Norway

The warm country of the cold North.

Do you love nature? Do colors make you happy? The color green to specify. Have you really seen green? Do you like seafood? Are you a photographer? Do you like camping? Are fascinated by waterfalls? Are you interested in the exotic places called fjords? Are you one of those people who want to see the northern lights before they die? How about the sun which never sets? Would you like to set a foot in the northernmost part of Europe? Do you need to experience a bit of inner peace and tranquility? Wondering how high the high welfare level can be?

If the majority of your answers to these questions were “yes“, it is time for you to urgently go to Norway, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We asked these questions before Mete, our son was born, and decided to go to this fairytale country. Those days, even when we mentioned its name we got way too excited, wow Norway. So, it was decided! We would be going there one day.

Then the time to actually go there arrived. As always sharing our tasks was never difficult, Ozlem would be preparing the suitcases which is the hardest job (!), and I would be doing everything else!

Norway, when you hear the word, cold weather and the north usually comes to one’s mind for some reason. That is not unusual of course, as it is located on the side of the northern poles. Although it seems small, when you dive in details you’ll find that it is not that small.

We chose the month of July, which has the most amount of sunlight (sunset at 23.00 at night) and the weather would be relatively warm. From our research, we immediately found out that Norway would be very different from the places we had seen before. Visiting Norway wass not going to be so similar to visiting other countries.

The cities shouldn’t be perceived as ‘not to visit places’ because of the wonderful beauty of nature, what awaits you is a nature trip you have never ever been to before. Since Norway is home to breathtaking taking nature, the best way to tour this country was to rent a car. And that is exactly what we did. Good thing we rented a car because, believe me, every kilometer of the country is beautiful enough to talk about for hours. You can park your car anywhere you want and enjoy the scenery or the green.

So, since a trip in nature was waiting for us, we decided to go with the rules of the game and preferred camps to be our accommodation. In fact, Norway is one of the most beautiful places for camping in all over the world.

If this many people prefer this accommodation type, then there must be a good reason behind it. Seeing campers with motorcycles and caravans more than cars, we understood that we made the right choice. We took some of our camping supplies from our country and the rest from Norway.

Unlike the first idea that comes to mind, we started our Norway trip by entering from Sweden, which we had previously visited. Since they are like two halves of an apple, there is no border or procedure between them. The greatest difference between the two countries is the natural wonders that change in just one moment. More mountainous, more rocky places are in Norway, and the other side is Sweden, this is the sum up. We drove smoothly from Ostersund, a city in Sweden to Norway with our rental car.

Thanks to changing landforms and increasing waterfalls, we recognized that we were on the right way to Norway and thus we kept moving further. And then we saw Norway… We were truly fascinated by the nature of Sweden but then we reached the borders of Norway! And it was like we opened the National Geographic channel and we were wandering in it!

Our first stop was the city of Trondheim. Our plan was to start from Trondheim and proceed further in the south, leaving the north of the country for another time. Trondheim welcomed us in the middle of July with a foggy, and 12-13 degree weather.

It is worth mentioning that in order to avoid excessive vehicle traffic in the cities, the roads that lead to the cities and many roads within the cities (especially the city centers) have fees. The cameras on the road detect your license plate and automatically reflect the price. You don’t need to do anything, you pay when you return your car, that’s all. So, no need spoil your mood, you already know that you came to one of the most expensive countries in the world, and that’s just the start.

So here we were, in Trondheim. We parked our car in an appropriate place with the parking voucher that we got using our credit card from the parking vending machine and we started discovering the city. One of the places that we wanted to see the most wass the houses on the banks of the Nidelva River and the Old Town Bridge, which is the best place to watch them. Colorful houses welcome you with their dazzling beauty even in bad weather. The Scandinavians really know how to use colors..

