Statistics of the trip:
Date: 30th November 2006 to 3rd December 2006
Team: Balaji Venkataseshan, Prashanth Raghavendra and Vikram Chadaga 🙂
Places Visited in Norway: Oslo, Kongsberg, Myrdal, Flam
Number of Nights slept: 2 out of 5 (best use of vacation time ;))
Craziest things done:
- Slept in the train station
- Watched Seinfeld on my laptop in the train station
- Partied till 3AM and watched Seinfeld in the train station till 8AM
- Climbed snow covered mountain with sports shoe at -5deg C with a heavy bag!
Click below to view the photos:
- Day 1: Around Oslo
- Day 2: Trek at Kongsberg
- Day 3: Oslo -> Myrdal -> Flam
- Day 4: Flam -> Myrdal -> Stuttgart
Prashanth and I write about the whole journey, Balaji adds his unique comments, so read on!
29th November 2006, 11:17 PM
Stuttgart (23:05) to Mannheim (23:43) – Train
Mannheim (23:48) to Mainz (00:31) – Train
Mainz (03:45) to Frankfurt hahn (04:55) – Bus
Frankfurt hahn (06:30) to Oslo Torp Sandefjord (8:30) – Air
Oh Boy! That was my first expression looking at the itinerary. Whole night no sleep 😀
Right now traveling in the ICE train at the speed of 250Kmph I can feel my ears pop every 5 min.
30th November 2006, 5:22 AM
We have reached the Frankfurt Hahn airport. We just had the security check-in and they threw out my deodorant, shampoo and my toothpaste and Prashanth’s deodorant. But Balaji knew all about it and was prepared to stink right from the beginning!!! Damn i miss my ab machine wich by the way its the best home ab machine.
Before this we had a wait of 3 hours in the Mainz Train station.
Prashanth and I watched Seinfeld Season 2 and didn’t realize how time flew. Big Balaji tried to fit himself in a small chair and tried to sleep!
30th November 2006, 6:19 PM
From morning till evening we roam around in Oslo with the entire luggage. We walk around the city visit a Fortress. It is a beautiful Fortress on the bank of a Fjord. We could see a lot of Albatrosses and huge ships go by. The weather was cloudy but was beautiful, not too cold and no rains.
[Prashanth]: The fortress still has lot of guards around. The change of shifts for these guys is a very formal affair. As confirmed by of them, it happens everyday. I tried my best to pose like one of them using Vikram’s 3-barreled tripod :).
[Prashanth:] We spent sometime roaming around within the fortress. At the fjord end of the Fortress, Vikram tried to capture some Albatrosses with the camera.
After doing all the photography and walking around the place we deiced to get some food as the next ferry ride was at 3PM. We got into a bus and find out that you don’t have to pay if you are traveling for only one stop! Wow! What a country! 😉
[Prashanth]: The next ferry was at 3PM. So we decided to get back to Oslo center and have lunch We end up at Peppes Pizza and order a large (actually very large) Vegetarian pizza with customized toppings. It was delicious and well cooked. One of the best I have ever eaten.
[Balaji:] Peppes pizza is one thing we can’t forget in Norway, best food we had in Norway after food at my Friend’s place (not for Vikram – poor guy felt the food as too hot ;))
Oslo is a very colorful place. It is a valley with a Fjord. We hit a conversation with the bus driver from the airport to Oslo, and he was telling us about how Oslo was formed with all the minerals and rocks all around.
Evening we reached Kongsberg, Senthil’s house (Balaji’s friend), had a great dinner and have planned to sleep here tonight.
Senthil is from Andhra and had cooked in the Andhra style (extremely spicy!!). Balaji and Prashanth somehow managed it, and enjoyed the food. The fun started when I ate the food. It was very tasty but too spicy for me. I was on fire and the rest of them were laughing!
Anyways we plan to trek tomorrow the whole day and then party in the night 😉 Prashanth is all excited about partying at Oslo!
