Jan. 10th, 2008 11:35 am
unallersimple: (snoopycomp)
Another 11 hours of train travel took me further north again, up into the Arctic Circle and on to Bodo. Once on the train I worked out the approximate time that I would cross the Arctic Circle line and waited for it with glee. To be honest I can't really explain why it was so important to me, just as I can't really explain why I have to go to 101 countries, it's just something I need to do! The landscape was surprisingly boring and barron, a real shock after two amazing journeys in the south of the country. I later learned that in the Second World War much of northern Norway was left in ruins by the Nazis, Bodo itself was destroyed after a Luftwaffe attack in 1940. (Though it is generally a remote and inhospitable area too!)

When the train was approaching the line an announcement was made and I hurried to the window like it was 10 seconds to midnight on New Years. The driver blew the whistle and I saw the marker by the the rail and roadside. I also saw fireworks, dancing polar bears and lemmings juggling pringles, as well as airplanes pulling celebratory banners across the sky because I had after all, made it into the Arctic Circle. (Actually none of that happened, we just went past and that was that, but that doesn't sound as exciting.)

Later the railway ran along side the coast.

For any GCSE History people who remember the American U-2 pilot Gary Powers, Bodo is also known as the place he was supposed to fly to when he was shot down over the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Bodo is also home to the strongest tidal current in the world, another fact which I'm sure you'll feel a lot better for knowing. My tourist leaflet describes the event; "ever 6 hours, 400 mill m cubes of water rush through narrow sound." Quite.

After I arrived at about 7pm I thanked the lord for 7-11s as it was the only thing open at that time on a Sunday, (I wouldn't have been able to afford anything else, food in Norway is so expensive that the best way to save money is to skip meals). I must have looked a real sight sitting on the ground at the harbor as somebody stopped to offer me money! I kindly refused and told her that I was just a hungry person admiring the view.

After a day it was time to fly back to Oslo before making my way home, but not before buying a snoopy bag as a souvinir.

It amazed me how it takes days of coach and train travel to get from Oslo to Bodo, and only an hour and a half to fly back on the plane! From Oslo to London the world looked like a beautiful Care Bear land outside.

I was sad to be going home, I liked Norway a lot and there is no going back in my "mission 101", only on to the next. I think about my time there often.

unallersimple: (lost)
- - - Lizzie logged into LiveJournal pushing cobwebs and hedgehogs aside while leaving trails in the dust behind her. She was sad to realise that it had been so long since the last update that small animals had made their home in her diary. Several hours of cleaning, one new Sydney theme and some new userpics later she emerged from the online world triumphant - she had posted an entry! - - -

Well... it's hard to resist a chance to be dramatic. It's only been about two months of neglect and that's mainly because there has been little or no news travel wise. Now there is news, but I need to finish writing about Norway before starting to write about anything else! Strange to think that I went over six months ago. Shame on me for taking so long, but uni life has a way of consuming all your time and I am lazy.

To backtrack a little, I hope everybody had a super duper festive season and a fab-tastic new year. For those who are having a difficult time at the moment, I hope that xmas wasn't too hard. A lot of people have been in my thoughts such as [ profile] debxena, her brother and their friends and family.

2008. It always takes me at least all of January to start writing the correct year on cheques and formy things! This year is going to be a very exciting one. Bring it on!

More Norway

So where was I...Trondheim! This is the kind of town that is very cute and adorable, but not really worth traveling to in itself. It's a two night stop over kind of town. I remember it for some rather unusual things such as Casper (who actually was named after the friendly ghost!). I first met him back in Bergen and was rather surprised to hear him call me over when I was queuing in the cinema in Trondheim, when you meet people in hostels you don't expect to see them again. Imagine my surprise when I bumped into him a third time in the toilets of a Norwich! Turns out he started UEA in September, to mark this amazing feat of cross country reunions I added him on Facebook.

