Retreat to Oslo

August 15, 2014

Today we were heading to Oslo on the 9:40 am bus; however we had to stand in the rain for quite some time while the bus driver tried to explain to a Russian family that they couldn’t pay by credit card because his internet connection was broken. Or something like that—at any rate, the internet connection was definitely down. So our plan to book accommodation in Oslo was not doing too well.

The scenery was eerily beautiful along the bus route through Valdresflye, as we passed several lakes and pretty villages in a mixture of sun and rain showers. The largest of the lakes was Bygdin, where we had considered walking to from Gjendebu. The bus carried on to lower and lower elevations, into more traditional forested landscapes. When we reached Fagernes we changed buses, and luckily the wi-fi was working on the new bus.

Bygdin turisthytte

It soon became clear that going to Oslo on a Friday without reservations was a mistake. But finally Rosemary tracked down a place which appeared to have rooms, the Anker Hostel. Their booking site didn’t work, so she sent an e-mail to them and a reply came back saying they had two beds available. The wi-fi was a bit spotty but she managed to send an immediate response before it went down, and we hoped that the message had been received successfully.

As we approached Oslo the highway went along the fjord, and the scenery was very beautiful. The sun was also shining and we hoped that would continue. From the bus station we headed up Storgata to find the hostel. Storgata was part ethnic neighbourhood with Ethiopians and Somalis and part skid-row with down-and-outers, but the hostel was past that area. Upon arrival at the hostel there was a sign saying the hostel was full, but when we asked at the reception we were told yes, we were in and we sighed with relief. We had two beds in an 8-bed dorm, but nobody else was there yet so we chose two single beds which were in one corner.

We headed out to see the town, and at the end of Storgata we came across the DNT store. We went in and asked them for suggestions about where we could go for a few days. None of their suggestions worked out, for various reasons, but at least we had a better idea of the problems. After that we wandered the streets looking for a restaurant to eat at. It took us a while to decide, but finally we settled on a spaghetti place and shared a large pizza.

Back at the hostel we tried some more to figure out how to spend our extra days. It turned out that the YHA at Lillehammer had lots of availability, and not only that, the minipris discount was still available if we took the train there tomorrow. Besides which, their weather forecast wasn’t terrible for the next few days. So we booked the Lillehammer hostel and went down to the station to buy the train ticket. When we returned to our room we found we had company, which wasn’t unexpected. There were four young men from Sheffield who had just arrived. They were well-supplied with beer but it turned out they were there to cycle to Trondheim and around the western fjords for a few weeks, so we got along quite well with them.

About 11 pm they went out to visit the clubs, promising they would be quiet when they came back, and we went to bed.

Next: Lillehammer