Next was Nidaros Cathedral which is considered as the most magnificent cathedral in Scandinavia. The most valuable tourist attraction of this city, which we reached with a short walk, deserves more praise than it gets. Even before you see the inside of it, the magnificence outside has a magical atmosphere. We gave up on going to island of Munkholmen due to the cold and windy weather but it is one of the places visitors definitely should check out.

Traveling around was so much fun but we got hungry so we stopped at a Burger king and we happıly dived in. When you pay 4 times less for the same products (2 hamburgers and drinks only) in our country, we couldn’t really enjoy much of what we had eaten and once again we understood that we were in Norway. ’Oh how cheap Sweden was! Says Ozlem.

It was almost 11pm but due to the long days, it was still bright outside, so we visited the old town for a while and took a lot photos until we reached the camping area where we would stay for the night. Ozlem was quite excited and anxious as well to experience staying in a tent for the first time. Quickly, we set up our tent and got inside our sleeping bags. Özlem, who does not feel comfortable in any way, was finally with all my efforts, convinced that she was in one of the safest countries in the world and fell deeply asleep.

After a great night’s sleep, we headed south on the fairytale Norwegian roads. Our destination was Geiranger Fjords. We had about 350 km to drive, but we always seemed to be unable to meet the planned time. Because we stopped several times along the way astonished by the beauty, and we were constantly delayed because of these Norwegian people because instead of destroying nature and making wide roads they have chosen to build narrow ones(!). Well, we were happy anyway and it wasn’t even getting dark.

You better not underestimate the Geiranger Fjords that we were trying to reach. Because many people (including me) call it “one of the world’s best views” and “one of the best travel routes in the world” and was accepted as one of the “World Heritage Sites”. You can already copy the name and  paste it in Google search and look at the photos that come up yourself, I kind of hear you say “Oh yes I know this place,”. It deserves a visit to this country just for this place.

As we approached Geiranger, the magnificent fjords began to show themselves immediately. If you don’t know what a fjord is, we can say that it is the steep slope shaped by iced-rivers over time.

In the middle of July, the legendary roads that we came across leading to the fjords, which still had several meters of snow, finally led us to this wonderland. We arrived at Flydalsjuvetnok, got out of the car and immeditely got fascinated by the wonderful view and just got lost watching around. At that moment it felt as if the world had stopped or we had lost our minds.

Both Özlem and I stood astonished and lived the moment without talking for minutes. Slowly we started coming back to reality because of a huge tourist bus passing behind us. Such a beautiful place, of course won’t be only for us! Tens of people flocked to this wonderland with cars, buses and huge cruise ships.

We said to ourselves “let’s go to the camping area before the tourist to get a nice spot”, so we jumped into our car and started moving. We went to our camping area which was located in the most beautiful placein town. We set up our tent and sat on our chairs and continued our peaceful session from where we left off. After a while, we jumped in our car for Ornesvingen viewpoint and this time we went there to see Geiranger from a different angle. Like a diamond, no matter from which side you look at it, it always glows with the same beauty.

Our eyes widened with the beauty of the  landscapes, we got back to our tent and fell in a deep sleep filled with oxygen. The next day, our first activity was to participate in the ferry trip, which is definitely a must-do activity here. An incredible journey along the fjords, where countless waterfalls accompany you.

It was surely difficult to leave this wonderland but the beauties on the road instantly turned our sorrows into joy. Our new route was FLAM, another fairytale town. Of course, we remembered to stop by the famous Borgund, the church made out of wood. Just before we arrived in Flam, we decided to see it from the top first, so we went to Stegastein viewpoint. We do love looking down from the tops, and these Norwegians have made such beautiful panoramic spots, as if especially for us! We took a full look at Flam and the Aurland fjords which, we would be arriving in a short time, and continued our way.

Flam, this is a tiny place that has found its self a place in the middle of the fjords. Although it’s a small town, it is quite famous for harboring large cruise ships. We parked our car in a convinient spot and hurried to catch the most important activity to be done in Flam, which is a ride on a historic train.

