The Travelling Trooper Does Balestrand

I like to think that I live life on the edge. By that I mean that I only set one alarm in the morning. Ninety-five percent of the time, that’s sufficient. Then there’s that other five percent…

I set the alarm for 6:30 to give Trevor and I sufficient time to get ready, casually walk to the train station to pick up our tickets, head to the wharf, grab a quick breakfast, and hop on the boat to Balestrand at 8:00. That didn’t happen.

Well, I did wake up at 6:00, but then I fell back into a slumber. Trevor was no help. He could sleep all day if I let him.

Fast forward 45 minutes, and we now have haul our asses out of bed, get dressed, brush our teeth, make sure we’ve packed everything, and gun it to the train station.

We pick up my tickets, and make it to the boat with about three minutes to spare before the boat took off.

We were headed for Balestrand.


Our load was actually lighter today, because Sebastian, our host for the night, had offered to let us leave our bags at his place until we returned from our 4-day tour of the fjords, so we didn’t have to carry everything with us.

However, running still proved to be a challenge this morning, since the blisters from the previous day had grown into mountains overnight. Every step was agony.

In fact, it was so bad that when we arrived in Balestrand, I knew exactly how I was going to spend part of the hour I had before the rib boat outing. I locked myself into the washroom of a nearby museum, and I treated my feet with nothing but a nail clipper and some toilet paper. It was as painful and disgusting as it sounds, but I like to share all the gruesome details with you lovely people because you’re part of the journey too, y’know?

I walked out of the washroom with part of my toes and feet wrapped in TP, and nobody was the wiser. And best of all, I immediately felt a hundred times better!

The ride on the rib boat was a lot cooler than I expected. It was us, a couple from Detroit, and a family of four from Philly. I’d never been on a rib boat before. Hell, I had never heard of a rib boat before. After riding one, though, I can tell you they are ridiculous loads of fun. They go incredibly fast. All the gear we were made to wear may seem a bit much, but believe me, at that speed, not only is the wind blowing something fierce, but every droplet of rain is like a grandmother’s pinch to the cheek multiplied by twenty.

As the only solo traveller, I sat next to the driver, which automatically qualified me to be his co-pilot. (Trevor was my co-pilot.) He gave me a quick run-down of the instructions, and we were good to go. Here, let’s review:
Throttle goes up, boat goes fast. Turn wheel left, boat turns left. Turn wheel right, boat turns right. Lesson done. You’re now all certified rib boat drivers.

And yet, when Captain Viking over here (I swear, his fingers were three times the width of mine) went to the back of the boat to drain the floor whilst the boat was travelling at cheek-flapping speed, leaving me in command, I still got nervous like the idiot that I am.

We arrived back on land about 90 minutes later, and we headed in search of our new cabin home. (It was raining, and this diva ain’t about the wet camping life.) Besides, I don’t get to sleep in a cottage/cabin that often.

Welcome to Balestrand. The church is called St. Olaf’s Church. You now know as much about it as I do.

Shout out to Doris!

I lay on my bed and marvelled at the transcendent pleasures that come from simply lying down. I never wanted to get up. I liked the idea of just relaxing in my bed with the sound of the rain to keep me company. I figured my feet could use a break.

After a while, though, I somehow found the energy to get up and go for an easy walk in the forest. Trevor begrudgingly agreed to join me. Walk in the forest, come back, enjoy a movie or two on the ol’ laptop with some snacks, and call it a night.

20170905_174529AThen I got to a sign that said it wad only 2.8 km to the Busari virwpoint, and those thoughts went straight out the window.

I could do 2.8 kilometres.

And so I did! Rain be damned.


We got back to the cabin hours later, and we were drenched from head to toe. Every layer of clothing was dripping wet. That’s when the stupidity of my idea set in. Why would you hike in the rain when you don’t have a spare set of shoes, your sweater and jacket are wet, and you’re not going to have time to hang dry them before you have to leave tomorrow morning? Why? Because I’m an idiot. That’s why.

I hung everything up and hoped for the best.

In the meantime, I was craving food–lots, and lots of food. I hit up the grocery store.

Chips: Check.

Ciders: Check.

Then on the way home, a well-deserved meat-lovers pizza filled the void in my soul I didn’t know was there. I fell asleep to ciders and the movie The FP.

Now THIS is vacationing.

THANKFULLY, when I got up the following morning to take a shower (that’s right, I went to bed after a long wet hike without taking a shower. Quit judging me already. I was tired, alright?) I walked right past the Laundromat! They had a Laundromat! Thank the Lord, they had a Laundromat! (Also, why is Microsoft telling me to capitalize Laundromat? When did this happen?)

By noon, my clothing was deliciously dry, and I was smelling fresh as a daisy. All was good in the universe again.
We were heading to Flam, but I had no intention of doing anything for the day. (I meant it this time.) The day was going to be dedicated to 1) figuring out how to get to Trolltunga from Bergen and back in time to catch a flight to Oslo at a decent hour on the 10th and 2) what to do in Iceland. (But I’m not sharing those juicy plans til later.)

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