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NorwayOslo: Departure from Norway

On 8 July 2002 from Reuver, Netherlands | comments closed

On 6 July I had a filling breakfast at the hostel and I took the tram to the city centre. There I took a look at the exposition “the Earth from the Sky” before taking the ferry to Bygdøy. There I went to the Folkmuseum for a few hours; wandering around between the old houses, taking part in a tour and trying some old Norwegian food. Afterwards I checked out a few old vikingships in the Vikingshipmuseum and took the ferry back to the city centre. There I walked through the shopping crowds for a while before taking a guided tour of the Akershus Castle. After the tour I took the T-bane to the end of the line at Frognerseteren. I still had to walk a bit to reach the TV-twoer, but unfortunately the elevator was broken, so I could not get a view from there. Therefore I went back to the city centre and got some dinner. The sky was pretty clear and it was sunny; perfect weather for a last visit to the Vigeland Park. There I asked a guy to make a photo of me and ended up becoming a model for some of his photos. I also met Henning and Corinna; Norway is a small country after all. Finally I took the tram back to the hostel for my last night in Norway.

My last day in Norway only consisted of a nice breakfast at the hostel, after which I took tram to the train station and the FlyToget to the airport. SAS brought me to Amsterdam safely, where my parents picked me up.

NorwayNorway in a Nutshell: Flåm to Oslo

On 6 July 2002 from Oslo, Norway | comments closed

On 5 July I woke up early and went for a short walk around Flåm. The atmosphere was really cool, quiet and small clouds low in the valley. After the walk I picked up my backpack, and got on the boat the Gudvangen. There I chatted with a couple from South-Africa while watching the breathtaking views in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. From Gudvangen I took the bus to Voss. It went up a narrow road with lots of hairpin curves, offering amazing view into the Nærøyfjord. Luckily this time the boat and bus were almost empty. Mission: accomplished. In Voss I hiked up Mount Hangur. It took me 1 hour 15 minutes, but at least I saved 8 euro for the cable car and still used it to get down. Of course the top of Mount Hangur offered a great view of Voss and lake Vossevangen. Back down I walked around Voss a bit, and got an early dinner. Then I got on the train to Oslo. Once again the views were really great, going from 1222 metres (Finse) down to sea level (Oslo). And everywhere there were mountains, hills, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, forests and wooden houses. After 6 hours I arrived in Oslo, where I checked in at the hostel and went to sleep.

NorwayNorway in a Nutshell: Bergen to Flåm

On 5 July 2002 from Flåm, Norway | comments closed

After hiking for three days in a row, I decided 4 July was going to be more relaxing. It was a wonderful sunny day in Bergen, so I got some bread at a bakery and had breakfast on the pier. Since I did not feel like visiting a museum with the sunny weather outside, I walked to the aquarium, and sat in the park for a while, just watching the fjord. I also briefly checked my e-mail, before getting on the train to Myrdal. I had planned to go down to Flåm in a quiet train. Unfortunately some huge cruise ship docked in Flåm, so the Flåmsbana was crowded with Spanish and Italian tourists. Mission: not accomplished. Luckily the view from the Flåmsbana was still amazing, and the train stopped at the large waterfall to have a closer look. In Flåm I checked in at the hostel and looked at the departing cruise ship. Other than that, Flåm was a really quiet village, and I planned to go to sleep early. However I ended up chatting with my roommates from England, Germany and the Netherlands for quite some time.

NorwayNorway in a Nutshell: Bergen

On 4 July 2002 from Bergen, Norway | comments closed

3 July started completely cloudy and rainy, pretty common weather for Bergen I guess. After making breakfast at the hostel, I walked through the fish market to Bryggen, the old Hanseatic houses on the waterfront. I took a guided tour of Bryggens Museum, Schøtstuene and the Hanseatic Museum. It was really good to take this tour, because at least I knew what I was seeing. After the tour I visited the Rosenkrantz Tower. Then it stopped raining, and I went by bus and cable car up to the top of Mount Ulrike. Unfortunately it was still very cloudy, so there was no view of the city. Nevertheless I decided to hike to the top of the Fløibanen. The first part of the route was a real hiking trail over the top of the mountain range around Bergen. It felt like Tolkien’s “Middle Earth”, only the tops were visible because the rest of the mountains was covered in clouds. Every few hundred metres the trail was marked with a block of piled up stones. It was really cool to hike. The last part was downhill on normal roads, and at that time the sun had come through, so there was also a good view of Bergen and the fjord. But altogether I hiked for 4,5 hours, including a 30 minute unvoluntary detour. I went down with the Fløibanen and made dinner at the hostel, before going to sleep. At that time there was no single cloud in the sky.

