While central Europe suffered a one in a century heatwave, we celebrated our big wedding up in the mountains. There the weather was stunning and the temperature simply perfect at 20°C.
After a wedding there comes a honeymoon. And where to go with a toddler? Not to far but somewhere exciting. We chose Norway.
It all started with a slight hickup. Six days before departure our flight to Oslo got canceled. Shock! Horror! I spend thirty minutes in the loop of the helpline and alas, at least the returned flight could be saved. The new flights, though, cost more than double. What a bummer. But what can you do to save an adventure.
Against all worries Tilly didn’t bother flying at all. That makes us confident for future trips abroad. The flights did not go perfectly smooth, though. We expected that our stroller would be handed to us during our stop-over. But it was checked in all the way to Oslo. Not knowing that, this misunderstanding cost us an hour of our lunch-break, waiting in vain for that stroller. Next time we know and check.
My first impression of Oslo was that this city makes driving a challenge, parking in tiny garages a nightmare and the pedestrians are fearless. More than once I had to brake rather strongly. We knew that our day in Oslo would be one of the sunniest of our entire vacation. So we used it walking all over the city ticking off all the major sights. The opera house, the harbor and the Fram museum. The last one was particularly interesting. The museums was build around the original ship that was used to travel first to the south pole. And huge screens all around simulated the ship being on the see, in a terrible storm and between icebergs mind you. Wow!
The next day we drove for the first time in our rental car. From Oslo to Kristiansand. A mere three hours drive turned into a five hour drive. Tilly made us stop more than once. Who can blame here. Sitting in that tiny baby chair for such a long time is torturous. Not to speak of here appetite. But overall we were pleasantly surprised how good it wend.
If we had reached Kristiansand a bit earlier the big park right next door to our hotel would have been a blast. But our late arrival hindered us of exploring it. So we made the best of our short stay and ate a delicious dinner and tried to swim in the outdoor pool. That did not happen though. It was too cold. But hey, there were more pools to come.
Next was Stavanger. On our way to there we made a quick stop in Sogndalstrand. That is a small town on the coast that is famous for its wooden houses along the small river. It is very picturesque. And we got to see Salmon jumping out of the water. Something we had not seen in our life before. That alone made the little detour worth it.
We also quickly stopped at a small historic world war two site. The history was not as interesting as our efforts to survive the cold, heavy wind and and rain. Tillys stroller moved alone pushed by the wind, we had to hold on to our hats, and in the end we returned soaked and dirty to the car. We laughed at our unpreparedness and moved on.
Stavanger was not all impressive. But the next day we made our first ferry ride. I never used a ferry with a car before. So a little anxious we drove up to the spot. But the process turned out to be a breeze. Norway sure knows how to make their ferries as easy to use as humanly possible.
In Bergen we made a longer stop to recuperate. The hill right next to the city, Mount Floyen, provided us with the opportunity to walk in the sun and get a small sunburn. In case you do not want to walk up, alternatively there is a cable car. It is one of the «attractions» of Bergen. Well, in a country where there are not many cable cars, that might be. For us it was a rather common experience. We enjoyed waiting for the queue to become shorter in a small cafe right next to it and ate on of many, many cinnamon buns.
Also from Bergen we made our biggest hike of the whole honeymoon. Because we could not visit the famous Pulpit Rock we opted for a smaller version instead named «Slottet». It means castle in Notwegen and also overlooks a fjord. It is rather off the beaten track. Only a small side-spot along the road and a tiny sign show you the start. The hike up was cool. Sophia carried our yellow backpack with food and more necessities for us and Tilly. And I carried Tilly in the Manduka. Up up and up we went through lush green and on a muddy path. To our surprise we were not the only hikers on the rock. But soon we had it all for ourselves. Of course the stop was desperately needed to change Tillys nappies and give her lunch.
The walk down was easier, if we had not lost our way at the beginning. We soon realized that we had missed the right junction and had to back up a little before heading straight down on the muddy path again. And walking down ist always harder than walking up. But the prospect of another delicious dinner with desserts kept us going.
Driving and driving through the wilderness of Norway, we often diverted from the motorway to cruise on ocean roads and over mountain passes instead. Often that did not take much longer but giftet us with some spectacular views. Despite all those warning signs along the roads we did not get to encounter a Moose.
Forde was only a one night pit-stop. The tiny motor-in was not the most luxurious. But we meet some interesting guests and the breakfast was out of this world. Those small chit chats are what makes traveling memorable.
