I was so lucky to have such a lovely and sunny day free to explore Bergen. The next two days were consistent, ridiculous levels of rain, and I got so wet on my first day trying to find the conference venue that I had to take my soaked shoes off when I got there! The second day wasn’t a great deal better, and as I tried to tackle the 20-minute walk in the morning the rain decided to show me just how much worse it could really get. My umbrella didn’t stand a chance, and was nearly bent in half from the wind.
I had no idea what to do, as I didn’t have time to turn back to the hotel and get a taxi. Next best option was to catch a bus, but unfortunately I couldn’t work out from the info board which bus number to take, or even the name of the stop I needed. Deciding to try my luck, I jumped on the first bus that arrived and tried to point on the map where I needed to go. Although the bus driver didn’t speak any English, I was touched by how kind he and the other passengers were. Not only did he let me ride for free, he also pointed out on my map where he was letting me off and tried to explain which way I needed to go.
As it turns out, it wasn’t typical Norwegian weather that I was experiencing, but the beginnings of Hurricane Thor. Yep – they named their storm after Thor. With everything in Bergen closing early and people being advised to go home early from work, the conference ended early and I watched as other people flapped around trying to find out whether their flight was being cancelled. Me? Well, I had a night in my hotel to look forward to, where I watched the storm hit before turning in to catch my flight home the next day.
Although the hurricane passed with no serious damage, Norway hadn’t finished showing me the ridiculous range of weather it experiences. As I checked out of my room, the sun was shining. Minutes later I was walking to catch the airport bus when hailstones began to batter me. Luckily the bus was ready and waiting, so I jumped straight on, thankful to be away from the hail. And as I stared out of the window on the journey to the airport, the snow came.
Two of the things everyone warned me about before going to Norway were the cold and the snow. However, after all my preparations, it wasn’t that cold while I was there, and I hadn’t seen any snow! But as the bus drove along to the airport, the snow came thick and fast, and I hoped Norway would be so used to the snow that it wouldn’t affect my flight home. Hey, at least I’d finally seen the Norwegian snow!
Bergen airport isn’t the largest that I’ve visited, but there was definitely more to explore than there had been at Stavanger, and the time passed quickly before I had to board the flight home. Being super funny about where I sit on a plane, I had pre booked my seat, and as the last person to board I walked past row upon row of empty seats to find that two people had booked their seats right next to me. There couldn’t have been more than twenty people on the whole plane, and they’d picked seats next to me? Hoping to spread out a bit, I switched seats and sat in the row in front, enjoying the fact that I finally had the entire row to myself.
After a fun, exciting and totally new experience, I was a bit sad to be heading home. While I didn’t exactly want to attend any more of the conferences, I really enjoyed being around the Norwegian people and exploring the new cities in the small amount of time I had. I still felt like I hadn’t really experienced everything solo travel entails, mostly eating dinner alone, and I felt like I still had to prove to myself that I could do it. But considering that a week before I’d had a huge freak out because I was convinced I’d never be able to manage a whole week on my own, I was so proud of myself for successfully tackling my first trip alone.
I guess I’ll just have to take another trip alone to prove I can dine out on my own…