NorwayNorway in a Nutshell: Preikestolen to Bergen

On 3 July 2002 from Bergen, Norway | comments closed

2 July was a rainy day, for the first time during my travels in Norway. Nevertheless I decided to make the hike to Moslifjellet after a big breakfast at the hostel. The trail was quite easy to follow, mainly going over rocks. Unfortunately the rain only got worse, so my pants were completely soaked after half an hour. After 1,5 hours I reached the top, but the view was a bit spoiled by all the clouds, and it was really wet and cold up there. The trail back from the top was more like a stream than a path, and I was really glad I bought some decent German hiking boots before I came to Norway. After hiking with some really nice views, not seeing a single soul, and getting completely soaked, I arrived back at the hostel. There I took a hot shower and got some hot chocolate afterwards. Both were so much more rewarding after the wet hike. When my clothes and backpack had dried a bit, I went back to Stavanger by bus and ferry, and I continued to Bergen by express catamaran. Before going to sleep I got a few beers at a student bar (only 4,50 euro!) with a Slovakian and an Australian guy from the hostel.

NorwayNorway in a Nutshell: Stavanger to Preikestolen

On 2 July 2002 from Preikestolen, Norway | comments closed

On 1 July I had some breakfast at the shore of the lake, before catching the bus to the city centre with Aachim. There we got on the car ferry to Tau, where a connecting bus was waiting to go to Preikestolhytta. I checked in and we started to hike to Preikestolen. But I was hiking faster than everyone else, so I overtook most of the tourists, and got to the Pulpit Rock in 1 hour 15 minutes, instead of 2 hours. The Pulpit Rock at Preikestolen was really cool to see, and a nice test of vertigo fear by looking 600 metres down into the fjord. I had some lunch and when Aachim arrived, he made the necessary photo of me on the edge. After that I wanted to see Preikestolen from a higher perspective, so I hiked further up the mountain. But there I saw an even higher top and I hiked up there. At the top I had a breathtaking view of the Lysefjord from Lysebotn to Stavanger. When I wanted to go back, I lost track of the path, so I hiked down a steep slope back to the path to Preikestolhytta. There I had dinner and relaxed a bit before going to sleep.

NorwayNorway in a Nutshell: Trondheim to Stavanger

On 1 July 2002 from Stavanger, Norway | comments closed

I woke up in my room at Moholt Studentby 30 June at 8.30, packed my large backpack, checked my e-mail for the last time, finished the milk, jam and bread, and double-checkied if I had not forgotten anything. Then Christoph drove my to the airport, from where my first flight took me to Olso. There I left half of my luggage in storage, and got in a long queue with lots of summer holiday tourists, including an American woman that was complaining about everything. In Stavanger the flybussen dropped me off in a suburb near the hostel. The hostel was beautifully situated near a small lake. In the hallway I ran into a drunken Fin, who wanted to tell me all of his life’s stories. No time for that, I had to take a bus to the city centre. There I visited the pretty small domchurch, walked through the harbour, where people were celebrating that Brazil won the World Cup, and strolled through Old Stavanger. In two hours I had seen pretty much everything of Stavanger, so I got some dinner and went to see “40 Days and 40 Nights” in the cinema. Afterwards it was a nice walk back to the hostel, especially because I took the longest route around the lake. Back in the room, I chatted with Aachim from Germany, before going to sleep.

NorwayCabintrip Sula

On 24 June 2002 from Trondheim, Norway | comments closed

This was not really a cabintrip, but a Midsummer outing with some colleagues to a cabin/house on the island of Sula. On Friday 21 June we took the express catamaran to Sula, 4 hours from Trondheim. There were 5 guys (including me) from our department and 3 divers (friends of the organiser). Sula consists of a few large connected islands (a few sq km in total) in the Norwegian Sea / Arctic Ocean, surrounded by lots of small islands. We stayed in a house of SINTEF. On Friday night we had some dinner and some drinks afterwards.

On Saturday after breakfast we (three colleagues and I) went out with a small motorboat to fish. It was the first time I was fishing in the sea, and I could use an advanced fishing rod of a colleague. Not that it helped, cause I did not catch anything the first hour, but when I cought something (I was the last one to catch something), it was the largest fish so far (about 1,5 kg). At the end we went to a shallow spot with lots of fish, everyone was catching a lot of fish. It was really fun, I would threw the bait into the water, and got it out with a fish. I think I cought 3 fish within a minute 🙂 Then we went back to the house to prepare the fish. The guys who had been diving also came back. They caught some scallops (shellfish) and crabs from the bottom of the sea. Opening the shells of the scallops was a lot of work. We cooked the crabs and one of the guys thought me how to open them and get the meat out, which is really tasty. So I did that for some time, cause they caught some 5 crabs (and crabs have 8 legs that are edible). At the end of the evening we had a great dinner of all this seafood, and some drinks afterwards.