Alesund was the second last stop on our road-trip. The hotel was probably the best of the whole holiday. Big room, huge breakfast buffet and a reception hall with the tallest chimène that I have ever seen.
Because it was our engagement anniversary we booked an hour in the spa with two hot water bathtubes looking straight on to the harbor. Tilly joyned us quickly and we splashed in the water together. And that evening we sat at a reserved table in the hotels own restaurant. We knew that it was a bit more fancy than usual. That was the idea. It was an anniversary after all. But it turned out to be a very high society, exquisite, fancy restaurant. The waiter explained us the origin of every wine and the composition and every intricate detail of our meals. And we sat there, taking turns to entertain Tilly, letting our meals go cold and leave our wine untouched. We skipped our intention to ask for some warm milk to prepare and give Tilly here dinner. It was an embarrassment. But in hindsight it is a funny story.
Then the longest drive of our honeymoon was due. Six hours long would the journey to Trondheim be. At least so told us our digital map. But nevertheless we had to face this long tedious task.
This time we came prepared. We stocked up with food in order so we did not need to find a cafe or a petrol stations to eat. We made more stops. We used the last two ferry rides to stretch our legs and relax our tired eyes. And I, feeling the wight of heavy eyelids, took a nap on a bench just to be safe. In the end it was not bad and the drive did not feel that long.
Trondheim was our last stop before boarding our boat to the north. It is a pleasant city. But with few sights. Sophia and I alternated in looking after Tilly so that each got some own-time to explore. Sophia went shopping; with reasonable results. And I said goodbye to our car. Together we delved into the selection of cool restaurants along the harbor. Savory meals and tasty beer was our reward of having come this far.
And now it was time to finally tick off one life-goal on the bucked list. Gliding on a Hurtigruten ship to the arctic. We found ourselves on the ship Vesteralen, the tiniest and oldest ship of the fleet. In two nights time we would be further north than we had ever been. It was an exciting moment for Sophia when we crossed over the arctic circle. I, on the other hand, slept through it.
Much of our time we walked up and down the deck gazing at the ocean and the fjords passing us buy. We did pass through some fjords on the way. The Trollfjord was particularly impressive. It was in the middle of the night. But despite the late hour it was not pitch dark. Rather the whole scenery of the steep mountains left and right looked eerily in the cold glow of the barely settled sun. This will be something to remember.
The short stops along the way only gave us two opportunities to venture out of the ship. Once in Ornes and once in Bodo. In Ornes we used a short guides walk along the arctic coast to dip Tillys feet into the ocean for the first time. Her feed quickly retracted upwards once her toes touched the icy cold water. Who can blame here.
Most of the time the water was calm because we went along the coast. But twice we traversed the open sea and the boat started to rock. Back and forth, left to right. We did not get seasick. And neither was Tilly. But I cannot say that my stomach was all too happy about it. We pulled through safe and sound and could eat a hearty dinner anyways. Barely that is.
Everything comes to an end. Two nights after we had boarded the Hurtigruten ship it was time to leave. Tromso is considered to be the gateway to the arctic part of Norway. And it shows. Max temperature was 13°C. And that felt even colder when the wind blew and it drizzled. No wonder that there are many shops selling outdoor equipment and especially rain proof clothing of every kind and size.
The weather forecast showed only one sunny day. The day we arrived. So we threw our luggage into our hotel room and off we went to the hill right next to the city. A short cable car ride to the top and we could look over entire Tromso. The ocean surrounding the island city with the snow covered mountains as a backdrop was beautifully to behold. Having spend so much time confined on a ship we decided to walk back down. It took us longer than expected because in certain places it was very steep. But to our joy we met many friendly locals for a quick chat. On was carrying his mountain bike up the hill. What the..? He smiled and said «Sometimes I ride the bike. Sometimes the bike rides me.». Now that is serious exercise.
On our last days we visited the iceberg church, the local souvenir shops and the northern most brewery Mack. Later we enjoyed their beer of the year 2021. A banana milkshake beer. It tastes better than one would expect.
Sadly, every honeymoon comes to an end. We said goodbye to Norway, the arctic and the nice cold temperatures to fly back to hot Switzerland. But we said to ourselves. This will not be the last time in norther Norway. We will come back in one of the coming winters and seek the northern lights.
If you want to see more pictures, head over to the gallery.
Or watch the video!