Norway – Oslo to Bergen: A Train Ride – by Jonia Gordon. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
Editor’s Note: this is a part of a special series from Jonia Gordon, a talented student who is studying in Oslo, Norway for the Fall 2015 semester. Jonia is a thoughtful writer, as well as a talented artist. The illustrations that accompany this article are also by Jonia.
It was the trip that I had been looking forward to since I bought the train tickets a month and half beforehand. I would be going to Bergen, Norway for three days with two of my friends/classmates. However, I did have a bit of a scare the night I ordered my train tickets. I had used my American debit card to purchase the tickets and went to bed at ten that night (as I had work the next day…). At half past, I received a message from my mother that I needed to call the bank at that very moment or else my account would be completely frozen. I went through the process of changing my sim-cards, calling, and resolving the issue with confirmation of my identity. It turns out, that my local banking centre had forgotten to tell the main bank that I would be out of the country and this led to the events. Honestly, although it was a stressful moment and I hope to never have a repeat, it was a growing experience. One important aspect that I have taken from it is that communication is key and double- and triple-checking is something that may seem tedious but can save you from a lot of unnecessary issues.
Moving forward, we decided to take the 7.5-hour train ride for two reasons: (1) it is well-known for being a scenic trip (note: I believe there is a film in Norway that consists entirely of this train route) and (2) it was a bit less of an expense. Though, it had more to do with the first reason for the second. We started our journey the day after classes ended in the early morning hours by meeting up on the stairwell in our building, then proceeding to walk down the hill to the t-bane (metro) to go to Jernbanetorget (Central Station) in order to board the train. This would be my first experience on a train and I was extremely excited to start the long trip.
(Image 1: The night before, we had a final dinner with all of our program and ended up staying out until 12. Which meant that we had missed the last bus and had to walk back. This image is a representation of how tired we were from a lack of sleep (5 hours) on the way to the train station.)
Our train departed at 08.15 and arrived at our destination at 15.50. The train was fairly empty and that allowed me and my friend to converse as we pleased. Since we were seated together, we talked lots, made at least 12 peanut butter sandwiches (and ate them all!), took dozens of pictures, and whatnot. I was surprised at the changes in weather that occurred throughout the journey; it started off as dreary autumn weather then transformed into snow as we got higher up, and by the time we arrived, we encountered a light rain; which would transform into a downpour that night.
One experience on the train that I was curious about was the serving car. I had heard about it from friends and I’d seen it in various films and television shows: I wanted it to be a more concrete experience for myself. Halfway through the trip we decided to venture through the carts to find it. Luckily, it was only 3 carts away and easy to find. Though, we were a bit shocked as we went from car-to-car and experienced difficulty opening the doors due to wind surging through. The cart was very modest with one worker and a small display of food options. We chatted with him for a bit and he gave us his suggestions for food and traveling in Bergen; he was wonderfully friendly and that made my experience one to hold with me.
(Pictured: A waffle with strawberry jam and brown cheese and a Julekake-style muffin.)
(Image: Throughout our 3 day trip, this is a drawing of the food that one of my friends and myself ate. We had 2 bags of clementines, two loaves of bread, peanut butter, instant rice, and (I had) chicken slices.)
That was basically the train ride; it doesn’t seem particularly thrilling as I write about it and yet it will remain one of my heart memories when I studied abroad. I sat in a rotation of non-stop chatting to companionable silence with a dear friend, I saw sights that I may never see outside of photographs again, and I took an adventure that I planned by myself. One adventure finished, many more to come.
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46 responses to “Norway – Oslo to Bergen: A Train Ride – by Jonia Gordon. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports”
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Thank you for sharing your story! It is always great to experience something fro the first time, in your case, a train ride. I am sorry about the unnecessary complications that you had with your debit card. It is interesting that you brought up the point of taking the time to double or even triple check something to avoid unnecessary issues. I am terrible at double checking in my personal life but always make sure to do it when I am working. I think that I would avoid a lot of issues that I have encountered. I remember I had my first train ride when I was around ten years old. I remember feeling like I was in a movie since that was the only other experience I had with trains. Even though trains take a bit longer to get places, I think it is worth it to see the landscape and various towns that trains go through. Sometimes traveling slow makes the experience more memorable.
That sounds like a very fun and memorable experience! I have never ridden on a train before, but I would love to some day. Was this your first time taking a train ride?
I actually had a similarly stressful experience with my bank before I traveled to London. I had already gotten some cash exchanged into pounds, however I wished to take something with me for back up as well. When I went to the bank to open something like a pre-paid travel card, they told me my account didn’t exist! I freaked out because I had been banking with them for two years and couldn’t believe the system was not recognizing my account number. And I had to catch my flight later that same day. Luckily, it was sorted out and it was simply their computer system acting up. I am glad it worked out for you as well.
