This place is known for pristine waters, its fair share of snow fall, friendly people, tiny villages that are dwarfed by gorgeous, massive fjord landscapes. It’s also notoriously known for being one of the most expensive countries to visit in the world.
Yup, you guessed it… I’m talking about Norway.
When it kicked in that I was about to visit one of the most beautiful and lesser travelled to European countries, I became enamored by the landscapes as I made my way through Pinterest, pinning every little thing about Norway and where I wanted to visit while I was there. Norway was always in my top 5 places I wanted to visit and I knew I’d eventually go, I just never thought I’d do it alone, just shortly after my 30th birthday.
My friends and coworkers praised me for being able to travel solo. Some calling me brave, others calling me crazy. Call me what you will, but it still never quite clicked in that I was pretty much travelling near the Arctic Circle…alone.
Read more: Why I love solo travel
I had about a month to plan everything for the trip, minus the flight and hotel. I only had a week in Norway, so I had to make the most of it while I was there. I was staying in a small town called Drammen, just about an hour train ride away from Oslo, so I mainly focused on visiting the South Western regions of Norway.
Now that all the planning was done, the time quickly approached for me to depart for the airport. As my parents drove me to the airport, it finally kicked in that I was doing this alone. Once at the airport, we said our farewells and off to the departure gate I went carrying my side bag, backpack and rolling luggage, again, all on my own. As I went through security and waited by my gate for my first flight of three (more like five flights, but I’ll get to THAT part), I thought, so far , so good. This is pretty cool! My flight schedule was to go something like this: Toronto-Montreal-Zurich-Oslo, then a train ride to Drammen where my hotel was. Well, I quickly learned that plans and schedules don’t always work as well as you think they would. I made it to Montreal with no problems and boarded my flight to Zurich. Fast forward through the flight, and we were about to land. Now here’s where it gets dicey. I had 35mins to make it from the plane, through security and customs, then board my flight to Oslo. Time was ticking and boy, was I running! As I approached the gate, I very well knew that I had missed boarding, since I saw that the gate was closed and the flight had left. I was in panic mode now. I was on no sleep, I had been running through a foreign airport trying to gather my thoughts and I was ALONE and thinking SHIT, are my bags on that flight to Oslo without me? With nobody to help me, what do I do now? I went to the connecting flights info desk and asked the woman to help me, and I was slightly panicking, which probably was super annoying, but hey, I was stuck in Zurich with no idea what to do. The woman searched my bag number (God bless luggage tag numbers) and saw that because I wasn’t on the flight, neither was my bag! YAY! She then found another flight to Oslo, but it wasn’t leaving for another 3 hrs AND it made a stop in Copenhagen. She was also nice enough to give me a food voucher so I could eat and grab some much needed water. As I sat and waited for my flight to Copenhagen, a thick fog rolled in, as it usually does in Zurich, which then caused this flight to be delayed now, causing me to miss my OTHER connecting flight to Oslo. Really? Is this even happening? YUP! Once the fog cleared up, I boarded the flight and off I went to Copenhagen, only to arrive and have to go to the connecting flight desk, yet again, to try and find a flight to Oslo. At this point I’m thinking that I’m never going to get there! The attendant finally calls my number to the desk as I groggily walk up to speak to her. She tells me I’m in luck and that there is a flight heading to Oslo very soon. I was finally smiling, then she said these words, “Boarding is in 10mins…RUN!” WHAT THE HELL!? RUN!? So, I grab my ticket from her and Usain Bolt my ass to the boarding gate. I’m sweating and panting while running with bags bouncing on my back, and finally I get to the gate and what do you know, it’s CLOSED! The lady then asked if I was so and so, I said YES and she opened the gates and let me on. FINALLY, I was heading to Oslo!!! When I landed in Oslo, all I could think about was my luggage. Did it make it? As I waited at the luggage turnstile and saw my bright pink luggage roll around the corner, I squealed with delight and I’m not going to lie, I hugged that sucker! Off to the trains and off to Drammen to check into my hotel, e-mail my parents who had thought I was already in Norway by this time and to have a much needed nap! Success, I made it!
Read more: What Solo Travel Has Taught Me
Now, because my hotel was based in Drammen for the entire week, I had to take trains to the other towns I wanted to visit. Let me tell you this, and I’m not exaggerating when I say, Norway is HUGE! One of the train rides I had to take was an overnight train that was 6.5 hrs long! On the map, it doesn’t look far, but ya, it’s quite a ways away! After going back and forth two days in a row on these long distance trains, only then to have to come all the way back to my hotel, I knew for future trips to book a hotel as you move along. A lot less stressful and you’ll have more time for exploring, not sitting in transit for hours! Live and learn.
With only having a week, I wanted to utilize as much time as possible to explore the cities I was visiting during my trip. Here are the cities that I visited on my first solo trip to Norway.
Read more: How to travel through Norway on a budget
Bergen, also commonly referred to as the gateway to the fjords, is Norway’s second largest city. Founded more than 900 years ago, Bergen has roots that stem from the Viking Age and beyond. Bryggen, (“The Hanseatic Wharf”) is the most obvious remnant from this time, and is now home to many of the city’s restaurants, pubs, craft shops and historical museums. Parts of Bryggen were destroyed in a fire in 1955. Bergen experienced many fires throughout the years, since most of the homes were made of wood. Behind the famous postcard facade of the colourful timber homes are alleyways filled with cute jewellery shops, art galleries and unique souvenir shops.
Read more: How to spend a day exploring Bergen, Norway
Flåm is gorgeous. Not just the village itself, but even the train ride getting there. Jaw dropping scenery is literally surrounding you as you make your way to the tiny village nestled in the municipality of Aurland in the Sognefjord. With dramatic scenery and pristine water, it’s no wonder that Flåm welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Norway’s capital city is a perfect balance and mix for both the nature lover and the social butterfly. Oslo is nestled between the Oslofjord and hundreds of acres of greenery. It’s easily accessible and navigated by foot, making for a cleaner environment due to the lack of cars bustling through the city centre. Live music is a huge cultural influence in Oslo. They have multiple shows and festivals every year. Music ranging from folk to heavy metal, big pop superstars to local bands, there’s something for everyone, so make sure to see a concert if you can.
Have any of you been to Norway? Do you guys have any missed connection flight nightmare stories? Tell me about them in the comments below! xo