecting the ascension to be so stiff, but it is all worth it. I met a Dutch family who was on the way down. We talked a bit and I was proud to make conversation in Dutch, despite my panting and donkey sweating.
On top of the waterfall, facing the immensity of the nature, I made my plan for the coming days. Tomorrow I will visit the other side of the fjord by bike; and the day after I will follow my Viking’s instinct and explore the fjord paddling.
To keep my so called instincts alive, I had dinner tonight in the Viking’s pub of Flam, local brewery. After my splendid hike I met a friendly black dog, whom boss happens to be one of the waitresses in the brewery. She told me to come and have dinner tonight, which I did. (I had my desert free of taxes. #makingfriends #cellulite) And yes, I tried the 5 local beers. To me, the IPA is the best. But the Amber Ale is in a close second place.
To end in a classy way, here is another friend, smiling for the camera
Norway, pays des merveilles!