Traveling is always an amazing experience wherever you go. The world is so big and has so much to offer. Even though you said your experience wasn’t particularly thrilling, any situation where travel is available is a gift. Not only did you travel out of the country, but having the experience to travel with some of your good friends had to make the experience something you will remember for a lifetime. In my life, going to Norway is one of the top countries on my list that I would love to visit. I have a friend that lives there, so hopefully one day I can experience that amazing scenery and have adventures that you did.
I love the pictures you draw of your trip! It makes me excited to have a little glimpse of the way you perceived it. I have never been on a train but to me it sounds a little terrifying. The experience you have shared with us definitely made it seem a little less so to me. Also the pictures you took of the different weather you encountered is so cool! I wonder what engineering problems they have had to overcome to make it capable of withstanding the drastic differences. Thanks for sharing!
I have a friend from Poland and she told me trains are the way they travel there and its very cost effective. She was shocked how small are train system is here and how expensive it is. I rode the train once, my two favorite cars were the viewing car and the dinning car. The viewing car was solid glass you could see in all directions rushing around so fast. I think its interesting that you choose to eat the brown cheese on the waffles! My trip was in MN so i had Norwegian chili ironically and rye bread to dip.
Sounds like you had a nice experience once you got on the train. Sorry to hear about your complications with the bank. Even though they froze your account which I’m sure caused a lot of stress, we are lucky that in todays time they notice things like that so quickly. If someone would have hacked into your account I’d imagine that would have caused even more stress. An important point you shared is to check and confirm things multiple times. I think this goes for a lot of situations as well. What a memorable experience the train ride must have been. I can only imagine how neat it was to see the changing of the scenery. Also amazing how transportation has changed throughout history, something we have recently been discussing in class. Glad everything worked out for the best.
What a fun experience! It’s fascinating to see how popular different forms of transportation are around the world. In the US, nearly everyone drives to their destination, while in Europe, people would take the train. I experienced my first train ride in Northern France, and it was so much fun. I loved how efficient it was, yet you could still see the countryside as you go. I would love to travel to Norway one day and experience a train ride like you have! Thanks for sharing
Thank you for sharing your experience, it sounds like you had a wonderful time. I hope to travel one day as well. I think experiences like that really help people grow. As I read about your train ride, I became super jealous. I’ve always wanted to take a trip by train. I’ve taken long road trips. Rides that long get to be monotonous, but it makes it so much better when you can share it with a friend. I really enjoyed your pictures! Thanks again for sharing!
I’ve never traveled abroad, so I am envious of your trip! It is interesting to hear about the train ride, since I’ve never been on one. I really enjoyed the pictures you included as well. It’s good to know for future reference about the bank debacle though!
I think that the beauty of travel, is that it is a unique experience to each individual. Some things may be more thrilling to a certain type of person than others, but it is us as the adventurers who get to decide what gives us that great sense of discovery. I know that some of my most memorable adventures have been exploring my neighborhood in Alaska, which is dense with woods untouched by civilization. I love the fact that I can make it to a place where maybe no other person has set foot before, and it always amazes me when I see the abundance of life in the forest above me. Adventures don’t have to be grand money spending endeavors in order to be memorable.
I think that one of the most enriching thing someone can do in their lifetime (it they have the opportunity) is to travel. Traveling allows you to experience and see things you would have never thought about before. It opens your eyes and soul and allows you to have a broader perspective of life. I think that it is truly fascinating how you were able to how weather changed throughout the train ride. This made me think about the trans-siberian train , which goes all the way from China through Russia, maybe this is something you would enjoy doing in the future.
Thank you for sharing your story, Jonia. Your experiences seems very similar-believe it or not- to what I would like to experience one day on a train. It is also one of my most wanted adventures I would like to take. What intrigues me that most about your trip was the food cart. I have also seen these in films and would like to experience what it’s like to travel from cart to cart to reach food. I am a very outdoorsy person, and the idea of the scenic route is a chance I wouldn’t want to miss. I’m sure taking this train ride while studying abroad was a bonus rather than taking a train here in the United State. I will to experience a train ride similar to yours inn a different country as well.
The whole trip sounds lovely! However I particularly enjoy your last paragraph. Sometimes the most exciting times are not that interesting when we write them down or tell someone later. The best experiences can sometimes be hard to explain to someone else. The drawings do a wonderful time of allowing the reader to get a better understanding of just how much fun this train trip was!
I loved how entertaining this article is! I think the mash of of drawings, pictures and fun stories really lead to an unique and great piece.
During my study abroad, I met a lot of other students from Norway and while most of them lived in the southern part of Norway one lived up in Bergen. It was so interesting because all of them would tease the guy from Bergen about his accent even though it all sounded the same to me. I often forgot that just because its a foreign language does not mean there are different accents just like English has.
