“I dag syklet jeg på et fjell”
Seven days in Norway, and I’ve managed to “master” one sentence. Although most Norwegians don’t exactly know what I’m saying, I think I’m doing great. I say “tusen takk” instead of “thank you” and I am starting to understand the sounds of “å” and “ø”(Knut disagrees). However, I have no idea what “æ” is. To say the least, I’m not quite blending in.
Despite my failure to actually become Norwegian in seven days (I know…so disappointing), I’ve definitely succeeded in experiencing some incredible parts of this beautiful country. I’m sorry for not posting more often, but the combination of adventure and a lack of wifi resulted in a difficulty in accessing the blog. However, I promise this post will be filled with photos and exciting descriptions of my first European experience.
To begin, Norway is absolutely beautiful
I have never been anywhere else that is so full of nature’s brilliance. From snowy mountain peaks to bright blue waters to endless green forests, every scene looks like a postcard fairytale.
Now, onto my trip. I began the first day by meeting Knut’s “Mamma” for the second time (the first was during his exchange year in 2013). Together, we had lunch at his house in Tranby and then set out for Oslo that night (no worries I got that shower I was so desperate for).
Oslo is the first European city I have been to, and I’m sure it’s one of the best. I might be biased, considering my Norwegian boyfriend comes from 40 minutes outside of Oslo, but my first night was spectacular (as was the second time we visited 4 days later).
As we walked by the Slottet (castle), I was delighted to see that I could easily approach the doors with no problem. The Norwegians are clearly a very trusting people, which makes all visitors feel very safe.
During the two times I visited Oslo, we were able to dine on the water because the Oslofjord* stretches into the center of Oslo. Being in such a clean, beautiful city and sitting alongside the blue water made my time in Oslo absolutely perfect.
*fjord: part of the ocean that reaches into the mainland
Despite the excitement of Oslo, the majority of my time in Norway was spent in various cabins* doing different outdoors adventures. The first included our night at Knut’s mountain cabin in Ustaoset.
*cabins: It’s quite common for Norwegian families to own cabins in all different parts of Norway. Knut’s family has one in Ustaoset and one in Lofoten (far in the north).
The next morning, we took the train to Myrdal and continued to bike 21 kilometers down a 1000m mountain into the town of Flåm. It was quite amazing. From waterfalls to goats to stunning landscapes, our bike ride was nothing short of extraordinary.
Once in Flåm, we returned our bikes and boarded a HUGE boat for a 2 hour ride around Nærøyfjorden (the Nærøy fjord).
As you can see, breathtaking.
Finally, we grabbed pizza at a local café and headed to our hostel for a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, my 19th birthday, we hiked for 30 minutes on what Knut calls “a small hill” and what I would call a mountain.
Then, we boarded the Flåmline – one of the world’s most scenic trains. The ride included stops at several beautiful locations, culminating at the site of an unbelievable waterfall (which I don’t know the name or size of, I’m sorry!!).
Finally, after the Flåmline, we boarded a second train to Ustaoset and traveled back to Tranby by car. Back in Tranby, Knut’s Mamma cooked us a fabulous dinner and we went to sleep worn out from our adventure.
The next day involved venturing into Oslo again, and then hosting a typical Norwegian barbecue that night with about 20 of Knut’s friends. Since drinking is legal over the age of 18, this barbecue was complimented by the classic European beer and wine. Meeting Knut’s high school friends turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip, for I came more to see his world than to see Norway itself. Norway thoroughly impressed me, but the people were unbelievably kind and despite their initial uneasiness with speaking English, they included me in conversation throughout the entire night.
Our last adventure included visiting Knut’s older sister and brother-in-law, Sigrid and Øyvind, at their cabin in Grimsøy. Upon our arrival, the four of us quickly hopped on their boat and went to a quaint cottage/café on the water for lunch. Later, Knut wind surfed with Øyvind while Sigrid got the chance to practice her English by talking with me. Spending some time with Knut’s family was just as great as meeting his friends, for I got to see another part of his life.
We spent the night in Grimsøy and the next day took the boat over to the waterside town of Strömstad, Sweden for a quick afternoon of browsing store windows and eating ice cream. After the casual boat trip to Sweden, Knut and I headed home.
And here we are! One last day in Norway. It’s unbelievable that my week here is just about over, but I know it couldn’t have been any better. I experienced so many parts of Norway, as well as so many aspects of Knut’s “hjemme” (home). I’m sad to say goodbye to Norway, but I know I’ll be back.
Tusen takk, Norge for the best week of my life.
P.S. That Norwegian sentence up there? It means “Today, I biked on a mountain.” Very relevant. Very important. The only sentence I’ll ever need to know in Norwegian…