On Sunday 23 June I climbed up to the lighthouse on the island, and walked around a bit more. Then we cleaned the house and took the express catamaran back to Trondheim. The view was really good, sunny with lots of islands the boat sailed in between.

NorwayCabintrip Heinfjordstua

On 10 June 2002 from Trondheim, Norway | comments closed

On the morning of 8 June we left with 7 people by bike to the cabin. The weather was sunny and warm, so first we biked along the fjord before going uphill and inland. In the hills we stopped and hiked to a gorgeous waterfall, where we stayed for 1,5 hours to have lunch and relax. It was also the reason it took us 5,5 hours to get to the cabin. The cabin was on a lake and we went swimming to one of the island. The water was really great, just warm enough to swim, and really clear. Also the view was great, just hills and forest, nobody else to see. In the evening we made dinner on the campfire, with marshmellows afterwards of course. At night it was really hot and there were lots of mosquitos, so I (and everybody else) slept pretty bad.

On Sunday I went for a short wake-up swim before breakfast and we spend the rest of the day rowing, swimming and sunbathing. So I was really sunburned at the end of the day. At the end of the afternoon we biked back home, really nice, because it went along a number of lakes and mainly downhill.

NorwayCabintrip Holvassgamma

On 27 May 2002 from Trondheim, Norway | comments closed

My second cabintrip on 25 and 26 May was with Martijn and Christoph. We drove for 4 hours all along the fjord, really nice, so we only started to hike to the cabin at 17.00. We spent two hours climbing through a riverbed, jumping from rock to rock, really cool, but we only got about 4 kilometres further. Then we climbed onto a hill, and from there it was only downwards to the lake. We had to cross a river with a canoe (part of the equipment of the cabin), but it was completely full of water, so we had to get the water out first. After crossing the river we walked all along the lake, because we did not know where the cabin was, and we could not find it, so we walked back to where we arrived with the canoe and finally found the hut at 23.00. But it was still complete daylight until 24.00, so that was not a problem. We made sausages above the fire and marshmellows afterwards, they taste so good! On Sunday we slept late and hiked back to the car, but a different route that only took 3,5 hours. Then it was still 2 hours by car (with amazing views) and on the ferry back to Trondheim.

NorwayCabintrip Flåkoia

On 20 May 2002 from Trondheim, Norway | comments closed

My first cabintrip on 18 and 19 May was really awesome. I went there with 6 Germans, so I have been practicing my German quite a bit. After parking the cars on a hill, we still had to hike for an hour to get there. The cabin was on the shore of a lake, surrounded by hills and forest. It was so beautiful! So we did a lot of hiking, made a fire to cook, and drank the water from the lake. It was great. Unfortunately I had to leave a day earlier, because I had to finish some things for my work on Tuesday. So I hitch-hiked back to Trondheim, since it bus would only arrive in 45 minutes.

NorwayLofoten trip: Stamsund to Trondheim

On 14 May 2002 from Trondheim, Norway | comments closed

On Sunday 12 May we drove back to Svolvær along the coast, stopping to watch the great views along the way. We also made a stop at another small beach with white sand. The sun was shining, so we put off our shoes and got into the water with our feet to make photos. But the water was COLD! I estimate less than 5 degrees. But the photos should be really cool, it will be hard to believe I took them north of the Arctic Circle in the beginning of May… I took about 36 photos on the entire trip, which is quite a lot for so few days. We returned the car back in Svolvær, and got on the express boat back to Bodø. Again really great coastal scenery. In Bodø we checked into a hostel in the train station, and played another game.

