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Travel Tuesdays | Bergen, Norway

Bergen_Norway_0002I’ve missed the last couple Tuesdays (though last week’s post on Toronto counts as a travel post, right?) and I started to really miss them! Like everyone else, this is a busy time of year, and I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve had good momentum with family shoots, meetings with clients for the upcoming wedding season, and some other great stuff (including lots and lots of baking), so I apologize to those of you who’ve been checking the blog for a travel escape. I’ve got one for you today, though!

We arrived in Oslo in the late afternoon. Uncharacteristically we’d been unable to find any hostels available online, but by then we’d been backpacking for almost three months, so arriving in Oslo without a place to sleep didn’t really faze us. After a few hours, though, we realized why we hadn’t been able to find anything: Norway shuts down in the winter (or at least, for backpackers). Our option was to pay 180 euros for a hotel room for one night (almost four days of our total budget), or sleep on the street. We picked option “c” and jumped on a night train to Bergen, in the heart of fjord country.

After catching a few hours of sleep on the train, we pulled into Bergen before dawn. Of course, we soon learned that dawn actually arrived at 10am that far north. We found the hostel, only to find out it was women’s only. There was a men’s hostel on the other side of town. What?! Keep in mind we had no cell phones, only one alarm clock, and just one padlock for our stuff. And we couldn’t even hang out in the evening together indoors. Nope, not happening. Instead, we got back on a train the departed on a scenic tour of the fjords – in the dark. We had the last tour of the year because of lack of daylight, but we were still charged full price. The first 30 minutes were in the dark, but once the sun rose…. worth every penny.

We had about 30 minutes total when the sun was high enough to clear all the mountains. Shortly after noon, it started to set. There was such a beautiful covering of snow on every single branch, but it wasn’t cold enough for those fast moving rivers and streams to freeze over. Ooh, what I could do there now with a tripod, a vehicle, good hiking boots, and a few days!Our boat portion of the fjord tour was a little comical, because it was almost all in the dark. These first few minutes were heavy dusk… I’ve lightened the photos so that you can see some more detail. So happy nevertheless! Aside from the captain, we were completely alone! It was just us and the mouth of a giant fjord. The feeling was surreal. It felt big, and ancient, and a little intimidating. All of a sudden I was able to imagine vikings. We quietly navigated the fjords, trusting the captain to know where he was going, because after this picture we lost the light. Rob and I have vowed to return, during endless summer light, with a rental jeep and camping equipment. I can’t wait to return to Scandinavia!

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Ottawa, Ontario