Fall Break in Scandinavia

Our fall break trip began on Saturday, October 26th. I finished packing early on in the day, went to the gym, met Maddie’s parents at the apartment, made a big lunch to hold me off for the day and went for a long walk to kill some time before my evening flight to Copenhagen. Our flight got delayed 30 minutes which was not bad. After the flight, we took the metro to Forum and followed the Sleep in Heaven Hostel’s directions, which were spot on and very helpful. The hostel had a low bunk bed and strange stairs to get to the upper beds because the hostel room had two levels, both levels containing bunk beds. When we got there, we planned our route for the next day and then went to sleep. When I woke up, I showered at the hostel and used a pillowcase as a towel because I did not bring my fast-drying towel to save space in my backpack. We left at 8:30AM to head for the Little Mermaid. We got breakfast at a nautical restaurant by Nyhavn. I got yogurt, granola, and hot tea. We saw the Little Mermaid and star-shaped fort called Kastellet. We watched the band play in the fort and ate apples off of a tree inside the fort after we saw little kids picking apples. We were hungry and on a budget, so we figured we would have a quick snack from nature. It started to get super windy and sprinkle while we walked along the upper part of the fort. We saw a windmill and 2 rainbows. After that, we got butter cookies since they are apparently a well-known Denmark thing. We walked to the Rosenborg Castle and saw some ducks and fish that looked like catfish. We were all super hungry, so we finally ate at Grilled Burger. I got a veggie burger and fries with mayo. We also visited the Christiana which was super cool to see with all the graffiti. There was a zone inside the Christiana where photos could not be taken because they were selling weed. After we passed through that section, we saw many people sitting around rolling joints and smoking weed. We also saw some cool art within the Christiana. We posed on a giant, saw some glass art, and more graffiti. Then, we walked to the Travoli Gardens because we thought the entrance was free, but it was a bit pricy and we did not have much time. It was decorated like HalloweenTown and looked like a fun place. The entrance fee was fairly high and then there was an additional fee to ride rides, so we did not think it was worth it given our limited time. We walked to the hostel and relaxed for a bit. We met some people from the country of Georgia where she tried to convince us to go to Georgia. Then we walked to our FlixBus which was about 30 minutes from the hostel. I got the whole seat to myself, which was super nice because it was an overnight bus ride. When we stopped at the border, the passport check was more intense than normal. The police man asked Claudia where she was staying in Stockholm, for proof of reservation, how she was paying in Stockholm, and to see her credit card.

On the morning of October 28, we arrived in Stockholm. We followed Xavier’s phone to direct us to the hostel. We dropped off our stuff and made our beds then went to breakfast. We ate breakfast at the Café Kladdkakan which was not far from the Castanea Old Town Hostel. I had a mango smoothie and a hazelnut ball, which was super good. We got bus tickets and headed for the open air museum, Skansen. We took the funicular, walked around and saw animals. The animals looked super depressed to be sitting in their exhibits. The bear especially seemed depressed. It was also super, super cold out and the animals did not really have many places to go to within their exhibit. After that, we went to the Vasa Museum and saw a ship that never went anywhere because it was built too narrow and too top heavy. 30-50 people ended up dying when the ship tried to set sail. The ship is super well preserved and the museum had a lot of interesting exhibits to show what life was like. We took the bus back into town and walked through a mall because Rick Steve’s book told Claudia that that was a thing to do. We went to McDonalds since Nicki had a goal to go to a McDonalds in every country. We got sweet potato fries which were hard to believe that came from a McDonalds. We walked through a flower market, took the subway, saw some art, and then went back to the hostel to get ready for dinner. We had dinner at a restaurant that was right under the hostel. We got free water and Claudia just ordered chips, so the waitress felt bad and brought chips for everyone. Xavier and Nicki shared a small meatball dish, which the restaurant split for them. I got soup, which was not very big, but tasted pretty good. Then since everyone else did not have much to eat, we went to Ben & Jerry’s. Claudia and Xavier got waffles with ice cream. I got a hot chocolate. When I showered at the hostel, I used my cover up sweater to dry off because towels were not included again.

On the 29th, we went to breakfast at the Greasy Spoon. Our waiter was from New Zeland and the one barista was from California. I got a vegan breakfast meal which had a variety of items included in it. After breakfast, we did the Rick Steve’s walking tour of Stockholm. We saw the little boy statue and pet his head for good luck. I went to a boutique and purchased a scarf because it was super cold and the wool scarves were quite popular in Sweden. Then we went to the National Library of Stockholm and saw the Codex Gigas where I got Maddie her tote bag and pin. Then, we went to a free art museum and took lots of pictures. We walked over a crown bridge, and then it started to snow a little bit. We had dinner at Stockholm Gastabud. I had a super good fish soup. We walked around the gift shops and went to a cafe for some Glogg which is really Gluhwein, and a hazelnut ball. We snacked some more at the hostel and had chips and hot chocolate.

