Day 1: Oslo
Velkommen. The land of the Vikings. I’ve always seen the photos of the fjord lands of Norway. Perhaps you have seen/heard of Troll’s tongue or Pulpits Rock. Norway is considered to be one of the most beautiful and richest countries in the world. A huge country in size but not densely populated so there’s a lot of land to explore. I had to see it for myself. The hardest part is saving enough money (everything is expensive in Norway), and figuring out how to explore the country. Although the transportation system is great, I thought it was a bit overwhelming to figure out train routes/times and book hotels. My options were a Norwegian cruise or a land tour by bus. I figured a land tour would be a better choice to really experience the interior as well as the fjords. This is how the 7 day sample of Norway played out.
Oslo is a nice looking city. Blonde hair is the norm and most locals look healthy and well off. Norwegian krone is the currency and people speak good English here so no there is no need to learn Norwegian. The city is quite clean and the prices are high. If you like seafood then you’ve come to the right country.
I didn’t know what else to do in Oslo except to simply walk around and explore the city. The main artery of Oslo is Karl Johans gate which stretches from Oslo Central Station to the Royal Palace. You can also walk by the harbor for some good views and restaurants. The seafood platter at the Louise restaurant was a great way to start. Egon is another restaurant that you can find the best burger ever. And if you can get a chance to try kvaefjord cake, you will be convinced that it’s the best cake you’ve ever had.
The national gallery is worth an hour of your time. It is here where you can find “the scream” painting. I learned that is was stolen and retrieved twice.
The Viking museum is also worth an hour of your time. Who doesn’t like vikings.
We stayed at one of the Radisson Blu hotels in Oslo which happen to be the tallest buildings around. The top floor restaurant/bar has the views of the city.
Day 2: From Oslo to the Fjords
On the road to the fjords alongside rivers, valleys, and 100s of tunnels through the mountains. The travel is about 4 hours but you eventually arrive at the fjords. But before that, there are several spots on the way. On the road to Eidfjord, we passed through the Hardanger Mountain Plateau which is part of the Hardanger National park. There are hardly any houses or trees at this elevation. It feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. It would be a bad situation to get lost here without a vehicle. Either way, it’s a cool spot to pass through. Also, if anyone remembers planet Hoth from Star Wars – Empire Strikes Back, it was filmed somewhere around this plateau, I think.
The Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue) hike is between the Hardanger National Park and Folgefonna National park; something to conquer on another trip. I’d also like to kayak alongside the ice chunks by Folgefonna. Next time.
Right before arriving in Eidfjord and the first sight of one of the branches of the Hardanger fjord, there is a waterfall called Voringfoss. Its more than a 500 ft vertical. There were people trekking through the valley below (as I watched them with envy). The view down there looking up at the waterfall must’ve been epic.
There is something about trolls and Norway. They are the ugliest and pop up everywhere. Why?
And finally, the mountains open up to reveal the sea, it’s a Norwegian fjord!