I enjoyed your article you seemed to have many great experiences to share. The pictures and drawings you shared really helped to picture and also helped with your stories! The adventures you encountered seem to be stories you will be able to tell for a lifetime. Traveling with friends makes the times you had even better and more memorable. I would give anything to experience the adventure and fun that this trip brought to you. Im so glad you had this opportunity thanks for sharing!
What a great article! I liked w something as normal as a train ride can be a fond memory that you have of your trip. It is interesting to hear about your experience on the train because so few of us have had an experience like that. I also liked that you included the story about the bank mishap, I will need to learn from your experience and make sure that everything is in order when I travel abroad!
Very great article, thank you for sharing your experience with us all. The pictures that you took and drew helped us readers put in perspective your trip. Would you take another scenic railroad in the future, or would you prefer to fly? Sometimes it is the simplest of adventures with friends and family that create the most memories. Conversation and food are two things that seem to go well with one another.
I loved this! This brought back a lot of memories for me, as my family used to travel out west every winter by train. I am sorry about the troubles with your debit card– but I think thats a typical struggle to run into with abroad travels. Norway is on my bucket list to travel to, so I will keep your writing in mind while planning my trip! Thank you for sharing!
First off, what a beautiful gift you have for drawing! The pictures you included, specifically the ones you drew yourself, gave the article a special touch. More personal and what better way of telling a story than to include your own drawings. Second, I’m glad you had such a good experience on your train ride. When I was younger, my mother and I took the amtrak train from our home to Chicago (about a 3 hour train ride). I remember similar features you wrote bout, including the food cart and multiple hours of chatting and taking pictures. I hope everyone gets a chance to experience this adventure as we have. Safe travels in the future!
The trip sounds quite entertaining! I have some experience traveling along a scenic train route in Canada and I enjoyed the experience so much. It is one of my fondest memories with my grandparents. It is important that you don’t stress worrying about telling the story in an intricate way to captivate others, the most important part is that you keep the fond memories close to your heart and don’t alter the memory in your own mind. Great article, thank you for sharing!
With technology ever expanding it’s interesting to see the new issues that we have to deal with in modern times. Having someone worry about your money thousands of miles away can both be a great benefit, but your own situation shows the downside of this situation where it’s possible your accounts would have been frozen which definitely would have negatively affected your trip overseas.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. I have always wanted to take a train ride somewhere! It sounds like you were very pleased with your experience. Sometimes the view and the conversations are worth the extra time it takes to get to your destination. I loved the idea of the scenery changing as your trip went on. I can only imagine how beautiful the view was. Thank you again for sharing!
First off, I am very jealous that you had the opportunity to travel to Europe. Secondly, I am glad that the debit card scare was only a false alarm. My parents have gone through the same problem when purchasing things out of the country but I guess its better to be safe than sorry! Thank you for sharing the picture of the waffle, it looks very appetizing. Glad you had a fun trip, thanks again!
I have a couple of friends who live in Bergen and they always tell me about how much it rains there, so I was waiting until you would mention the downpour you experienced! I have also been told that the train ride from Oslo to Bergen is one you don’t want to miss, with magnificent views of the countryside; I hope to experience it one day. Such study abroad experiences are often hard to put into words and it is great that you were able to draw such fun images!
How was the “turbulence”? Quite different bumps and shakes than when riding in an airplane I imagine. Would you take the same train ride, did it meet your expectations? That will be a fond memory to look back in the many years to come, especially the older you get and the more distant the experience itself becomes. Keep the drawings coming!
I completely understand the intrigue of the train ride… trains aren’t so prevalent in the US, at least not so far away from giant metropolitan cities, so I have very limited experience with them. But a year and a half ago I took a tour of the UK and one of our days in London we took the train out to Windsor Castle and that ride, oddly, is one of my favorite memories, even though I wasn’t even conversing with my traveling companion, just listening to her music and watching the English scenery race by. It’s different from riding in a car. And as much as I love road trips, and I really do, there’s a ton to be said for trains.
I love your drawings! I think it is a great idea to be able to draw your trip out to help the readers visualize your trip. I think one of the beauty of traveling is not only the landscape viewing, but the emotions and the people we encounter. It makes a big difference in the experience and memories. I have never been on a train before so I was wondering how does the interior design look like in the train? Hopefully one day I could ride a train as well 🙂
Wow what an awesome experience! I remember when I was a kid my family would always go on the North Shore Scenic railroad during the summer and every time I tried to explain it to other people it never did it justice. The wonderful part is though that you will always know what the experience was like. It sounds like you had a wonderful adventure and some wonderful friends to spend it with, these are the memories that we tend to hold onto. I love you illustrations it is such a different take on these articles, but they images seem to add more to the story which is fascinating. Great Article!
