Norway (July 2016)

Rainy Sunday and mandatory meeting on Monday

12.07.16 – Currently at the airport, time: 2h30 pm

where: Stavanger, Norway

I am currently waiting to board my flight back to Paris, France. I would’ve loved to stay longer, and I know my parents would love it even more than I would, but I have other things to do, places to see and things to write about and photograph.

Saturday was – by far – the highlight of my trip to Norway. We were blessed with beautiful weather and I truly enjoyed myself. Sunday, however, was grey, rainy and we weren’t really motivated to do anything. So we stayed in, cooked a vegetarian meal for dinner, and went to the cinema in the evening. Yesterday I had a mandatory meeting to attend, which lasted a bit longer than expected, so I didn’t get to do much in the afternoon. I went to get coffee with my mother, at one of the many great coffee shops in Stavanger (Café Diem) and visited my favorite neighborhood, Fargegata (translated: color-street) just to look around and enjoy how fun and colorful everything is there. I wish every city had at least one bright-colored rainbow street like this!

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Happiness is…

09.07.16 – No, wait. 10th. My bad, it’s past midnight again.

where: Tungenes Fyr & Mosterøy – Rogaland county, Norway

Today was a wonderful day. It started with a large healthy breakfast and a smile. I knew we were gonna spend the complete day outdoors, just the three of us. Me, my mother and my stepfather. One of the things I love the most about my country is the nature. The simplicity. How easy it is to find beauty in even the littlest things. Don’t get me wrong, I love man-made parks and recreational areas, but there’s something rather magical about the rough, untouched nature.

Early afternoon, we went for a walk in the area of Tungenes Fyr (Randaberg municipality, Rogaland county) which is a historical lighthouse that has been converted into a museum. The wind in my hair felt great. The sound of the waves crashing on the rocks, the seagulls, everything was perfect. You can take the girl away from the coast, but you can never take the coast away from her heart.

After the trip to Tungenes Fyr, we went to sit down and relax with a cup of coffee in a nice little café in Randaberg city center. While we were there, we made a grocery list for the barbecue picnic we were planning to have later.

We decided to barbecue in Mosterøy, a small island in Rennesøy municipality. Close to this island, there’s Klosterøy; famous for Utstein Abbey, the best-preserved medieval monastery in Norway.

The weather was perfect and I couldn’t resist dipping my toes in the water. A bit cold at first, but it sure felt nice. It feels good to be home in Norway.

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Mom & I – From one train to another

08.07.16 – Actually, it’s past midnight so it’s the 9th.

where: Oslo (NO), Karlstad (SE), Sandefjord (NO), Kristiansand (NO)

Last week I went on a trip from Oslo (Norway) to Karlstad (Sweden), then back to Norway to a city called Sandefjord, then Kristiansand, and finally ended the journey in Stavanger – my hometown, this evening. All by train. I traveled with no other than my mother. The little Polish blonde whose idea of a great vacation is to go shopping, drink wine and go shopping again. Yikes.We had a great time, though!

In Oslo, everything went pretty much as planned. We took a stroll down the Karl Johan street (the main street), visited Aker Brygge (the port) and went to Peppes Pizza to share one of their delicious pizzas without feeling guilty – after all, it’s vacation. I made plans to meet up with one of my close friends in Oslo. Someone I hadn’t seen since about a year ago. We went out for a glass of wine at restaurant/bar Politikern (a mediocre restaurant, but quite enjoyable place to hang out for drinks). I didn’t want my mother to feel abandoned, so we left Politikern to have drinks with her at the hotel bar (Scandic Byporten hotel). That pretty much sums up our time in Oslo.

The next day, we went on a 2 hour train journey to Karlstad, Sweden. A green and peaceful city, famous for its great lake Vänern (second largest lake in Europe, after Russia) and many canals. The first day in Karlstad was spent exploring the city and its malls….because my mother wanted to go shopping. We were both tired as we had spent too much time hanging out with my friend in the bar in Oslo the night before, and not enough time sleeping, so we decided to go to bed early. The next day was spent walking around town, checking out the different parks, enjoying a picnic in one of those parks, relaxing in the hotel jacuzzi and dining in the hotel dinner buffet. Day three; we rented bicycles from the market square (for free!) to ride around  for a little while before getting ready for something awesome: moose safari! I had never seen moose in the wild before. Yes, I’m Norwegian. No, I’m not kidding. I had never seen moose before, even though there’s plenty of them in my own country. Anyway..We were a small tour group. Me, my mother, a German couple and the host/guide/hunter/farmer/nice Swedish guy. His name is Bengt. Bengt picked us up outside of the Tourist Information with his Jeep, which was the vehicle used to scout for moose and other wild animals in the forest. He showed us his hunting cabin, offered us sandwiches and homemade cake (his daughter made it for us!) and took us to a gorgeous spot by the lake, where we could hang out and drink coffee and enjoy the beautiful view. As for photographing moose, I couldn’t get a single decent photo of them, as they seemed rather nervous and were gone in the blink of an eye. Bengt seemed kind of disappointed. He told us how they would usually come closer and not run away just like that. Honestly, I was still satisfied with the event. My mother was too. Day four, the last day in Karlstad, was spent enjoying another picnic in the park before a one and a half hour sightseeing boat-trip around Karlstad (Karlstadbuss – Karlstad from the water). It was wonderful!

We made our return to Norway. There’s no direct train from Karlstad to Sandefjord, so we had to make a change in Oslo (where we spent one hour hanging out in a coffee shop at the central train station). Sandefjord was smaller than I’d expected, but it was absolutely lovely. We got there kind of late, and didn’t really have enough time to do much. And it started raining heavily as well. We stayed at another Clarion hotel (Clarion Collection Hotel Atlantic), dined at their buffet, then left the hotel to have a drink by the harbor…while “enjoying” the rainy evening. The next day we had coffee and pastries in a lovely café called Vintage Café. Their furniture was all painted in different bright colors, they had cushions hanging from the ceiling as fun decoration, and  birdhouses were painted pink and glued to the wall. I loved it.

One hour later, it was time to say goodbye to Sandefjord. And we had only just said hello… It was time to go to Kristiansand. Train change in Drammen. Five hours later, we were there. Exhausted. Hungry. So hungry. I was so hungry and tired I started hallucinating. I asked my mother “Are we staying there tonight, at Hotel Odin?” and pointed at a building. She was confused. “What the hell are you talking about? there’s no hotel there”. I looked again. Yeah, Hotel Odin. And then a second time. The sign that said Hotel Odin, changed into Husfliden (a shop that sells traditional Norwegian costumes) and now I was the confused one. My immediate reaction was to start laughing out loud like a crazy person. And then my mother started laughing too. And we laughed all the way to the hotel. The real one. After checking in and dropping off the luggage, we pretty much ran to the restaurant she wanted to take me to. A vegetarian/vegan restaurant called Tilstede Mat og Mer (Presence Food and More). I had an amazing vegan curry for dinner and a raw banana cake for dessert. Absolutely delicious. I wish I could have stayed longer and tried everything on the menu!

The next day, today, we left Kristiansand to take the train back to Stavanger, my  hometown. And here I am.

Photos from OSLO

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Photos from KARLSTAD (one is of my mother)

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Photos from SANDEFJORD

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2 thoughts on “Norway (July 2016)

  1. Seemed like a nice trip! Your Oslo pictures reminded me of this summer where I visited your awesome country! I have to go back to visit much more places in Norway. Had no idea the train to Sweden was such a short ride 🙂

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