"The Norway experience" Norway by Naokico
Norway Travel Guide: 10,644 reviews and 30,075 photos
Honestly, I don't know why I pick Norway, I actually had other plans, but then someone told me you got to go there, so I asked around and who ever went there said it is a place one must visit at least once and if he is a nature lover moreover.
First thing first, when to go there?
I was there from the end of July until the begining of August (about 2 weeks), the weather was O.K. I had some rain now and then but nothing stoped my traveling. After talking to the locals I understood that the best time to visit Norway is from the middle of May until the middle of June, but then again, while I was there the weather was reasonable.
So, I booked a flight (which was very expensive to say the least), and started planing my trip.
there are few possibilities to travel in Norway: car, train and bus.
Car is a good option if there are at least 2 drivers, otherwise the long hours one must drive and relatively hard driving will worn you out if you are driving by yourself .Train is a good option and a comfortable one, but I chose the bus system.
The bus system has few advantages, the first one is that it is cheaper than any other mean of transportation (and take my word for it, you should plan your budget well before traveling in Norway, it is ludicrously expensive), the busses are very comfortable and reliable, you can go pretty much anywhere and get good advices from their stuff before arriving Norway (the busses' internet site is: www.nor-way.no) and they don't drive fast which gives you a better sence of the land and scenery.
I arrived Oslo first. I expected some small provincial city, but was happy to find a really beautiful, clean and interesting place. I stayed in Hotel Perminalen, which is centrally located, has dorm rooms or private rooms. It is safe, comfortable and if you chose the dorm as I did than they are better equiped than any other dorm I'v been to including: TV, private showers, lockers and lienen (BTW in Norway sleeping in hostels requires bringing your own linen or renting one). I am aware of the fact the you can find cheaper dorms in Oslo (a dorm in this one costs about 45$ a night), but I think the location of the hotel and the great breakfast they serve worth the money. Due to the high transportaion costs sleepin out side of the center can add up to the same price of living in the center of Oslo, not to mention that it is much more comfortable living in the center.
Staying in Oslo for 2 days is more than enough. On the first day it is worth taking a 5 hour guided trip which gives a good summery of the city and the second day can be dedicated to museums, strolling and maybe a revisit to vigeland park which is indeed a beautiful place and has a unique atmosphere.
I would like to recommend also the Kon - Tiki museum which is very interesting and reflect in a way the norwegian spirit as I captured it of hard working, inovative and curious nature.
Most hostels and all hotels supply a reach breakfast. Use this a breakfast and eat as much as you can, it may sound like a strange advice, but after traveling there and talking to others it is probably one of the best advices I can give. Because of the food prices many people whom I met ate only breakfast and supper, not to mention many skiped alcohol all together (half a litter in a pub can cost about 9 - 10 american dollars and sometimes even more), so those of you who really like to drink I recommend to buy a bottle of your prefered alcohol in the duty free shops and bring it with you.
The picture in this chapter is probably one of the most turistic pictures one can take in Norway. I actually have some better pictures than that one, but because it is so famous and because it is indeed beautiful I decided to upload it anyway. The nature part of Norway is breathtaking, even when it is cloudy you can still be overwhelmed by the majestic mountains and clear rivers. I do not persume to say that I really know everything Norway's nature has to offer, but I think I have good feeling of it and it is by far one of the prettiest places on earth. I traveled from Oslo to Andalsnes which is a qute little town not far from the Geiranger fjord. I stayed in the local youth hostel or as the norwegians call it Vandrehjem. The one in Andalsnes is a qute one, a farm house with a very homely feeling and a very helpful and kind owners. One major advantage is that the local bus driver who takes you to Geiranger Fjord and who drives the bus to other local attractions eats his breakfast there so you know exactly when the bus leaves (BTW he is a very nice man and worth chatting with). Geiranger Fjord is probably one of the leading fjords in Norway and taking the cruise there, which is a very touristic one is actually worth it because they give some very enlightning explenations of how people lived there during the centuries, which I must say that after hearing the conditions they had to cope with I was totally impressed.
