Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Mrs Whojimaflip's Norwegian Escapades 1969: 2. It Can Be Very Wet On The Fjords

Mrs Whojimaflip has spent a comfortable night in Bergen and is ready to explore the country. But it's not as simple as that, as she wrote:

'Took the train to Voss. It was the wrong train and we ended up travelling in completely the wrong direction. After severar hours of waiting on platforms with unpronouncable names, we managed to get back to Oslo Station and board the right train. We had to pay a fine when the inspector seemed to think we were in the wrong seats. I thought they were rather too comfortable. We hadn't managed to have the time to examine our tickets properly or to figure out what they said. My Norwegian dictionary was stuck at the bottom of my case.

Earlier we had problems with the taxi driver who drove us to the station. The fare was included in the package tour, but the banks were not yet open and we had no Norwegian money, so we couldn't give him a tip. He muttered something under his breath, but he didn't seem to mind. Norwegians are very proud. 

Arrived finally in Voss and took the bus to Ulvik. Norwegian buses tend to do a lot of waiting in the middle of crossroads for other buses, so that passengers can change. The bus drivers, when they meet  have long chats over cigarettes.

Went on a bus tour up the mountain. Got soaked. Soaked inside the bus. This was because the young boy I had seen eaarlire canoodling in a waterfall with a girl, had obviously got out of the water wearing the same trousers, had boarded the bus and sat next to me. He was dripping. I did not know what to say. I looked out the window feeling cold and miserable.

That was not to be my only soaking of the day. We went on a boat trip. I wondered at the Norwegian timekeeping. The buses always met the boats and the boats were always punctual. I wondered how they did tis when passengers had to transfer from one boat to another. I soon had an answer as my boat drew alongside another boat in the middle of the fjord and a plank was placed between the two. I was still wondering and marvelling when I slipped on the plank as I walked across and fell into the icy blue water.

The German woman who was on the tour never laughed so much.

'You are so funny - you English,' she said. She repeated it for the rest of the tour.

I felt like joining the 88-year-old woman I had met earlier that day, who lived up a mountain with her cow, goat and hens. When she wanted supplies she would lower a bucket on a rope and pulley down to the valley floor.

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