On my birthday, we woke up early and got ready to leave for the FlixBus at the central station. I grabbed a lunch from a place in the station called Lett. They had healthy salads and bowls. I got a blueberry vegan frap from the Espresso House for breakfast and ate some of my snacks that I brought with me for the trip. Claudia played 22 by Taylor Swift because they said they would play that song 22 times for my birthday. On the bus, I got the seat to myself for the whole ride, which helps a lot for napping and comfort. I watched the Game Changers on Netflix and caught up on some social media uploading. Claudia and Nicki got some snacks to celebrate my birthday on the bus. We had Oreos, Ballerina Cookies (amazing cookies with Nutella), Twix, and Snickers. When we arrived in Oslo, the sky looked like cotton candy. We walked to our hostel which was in a strange location. It was called Club 27. We dropped off our stuff and went out to shop and find dinner. I got carrot and pumpkin soup from a mall. When we went into one of the shops, I went to purchase these wool socks and asked the chatty man if he had any birthday specials. He gave me the socks for over half off. He also gave me a non-alcoholic beer that he had in his fridge because carrying alcohol is illegal in Oslo. We went to a grocery store and prepped meals for the next day and picked up a birthday cake. We went back to the hostel, ate the cake, then went to a bar. Claudia bought me a spritzer with the amazing spring water from the region, apples, and bringebærcider. In our hostel that night, some guys came in at 2AM and turned the lights on, were drunk, and stripped right in the middle of the room. They must not have noticed all of the people sleeping in the room.

On Halloween morning, we ate cereal from the hostel and did Rick Steve’s tour of Oslo. We saw the dock with lots of big sailboats and the fort. I ate my store packed lunch in the McDonalds so Nicki could try McDonalds in Norway. We walked to the palace and witnessed a guard away from his station talking to two girls and the other guard staring at him in disappointment while he guarded the entrance by himself. I came to the conclusion that seagulls and other birds like standing on statues’ heads. We killed some time and got on the train to go to the airport. The airport was super empty. We charged up our devices and relaxed a bit. We also snacked on some more Ballerina cookies. When we got to Tromsø, we took a taxi to the Radisson Blue hotel which was the meeting point for the Northern Lights tour. We checked into our room (Claudia’s parents had points, so we got the night for free, which was super nice). We went to the grocery store to pick up snack and breakfast items for the next morning. I got banana chips and beans. For our northern lights trip, there was us 3, one random guy, and a family of 11 Italians. The young girls were quite annoying as they did not stop talking behind us in the van. On the tour, we learned about the northern lights and how there is a certain number that needs to be high in order for us to see the lights on a given night. The northern lights can be yellow, green, blue, or purple. When we found a location to watch the lights, they set up a fire and made everyone hot dogs. They even had a veggie hot dog for me. We had some fancy Norwegian drink, vegetable soup, and marshmallows. It was super cool to be able to see the northern lights in person. The sky would intensify and the lights would temporarily light up the sky. The color was mostly white light, but when the lights would intensify, we could see some color with our naked eyes. Claudia got some super good pictures from her nice camera. My camera got bright green pictures, but did not show the stars or have as crisp of an image. Cellphones did not capture the lights at all. One of the tour guides was from Vienna and it was her first day on the job. We enjoyed chatting with her about her life and Vienna. She is 23 years old and said she came to Norway to save money and make money. I gladly wore one of the thermal suits during the tour because it got quite chilly. A snowstorm started approaching, so we tried to move to another location to see the lights, but we had no luck. Our tour lasted 5 hours and ended around midnight. It was supposed to last until 2AM, but the snow was supposed to continue. I saw a shooting star, reindeer, light pollution, the northern lights moving, and a seal the next morning. It was nice to sleep in a hotel after being in hostels.

On the morning of November 1, Claudia and I went on a search in the hotel for a microwave to heat up our beans. The hotel did not have a microwave, so we went to the restaurant within the hotel. The waitress did not speak good english and was confused when we asked her if we could heat our beans. She tried to show us the beans in the restaurant’s buffet. She told us that the beans that we had were the same as the ones in the buffet. We told her that we were not eating at the restaurant and we wanted our beans heated. She brought another woman out and we told her the same thing, then she finally realized that we just wanted our beans heated. Then, we ate our breakfasts and explored some of Tromsø. We walked by the water and saw some birds that looked super cold. We found a cafe that was open and got hot chocolate and coffee. We went back to the hotel to catch our taxi at 9:45AM. Our flight ended up getting delayed 30 minutes, but it was okay because we did not have anywhere urgent to be. When we landed back in Oslo, we took the train back to Oslo Central Stationer and immediately went to the Munch Museum to see the famous Scream painting. After that, we went to a grocery store and got some food for dinner to make at the hostel because Oslo was expensive.

On November 2nd, we ate cereal for breakfast from the Club 27 hostel before we went to the Oslo Central Train Station to start our Norway in a Nutshell Fjord Tour. We traveled to Myrdal by train, then caught another train to start the tour into Flam. The train going to Flam was super cute and stopped along the way to see a waterfall in the fjord. Then we had some free time to shop in Flam before boarding the catamaran to go to Gudvangen. The boat trip was super nice and relaxing. The scenery was amazing, but the air was frigid. We got hot chocolate and would take pictures outside, then run back inside to warm up frequently. After the boat, we took a buss to Voss. Then we caught another train from Voss to Bergen. Our hostel was called the Bergen Budget Hostel and it was not very impressive. I made the bed and slept with my backpack on my bed.

On November 3rd, Nicki and I got ready to leave for our flight from Bergen to Oslo. We took the airport bus which was only a 7 minute walk from our hostel. It was kind of upsetting that we did not get to see much of Bergen since we arrived when it was late and left early in the morning. I got a tomato and egg heated baguette in the Oslo airport. It seemed like the most worthy purchase since everything else was highly overpriced. We took the OBB train back to Vienna, then hopped on the U4 and walked back to our apartment. I went to the gym, made dinner, and unpacked my backpack. It was nice to just travel with a backpack for the week. When I emptied my backpack, I was surprised when I saw how much stuff I was able to fit in my backpack for the week. My packing skills must be getting pretty good.


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