The Nor”Way” of Life

A country where people in the south of it told us they have not traveled to the North of it because it was too expensive up north. This from the people who earned in the local currency!

A country where when we asked its people where is the one place in the world they would visit if they won the lottery and they answered like it was the most obvious thing- “We would stay in our country as there is obviously no country more beautiful than this”

This is Norway.

The lucky people who visited it and traveled it entirely from South to North, even though they won no lottery, was the 4 of us. Norway is not for your stomach, but only for your Eyes… But, nothing can do more good for your eyes than this  🙂 A country that makes man made luxuries seem ugly and unnecessary and makes you want to live with only the elements of Nature as company (especially the North) without changing it-The Nor”Way” of Life

In the peak of Winter (Feb 2016), we began our journey from the southern part of Norway in Bergen, traveled along the fiords to Oslo, flew up North crossing the Arctic circle to land on the remote and pristine Lofoten Islands, cruised in the Norwegian sea to reach Tromso and finally finished our journey at Oslo. From the most developed and elite life of Oslo (The city with the highest cost of living in the world) to the most remote and pristinely barren life of Lofoten Islands, this is an ode to Nor”Way”. The colors of the old city of Bergen (Bryggen), the fiord mirrors with water so clear that you don’t know which is the reality/reflection, the bridges of the North with the most unique design in the world, the turquoise beaches in Lofoten with snow capped mountains behind them, the fisherman’s cabins called Rorbu where we stayed and made our very own Egg curry and potatoes in the middle of Viking land, the brewery in Tromso and the icing on the cake- The dance of the Aurora in Lofoten & Tromso.

BERGEN

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Bryggen Bergen-The facade of historic harbour of Bergen with its beautiful cafes, street side music and antique stores

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A Ferry departing from the Bergen harbour; Captured from a top of a historic fort in Bryggen

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A “Normal” street in Bryggen- It hit me suddenly how relative the word “Normal” could be!
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Even the most standardized and commercialized McD stood with a dignity of tradition here… I guess when the American decides to adopt some tradition, it says a lot about the impact that city can have on you
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After our 10 km hike down from the top of Bergen, nothing could have held us back from the Burritos this place had advertised about (Of course they were discounted 🙂 )
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The only time we broke our vow of “Norway is for your eyes only and not for your stomach” was for the delicious and creamy Scandinavian Ice cream in the middle of the Arctic Winter

BERGEN to OSLO (Norway in a Nutshell- Train, Ferry, Bus & Train)

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The Fiord Mirrors- Hard to see which is real and which is a reflection
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Ah!…my lovely companions on this journey
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Britain did not even spare the proud Norwgians from their narcissim-Our Ferry for crossing the Fiords
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This is what we journeyed through for 5 hours

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The ferry dropped us off at this quaint and beautiful town of Flam where the harbour for the ferry and the train station share the same platform. Also, it so happened that the Flam railway was celebrating their 75th Anniversary on that day, so they were handing out red velvet cheese cake and Wine to every one at the station. The joy of “Free” and “Delicious” 🙂
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The town had 2 sides to it which was connected by a bridge. One side had the station & ferry terminal and the other side had the houses. So a native of Flam would say “Lets hop across to the station” and he would mean it .
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We had to take Flam railway (Flamsbana) from Flam to Oslo which went through gorgeous landscapes and even stopped in the middle at a waterfall (Frozen). Looks like, he took the “Light at the end of the tunnel” too seriously with his yellow jacket!

OSLO

Unfortunately we lost all the the photos Oslo except for these 2. I would have loved to showcase Oslo as a great example of a city where amaxing development co exists with nature with the most beautiful urban planning and public spaces. Made me jealous when I saw the locals doing their morning run taking the clean air and gorgeous surrounding for granted.

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Frozen Oslo
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The Vigeland Open sculpture museum in Oslo that can give Khajuraho a run for its money 🙂

LOFOTEN (68.1 degree N)

Next we took the flight from Oslo to Bodo and then a propeller plan from Bodo to Svolvaer which is the biggest island on the Lofoten archipelago @ 68.1 degree N Latitude. Lofoten was our favorite and deserves a separate blog on its own for the bountiful experiences it gave us. While I have captured a selective summary here, if you want a deeper orgasm, then you can read the blog dedicated only to Lofoten.

