Bodø, Norway (5.21.10 – 5.25.10)

The ride to Bodø took ages; Norway is such a long country, and the train service is far from impressive. It took eighteen hours to get from Oslo to Bodø, which is in the high-middle region of Norway. The journey was disrupted several times; when traveling from Oslo to Trondheim, we were stopped in the middle of the train and transferred to a bus, and then back onto the train again. I asked the conductor for clarification on what was going on because I had been sleeping when the announcement began. He explained that we were switching to buses for a while, and then said “And do you know why you have to do this?” I replied that I did not, and he then took it upon himself to explain “There was a train that crashed the other day, and the cars are still down by the river and the tracks haven’t been repaired yet, so you have to take a bus for a while.” As he walked away, I wondered why he felt that it was so necessary that I knew this fact… I would have been perfectly content not to know about the train crash, thank you. We groggily got onto the bus, and traveled for about an hour before transferring to another train and continuing onto Trondheim. Once there, I boarded my next train that would continue onto Bodø, and a very similar thing happened on this journey. We were put on a bus for a while because there had been a landslide, and over three meters (ten feet) of earth had fallen away below the tracks. Awesome! Eventually, around 6PM on Saturday, I made it to Bodø, all in once piece, and Helen, one half of my hosts, very kindly came to meet me at the train station. We went back to her apartment, where I met her husband Andreas, and I had some delicious lasagna that Andreas had made for dinner. Around 8PM, we left to go to Helen’s friend, Anita’s house for drinks, which was wonderful; another friend, Stine, joined us, and everyone was welcoming and interesting. Around midnight we headed out to a bar to get some drinks, and I got to experience ‘The Midnight Sun.’ Starting in May, the sun doesn’t set in the very North of the Northern hemisphere. We went to a dance club for a while, and then to a rock bar, where I felt more comfortable. We headed home around 3AM, and it was just as bright out as it had been at 6PM, and at 8PM, and 12AM… it was hugely disconcerting. Granted, the weather was overcast that day, but the time of day was indistinguishable from one hour to the next.

On Sunday, Helen took me out to see Bodø from the mountains that surround the city. The views were spectacular, and you can see for miles. The views of the surrounding islands are jealousy inducing; Bodø, like everywhere I got to see in Norway, was surrounded by great beauty. We then went to see the Saltstraumen maelstrom, which is the largest maelstrom in the world; it was beautiful, in addition to being windy and freezing. After taking lots of photos, we went and picked Andreas up, and then went to Helen’s parents’ house for dinner. Helen’s mother is Finnish, and she prepared an excellent Finnish meal, including homemade meatballs.
On Monday, Helen and I went to a beach that is about thirty minutes outside of Bodø. We spent a while there, enjoying the gorgeous day, and the scenic surroundings. After the beach, Andreas joined us and we went to get a meal. I had fiskesuppe (fish soup… that wasn’t too hard, was it?), which was delicious. We then returned to their apartment for a while, and that night, I joined Helen when she went to her band practice. She plays trombone in a big band who play a lot of jazz and swing. I was really impressed by her talent, and that of the band… my motivation to learn an instrument increases as I meet more and more amazing musicians.
On Tuesday, we enjoyed a lazy morning, and at noon, Helen took me to the train station so that I could catch a train headed for Trondheim, so that I could continue my journey onto Bergen… a journey that would last twenty-five hours in total!!

The view over Bodø

The Saltstraumen maelstrom

The view surrounding the Saltstraumen maelstrom

Helen!

The view of the few houses next to the Saltstraumen maelstrom

The Saltstraumen maelstrom; the water swirled in such interesting ways… because it’s a maelstrom, obviously.

Red sand at the beach

The beach view

Another stunning view over Bodø.

Onto Bergen!

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