1st December 2006, 9:58 AM
I got up at around 8:30, had a sound sleep. Let me write a little about the house we are staying. It was built around 1600 century. Everything in the house is made of wood. It has a basement, garden, garage, etc. It was as single house before but now it is split into 3 separate houses. Senthil lives in the first floor and his friend Syed lives in the ground floor. The house truly looks like a king’s palace! Looking at the house Prashanth and I are totally blown!
[Prashanth]: The houses here use soooooooo much of wood. Wooden walls, floors, furniture. its just wood everywhere. Norway seems to have a big timber industry. I liked the house a lot.
One day in Norway and I’m in love with this place. I have been in US, Germany, Italy, France but never had such a good first impression. There is something about this place that is very nice.
[Prashanth]: Me too. I guess what I like is the whole package. The very elegant people, the nice houses, awesome natural beauty and so on. No wonder Norway was rated as one of the best countries to live in.
[Balaji:]We explored the basement of the house expecting some Egyptian Mummies (Mummies of 17th century) and finally found some wooden blocks. We thought this could have been the Norwegians wine cellar.
1st December 2006 7:09 PM
Trek at Kongsberg:
We did an amazing trek today in Kongsberg. The weather was good. We were hoping to see some deer or a moose but were not lucky enough. We had a map from Sentil. We trekked till 3:00 PM and had a HUGE pizza and a nice chocolate desert. Prashanth had a Cheese cake and was too full. Balaji had an ice cream.
We are now in the train to Oslo, I’m copying some songs to the IPod! Plan to party whole night and catch a train tomorrow morning at 8:15AM to Bergen or Flam.
[Balaji]: We slept in the train and we missed the Oslo stop. So we had to get down in the following stop and travel back. But Norway Railways were generous enough to allow us travel free of cost 🙂
Today I could shoot a lot of Norway houses. Notice the colours of these houses I have never seen so bright colours for houses. It is kind of nice to see the city colourful with a gloomy grey day! 🙂
2nd December 2006 4:40 AM
We left our luggage at the railway station locker, and then partied all night. Now we are waiting in the train station to catch the train to Bergen at 8:15AM.
In Norway Friday nights are not party nights. Saturday and Sunday nights are party nights! Now that’s something we didn’t know! We were initially disappointed but later we danced our heart out for the music. It was only me and Prashanth on the dance floor with may be a few others. Balaji was totally pissed off because he didn’t find any babes around!!! I loved it, good music and no stink of smoke!!! (smoking is not allowed inside clubs).
[Prashanth]: First we tried a rock music club Gloria Flames. Music is not all that great. Crowd seemed ok. But after a while, we are bored and decided to try other places. Balaji is consuming his drinks too slowly today. That gives enough motivation for me and Vikram to start singing our very own rock tune DH with a FF. DH with a FF come on, gulp it come on, gulp it. That sounded good :).
[Prashanth]: There was a live rock music place mentioned in the Lonely planet book. But we forget the name and location of the place. Shit !!!. So, we end up at PI club and the enter the house-techno music floor.
[Balaji]: The two FFs made lot of stress asking me to gulp a mug of beer within few seconds.. I couldn’t help it 🙂
At the Oslo S station hall, Balaji is now sound sleep on a bench. Prashanth and I are going to watch Seinfeld till morning. We are seated on some furniture of a closed cafe.
2nd December 2006 10:55 AM
We were on our way to Bergen, but we have changed our plans and now we would get down at Myrdal and then go to Flam. I see outside the train its all huge Mountains on both sides and snow everywhere.
I finally caught up on some sleep in the train and now feeling fresh. I think I’m excited seeing the snow and the huge mountains.
2nd December 2006 9:41 PM
We reached Myrdal at 12:48PM. The train from Myrdal to Flam was delayed by one hour. I decided to go hiking on the mountain. It was completely covered with snow and it was very cold. Prashanth and Balaji didn’t want to join me. I climbed 3/4th of the mountain and then my toes started freezing. I was wearing a sports shoe which was soaked in water with all the snow around. My socks were wet! I realized that the climb to the Himalayas would require a lot of determination and preparation. I wanted to continue but had to return because the train was going to leave. Moreover it was the last train to Flam. It was a true mountaineering experience for me. I was totally thrilled that I did it.
