Leave it to me to choose my next travel destination based on the cheapest flight without fully considering exactly why the flights were so cheap during this time of the year. Yes, I knew it was winter in Norway, and yes, I knew attempting to go chase the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle was going to be beyond freezing, but I was not expecting an actual blizzard!
Keep in mind, the first time I’ve ever seen snow fall in my life was at the beginning of THIS month, and right now, I’m currently considering having a drink because I’m so dizzy and confused by the blankets of snow that are white-ing out the train windows. I checked the weather regularly and even yesterday it said it was going to be sunny today, but apparently there has been a change of weather plans, and it now says “100% snow”.
My SnapChat went from a cute and cozy picture of my feast of a breakfast at Scandic Byporten in Oslo, to me getting excited about a frozen lake, to me starting to get a little confused about the snow-covered pine trees, to a straight up white window because right now that’s all you can see.
It’s been a very interesting four hours to say the least, and I’m getting a little nervous about having to switch trains in Myrdal to take what was supposed to be the “scenic Flam railway”. It might be a little hard to be scenic when everything is white.
So much for hiking to the fjords in Flam. Luckily I chose a hotel that is supposed to have “fjord views” although again, I doubt I’ll be able to see anything with all of this snow. Can you drown in snow? I feel like my train is about to literally drown in snow. And to think, before January 1st all I really wanted was to “finally see snow fall”. The irony.
We pulled up to the stop for a town called Finse and there was literally snow almost up to the roofs of houses, and people skiing in full ski gear down the mounds. That brings me to another fail; I don’t own ski gear. Despite my mother’s constant suggestions to go buy ski socks and gloves, I decided to improvise by bringing whatever warm socks, jackets, and other clothing I have, which isn’t much, considering I live in LA and am originally from Florida.
I’m pretty sure what I brought is a collection of warm items I’ve had to buy while making the same mistake in other cold destinations, and also sure I probably could have brought more had I not been so adamant about fitting everything into one carry on.
Wait a second, I have an update, the conductor of the train just announced that there’s a “problem with the train”, and that the power is out on the tracks up ahead, so we have to stop at the next station until it’s resolved. Great. Looks like I may not be making it to Flam today anyway. Did I also mention that we’re currently in a tunnel? Something about being on a train in a tunnel when there’s a “problem up ahead” doesn’t exactly make me feel great. I think now is a good time to go get that drink I was talking about.
Went to get a glass of wine in the cafeteria train cart and discovered three things; the first is that there’s a cute bartender, the second is that ‘thank you’ in Norwegian is ‘skol’, and third, according to said cute bartender, Norway is strict on alcohol laws and doesn’t allow you to leave the cafeteria with a drink. That being said, I had to nervously quick-sip my Chardonnay since I left my laptop at my seat.
We are in what seems like a train station shed, and although it’s completely covered, theres still snow covering the floor of it as well as the windows and poles and whatnot. I went and played in the snow for a bit along with the rest of the children on board, and took a few SnapChats and selfies along with the millennials.
As I was trying to find a spot to take a nonchalant selfie the co-conductor spotted me and told me to go have a look at the front of the train. At first, I thought we had maybe hit a reindeer, or that the entire thing was going to be blocked, but it didn’t seem that bad…then again…I’m not a train conductor.
Now I’m back in the cafeteria cart. I’ve gotten more wine from the cute bartender and have become amused that there are holes in the 1 NOK coins. My biggest concern in life right now is that I only have 8% battery left on my laptop, and although I made sure to bring the charger, I (yet again) forgot to even consider bringing an adapter.
I don’t even mind that the wifi went out because we’re in a blizzard, and that I’m currently listening to people have a conversation about how there’s absolutely nothing in the area where we are currently stuck, but if I can’t at least write…my ADD will likely lead me to either over-filter pictures, drink more wine, or continue to attempt playing in -2 degree snow.
Another update: Now the bartender is telling the women that he was in a similar situation a few days ago, and that they had to evacuate all of the people off of the train and onto another one because the power went out, and people were freezing. Lovely.
Latest update: “We are still trying to figure out what the problem is, we don’t know how long it will take, but we will update you as soon as we have more information”.
Translation: More wine.
Apparently wine and 9 hour jet lag are a bad combination. Almost as bad as trains and blizzards. The good news is my camping skills came in handy and I just passed out for about two hours on the two seats in my four-seat area. There’s another girl sitting in the other two seats who somehow magically has the same computer (and case!) as me, and is letting me use her European charger to at least get some power back.
The last I heard from the conductor was that there was a diesel train on the way, so if it gets here before the power comes back on we will have to switch onto that one. At this point I’m not even sure if I should bother stopping in Flam since it gets dark in an hour, but it’s closer than Bergen albeit requires another smaller train to get there.
Just kidding. The girl across from me just came back from outside and said she heard that the other train’s engine broke. Awesome. I’m kicking myself for not turning on my international data plan when I had the chance to earlier. I guess on the bright side, if we get stuck on here all night, I won’t have to pay for a hotel room! On the other bright side the sandwich I made from my free breakfast this morning tastes AMAZING even though I am in dire need of water.
The diesel engine finally just got here along with another small engine train that clears the tracks before it. I can definitely smell the diesel, that’s for damn sure, but as long as it gets us out of here I’m fine with it. I thought we’d be switching onto a different train but they just announced that they have “located the problem” and will be fixing it within 15-20 minutes, then we’ll be on our way slowly because the smaller snow-clearing train has to go in front of us first to clear the blizzard that’s been piling up for the past 5 hours.
We’re finally moving and that’s because we are being pushed by the little diesel train. The power is out in the main cabins so it’s dark and we’re still in a tunnel, but it’s supposed to come back on after we stop at Myrdal. Myrdal is where I was supposed to get off earlier to take the scenic railway to Flam, but since it’s so late now and dark anyway I’m just going to go straight to Bergen and see if I can change the ticket for tomorrow or like, never.
We just pulled up to the stop in Myrdal and the mounds of snow were up to the roofs of the station houses. Wasn’t going to get off but now I kind of want to go jump in that pile of snow.
The power went back on and we should be arriving in Bergen at 9:20pm. There’s still no wifi but the only reason why that concerns me is because my mom checks my SnapChat to see what I’m up to and the last one that sent was 7 hours ago…of the blizzard attacking our train.
Update: Finally got wifi back and texted my mom even though I had 0 worried texts from her (it’s 8:47pm here so around 2:47pm where she is) I pity-texted her that I was just stuck in a blizzard for 8 hours, and her response was, “Hahaha You wanted snow! Hope u were inside.” Womp.
Finally got to my hotel, the Scandic Orden which was only a block from the train station. Was slightly nervous about rooms being full since I wasn’t supposed to arrive until tomorrow, but the travel karma Gods smiled on me and I ended up getting the Penthouse!
Now I’m finishing writing this in my cozy, fluffy penthouse bed, and not upset at all that just a few hours ago I was sleeping on a train seat!
For tips on things to do in Bergen check out “10 Best Things to do in Bergen, Norway”!