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Monday, September 05, 2005

Good bye Norway

Well late this afternoon I boarded my cruise ship, the Crown of Scandinavia, which is currently taking me to Copenhagen, Denmark. This marked my sad good bye to Norway but thankfully not the end of my trip.

I first arrived in Bergen, Norway on the west coast late friday night. The next morning I woke up and set out on a tour of the fjords. I immediately fell in love with Norway. It actually reminded me a lot of Switzerland; very outdoorsy, green, mountainous, extremely friendly people, and quite chilly. It is also quite expensive and really raises the bar on what I have in the past considered an expensive country. All of my meals in restaurants have been at the very least 15 euros, and that's me ordering the cheapest thing on the menu. However, my lodging has cost the same amount as my meals so either I'm getting a great deal on my lodging here or the prices aren't high in every area. I'm thinking I'm just getting a good deal on the lodging.

Anyway, on Saturday I took my tour of the fjords which were just beautiful. After the tour I walked around the town some which again really reminded me of Switzerland. I then took a funicular up to the top of one of the 7 mountains which surounds the town and had a fantastic arial view of the town. The mountain also had several hiking trails that took off from the funicular area so naturally I set out on one of the hikes. I chose the shortest one that took me to a lake, however, it was much shorter than expected and I wasn't quite ready to go back just yet so I looped around and picked up one of the other trails and did that hike and yet again found myself at the end of a trail and not ready to go back so I picked up another trail and continued on. A few hours later I managed to arrive back to the funicular before the sun set which I had started worrying that I might not do. However, being in Scandinavia I should have known I'd have plenty of sunlight which as it turned out I still had several hours left upon my return.

After my hiking adventure I went back down to the town and walked around some more, had a late dinner and returned back to the hostel. The hostel was one of the nicer one's I've stayed at and was quite a deal on price given I was in Norway, not to mention there were only 3 other people in my room.

The next morning I woke up and caught an early morning train that took me from Bergen to Oslo. At times I had to force myself to stay awake as I was so tired, but it was well worth it because it was the most beautiful train ride I have ever taken. About midway through we had gone up the mountains and most of them still had snow on them eventhough it was September. At one stop, which was the highest we would go, the snow was just right outside the train! Just gorgeous.

That afternoon I arrived in Oslo and was quickly disappointed in what I saw. Compared to where I had just come from, Oslo looked like a ghetto to me, not to mention it was Sunday and I felt like I was the only one in the city. I wasn't sure what to do in Oslo and both tourist offices were closed so I just meandered through the city not really getting a good vibe from it and not really caring to see much of it. I stumbled upon the royal palace which had a fantastic park and my expectations started to be restored.

The next day I got up and set out to do some sightseeing deteremined to prove that Oslo had more to offer than what I had seen the day before. I first went out to the vigeland sculpture park which I thourougly enjoyed, then headed to the viking museum which was also quite pleasant. I then felt done with seeing Oslo but still had quite a bit of time left before my ship left so I went over and visited the castle and fortress. Once I was done with all of this I grabed my bags and hopped over to my ferry.

I'm now on the ferry and am loving it. It's like an actual cruise and we had several hours of daylight with just gorgeous scenary. Tomorrow morning I'll wake up in Copenhagen, Denmark and start exploring a whole new city.

Well that's all for now, I'll be in Copenhagen for 2 full days then it's off to Stockholm, Sweden, I'll try to write again once I get to Stockholm.

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