Norway in a Nutshell

Seen on the trail near Unni and Helge’s cabin. Directions for the Pilgrim’s Trail.

Seen on the trail near Unni and Helge’s cabin. Directions for the Pilgrim’s Trail.

We left Oslo in style with Mari and Einar, Mari at the wheel of her car. Mari spent her junior year of high school with my family in Dallas through AFS. She merged into our family and life as if she had always been there. I had not met her family until this trip, but we spent a week with them, first in her parents mountain cabin and then in her lovely home on the water. We hiked and ate and ate and hiked, as well as doing some great sightseeing. Unni and Helge took Paul and me to the mining town of Roros, a UNESCO World Heritage sight. In spite of the drizzly day, we had a great time visiting the Copper Works. They also treated us with champagne for the Fourth of July, after our hike complete with a snow flurry. With Mari and Lars, and of course baby Einar, we visited amazing ruins just a hike away from their home, castles and Sarpsborg, where Mari grew up. We spent our final day with them exploring the town of Sarpsborg, it’s outdoor museum, parks and colorful main street. We left vowing that we would be back or join them somewhere else next time.

After our time with Mari and her family, we headed west to the mountains and the fjords. We followed Rick Steves’ Norway in a Nutshell route as a guideline, taking the scenic train to Myrdal and then the Flamsbana train to Flam. The views are amazing, the train even stops to allow passengers to disembark and photograph the beautiful waterfall, where a performer danced on the ledge to lovely, haunting music. We spent one night in Flam, staying right on the fjord at the marina, in a room with a great view. The next day, following a boat tour of the Sonya Fjord, we headed to Balestrand. It is a charming, hilly city, with beautiful flowers and views.Again, we had a great room with a view. In Flam, we canoed in the fjord, visited the lovely English Church of St. Olof, and viewed two viking burial mounds. After a couple of nights, we took a ferry to Bergen, during which time we were battered by pouring rain, thus no views of this part of the fjord.

The final part of our Scandanavian adventure included stops in Stavanger and Kristiansand. In spite of the poor weather, we enjoyed visiting the Stavanger Cathedral and the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. My dad, a geologist for his entire career, would have really enjoyed the Petroleum Museum. Before the trip I did not realize that Norway is the world’s third top oil exporter. The museum documents the history of the exploration for crude in Norway via interactive exhibits, movies and recreations of the process of drilling, including a mobile rig. We enjoyed a couple of delicious dinners at Mogul, a great Indian find, and Kitchen and Table. After an overnight in Kristiansand, we took a ferry back to Denmark and a train to Aarhus, where we spent a couple of beautiful days. The Aros Art Museum houses a great permanent collection, as well as various temporary exhibits. The building is topped by a rainbow roof, that is a fun place to walk and take pictures. We ate at the Aarhus Street Food location near our hotel, twice. Yummy choices both times, shared tables, interesting conversations.

Finally, we headed back to Copenhagen where we enjoyed staying downtown this time. Then, off to Russia via Aeroflot! Enjoy pictures of the very end of Oslo, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Aarhus, and back to Copenhagen.

Looking forward to our cruise in Russia. Join us in Moscow for our next adventure.

Karen DeGraffenreidComment