Snowy Spring(?) in Norway
Once again, we traded sand for snow, and headed north to one of the world's most pristine countries.
Seriously, just look at it 😮👇
A few short weeks here did a few things for me:
Confirmed that Scandinavia is one of my favorite parts of the world.
Landed Norway in my top three favorite countries... ever.
As most people do, we arrived to Norway via Oslo and stayed at Hotel Bondeheimen in the heart of the city.
Our lovely taxi driver from the airport kindly explained in his thick Norwegian accent (but with impeccable English, as true for all of Scandinavia) that bondeheimen means "farmer's house" in Norwegian, and that the hotel had a fitting history to this at its roots. I love these travel tidbits that only come from talking with the locals 🙃
Oslo had the typical modern and minimalistic feel to its architecture that is commonly known throughout Scandinavia.
We ate excellent salmon and open-faced sandwiches, strolled along the harbor lined with saunas, and cringed at the dozens of people launching themselves out of these saunas into the freezing (ice-covered) Norwegian Sea.
And then there was this guy 👇🤔
I'm usually not a huge city person when I travel. The cities are easy to transit through and often have some great tourist attractions, but after a couple of days... I'm good.
My favorite type of travel is seeing those lesser-known, off-the-beaten path places. Or even smaller cities that just aren't the capital. And this is exactly how I planned our next spot.
I had been eyeing this incredible, Instagram-worthy accommodation called the Aurora Borealis Observatory for several years now. It's famous for having legendary sightings of the auroras because of its remoteness. And remote it was.
Plus, you know it's a remote route when you board a flight out of Oslo's international airport, and you are two of just eight total passengers.
Our flight took us several hours north, above the Arctic Circle, to Bardufoss where the entire "airport" consisted of a desolate building no bigger than a standard garage. From there, we boarded the (only) bus that drove us another two hours north to the town of Finnsnes. Never heard of it? Neither had I!
From there, we were dropped off on the side of a very snowy road where I was told someone would (hopefully, probably) meet us and take us the rest of the way towards our accommodations.
Fortunately, we were picked up in a van and driven across the fjords to the remote island of Senja. It was quite the travel day.
To kill any anticipation... no, we didn't see the Northern Lights, once again. We've been above the Arctic Circle several times now during prime viewing months and have yet to see them! So it's still on my bucket list, and I guess another reason to come back to this part of the world 🤗
But still, it was incredibly peaceful, snowy, and just plain stunning.
After several days of peaceful, snowy bliss and snowshoeing around Senja's gorgeous landscapes, we boarded a ferry (our fourth mode of transportation on this trip) to cruise us through the fjords up to Tromsö.
I'd love to go back to Tromsö for its small-town feel, excellent restaurants, local hikes and viewpoints, and for the Nordic cross-country skiing... Norway's national sport. I'm not one for downhill, but I love a good XC skiing sesh. BUT, as is tradition, I caught a cold and didn't have the lungs to explore the ski trails. So, next time 🙃
Plus, Tromsö might be the prettiest town I've ever been to. These views are from our hotel, walking around town, and venturing up the cable car to get sky-high views of the surrounding mountains and fjords.
And perhaps Tromsö's most iconic landmark is the oh-so-sharp Arctic Cathedral.
We had an amazing week in Tromsö, and as part of our flight itinerary home, we had a quick two nights in... Iceland! Another one of our top five favorite countries (and one of my favorite places for photography).
So enjoy these photos of some cool rock formations, Iceland's famous black sand beach, and the abandoned wreckage of plane from 1973. Not pictured: insane wind.
Our next destination... was somewhere completely opposite of Europe. Stay tuned 😎