Where everything and everyone is beautiful
05.14.2015 - 05.19.2015 50 °F
Hei fra Norge!
I have to start by apologizing. Norway was the first stop in almost two months where I failed to upload a blog post before I left for the next destination. I am a few day behind, but better late than never!
While we flew into Oslo and spent a day or so there, the main focus of our trip was to head northwest to see the Fjords. So, let's pick it up from there. Desert first!
From Oslo, you can take a seven hour train to Bergen, a quaint city situated along the western coast of Norway. It is heralded as one of, if not the most beautiful train rides in the world. Here are two images taken along the ride to show you the contrast in environment and elevation over seven hours.
From Bergen, we took a five hour boat ride north into the fjords and despite it being a bit rainy, the scenery was unbelievable.
Fun fact: a fjord is a long, narrow arm of the sea bordered by steep cliffs: usually formed by glacial erosion. Science!
The ferry took us into the Sognefjord which is the largest and most well known fjord in Norway. It is the longest open (ice-free) fjord in the world and stretches 127 miles inland from the ocean.
Similar to Iceland, all of the rainfall and glacial runoff creates a number of very impressive waterfalls.
Here I am in my natural state of squinty-ness but this time for good reason as the cold and rain was worse than it looks in this photo.
Brothers, less squinty. More smiles as requested by many of you.
As I mentioned earlier, the city of Bergen is situated along the western coast and used to be the capital of Norway. Established before 1070 AD, it is now the second most populated city in Norway and boasts the busiest port in the country. With all that being said, the population is just over 250,000 and the city itself is quite small. Tucked into the mountainside, it is easily walkable from end to end.
Behind us is pretty much the heart of the city itself.
Along the water's edge near the harbor is a UNESCO world heritage site called Bryggen which the old wharf of Bergen. It's a reminder of the town’s importance as part of Norway's trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century.
Bryggen has been damaged by a number of fires through the centuries and has been rebuilt after every fire, closely following the previous property structure and plan as well as building techniques. Today, some 62 buildings remain of this former townscape and these contain sufficient elements to demonstrate how this colony of German merchants lived and worked.
Oh, and while we were in Bergen, it was the National Day of Norway...or Norway day, as Brandon I kept calling it. Essentially their equivalent to our Fourth of July.
So, we did as the locals. We bought flags and raised a pint in honor of this great nation. Ok, maybe more than one as you can tell from Brandon's face.
But we were not prepared. Apparently, this is the day for men to dress in their best suits and for women to don their traditional dresses. We were the only two guys who didn't look like they stepped out of an Armani ad. Many men also wore traditional clothing and dressed their children in the same.
Despite our jeans and traveler looks, a few local girls were more than happy to show off their traditional dresses. Each are different depending on their home towns.
Did I mention everyone here is super attractive? Its ridiculous. Men and women.
The night ended with fireworks and an outdoor concert by many of Bergen's more famous artist and musicians - one of whom is the music duo Ylvis. If you are not familiar with them, they sing the song, "What does the fox say." It only has 516 MILLION views on YouTube.
Norway was a blast, but bring your wallet. They boast one of the highest standards of living in the world and things are quite expensive. In fact, also bring your friend's wallet. Beers run $12 to $15 a piece and a fresh seafood dinner will run you $50-$60.
My reaction every time the bill came to the table:
A few miscellaneous extras:
We really enjoyed our time here and there is so much more to explore of this great country but we have had almost two weeks of cold, snow and ice.
We need to thaw out. I think it is time for a little fun in the sun.
"Hey, Malta, is it warm down there?"
"Yep! Wanna come hang for a bit?"