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The view from our propeller plan of the remote and pristine Lofoten islands. This was where we achieved our ritual of crossing the Arctic Circle

 

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Our neighborhood in Lofoten – Henninsvaer also called he Venice of the North (Although I never understood why they would want to compare this beauty to Venice)
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Our abode in Lofoten- A native scandinavian style Rorbu also called a Fisherman’s Cabin

cabin

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Eggum beach
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One more of those truly gloriously happy moments
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Happy in Hauklandstranda
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Did someone say Beach equals “Sun & Sand”? Of course you’re wrong… Its “Snow & Sand” 🙂
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The famous Scandinavian bridges which look gravity defying but are such a joy to the eyes and the Car
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The beautiful town of Reine named after the fjord which it exists by -Reinefjord

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“A” is the last island/town of Norway on its Northern tip, after which the Norwegian sea joins the Arctic ocean to the North. “A” is the last letter of the Norwegian alphabet and hence this town at the tip of Norway is named after it
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This is what the arctic does to man! Child like joy 🙂 I wish I could see this all the time

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A heated Football field which was the only non frozen land in the entire of Lofoten. We spent an entire night on this field waiting for the Aurora. Of course it was worth it 🙂
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Ah.. Cant have enough of the Aurora. Please check out the blog dedicated to the Aurora          A Night with the Arctic Princess

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TROMSO

How could we leave Scandinavia without sailing in the Norwegian sea in the signature scandinavian cruise?! We sailed further North from Lofoten to Tromso in the historic vessel of Trollfjord to reach the kindgom of Tromso at 69.7 degree North. What a kick it gave us!

The town of Tromso is divided by one more of the beautiful Sacndinavian bridges, connecting what can be defined crudely as the commercialized part of town from the residential part called Tromsladen. This bridge played a huge part of our fun in Tromso

On our first night in Tromso, as like all other nights of our trip we decided to go Aurora hunting by ourselves. Nicely drunk and warm, we set out looking for a dark place but on the way, was stopped by a car with 2 girls who offered us a lift to the party side of town. Now, funnily even though our destination was in fact int he opposite direction of where they were heading, my 3 male companions decided to not miss the chance. Result-They dropped us on the opposite of the bridge int he middle of the night and we were stuck with no transport. What did we do? Ran across the 3 km long bridge in the middle of the night with the winds howling at 80 km/hr at -10 degree and screaming with joy all through! That night is what I reach out to even today when I have a bad day at work 🙂

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The beautiful Chruch of Tromso at one end of the bridge signifying the start of the residential part of town (Tromsladen)
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Our  sacndinavian Cruise Liner
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Beer from the Earth’s Northern most Brewery, situated in Tromso

In my mind, the only fitting end to this Norwegian tale was to catch one last glimpse of the Aurora on our last night of the trip. There was no other way, we had to see it. We walked 10 kms to find a dark place away from the city with a map in hand, before we realized that it was graveyard and ran 1 more km ahead. We camped there for 5 hours before 2 of my companions decided to surrender to the cold and gave up hope. They said may be we were been too greedy as we had already seen enough, and they left for the night. I remained, stubbornly knowing that greed was not a bad thing in this case. My brother stayed back with me, supporting my conviction that even if it mean staying out till dawn we would do it, if it would give us the satisfaction of giving it our best shot.We were freezing but we remained in the open, not feeling our toes. The 5 hours became 7 and it was  2:30am when she suddenly  lit up the sky above our heads, as if in a private performance for us. We got all we wanted. We were happy and knew it was now time for us to say good bye to this country with complete satisfaction and genuine happiness. We walked back 10 kms not knowing how we managed it, reached our hostel by 4am, in time to wake up the other 2 and leave for the airport.

And that was our Nor”Way” of Life!

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To the Crazy ones 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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