I stayed in the town's university lodgings which is one of the strangest buildings I've ever slept in. It's bright red and completely circular. Despite many attempts to officially count all the rooms, no one has yet managed to work out how many there are because the building is so oddly shaped! Going down mysterious stairways and passages to shower every morning made me feel like I was inside the Chamber of Secrets. I kept a sharp look out for snakes.

I had a delightful time going on canal and coastal cruises, looking round Nidaros Cathedral and being allowed to climb up some scarily narrow spiral steps to the top to wander round the roof. I walked. I bought more books. I walked. I read them. I walked. I sat in gardens, listened to music, felt happy and felt like dancing because someone who I care about deeply started a conversation with me on MSN. The anxieties and details of life at home do not exist when backpacking. You find food and shelter and plan your day. You take the time to appreciate all the little things in life you are normally too busy to notice. I love it.


One of the canals in Trondheim.

On the coastal cruise we sailed past an cute little lighthouse.

When I bought cake at the hostel it had a cool jelly person on it!

The view from the top of the cathedral.

The cathedral at around midnight.

Main street of Trondheim, also around midnight.



Oct. 14th, 2007 07:52 pm
unallersimple: (globe)
Yes yes, once again it has taken me a ridiculously large amount of time to update this, but with no traveling until next year there is sadly no travel diary inspiration for me.


For now though I will continue to take you further north in Norway up to Trondheim, and the only way to reach this city from Bergen is with a 14 hour coach journey. It was so exciting though it felt more like 8 as the hours seemed to scatter faster than the cows on the road! I make myself smile too when I always spend around £10 stocking up on food, books and other things to do out of some deep and dark fear of dying of boredom. This never happens and I always reach my destination looking puzzled at my untouched food and entertainment having apparently sat for hours without eating or doing anything!
The views were once again amazing, and once again I spent the time with my little inflatable pillow resting against the window. I watched the valleys and fjords drift past, riding through tunnels that cut through mountains and the roads that twisted around the rest making up the west coast of the country. I felt even happier to discover we had a ferry crossing at around 7pm because, quite simply, I love ferries! According to my travel journal I listed this one as being "bloody fucking fantastic!!!" (ahhh the words you write during times of great emotion) and I even made some random person take a photo of me to capture the moment.

I would like to pause a moment here to repost this photo of me traveling from Finland to the Aland Islands from two years ago. Everytime I see this it reminds me of how happy I feel when I'm backpacking (especially when I'm on a ferry). I also like to have a good laugh at myself being blown away! On the ferry in Norway I had a good reflective moment about the past two years of university and travel - I felt proud of how far I've come (both literally and metaphorically!) since setting off for the first time in 2005.

^Say, has anyone seen this hoody before? ;)

As it was an overnight coach - I saw the partial darkness Norway offers this far north at 3am too. Beautiful.

I arrived in Trondheim at about 6.30am the next day feeling very, very content. I knew I had a great time ahead of me and in two days I would be in the Arctic Circle!

I realise I've rambled on *again* about another train/bus/whatever journey that no one really cares to read about, but then perhaps it shows that, for me at least, it's not about the destination but the journey itself...

unallersimple: (hearts)
I've now remembered why it takes me so long to update this darn journal. I've just spent an hour typing up stuff and fiddling around with html to add photos and my browser crashed and deleted everything. The retype is never as good as the original is it? *cries*.

Soooo after Oslo the next part of my trip was an 8 hour train ride to the coast to reach Bergen. I wasn't looking forward to spending a day on a train to be honest, until I remembered just how delightful Scandinavian railways are! The trains are always on time, have a dining car and wide aisles with cosy seats. There is no need to be squished up against a toilet just to get on board because everyone is allocated a place to sit, and there are always enough seats for everyone. You don't bang your head when you get up and there's space for a backpack on the overhead storage - parfait! Though I guess the fact that countries like Norway have more space, money and 54.5 million less people does help a little. I spent the journey with my face pressed up against the window again to admire the view while we zoomed through mountain tunnels and up and down valleys, fjords and fells to reach the other side of the country. Some elderly people were smiling at my little happy self, but I received a grin in return when their faces lit up as brightly as mine after I offered them some cookies (what is it with people over 65 and biscuits?!).