On Monday morning we did some shopping in Bodø, and got on the train back to Trondheim. I slept a little bit, but mainly kept watching the view. Cristal clear lakes, snow topped mountains, waterfalls, cabins, forests, the scenery was really awesome. I always thought Canada was the most beautiful country, but after this trip I am sure that Norway is the most beautiful country, at least when you love the combination of forest on hills next to cristal clear lakes 🙂

NorwayLofoten trip: Å to Stamsund

On 12 May 2002 from Stamsund, Norway | comments closed

On Saturday 11 May we drove to Reine, the most scenic town of Norway, since it is between two fjords raising steeply up into the sky. We wanted to go hiking, but could not discover the trailhead, so instead we drove through a tunnel a couple of times. This one luckily did not leak, but on Friday we drove through a tunnel under the sea that was leaking everywhere. Luckily they were also repairing it, and because of that a truck was blocking one lane, but there were no traffic lights, and upcoming traffic was almost impossible to see in the dark tunnel. Luckily there was no upcoming traffic, so we managed to get through, but it was not worth the 8,50 euro toll with these conditions. The bridges also deserve some attention. Most bridges have only space for one car, and it is impossible to see other cars driving up the bridge from the other side (no traffic lights of course), because the slopes are so steep, so in the middle there is space to pass upcoming traffic that you can only see when you are in the middle. Pretty cool. The driving was actually one of the best parts of the trip, the roads are well maintained and the views are really awesome. In the afternoon we had lunch at a small lake and spent some more time on the white sandy beach at Ramberg. In the evening we checked into a rorbu in Stamsund. We tried to find a bar in the evening, but could not find one. However, we were walking around town at 0.30 and it was still dusk, so weird.

NorwayLofoten trip: Svolvær to Å

On 11 May 2002 from Å, Norway | comments closed

On Friday morning 10 May we called our car rental guy to bring the car to Svolvær because we just missed the bus to the suburb where he lived. He was completely crazy, turning into a parking lot right in front of a truck, and he had some crazy remarks. But the car was not expensive (less than half the price of other agencies), and although it was pretty small, old and out of fuel, it took us where we wanted to go. And the rental was pretty hassle-free, everyone could drive, we didn’t even need to show our passport or driver’s license. First we drove to Henningsvær, a small fishing village (like all places in Lofoten), and we stopped at a little sandy beach. We also tried to find a recovered viking ship in Borg, but the museum was closed and we couldn’t find the ship 🙁 Since it was already evening, we did some shopping, and drove to a large sandy beach, where we BBQ’d. BBQ on a white beach north of the Arctic Circle, I guess that is one of the more unusual holiday experiences 🙂

Since all the places on Lofoten are in fact fisherman’s villages, there are a lot of fisherman’s huts, or “rorbu” in Norwegian. These are completely of wood, near (sometimes over) the water, built on poles, and equiped with living room/kitchen, bathroom and sleeping rooms. So we checked into one in Ã… (the last letter of the Norwegian alphabet, it is also the place where the road literally ends, unless you want to drive off a cliff). Every evening we cooked together and played a boardgame: the Colonists of Catan, which is highly popular among students in The Netherlands at the moment.

NorwayLofoten trip: Trondheim to Svolvær

On 10 May 2002 from Svolvær, Norway | comments closed

On 8 May we took the train from Trondheim on Wednesday evening, and as usual I was completely overpacked. My new cool backpack of the university in Trondheim (NTNU) turned out to be a little bit smaller than expected, so I had to bring my Eastpak as well. Luckily my sleeping bag was really easy to attach to and detach from my new backpack, so that was quite convenient. We could sleep pretty well in the train, and arrived in Bodø¸ in the morning.

Thursday we walked a bit around town, but everything was closed for Ascension Day. So we decided to climb up a hill to have a nice view of the city. So we had a lunch with a view 🙂 Then we took the Hurtigruten coastal steamer to Svolvær on Lofoten. The Hurtigruten goes all the way from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the north of Norway, all the way along the coast with great views. It is the most scenic coastal trip in the world. In Svolvær we checked into a nice beach house to sleep.

NorwayOslo: Arrival in Norway

On 2 April 2002 from Trondheim, Norway | comments closed

On Saturday morning 30 March my dad brought me to Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport), from where I flew to Oslo, with a stopover in Copenhagen. In Oslo I checked in at the youth hostel and explored a bit of the city. There is a peninsula with a lot of summer houses (Bygdøy), and it gives a great view over the islands in the Oslo fjord. After dinner I walked in the harbour, before going back to the hostel.

On Sunday I visited a museum about the polarship Fram, the first ship that sailed around the North Pole. Then I went to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, and watched the view from the top. It is really high, and quite spectacular to see. Afterwards I went to the Vigeland Park, with about 200 statues showing people with all kinds of different emotions, a great place to stroll around. I went back to the hostel after walking around Akershus Fortress, and watched “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” in the hostel.

Monday morning I went to the Oslo train station by tram, and boarded a train to Trondheim. It took almost 7 hours to get there, and the trip was really great. The scenery was amazing: only mountains, covered with snow and forests. In Trondheim the pension where I planned to go was closed, so I went to the hostel instead, walked a bit around town, and watched “Star Wars: Episode I” in the hostel.