A few people have been asking me about what kinds of Scandinavian food we’ve been having so far, so I wanted to take a second to tell you all a bit about what we’ve been eating!
First up, Norwegian fish cakes or fiskeboller. Mostly made from spices, flour, and fish puréed in a blender, they look like pancakes but with a dense consistency, and are very tasty! Siv (Nathanael’s cousin) made them for us one night and they were delicious. We had them with Norwegian potato dumplings served with a sweet sauce.
My Top Five of Norway
I wanted to do a quick entry about five of my favourite things we saw/did that I would recommend to anyone visiting Norway! Check out the rest of Scandinavia too at Sweden, Finland, and Denmark!
Hiking in Frognerseteren, Oslo
Is that an owl back there?
The paths were a little rough in some areas, but the hike was beautiful. Cute little signs were posted at every intersection to let you know where the various cross-country skiing and hiking paths led. I could see these trails being fantastic on skis in the wintertime. Partway through our hike we were bombarded with golfball-sized snowflakes, making it seem even more like a mysterious winter wonderland!
Our next stop was Oslo. After having a chance to explore the smaller city of Bergen and the even smaller communities in Nordfjord, we were eager to see what the Norwegian capital was like. The morning we left Isane was hectic; we were worried about whether our 8:30 bus would wait for the 8:15 ferry we were taking. Fortunately, the bus was waiting for us (as Anne Britt and Roar assured us it would) and off we went. The bus ride was long (about 10 hours) but beautiful, with snowy hillsides and pretty houses. At the lunch stop we even got to run down the street and snap a couple pictures of the local stave church and surrounding area.
What a whirlwind the past week has been, it’s hard to believe that just over a week ago we were jumping on a plane for Norway. We’ve been up to a lot since leaving Bergen, so this may get a little crazy.
Hiking in Bergen
At long last the countdown is done and the time has finally come to disembark. Our plane left from Vancouver at 1:30 in the afternoon on October 23rd, through Seattle and then Iceland, arriving at last in Bergen, Norway around noon on the 24th. The night was short as we sped forward through time zones across North America and the Atlantic Ocean. Getting any sleep was difficult, even after popping Gravol pills that were supposed to make us drowsy; no matter what sleeping position I took I couldn’t get an hours rest in that cramped little seat.
We’ve signed away to the Help Exchange website, opening the way to a colourful list of organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats looking for volunteer helpers to stay with them in exchange for room and board. In my mind it’s a pretty good deal, a damn good deal… yes I am a thrifty man, and the idea of not having to spend money on food and accommodation appeals to me, but of course there’s a whole lot more to this work exchange thing that I am looking forward too. You’ve got to take a look at some of these places! Here are a couple examples of HelpX spots we’re looking to volunteer on in Norway:
We have officially booked our tickets to Europe! Departing from Vancouver, Canada for Bergen, Norway! We’re very excited, and we even managed to save a bit of money off of the airline’s posted price after some scouring through travel sites. We will be flying with Icelandair from Vancouver through the United States and Iceland before arriving in Bergen. We have a layover at each stop (Seattle and Reykjavik) but both are reasonably short and will probably be very welcome breaks from sitting in a cramped seat for so long.
We have also thought out a very rough plan for what we would like to do in Norway. We are hoping to volunteer on two farms for about one to two weeks each, one near Bergen and the other near Oslo. Depending on snow and public transportation, we are hoping to do some hiking in the fjords since the pictures look unbelievably beautiful, but after a few emails back and forth between parks staff it looks like it may or may not be feasible. After we are finished exploring around Bergen, we are thinking about taking the Bergen to Oslo train since a number of websites and guide books have raved about it being one of the best train rides in the world. We would also like to possibly stop in a few towns a long the train route to see some of Norway’s interior. Finally, in Oslo we will hopefully explore the city and some of the coastal communities nearby before taking the ferry to Denmark.
We haven’t contacted the farms we are hoping to volunteer with, but we have more or less picked out which ones we are really interested in. Hopefully all goes well and they will be looking for some eager helping hands!
A glance at the scenery in the fjords.
Bergen to Oslo train.