Anyway I see that I've just written a paragraph about trains. I do appologise, but it was a good day! If you ever have to spend eight hours on a train I advise flying to Norway first.

The fact that I've just typed so much about the train journey there and not the city itself should give you an idea of how exciting Bergen is, i.e. it isn't. It's known as "Regnbyen" which means city of rain, a very true name considering that from October 2006 to January 2007 water never stopped falling from the sky. That's 98 days of rain in a row! Sod spending 5 days there, should have just stayed in Kendal! A very long 5 days they were too to be honest as I struggled to find things to do. I rode the funicular railway up Mount Fløyen to get a different view of more rain...there was a fish market...a cathedral...I also found a museum which featured an international knitting exhibition but the less said on that the better! (Not that I hate knitting or anything, there just wasn't much to see and most of the exhibits in there was really boring.) The exhibition did remind me of mum though (she was an avid knitter), and I was sorting through some of her things when I got back home and found out she went to Bergen with school when she was 15 (in 1975!). It's funny how you can follow in peoples' footsteps without realising, I would have liked the chance to ask her about it too. :(

However behind every cloud the sun is always shining (even in Bergen) and I do have some very fond memories of the place. I had a wonderful time walking round photographing street art which is something I've never really done before. The stuff was amazing and I was soon wondering up and down every street tring to find more. I also met the best person I've ever shared a room with in the hostel and stumbled across Norwegian school children singing in fancy dress alongside one of Norway's most famous folk singers! :)

Here are some photos of the city.

^Bergen city centre.

^A photo of Mt Fløyen that gives you an idea of the gloomy atmosphere and everlasting rain of Bergen.

^ View from the top of Mt Fløyen...ok ok so this is actually a photo pulled from Wikipedia, but I do have one just like it featuring rain and greyness!

^Some of the amazing street art I stumbled upon.

unallersimple: (hectopus)
I'm home safe and well, 15 hours after I left my youth hostel in Oslo - yeesh! I'm just going to put up some photos I have from Oslo for now and post about the rest of the trip over the next few weeks.

^ A shot of the main street in Oslo leading towards the royal palace (which unlike in England has no walls or railings seperating royalty from the public, and I didn't see any armed guards either!). The palace also has a number of duck ponds which was delightful to see.

^ A view of Oslo and the fjord from Bygdø - the peninsula where I visited the Kon-Tiki museum.

Vigeland Sculpture Park

^ A dodgy photo of yours truly with the monolith in the background. It's made up of over 100 carvings of men, women and children which are "rising towards heaven and salvation". Along with the rest of the sculptures surrounding the monolith at the base they make up the representation of the circle of life and death I mentioned earlier. The next photo is one of the carvings from the base.

^Jack seems to be channeling starfish for this shot...

Anywhoooo I miss my bed, time for sleeps.



Jul. 6th, 2007 02:59 pm
unallersimple: (hectopus)
It's good that all my traveling is finally paying off now, as it only took a few hours to get adjusted here yesterday and it feels like I've been here for weeks rather than about 2 days. Now the rain has stopped, it's so nice to just wonder around and soak up some sun, very lush! Today I took the ferry to the Kon-Tiki musuem with Martin and Jack, two guys I met in the hostel earlier. (For lack of space I won't mention it here, but it's a really interesting exhibition about how five people sailed across the ocean in a raft of reeds! - Later I left Martin and Jack to get excited about Vikings while I sat on shore for a while, paddled in the water and felt very happy. Don't know what I'll do with the rest of today yet.


Yesterday (the 5th) I went to Akershus Slott (the city castle) and the Norwegian Resistance Museum. It was really interesting to see how the Norwegians resisted Nazi Occupation during the war, and it was cool to link it in with what I learned in school. Norwegian history is something we never really hear about in the UK. It's actually about the 6th resistance museum I've been to now, but it's still horrific to even imagine how many lives were lost & destroyed throughout Europe at that time.

