Pete turned 30 on Saturday, and after the amazing trip that he surprised me with to New York last year for my Birthday, I wanted to surprise him with a long weekend away too.
Neither of us had ever been to any of the Scandinavian countries, and we have often discussed wanting to see the fjords in Norway, and so Norway it was.
I booked it ages ago and managed to keep it a surprise until the week before. Whilst I was in South Africa I sent Pete a few letters each day and he had to unscramble them to work out where we were going. I eventually had to tell him that it was two cities and a country that he was guessing, as although it seemed obvious to me, it was actually quite difficult to guess the phrase:
Oslo to Bergen in Norway
We flew into Oslo at midday on the Friday and spent Friday afternoon wandering around the city and visiting the Viking Ship Museum. Friday afternoon was also where we realised how when people say Norway is expensive, they are not kidding! Oh my goodness, it makes London look cheap. We were shocked to realise that Pete's 400ml beer at the 'lower budget' cafe we went to for lunch cost £8.80!
On Saturday morning we were up early and caught the train from Oslo to Myrdal. The scenery was AMAZING. From what we saw of Norway its appears to be covered predominantly by trees, secondly by water, and then it has a few open spaces where people have built houses!
In Myrdal we changed trains to catch the Flam line to Flam. The train line from Myrdal to Flam is just over 20km long and start at 868m above sea level on Myrdal, and drops down to Flam which is at sea level. The scenery is incredible, and it's no wonder that this train trip is SO popular with tourists.
The train stops at a point for a viewing of this gigantic waterfall. As we all clambered onto the platform to take photo's, music began playing from the hilltops, and two women coordinated a dance on the mountainside. It was an incredibly surreal experience. Especially as the women were dressed identically, and only one appeared at a time, looking as though she had instantly (magically) moved to a different point on the mountainside.
The houses in Norway are almost all made form wood, and appear to all be painted white, maroon, blue or mustard.
In Flam, we got off of the train and then caught a two hour long ferry along a fjord to Balestrand, a very scenic fjord town.
How incredible are the views from the hotel that we stayed in in Balestrand!
On Saturday morning we went for a mountain walk in the forest in Balesrand. Despite Pete and I ridiculously forgetting to pack trainers or suitable wet weather gear for the weekend, we loved our walk!
On the Saturday afternoon, we caught the ferry for 4 hours to Norway's second largest city after Oslo, called Bergen. It rained for most of the 24 hours that we were there, but it wasn't that cold and we felt like the rain and mist added to the old and slightly mystical feel of the city.
We caught the Funicular to the top of the mountain behind Bergen on Saturday morning, and although the weather wasn't in our favour, the views of the city were still pretty impressive!
Norway is the home of the Trolls.
The fish market is one of the notable attractions of Bergen, but again the prices were exorbitant! And Whale being on the menu just didn't feel right to me so we didn't end up buying anything from the market.
Londoners, divide the above prices by 10 for the cost in pounds.
And South Africans, times the prices by 2, and that pretty much the cost in rands!
On the Monday evening we flew from Bergen back to an equally rainy London.
We loved our weekend in Norway, and it really is the most BEAUTIFUL country. The train and ferry route that we did is a very popular one for tourists and is actually known as "Norway in a Nutshell."
The Norweigans (who are almost ALL blonde) are very friendly and were very helpful where ever we went!
I would definitely recommend visiting there, even though it was a rather expensive weekend away...
I booked our hotels, train and ferry rides through Authentic Scandinavia, who planned our itinerary for us and I would really recommend them!
We flew there very cheaply on Norweigan air to and from Gatwick.
I would also recommend to any Norweigans reading this that your next holiday be to South Africa, it will feel like the cheapest destination EVER!