The boat docks at Eidfjord, and we transfer to a bus. The bus driver plays a recorded tape that explains the Norwegian countryside and history; it pauses for “Solveig’s Song” by Edvard Grieg, Norway’s greatest composer and a figure whose melancholy presence is felt everywhere here.
The bus winds around snow-covered peaks, to the top of Voringfossen, which is one of the most visited attractions in Norway. When you’re there, it’s easy to see why–it’s not the volume of water that impresses, it’s the magical, dreamy shape of the valley and the waterfalls from all sides.
Afterward, I take another boat to Ulvik, a fairytale town on its own crescent-shaped fjord. I’d picked the village solely based on the enchanting photos of its apple orchards, supposed to be in full bloom right during my trip.
My hotel is small and modest, but the windows look straight out at the fjord, and I have my own private patio, about seven feet from the water’s edge. I could totally just read a book by the water, but I change into my hiking boots and go for a hike.
As you can see, it’s like walking into a fairytale. The apple trees are in bloom, the sun is dappling, and the only sounds I hear are birds, rushing creeks, mini waterfalls, and lambs.
Walking alone surrounded by this majestic beauty, I think about why I chose to spend my 30th birthday traveling solo instead of at home. I’d wondered if I should spend it with friends and family in NYC, but I’d kept saying to myself “hiking in the fjords of Norway” and that made me the happiest. And here I am, exactly as I’d dreamed for about six months. I feel like the combination of a brave little toaster and a worldly 30-year-old woman.
In my room, I work on Peaceful Dumpling, take a hot shower, and sit outside on my patio. It’s so beautiful and calm it hurts. My whole body and soul are being cleansed from all the chaos of my life in NYC.
The entire day is spent on the bus and train back to Oslo, but I’m rewarded with an *amazing* dinner at Nordvegan, one of very few vegan restaurants in Oslo.