Outside the museum Jack, a very fine Aussie from Melbourne, recognised me from the hostel and introduced himself. We ended up going to an art gallery, going for lunch and walking out to Vigeland Sculpture Park on the edge of the city. On the way it started to rain for the 5th or 6th time that day and the downpour was so heavy (with scary lightning!) that we hid under someone's garage for half an hour until the weather calmed down a bit. Gotta say, I never thought I would be sitting under a Norwegian garage with an Australian for half an hour...

The park itself is amazing and thankfully the rain stopped by the time we got there. It's filled with hundreds of sculptures showing men, women and children going through all the stages of the cycle of life and death. They are also designed to show the emotions we feel from love to loss and everything in between. The most famous and popular sculpture is of a little boy who is crying, stomping his feet and having a little temper tantrum because he can't have what he wants. He's on postcards everywhere in Oslo! The little kid is also one of those statues that crop up time and time again when traveling. The kind where if you touch a certain part, you will return to the city at some point in your life. I decided not to touch the little boy's penis in the end... mainly because that just seems wrong but also because if I end up in Oslo again, it means I'm not spending money on a new country!

^ The little fella' is known as Sinnataggen in Norwegian.

^Me & Jack

On the way back the heavens opened again and me and Jack sought shelter in the only place we could find...the playground of a nursery school! We had to hop over a fence to get in, I feel so ashamed for breaking into a preschool lol! was a wonderful first full day in Oslo. :)

unallersimple: (globe)
Arrived in Oslo safe and well...though very tired as it was 26 hours after I left the house in Kendal! Too tired to do much today other than seek food and shelter. This Internet cafe = cheap and comforting place to stop for rest.

So far...
*On the train to London some person sat opposite me said their drink was "frightfully good" and this amused me much.
*Any thoughts I had about how silly it was to leave the country were soon dispelled when Jane, "the manager of your train!" would not leave the microphone alone and constantly kept reminding passengers to remember to take all their personal belongings "including laptops, mobile phones, children and grandparents"!?

In London...
*A man on the underground gave me his all zone/all day travel card and I was touched by his random act of kindness. I now do the same when I'm finished with my ticket.
*While running to hide from thunder, lightning and scarily large amounts of water falling from the sky I accidently walked into the middle of the Harry Potter 5 premiere! (I had no idea it was yesterday...and man do those fangirls scream loud! Sadly I couldn't see anything except for the cars celebrities had arrived in driving out of the square, there were just too many people.)
*I spent the night on the floor of the airport and found it fun, while learning that sitting on my backpack with my glasses case in the top pocket isn't a good idea - RIP my spare pair of specs! I also learnt that no matter how strong the desire to re-read Harry Potter 5 before the new book comes out, taking Order of the Phoenix backpacking just doesn't work. It's too big!

On the 4th...
*My aeroplane arrived 30 mins early (can pilots get done for speeding?)...but the airport was two hours on the coach from Oslo. *Note to self*: Sillycheap ticket prices always have a catch!

Oslo is lush and I'm looking forward to exploring it more tomorow. Happy Lizzie :)

love and chocolate

unallersimple: (hectopus)
Yo ho ahoy,

Tomorow I'm off to Norway for two weeks and I'll be back on the 18th.

I'm flying to Oslo from Stanstead, but because my flight is at sillyAM on Wednesday morning and I'm strange I'll be spending Tuesday night at the airport. After a few days in the capital I'll be moving on Bergen, Trondheim and Bodo. All very exciting as I'll be in the Arctic Circle which is somewhere I've wanted to go since I was little. (Here's a link to a map of said circle if you're interested -

Comment/message and let me know how you are...I should be able to get online & update while I'm away. :)

Love and then some,



unallersimple: (Default)

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