Part II: Rise and Shine!! Friday morning at 6am Jordan and I embarked on our first of five trip, Eurorail journey! We got on a train to Oslo, Norway! Prior to getting to Europe we decided to travel by train for most of our trips because that was the old fashioned, traditional way of travel. It is unique and fun. Once we got on our train we took out our handy dandy Eurorail passes and penciled in our departure and arrival destinations for each train ride. After each train stop the train conductor checked our passes, which was so different compared to the usual ticket scanning process on bus and airplane travel.
Once we arrived to Oslo we went straight to our hostel, which was an experience of a lifetime, to say the very least, considering I have never stayed in a hostel before in my life. You stay in a room of eight beds with complete strangers and I was really shook after this because it was so different compared to my “sheltered” life back home. I am so glad I did it though and need to get used to this for my semester of travel left to go. Friday night we went out to the “hippie” neighborhood of Oslo, Grünerløkka, which is obviously where you would expect me out of most people to end up. Such great vibes all around. Jordan and I made friends with some Swedes and Norwegians who were all so friendly and welcoming. One thing to keep in mind is that you will start your night with a full wallet and end up dried out the next morning, Norway is EXTREMELY expensive. We learned this REALLY quick.
Saturday morning we met up with another global gator/gator engineer, David, who bussed overnight from Copenhagen. We got our rental car and began our six hour road trip towards Hordaland, where we planned to spend the rest of our weekend in the heart of many beautiful fjords. This road trip was the most beautiful route I have EVER been on and apparently is one of the most scenic in all of Europe. We drove through and past mountains, valleys, GIGANTIC waterfalls, fjords, and tundras. You name it, we saw it… wild sheep included. It was stunning and not only did it feel like the views were never ending, but also that they continuously grew more stunning from start to finish. We arrived to the Odda municipality, which is the hub town in Hordaland and is extremely close to the Trolltunga hike we planned on doing Sunday morning. Where we actually stayed was in an Airbnb an hour away, along the fjord, in a more rural area, which was equally as beautiful and very “homey.” Here is the link and a view from the apartment, if you are interested: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/7580072?source=handoff-ios&s=41&ref_device_id=5388419848f9cd3b48df3bfd27c74a752d8ab1d5&user_id=46855634&_branch_match_id=568376524498182644
Sunday morning at 5am we started our day’s journey for the Trolltunga hike. Trolltunga stands for “Trolls Tongue.” This hike was approximately 28 kilometers total (14 km there and 14 km back). We finished the hike as 18 miles with approximately 4200 ft gained in elevation for a total of 10 hours.
We were expecting the worst of conditions with lots of rain, which I am so grateful didn’t end up happening because of how muddy and slippery the conditions already were. This hike was a real test to my mental and physical strength. I was really close to my breaking point many times from a combination of how cold/windy it was, how often I would slip from the wet grounds, and how my ACL/MCL injury was testing my patience. HOWEVER, every time I would look up and see the beautiful Scandinavian mountains in front of me, beside me at the melted glaciers, below me from these massive fjords and how beautifully calm and blue the water was, and behind me to see how far we have come already.. it was breathtaking and all the more worth it. Also, it was really refreshing refilling water from the mountain streams that honestly tasted so much better than bottled water!
We arrived to Trolltunga after a long 14km and enjoyed our sandwiches overlooking the fjord, which was probably the coolest lunch I’ve ever had.. despite the obvious frigid weather. We even witnessed a climber descend 200m to the bottom of the fjord, it was insane.
(Sidenote: The Gators may have lost to Kentucky, but these three Gators definitely won this past weekend!!)
On our return we were rushed to beat the rain/poor weather that was approaching, which again we were really lucky to pass. I was so lucky to accomplish this hike with such a great group of people. I really challenged myself and reached a couple personal goals that I didn’t think I would be capable of accomplishing. I felt exactly where I belonged in the heart of these mountains and in those ten hours I felt so many moments of bliss and peace that I will carry with me forever. You can count on this mountain gal returning to the beautiful Trolltunga/Scandinavian Mountains in the future.