Travelling new ways is always an experience. I took a train from Chicago to Minneapolis, while it wasn’t very scenic, it was a very convenient way to travel because I could use my phone unlike flying and there were semi-clean bathrooms onboard unlike buses. I have heard that travelling by train in Europe, for the most part, is worth it because of the scenery.
My favorite part of travelling (what little I’ve done) is seeing new landscapes! A 7 1/2 hour ride must have provided many changes in scenery. I’ve traveled by plane, car, and boat, and by train. It was so fun reading about your experience with this type of travel. Could you tell you were on a train? I have been on subways and on a ‘rustic’ train ride in North Dakota, and in both settings it was easy to tell we were on a set of tracks. I’m really interested in hearing more about the food options that were on the serving car!
The experience of having to confirm your identity was probably a very stressful thing to go through! I enjoyed the pictures from the train ride of the mountains you got to see. I’ve always wanted to go to Norway, with my family being Norwegian. This just ensured that I want to visit Norway sometime soon!
This article reminded me of all my disasters on the trips I have taken throughout my life! Every time something new went wrong, it felt like the trip was ruined. But looking back now, it was such a growing experience for myself and my future trips! I bet you will remember this event for years to come!
Hand drawing your pictures was an interesting way to see how you thought about the trip. Pictures say a lot but your drawings explain so much more. As you continue to travel, continue to draw. It would be an amazing thing to go back and look at. Interesting story!
How was the atmosphere inside the train? Was it comfortable or bumpy, loud or quiet? I would be worried about getting uncomfortable after 7.5 hours of sitting on a train. How expensive was the ticket itself and the food you purchased on board?
Very nice article Jonia! It is amazing that you go to move through all those environments in just a short day! I could imagine you and your friend sitting in the train car and enjoying yourselves. I hope to have an experience like you did and cherish the memory abroad! Thanks for sharing
I like your drawings because they add to your very interesting story! I have never traveled abroad but I would love to one day. The different type of transportation, like the train, would be an interesting way of travel because like you said the scenery would have been amazing to witness. Hopefully one day I will be able to travel abroad and experience different scenery and types of transportation.
Hearing about your trip on the train was fun. I’m glad you took the scenic route, even if it was longer. From the way you described it, I think it was the way to go. I also can relate to what you said about your debit card. I’m sure in a way, after going through all the stress of it, there is comfort in knowing that your card will be protected. Overall great article and I like how you talked about all the peanut butter sandwiches you ate.
Trains brought worlds together. Way back in the day it was nearly impossible to get from one side of the country to the other, now it’s a casual trip. Being able to experience it first hand must be pretty interesting! At least for the first couple of hours. I thoroughly wish I could say I’ve been on a train, but I haven’t. To me, it would be like the Hogwarts Express. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing your trip! It seems like it will be something that you will remember forever. I bet it was beautiful there. I think it is good advice to double (or triple!) check that you have everything figured out and people informed when making a big trip, especially abroad. This can save a lot of headache.
I have always wanted to go on a long trip via train. Bank issues always suck, especially when it is last notice, but i just try and remember that they are their with their procedures for my protection. Without them, i could always be in a worse situation. I am not sure if i could take that long of a train ride or not. I am the sort of person that gets bored on planes easily enough but i have never ridden on a train so i would not know. I do like the drawings you made. Drawing would be a fun and relaxing way to express the scenery that you saw throughout the trip!
What a great story! The last time I rode a train was when I was in 5th grade, just for fun! I have never traveled abroad and I would love to someday! Your story sounds very fun and interesting and I would absolutely love to do that! It sounds like you had a great experience, and I bet the scenery was beautiful!!
Thank you for sharing this and I am glad the debit card scare was quickly resolved! Travelling by train seems like a unique experience! The beauty of travelling is that everyone has different interests and some things will be much more thrilling to some people than others. It is unfortunate that travelling by train is not much cheaper (if at all) than flying in North America. It’s something I have always wanted to do but the opportunities aren’t really there in North America. I guess I will have to hope that someday my ventures lead me to Europe!
This a really interesting article! I really liked your use of illustrations. They really helped set the scene of what it sounds like was wonderful travels. Not only is it wonderful to travel and see new scenic sites, but it must be even better to travel with friends. I long to do that one day! Thank you for sharing!
It is really interesting that this was your very first train ride, however, understandable as it is not a common mode of transportation in the US anymore. I really enjoy using trains and other public transportation because it is so cheap and effective in Europe. They make it possible to not have to drive! That is a huge cultural shift compared to here where driving is a rite of passage and a necessity to enjoy freedom (due to the structure of our cities and states being so splayed out). I have never ventured to a food car in a train though so that is a cool thing for you to have experienced. I am so looking forward to public transportation over the course of next semester.