There are some places in this world where photographs cannot do the landscape justice. Norway’s fairy tale fjords are one these places.
Carved out of mountains made for a giant's footstool, with waterfalls spilling tears from the Gods, it is no wonder so many spectacular legends were born in the fjords of Norway.
There is a certain stillness brought on by the presence of fjords. It is a silence much like a snow-blanketed morning or the last glimpse of light when the sun sets.
Norway was the part of my trip where I sat in silence with my thoughts and processed. I went days on end hardly speaking, just soaking up the place around me.
Traveling can be a chaotic process, filled with ups and downs, because of the unpredictability of an unfamiliar world. There in Norway it felt to me as if this chaos just stopped. Surely the chaos of everyday life continued, but far away, without touching me.
Norway is famous for its saltwater fjords, which are long, narrow inlets with steep sides or cliffs that were created by glaciers. The Sognefjorden is the longest fjord and the deepest fjord with clear blue water, cascading waterfalls and snow capped mountains on either side. After taking a boat along Norway’s western fjords to Flam in Aurlandsfjord, the famous Flam Railway wound through the mountains past lakes and waterfalls to Myrdal. The Flam Railway is one of the steepest standard gauge railways in the world.
Norway was by far the most expensive leg of my journey, so if you ever plan a trip to visit the fjords of Norway or the quaint city of Bergen, make sure you plan ahead.
In the summer, Norway’s nights are short and the days are long. Near the summer solstice (or Midtsommer in Norwegian) night lasts for less than an hour and the type of near darkness hardly qualifies as night time at all.
One of my favorite customs found all over Scandinavia was the practice of taking off your shoes when you enter a home, hostel or even sometimes cafes. Taking off your shoes is a sign of respect and a great way to keep the home clean, particularly because most of the year Norway is muddy, snowy and wet.
Bergen, Norway has a famous fish market that is open all year round called Fisketorget, which has been a meeting place for fishermen and merchants since the 1200s. During the summer the Fisketorget is located in the center of town down by the harbor. On a sunny day visitors can view the breathtaking seven mountains that surround Bergen. During the cold months the Fisketorget moves to an indoor market.
Bryggen in Bergen’s old fisherman’s wharf is on the UNESCO world heritage list. Bryggen is on the slope of one of Bergen’s seven mountains and faces the harbor. Bryggen is characterized by colorful wooden buildings and wooden streets.
The colorful houses and stores of Bryggen provide a bright contrast to the foggy mountains looming above. 62 of the original buildings remain standing today, as most of the original buildings from the 14th century have burned down.
Oslo, Norway’s capital is certainly worth a visit, but the day long visit I had their was long enough for me. Oslo is well known for its sculpture park called Vigeland and for its Viking Ship Museum.
Norway was the calmest and most serene leg of my journey. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Norway, its views and colorful cities are like no other.
Megan Holmen is the assistant news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @megan_holmen.