For TBT, or “Throwback Thursdays,” I will be reminiscing about trips past. I had the pleasure to travel to Europe three times–before I moved there–so I’ll be living vicariously through these memories until we can afford to go back (still debating, with or without the kid!)
I will kick it off with my very first international trip (not counting Canada when I was 12! I will eventually write about that, but this one is so much more exciting since it’s across the big pond). When I was entering my senior year at West Point, I had the opportunity to go to Bergen, Norway. It was a 3 week trip, and 10 days of the 3 weeks would be spent doing a training exercise with the Norwegian Navy at Sjøkrigsskolen. A fellow cadet, Kyle, was also selected for the trip. I had enough summer break to apply for another one of these, so I had a follow-on trip to France, after the 3 weeks in Norway.
Kyle and I left on May 19th, 2006, to cross the big pond. It was my first international flight and I was beyond excited to experience a new country. We flew direct from Newark, NJ to Copenhagen, Denmark. From there, we took a short flight to Oslo.
When the school booked our tickets, they didn’t realize that it was quite a trek from Oslo to Bergen. Here is where I learned travel lesson #1: always know the exchange rate before you go. We had no idea, and we just guessed (rookie mistake right? Oh to be young and 21 again!). We even got ourselves first class tickets! *oops* The train ride ended up being a blessing. We had to wait quite a while for a train, but we eventually took the train from Oslo to Bergen. The countryside was absolutely breathtaking. My pictures don’t do it justice. I was literally glued to the window for the entire trip.
We got into the train station that evening and were met by Timo, our guide and fellow cadet. The first night, we just had dinner in the school cafeteria. My room in their “barracks” was amazing, and the view was absolutely spectacular:
It was as if I had died and gone to travel and photographer heaven. (Food too, but that would come later!)
I won’t bore you with details of the training exercise right now (I’ll save it for a later post—it was a life-changing event for me in ways that I can’t fully explain still today—I learned about guts, determination, communication, appreciation, and teamwork, to name a few things). Here are some of the pictures of our first time out in Bergen–Norway’s second largest city.
Even now, more than 7 years later and 20-something other countries visited, Norway still ranks at the top of my favorite places. I absolutely cannot wait to go back someday, and share Bergen with my husband and son. I’ll go see my teammates from Telemakos, and hopefully get to see some stave churches and take a fjord cruise too!