Monday, 8 April 2013

norway at easter

For the last few years I have had an awesome time at Easter, and this year was no exception!

New money again! Norwegan Krone

This year Jess and I decided we wanted to go away for the weekend, and so began The Great Easter Hunt, where we looked at a million different places to go, weighed up flights from London and Edinburgh and what we could cram into the weekend wherever we went. Somehow Norway came out on top, I think mostly due to the cheap flights...before we realised it was the most expensive place we could have considered!

 I got used to seeing random lumps of snow on the street

I arrived in Oslo a night before Jess due to flight times. I hunted down a map and made my way to Anker Hostel where I crashed for the night.

Empty waterfront area on Friday morning

On Friday I woke up early and headed out by 9am. I wasn't really sure where I was going but just planned to wander until Jess got there around lunchtime. Turns out it was just me and the homeless on the streets for the next couple of hours. In Norway things apparently open late, and being Good Friday meant not a lot opened to begin with! I managed to find a coffee shop with a seat inside in the sun and parked myself there for awhile. The only other people out - apart from the homeless - were those heading out skiing for the day. They walked through the streets in their full on snow gear!

Scone and Tea...not so Norwegian!

From the Fortress looking out over the Harbour

Buildings in Oslo

Jess arrived at lunch and we headed on the ferry over to Museum Island (Bydgoy). We went to the Viking Ship Museum which was very small but it was fascinating to see these ships that had been recovered from ship graves over a thousand years ago. We also went to the cafe at the Open Air Museum...which we thought we couldn't find and realised later we had been to! Whoops.

Viking Ship

Ruins of a viking burial ship

Burial Chamber found on the Viking ship

Another of the burial ships

One of the intricate sleighs found on a viking burial ship

Carving on the ship

Ice around Museum Island

Unfortunately the ice here was too thin to walk on

I did venture out on a pier though!
Boats frozen in the harbour

That night we had a delicious fancy dinner on the waterfront. One good thing in Norway is that they let you linger in restaurants for hours!

Sun setting over the Oslo Waterfront

Cod with salad and Norwegian beer

Delicious chocolate slice

Saturday we went on a successful mission to the Vigeland Sculpture Park (Vigelandsparken).

We never had a problem with language in Norway as every time you would say a word of English the person you were talking to would switch immediately to English, and their English was so good they used colloquial phrases that I would as well without a second thought. So asking directions and getting tickets was pretty easy!

Standing on an old pile of snow...super slippery!

Would not like to try those stairs...

Central part of the park


Viking hat!

At lunchtime we headed back to the train station and boarded our train to go to Bergen. The Bergen Railway trip is rated as one of the best in the world and it didn't disappoint. It was amazing seeing people out using the frozen river to walk, ski and fish on. There were also houses in the middle of nowhere that people would either have only used in the summer or would have to cross country ski to get to. Most didn't even look as though they had power. I was also amazed at how often the rain stopped in random settlements where people obviously just went to ski and this train would have been the only way to get there. It would be interesting to do the trip in the summer and see the difference!

Water completely frozen across

Jess on the train

There are people you cant really see out on the ice

Random houses along the way

Beautiful views

Another random house. I love the yellow ones!

Houses in the middle of no where up in the mountains

People at one off the train stops who had been cross country skiing

More nice views

More houses in the middle of nowhere

Less snow as we got closer to Bergen

I fell in love with Bergen from the moment we left the train station. We  walked through a cobbled "market" area in our search for the hostel and the shops and lights in the setting sun were beautiful to see. After some trouble finding the Bergen YMCA Hostel (future reference, look on both sides of the street not just one...) we quickly dropped off our things and went out to explore the waterfront. After some soup for dinner we turned in early to be ready for a full day exploring.

Near our hostel (which we couldn't find forever...)

View of the waterfront from the top of the hostel

Bergen Waterfront

We dropped our bags at the handy railway station lockers ready for our overnight train later, and had a coffee and our new addiction, cinnamon rolls, for breakfast at an artsy little cafe there. I dubbed it the old man cafe because when we left it was just full of cute old men by themselves reading the paper!

