It’s the beginning of September, and classes haven’t even started yet. I’m messing around on Facebook and scroll past an ad for Norwegian airlines. I click and pretend to plan a trip for the few breaks I have during the Fall semester. The cheapest thing I could find is something like a 3-day trip to Edinburgh for around $300. Kind of cheap, but nowhere near the trip-of-a-lifetime status. I give up for the time being. I return to it the next day on my laptop rather than my phone. I look at November possibilities, playing out the fantasy that this is a realistic possibility. It appears that flights to Bergen are the cheapest, so I check out the dates. Leaving the week before Thanksgiving for a full 7-days in Norway, non-stop, roundtrip, out of a tiny airport that I have heard of, and is only $235?! Sign me up!
Within hours, my boyfriend and I bought our tickets from this Wal-Mart-of-the-skies airline to spend Thanksgiving break in the land of gnomes and trolls!
In order to spice things up, we decided to go to Oslo for the second half of the week, the flight was only $100 round trip!
A week before Thanksgiving, we traveled to the middle-of-nowhere Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, NY. This tiny, tiny airport was smaller than a supermarket, but it provided the gateway to our 6-hour flight to Bergen! Luckily, this flight was very empty, so we had the row to ourselves, so I could sleep horizontally. This red eye wasn’t super restful, but we didn’t waste any of our precious time.
We arrived in Bergen, and it was barely light outside. We rode the bybanen to the area of our Airbnb and waited for our hostess to meet us at the previously-agreed-upon cafe. I was happy to find that Bergen is so small that we could easily walk everywhere. Although convenient, we were so tired that first day that we could barely even go to the grocery store. We tried to do some minor exploring, but it was dark and rainy, and we were hungry. That evening, our host invited us to join her friends in playing mahjong which was an interesting experience.
The next day, we set out to explore Bryggen, the colorful old wharf of Bergen. We dodged the torrential downpours to shop in the famous Julehuset (Christmas shops) and find out that the Ethiopian restaurant we wanted to go to wasn’t open until dinner. We ate our overpriced Italian lunch and went to KODE, one of the biggest galleries in Norway. We made our way home through the dark, and made our traditional dinner of chick peas and rice. Then we got some rest for our big hiking day the following morning!
We got to the bus stop, and then everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. None of the bus ticket credit card machines worked. After a kind woman exchanged some of our USD for her Norwegian coins, we got on our bus to Ulriken to hike the 6-hour Vidden trail that ended at Floyen. When we reached a stop and the bus driver yelled to get off because it was his last stop, we panicked. We were at a mall in the middle of nowhere and everything was closed because it was a Sunday. (After I freaked out) We used the advice of another kind gentleman and decided to only hike Floyen since we had already wasted so much daylight. We took a bus to the wharf and found the path to Floyen.
This path was well-trodden and riddled with trail-runners and strollers. We got to the top right before the rest of the world did, so we got our photos, took in the views, and hit the trails. We walked a few kilometers on the Vidden trail and discovered that it was so icy that we would have struggled too much to have completed the full hike that day.
After warming up at a Starbucks (that didn’t take the app), we ate at Los Tacos which was far from authentic, but really, really good. We hit up another building at KODE before heading home for the evening.
After taking our sweet time to get up the next morning, we walked around and had lunch at Godt Brød before grabbing our bags and heading to the airport. We arrived in Oslo after our 1-hour flight, got some groceries, then headed to our Airbnb in Grønland.
Our first day in Oslo, we went for a hike/walk in Sognsvann, a large lake in the outskirts of the city. We spent a few hours freezing our thighs off (my thighs were the coldest), then went back to center-city where we discovered that another restaurant was closed the day we wanted to eat there. (Even though it was closed, it was full of people on MacBooks, but okay.) We found a cute winter market where I binged on churros (!!). After eating at Oslo’s Los Tacos, we visited the Oslo rådhus where the Nobel Peace Prize is presented each year and walked along some fortress which was super creepy in the dark.
The next morning, we trekked into the snow to the Oslo operahuset. Slipping and sliding, we climbing to the top and got some good shots.
The obligatory Scream photos were successful at the Nasjonal Gallery, then we finished the outing off with overly expensive vegan food. We walked all the way to the Munch museum before I vetoed paying admission because we had less than 30 minutes before closing. We took a leisurely stroll home and planned out our last day.
Our final day was spent at the Fram, a giant boat museum about arctic exploration. We had some good burritos at Freddy Fuego’s before getting ready for our big Oslo finale. At Parkteatret Scene, we saw Norway’s beloved Daniel Kvammen. I loved his indie-pop sound and androgynous look. We added his music to playlists and slept through our last night in Norway.
We slowly woke up, packed, and made our way to the beautiful Oslo airport. After narrowly missing our first flight and my boyfriend getting detained before our second one, the trip was over.
It was an amazing trip that we managed to do cheaply. Back at school, I noticed that everyone said things like “That’s so cool, I wish I could do something like that” or “I’ve always wanted to do something like that.” What they don’t realize is that they could. All it takes is a little bit of saved money and a free week to make a vacation. With cheap flights and Airbnb, adventures are attainable.
Where do you want to go next?