We were prepared for Norway to be expensive and had upped our usual budget when we planned this thing more than 18 months ago. However, we were not expecting quite the level of outrageous we arrived to find in Oslo—$10 sushi rolls, $20 burgers, $10 coffee. No wonder everyone was driving Teslas and Mercedes! Anyway we got used to astronomical prices, made the supermarket our friend and got on with touristing.
As has become somewhat of a custom, we joined a (lacklustre) walking tour around Oslo covering all the major sights like the iceberg shaped opera house, Stalin-esque city hall, royal palace and fort. After that, our time in Oslo passed by in a bit of a cold blur. We did manage to squeeze in a trip to the resistance museum (all about Norwegian resistance to Nazi occupation), botanical gardens and Viking ship museum (a lovely place with three beautiful 7th century Viking boats) and a wander through the hipster neighbourhood of Grunerlokka for the Sunday market.
Pining for the fjords, we jumped on a seven hour train to Bergen. We had expected to be leaving in the morning but a Norwegian train strike and some amazingly poor customer service found us scrambling for tickets last minute on a later train. In the end we were just happy to be able to go! The train ride itself was amazing, passing through small towns, fjords, mountains, hills and even a bit of snow along the way. Worth the hassle in itself.
Bergen is a very old, quaint city set on the harbour of a fjord—islands and water dotted all around. We spent our first day soaking in the old school-ness in Bryggen harbour where the 14th century wooden houses still stand. We wound our way up the hills, passed loads of old homes and a disused fire station; enjoyed the well equipped public spaces and took in the lovely view over everything in the city.
Our second day in Bergen involved significant expenditure of energy thanks to a walk up 722 rock stairs to a lovely view over Bergen and the fjords. At the top we stopped for a snack and some photos, and then continued trekking to a pretty lake with perfectly still water on the flat top of the mountain. From there we walked another hour or so to the Floyen funicular (so many funicular rides this year!) for a lazy journey back down the hill to Bergen city.
Given we’d won some money back following the train strike debacle, we decided to get fancy and splash out on a fjord cruise for our last day in Norway. We boarded a big glass-covered boat for a three hour jaunt to Mostaumen fjord, passing loads of incredible scenery along the way and stopping for a tasting of the fresh mountain water. Afterward, Adam sampled a local delicacy in the shape of a reindeer burger (santa will be displeased). That evening we were extremely lucky to see our old friend the aurora borealis again, this time glowing over the Bergen harbour. It was a fitting end to our stay in a very picturesque city.