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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