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Journals from Telemark University, Bø, Norway

2013-05-10 Mom's the Word

Hei Hei,

The month of April flew past way too quickly. At the end of the month, my mom flew into Oslo to come visit me. She arrived safely in Bø after following the instructions that I gave her. It was her first time out of the country. I met her at the train station with my two Dutch friends Sanne and Johannes. It was nice seeing her after four months. We all went back up to my apartment and made dinner. My mom was super exhausted after the 20+ hours of travelling. We tried to get to bed early because we needed to get up at 4am the next day.

We caught a train to go to Bergen out on the West coast. It was two trains with a stop in Drammen. In total, we travelled for about 9 hours. When we arrived, it took a little bit of time to find our hostel, but we got there eventually. Neither of us had stayed in a hostel before, but it was actually pretty nice. We were in a 10-bed, female dorm room that was only half full. Hostels are definitely different than hotels. No private room or bathroom, but more of a homey feel, I think. We enjoyed playing cards and watching TV at the hostel when we were there in the evening.

That first night we pretty much walked around town a bunch. We stopped at a pizza place for dinner and decided to be adventurous. The pizza we ordered ended up making my mom feel sick so we left and got something safe. Afterwards we walked up and down the historic Bryggen area with the old houses and shops along the harbor. We wandered down to the Bergen fortress. It used to be a defense against dangerous ships that could potentially come into the harbor. The city itself is about a thousand years old, which is remarkable. After we finished exploring, we headed back to the hostel to avoid being caught in the rain.

The first thing we did on the next day was head up to the tourist information center to find out about seeing the fjords. We were able to buy tickets to go on a boat sightseeing tour. It was May 1st, which was the very start of the tourist season so it was the first tour going out of the year. The four-hour boat tour was great! The fjord was beautiful and breathtaking! We took tons of photos. It was really cold and about halfway through, it got really rainy and choppy, so we had to go down off the deck. When we got back we stopped at a café to get food. While there, a parade passed by on the street. I felt bad for the paradegoers because the weather was really miserable, it was very similar to Seattle, though, so it reminded me of home. While the parade went by, cars were still going up and down the street, which I thought was really different. I’ve only ever seen parades where they shut down the street.

After the late lunch, we went up the Fløibanen Funicular (sort of like a tram) up to the mountain to go to the overview point far above Bergen. Halfway up we realized that it started snowing. At the top, it was snowing a great deal and it was also super cold. We weren’t dressed for the snow, so we only snapped a few photos and then headed into the souvenir shop to warm up. Right before we left the fog cleared up over Bergen and we were able to actually see the city, but only for about two minutes. When we got back down, it was pouring rain and there were puddles everywhere. We decided to call it a day and head back to the hostel. By the time we got back we were soaked with water. We left Bergen the next day. I had to be back to school in time to take my Norwegian final exam. The exam went well.

For most of my mom’s trip, we stayed in Bø and explored the town. She met a lot of my friends and we played games and made meals together. It was really fun. The day before she left, we went to Skien to explore the city. It’s the largest city in Telemark (which is the region that Bø is in). Unfortunately, all the museums were closed because the tourist season hadn’t started yet. But we really enjoyed seeing the city on a beautiful spring day. We explored the Telemark Museum, which is an outdoor museum like a park. It had a bunch of super old houses (some around five hundred years old). We found one called the “Tveiten” House. We thought it was really neat because my great grandfather (who was Norwegian) was named Tveit. We headed back to Bø early and spent the evening with friends. My mom left the next day. We had a great time overall and I think she enjoyed visiting Norway. I am very glad to have seen more of Norway than just Bø and Oslo.

Until next time,

Amber Hay

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