After the cruise, it is worth hiking up the mountain to get a good view of the area. If you are into hiking the Geirnager area and the Troll Stiegen area (which is about 20-25 km from Andalsnes) are great locations for hiking. I would like to recommend the clovestien path which starts few km before trollstiegen, just ask the bus driver he will know where to drop you off. The clovestien can be somewhat stranuous in part and in some parts very wet (watch for the cow ***, there's lot of it on the first part of the track), by walking on that path one can imagine the effort the ancient locals had to make in order to travel from place to place. I must mention that I was the only one on the path, so I would recommend you to go always with another person, after all in the slippery parts it can get quite dangerouse. After reaching the top, I walked back to Andlasnes on the main road, and if the weather is fine it is a nice walk. There are wild flowers growing in that area and you can focus on the little things that you don't really notice when you are in the bus, train or car.
I must admit that while walking in the dark forests I could understand why those trolls stories were invented (this area is more or less troll land). The dark steep mountains and the densed forests supply an atmosphere of mystery, and rocks between the trees sometimes look like a living entity, just hiding and playing tricks on you.
After my staying in Andalsnes which has also a music festival somewhere around the begining of August, I kept on going to Alesund. Alesund is a relatively small town, but big enough to have some places where you can have a decent meal (ther is a small chinese restaurant not far from the city hall which is very tasty). The whole town was burned down once and was rebuilt as a Jugendstil type of a town, it is a verrrrrry romantic place, especially at evening time and especially by the harbour, so those of you who travel with your loveones will enjoy it a lot. There are some beautifully designed buildings there and it gives you a nice calm feeling just to stroll around in the streets. I slept in the local youth hostel which has terribly weird design and the dorms are quite crowded, but for some strange reason I quite liked it, it has a friendly atmosphere.
The owner is a great chap and worth talking with, he also rents bike (he has good ones), so renting a bike and going around to see the islands with them is a nice way to spend the day. I really liked to bike and to stop and pick cranberries that grow on sideways (only in some places). It is also worth biking to Giske island and visit the church which has an interesting story to tell. One sholud also go to Bigdoy and visit the Lighthouse where you can eat a great cake or waffle with cream. The shere feeling of sitting in a lighthouse, eating cake and drinking coffee in a place that looks like it is in the end of the world is unique. After finishing your cake (or 2 cakes), it is worth climbing up the close by hill, where you can get a great view of the area. One warning though, plan your traveling in the weekdays because the weekend's transportation is a bit problematic to some islands.
Generally speaking Norway does not have a very exciting night life, so don't count on having a blast when you go out, focus on the nature, history and culture and you will enjoy Norway much more.
In Alesund there is a qute little internet caffee which I like a lot, so if you are there it is a nice place to go and relax.
Alesund can also be used a starting point for a long hiking trip (few days or a week), so if you into that, you can start there and then use it as a start point for a long hike.
I left Alesund and kept on travelling to Bergen, I highly recommend to take the bus from Alesund to Bergen, the way to Begen is extremely pretty, and if you you'll be lucky enough to get a sunny day (as I did), then the experience is one of kind. some places look like a true living postcard and all you want to do is to stop the bus and stay in one of those places for a while. I didn't do that, but I think it worth while getting off the bus and spend a day or two in one of those places. I also recommend to so kayak trip and are few of them in Norway, that is one of the prefered ways to actually be one with nature.
Bergen is nice, I stayed at the Marken guesthouse, which is an Ikea furnitured hostel, it is clean, very safe and fashy (as fashionable), though they serve no breakfast. It is centrally located which is a nice bonus.
I think Bergen is worth about a day and a half, not more, but it is a good starting point for touring the fjords.
From Bergen you can take a day tour to Flam and Gudvangen. I found this day trip much too touristic, so maybe it is better to go there for a few days and have a kayak trip there instead of taking the day tour.
That's about it I guess, all the power to those of you read the whole thing, it is quite long. I wiil appreciate any comments and corrections.
All in all Norway is enchanting and worth a visit, I may go there again this May, want to join?
- Pros:Too many to count
- Cons:Why think negatively?
- In a nutshell:I need a lot of Nutshells to summerise Norway
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