The train from Myrdal to Flam was very nice. It is Norway’s engineering marvel. It passes through, something like 60 tunnels with beautiful landscapes on both sides.
After reaching Flam we realize that everything around was closed. We were just lucky to get some food and shelter for the night. The cruise tomorrow is at 3:00PM and we can’t take it because we have to get back tomorrow. But the place is so beautiful so plan to go on a small trek tomorrow.
[Prashanth]: The place is indeed very beautiful. Flam is located on the banks of a fjord (forgot the name) which links to the Norway’s biggest Fjord (Sognjefjord) just a few hundred metres away. Our rented apartment is just on the banks on the Fjord. We spend sometime on the balcony with some drinks and photography. I am already planning to come back to this place again. I think summer is gonna be amazing here.
I did a lot of night photography of the place. With the reflection of the lights in water, with huge mountains covered with snow on top, I think the photographs can convey only 10% of the real beauty. It must be experienced!
[Prashanth]: Our landlady tells us that there is some Christmas party going on at a nearby hotel and we might get some food. We walk to that place and find out that there is nothing suitable to eat. We get back to the apartment. Balaji goes to sleep. Me and Vikram watch the movie Ransom starring Mel Gibson and Rene Russo, for sometime.
3rd December 2006 1:32 PM
We are in the train traveling from Myrdal to Oslo.
Morning we got up at around 7:45 AM after Prashanth snoozed the alarm 3 times, and Balaji tried to getup with his biological clock! We had a nice breakfast at the hotel and took an hour walk in Flam. The landscapes look straight out of the movies.
[Prashanth]: I asked our landlady a few questions and get to hear some interesting things about Flam. Flam had a population of just around 350 people. Tourism is the main source of income. The tourist season is from April to October. The locals save the money earned during this time and enjoy it for the remaining months. Now that sounds really nice. 🙂
We left Flam at 11:30 AM and came back to Myrdal. Once again the train journey is beautiful. We reach Myrdal and see that it was full of snow. The snow was fresh. I gave my camera to Balaji and started firing Prashanth with lots of snow balls. It was fun! After that even Balaji got hit 😉
[Prashanth]: Ah snow fight !!! That was a neat victory for me. I hope Vikram uploads that snap (the best snow-fight snap of our trip) where I shoot him with a snow-ball. Bingo, Excellent hit !!!
[Prashanth]: At one stage I am trying to fend off all the snow-balls aimed at me using my 3-barrelled gun, i mean the tripod. That was fun.
Yeah yeah Balaji has captured only Prashanth hitting me!!! But he missed all the snaps where I was bombarding Prashanth with Huge snow balls!!!
[Balaji]: I used RAPID FIRE mode to capture the ferocious fight J between Prasanth and Vikram
4th December 2006 4:50 AM
We are in the last stretch of train journey from Karlsruhe to Stuttgart. We have traveled the whole night. I can see balaji totally out and might take a vacation today. Prashanth seems ok we might watch Seinfeld now.
I felt a little bad to leave Norway and come back. I was thinking about all the good things about Norway. It is one of the best places to live other than India. Prashanth agrees with me on this, but Balaji likes his Fatherland the most (for his own reasons).
For me the best part of Norway is the Nature’s beauty, the Fjords, the mountains, modern city and the warmth of the people. Talking about warmness of people, there was one incident where we were lost and were searching for some help, a lady addresses us as Sir, do you need some help. You could say it was only her, but we saw the same behavior with a lot of others.
[Prashanth]: I agree. People are very courteous and friendly. And language is absolutely no problem. People speak very good English. I am surprised the Norway is not a popular tourist destination for Indians unlike Switzerland and others. Maybe because its too cold here. But I am glad I was here.
I have made-up my mind to come back to Norway some time in life again. I have to see the Northern Lights and the wild animals and make a trip to the Arctic Circle. 🙂
[Prashanth]: We were about 500km from the Arctic circle. I am gonna come to Norway again, for sure. I plan to visit the town of Tromso inside the Arctic circle. It’s the world’s highest University town. I hear that the Northern lights can be definitely seen from here.
Click below to view the photos: