Friday, October 5, 2012

Vatnahalsen

After the train dropped us off we pulled our suitcases up toward the hotel along the station platform. 

The Mama and I trailed a little behind the guys.  Me, because I was smacking the little puddles that had formed on the slats of the wooden benches, mama because she was watching me and also feeling a little dizzy.  The air was so pure, and so clean, and so full of oxygen it actually made her dizzy.  



So compared to the Grand Hotel in Oslo, the Vatnahalsen Hoyfjellshotell was maybe not so impressive at first glance.  But the instant we walked inside, it was obvious we were going to like staying here much more.  The owner/proprietress came around the desk to greet us and was so nice and friendly and helpful and kind that she immediately put everyone at ease.  She also complemented yours truly, which is an immediate in with me, obviously, and also with my parents. Also obviously.

In addition, the Grand Hotel Oslo doesn't have a swing set.  Or a big field to run around in like a crazy person.  So there.

The lady asked us if we intended to eat dinner there at the hotel.  This was kind of a funny question since there was absolutely no where else to eat dinner, but maybe she thought we'd packed a picnic or something?  Anyway, we said yes please.  She told us it would be served at 7.  

We got our room keys and checked in and lugged all our luggage back to the rooms.  (Side note:  Lugged.  Luggage.  SUDDENLY MAKES SO.  MUCH.  SENSE.)

Having dropped everything off, we changed my diaper.  (Important).  Got me dressed in very warm clothing, since I'd caught a bit of a cold and was rocking some serious snot and a bit of a cough, and then we went for a walk.  Well, the adults walked.  I rode in style.  And promptly passed out cold before we'd even gotten past the sign for the town on the trail.

You see Vatnahalsen is located on a very famous Norwegian bike path called the Rallervegen.  One of the fairly stupendous things about Norway is that you can camp pretty much anywhere you please, provided you tidy up after yourself.  So lots of Norwegians go for long bike/camping trips around the country.




So we went for a walk down the Rallervegen, to waste some time before dinner.  We all noticed these little rock cairns all along the path, presumably built by folks who'd biked the trail successfully.  

 
Mama built one for me, just because.


Here are some pictures of what the flora looks like in the mountains of Norway.  The moss looks like it ought to be underwater.  Possibly because everything there is really, really soggy.  There are little streams everywhere and all the rocks are covered in dripping water.






There were still blueberries clinging to very low wild blueberry bushes all along the path.


 

This is the lake that feeds the Kjossfossen!

 


We all stopped to listen to the raindrops falling on the lake.  The water was so still and everything so silent that you could hear each drop hitting.  It sounded like windchimes, or breaking glass.  Note:  That was according to mama, because I don't have the experience to compare the sounds.  I have not heard the sound of breaking glass yet, but it is only a matter of time.





My mama insisted that every bridge we crossed had a troll living under it.  This one was probably a pretty small troll then.







If you look at the picture of the waterfall below, you can see a road zig-zagging down toward the valley.  Roughly 20km away down that switchback was Flam.
 






Papa really likes Moosejaw.  


And then we headed back to the hotel.  It was almost time for dinner, and we had all worked up a pretty good appetite.  Especially papa, who had to push the stroller the whole time!  zzzzzzzz...

The Norwegian vegetables look a lot like the American vegetables.  That's all I'm saying.



The proprietress had brought out a bunch of toddler toys and left them in the main living/gathering areas of the hotel for me!  I discovered the pink flamingo toy after dinner.  It was love at first sight.


 And then, phew.  Bed.  Only I didn't sleep much because I was really not feeling well.  This was actually a blessing in disguise though, and my parents ought to thank me for it, because it meant that they got to see the stars.  And though the vegetables might look the same in Norway, the stars definitely do NOT.  For one thing, there are a whole lot more of them then we've got in New Jersey.  For another thing, they're way brighter, and more beautiful.

The next morning, short on sleep and struggling not to be short on temper, we all trotted down to breakfast.

This dude guards the entrance to the breakfast room.




This sign says you can make up a picnic to take away with you for 75 kroner.
 




Norwegians know how important breakfast is.


After we'd eaten, we went for another walk.  We didn't have to catch the train until 11:50.

We walked to the top of that series of narrow waterfalls we had taken pictures of the night before.  Mama stood on the troll bridge.








Papa got hot from pushing me up the path, and took off his jacket.  Which was the weather's cue to change.

It snowed, y'all.





Above the waterfall there was a rainbow!  Even when it started to snow.


Note:  Papa did not put his jacket back on.












Then it was back to the hotel to pack up and get ready to catch the Flamsbana train to Myrdal, from whence we would board the rather larger train that runs between Bergen and Oslo.






Can you tell my mama is not feeling her best?  Nothing says fun like taking a 5 hour train ride with a cranky, sick 15 month old who didn't get any sleep the night before, and prevented you from sleeping also!  And since that's the case, clearly she's having a marvelous time.


(Note: that picture captured the only moment in which I sat still for the entire 5 hour train ride.)

Back to Oslo we go!

Mwah -