What I love about Norway

I’ve just been back from a business trip to Norway.

In 5 days, I took 6 flights (Amsterdam-Oslo, Oslo-Bergen, Florø-Bergen, Bergen-Trondheim, Trondheim-Oslo, Oslo-Amsterdam), a 5-hour ferry ride, stayed in 4 hotels and sit for 6 hoursin the car to attend to several appointments in different towns and cities in Western Norway. In the first two days, I hardly slept. But I am not complaining, not at all. This time, Norway showed me another part of her that was quite different from the Hansa buildings in Bergen and the snow in Geilo.

A few things I love about this trip:

Ferry ride Måløy 
This not so poster-perfect 4-hour trip from Bergen to Måløy on board a passenger ferry called MV Frøya gave me a tour of Western Norway’s beautiful and rugged coastline that leads all the way to the Atlantic Sea. Not your usual fjord sight-seeing but definitely not less enjoyable. During the trip I was able to finish Bergen in a nutshell, eat Lefsa and see the off-the-beaten but equally enchanting towns of Måløy and Florø.

While the ferry was passing the fjords, I had a déjà vu. The feeling of being on that boat and seeing that view was so familiar. Then I realized that the view from the boat approaching my home island is exactly the same, only that mountains here are higher and it was gloomy and dark.

Scenic drive to Trondheim
The view from our car from Trondheim to Hitra and back was absolutely gorgeous. It was raining the whole time and only sporadic dry periods allowed me to take photos but it did not make the scenery less beautiful. On the contrary, the imposing mountains and vast water channels of Norway looked cleaner and fresher. The greneery is almost unbelievable. I’ve lived too long in the Lowlands that this had been such a rarity for me.

Rainbows over Hitra
Because it rained a lot, it allowed the appearance of rainbows. I’ve seen four rainbows in Hitra alone, more than I would see in a year in the Netherlands. How a rainbow makes someone happy needs no explanation. I was smiling all the time.

Crisp, fresh air, clear springs and river, vast lakes, powerful waterfalls, towering rocks and mountains – I’ve almost forgotten how they look like. Netherlands is so flat that I barely looked up to admire any “mountain”. In Norway, I nearly had a stiff neck looking up to the mountains swollen with pine trees, with clouds or fog hovering above it and waterfalls rushing down the rocky sides. Views like these are taken for granted until you move to another country with no mountains and realize how you miss it.

Free tap water in restaurants
When I found out that tap water is served free in the restaurants, I’d order a pitcher every time we ate out. Seriously, don’t laugh. In the Netherlands,you don’t get free water in restaurants and a bottle of water is not cheap. I think it was a wise choice of the Norwegian government to tax alcohol very high and just provide free water. You’d be discouraged to drink alcohol and instead hydrate yourself properly with water.

Fresh fish and game
I’ve had wolf fish, wild sheep, reindeer, bacalao (cod) and lots of fish cream soup. No allergies and no tough game meat. I was a happy foodie in Norway.

The rain
It took me five years of living in the Netherlands to make my peace with the rain. In Norway, I’ve finally come to love the rain, not just accept it. I felt cleaner and fresher in my morning runs when it is drizzling. I didn’t mind the downpours because I came prepared with an umbrella and proper clothing. And that trip to Bergen allowed me to finally purchase a quality, fashionable rain pants. Next time, I’ll come for that yellow rain coat. We Dutch people could really learn a lot from the Norwegians on how to be fashionable in the rain.

Norway, I’d come back soon.