I love the colours they paint their buildings

Cute area we had walked through the night before

Little shops and restaurants in the market area

Jess at the cafe at Bergen Railway Station we had breakfast at

Addictive cinnamon rolls and coffee

More of the city

Graffiti around Bergen

More graffiti in the market area

Jess in Bergen

More trash can graffiti

Jess walking around Bergen

Bergen has a cable car up to a viewpoint on Floyen Mountain, called the Funicular, that we decided to take and it reminded me so much of Wellington. We explored a bit up there before walking back down the hill to the city. We stumbled across an old military area which was really interesting and also looked around the Bryggen area a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is old wooden store houses that have been redone as cafes, restaurants and small stores.

On the cable car

Viewing area at the top

Jess and the view

Bergen Harbour

Me and one of the trolls that are all around

Slippery path we walked along to a lake...I totally fell over

Frozen lake

Walking down towards town

Random sign we dont understand!

Houses around Bergen

Delicious addictive chocolate...

Fortress and old church area

Church ruins

Bunker from World War Two

Bryggen area

Alleys between the stores

View from across the water of Bryggen area

I had a fish soup at a small fish market for lunch which was HUGE and amazing. It had big chunks of delicious fish and prawns in it and a couple of mussels too.

Fish soup!

Lake with thin layer of ice. Didn't stop the birds landing on it!

Shopping area of Bergen

After that the sun had disappeared for awhile so we jumped on a tram just to go for a ride and see a bit of the city from the local perspective while keeping warm!

We had specially planned to eat a Norwegian meal that night and went to a restaurant called Pingvinen (Penguin in Norwegian). It had an awesome atmosphere that was kind of retro (my favourite!) and we had delicious Scandinavian cider which tasted like lollies. Dinner was meatballs with lichen berries which were sour but delicious.

Delicious Scandinavian cider

Restaurant interior

Our table

Norwegian dinner of meatballs

Our overnight train back was a new experience for Jess and it was my first time on an overnight train with our own little room. At one point I woke up in the night with sore ears from the altitude but it was otherwise a good journey. We arrived back in Oslo at 6.30am...and ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast of course!

Our little room

My bed on the top bunk

Jess in her bed

The Opera House was built not very long ago and is meant to represent a glacier sliding into the Fjord. You can walk all over the roof so we went over and checked it out before Jess took the bus back to the airport.

Harbour in Oslo with the sun coming up

Opera House with the sun coming up

Harbour with thin layer of ice on it

View over the harbour

Walking down the side of the Opera House

Ice on the harbour

Jess in front of the Opera House

I then settled in for another day of exploring by myself! I had saved doing a cruise of Oslo Fjord to give me something to do and it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. The cruise only started running that weekend so I was lucky. For much of it we were travelling through a thin layer of ice on top of the sea and it was amazing to see how the ice flexed and rolled but didn't always break from the boat travelling through. The boat travelled around a lot of the islands in the Oslo Fjord with good commentary and interesting facts provided by our guide. Apparently during the winter sometimes ice breaking ships have to go out on the Fjord to break the ice for the big ferry that travels to Denmark and other boats as it completely freezes over with thick ice. We weren't able to travel on a section the cruise would normally go through due to the ice being too thick for the boat.

Dont know what this is but it has my name on it!

Thin layer of ice as the boat went out

You can see the path through the ice the boat is making

One of the islands in Oslo Fjord, and water travelling over the ice.

Old little changing sheds around one if the islands

Oslo Fjord

Looking back through the path of ice towards the thicker ice

I wondered around the Palace before finding a restaurant that served "Reindeer Burger". I hadn't planned to eat out that day to save money but had  to try it of course!

Palace in the middle of Oslo city

Guard at the Palace

Park around the Palace

Reindeer Burger for lunch!

After that it was time to head to the bus to go to the airport and come back to Edinburgh. An awesome weekend away!



  1. will hopefully make a trip to Norway one day now, after reading this. Love the photos and Bergen looks and sounds like a really nice place to visit :) Those cinnamon buns and the coffee look delicious too, would love to try them. Must have needed very warm clothes and polyprops at that time.

  2. It surprisingly didn't seem colder than here because we were so lucky with the weather. Sunny the whole time except for one afternoon where it was a bit chillier. Didn't even wear my polyprops in the end!