Monday, August 24, 2009

Rainbows only come AFTER the storm

I'm beginning to find it humorous that all my holidays need to have at least one mishap. Is it so that the bitter can make the already sweet taste even sweeter? Would I not recognize how sweet the sweet really is without it? Well, I'm not quite sure about the other vacations I've taken, but I'm positive that our stay in Norway wouldn't have been half as nice if things would have gone as planned when we arrived.

For the past few months my friend Kim and I have been going over the details of our trip. We decided to buy a travel package called 'Norway in a Nutshell', which pays for all modes of transportation within the chosen locations. The package we saw went from Oslo to Bergen and back (by train, boat and bus) that could all be done in a 24 hr period. We actually wanted to enjoy our trip, so we decided to make it a week long journey instead, and booked accommodations along the way.

The week working up to our trip, the both of us were constantly checking the weather in Norway in hopes that the rainy forecast would change. But as we descended into Oslo last Saturday afternoon, rain hit the plane leaving wet streaks across the windows to welcome us to the start of our adventure. Before leaving the airport we went to the information desk to buy our 'Norway in a Nutshell' tickets. See, even though we had made all the preparations and booked accommodation during our stay, we decided to wait until we arrived to buy the package, since it was just as easy to do in person than online. Bad idea.

Our plan was to start out on our travel the very next day, but to our horror we were informed that all trains leaving to Myrdal (which is stop #1 on the trip) were booked solid on Sunday. Then, to add to our dismay, the attendant also stated that the trains were booked on Monday as well. She then suggested we try our luck at the main information desk in the city center. So, we waited on the cold platform, praying for the rain to cease, for 30 minutes until our train arrived. After the then 40 minute train ride, we finally made it to the tourist information building across from Oslo's central station, slightly wet. While waiting in line though, Kim had found an entire brochure on extended 'Norway in a Nutshell' trips. We found one that looked much better than the one we had planned, and knowing that accommodations would have to be changed/canceled anyway we decided to re-route our entire trip in 5 minutes time.

We were again told that Sunday's trains were all booked, and the soonest we could leave from Oslo was on Monday at 10:30am. After making our bookings, we then inquired about hotels for our unexpected Sunday night stay in Oslo. The attendant gave a few suggestions and said that if we came back the next morning the hotel prices would be cheaper; ... we wanted a 4 star hotel since Sunday was my birthday. It finally looked as though the rains were starting to cease (not literally however). We at least had everything settled, and had dried off enough to venture back outside to our hostel with our umbrellas and luggage in tow.

When we made it to the tram stop we discovered that, due to construction, the tram we needed wouldn't stop there. So we walked up the hill, sloshing through puddles, and waited for the tram... the tram which turned down a road we had just passed and stopped abruptly. Everyone started piling out of the tram, and not knowing Norwegian, we just followed blindly hoping to figure out where to go next. Everyone, us included, transfered over to a bus which took us to our stop. However the map we had and the lay of the land didn't quite match up. We ended up getting off on what we initially thought was our stop, but after checking the map again saw that 1 stop too far, or so we again thought. We chuckled as we thought about our luck for the day, and agreed that at least the hostel was located downhill instead of up, especially since it was still raining quite hard. And we chuckled even more when we were told that we actually had gotten off the bus one stop too soon and had to hike back up the hill we had gone down in order to reach the hostel.
But we made it. We finally made it, and with only half the things in our luggage soaking wet.

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