This panoramic trip takes about 45 minutes. With just a 10-minute break, you get the chance to see the wonderful Kjosfossen waterfall. This train ride is getting more and more popular, so make sure to make a reservation in advance.

After our ride, we had lunch in a cute café near the harbor, and then we wandered around in town in the silence of nature.

Next, we reached another fairytale village, Undredal after a short drive. One cannot help but ask themselves, “Why wasn’t I born here?” So beautiful, so calm that Ozlem and I both stayed still and stared at nature again and again.

It was hard to leave, but we left Undredal and arrived at Stalheim Hotel with a short drive. And no, we wouldn’t be staying there, we were just going to enjoy the unique view of the hotel. I can guarantee you that you wouldn’t want to leave those white benches!

After another wonderful night’s sleep drowned in oxygen, we started another magnificent Norway day. We were going to Bergen, Norway’s second largest city. Another fairy-tale land we were way too excited to see. Along the road, unique views accompanied us until we reached this place. This could not be a city! If this is a city, then what are the places that we have lived in so far?

We rewarded ourselves in Bergen and preferred to stayed in a hotel. The first thin to do there was to get to the Bryggen area by first settling in the hotel and passing through the famous fish market. Because the sun was about to set, and we didn’t want to miss the picture of the wonderful sunset here.

We could finally take our picture and go back to the fish market that we just passed.  The happiness of eating the most delicious salmon, crab and lobster I’ve ever eaten was indescribable ? FIY, you can try whale and shark meat here too, but you won’t lose much if you don’t.

The next day we took the Funicular to the Mount Floyen to see Bergen from the top. Even when we were on sea level, the city looked magnificent and now the view from the top was really fascinating. For the ones who say that I should go higher, this is not high enough for me, taking the cable car up to the Ulriken Mountain might then be just for you! We did not, so It’s up to you to try. 🙂

The Bryggen area was obviously not enough for us, we both kept wanting to go there again and again.  Of course, we did not go against our inner voice so we just went and watched these triangular roofed old fishermen’s houses, which looked like they were thrown out of the rainbow.  We spent the rest of our time visiting the city’s parks enjoying its calmness and serenity deep inside us, keeping all of it there as much as we could  on our way back to our hotel.

We were waving at Bergen.  We stayed in the city for too long (2 days :)) we should return to nature immediately.  Again, once you hit the roads, you’ll come across spectacular views.  As a result of all natural formations in Norway, very unique rocks have formed. Three of them were on our route.  But that didn’t mean we got to go to all of them.  Unfortunately, our time allowed us to go to only one of them.  So, we preferred the easiest one (shortest in time) for transportation.

The place we were trying to get to was Preikestolen rock. An extraordinary fjord, 604 meters above the ground, unbelievable! As if it was made with a ruler.  When we got there, we were going to walk to the top in an hour and a half walk. We parked our car and headed in the direction of the crowd.

Our back-up t-shirts, water and snacks were all packed in our backpacks. Don’t ever go walking without them, all this beauty can turn into a nightmare for you. When we reached the summit, the landscape we witnessed was very, very different from what we have seen so far.  There’s no other place like this!  Extraordinary! Our favorite being the photo in which Özlem’s feet were stretched down from the rock, we had a series of great photos. We went back to our car having enjoyed our time upon the rock immensely.

Kjeragbolten and Trolltunga were the rocks that we couldn’t visit but they are a must-see. Sooner or later you will be seen, I am telling you, rocks! 🙂

Artık ayrılış günümüze yaklaştığımızdan Oslo’ya doğru devam ediyoruz. Son günümüzü bu muhteşem ülkenin, harika başkentinde geçiriyor ve aracımızı teslim ederek, rüyadan uyanmak için dönüş uçağımıza biniyoruz.

Now that we were approaching our last day, we set off for Oslo.  We spent our last day in the wonderful capital of this amazing country. When we returned our rented car and getting on our way back for our return flight, we started to wake up from the dream.

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