In Norway, the hiking is free, but you should bring every bottom dollar for the rest of your time here.
I found an article that stated Norway as the second most expensive country in Europe, Switzerland being first. This came as no surprise to me as I have had to reorganize my budget a countless amount of times. How do the Norwegians live this life? Well they have higher salaries, of course. Makes sense. Makes it more reasonable when you’re making big bucks that the cheapest bottle of wine to be found Anywhere is $20. There is no such thing as “Two Buck Chuck” in Norway.
However ordinary these high costs may seem to the Norwegians, they are able to recognize that the same things come with smaller price tags. All they have to do is hop on over to Denmark.
Last weekend I found myself with an offer I couldn’t refuse..a trip to Copenhagen to explore more of Scandinavia. We were going via DFDS Seaways on a mini cruise from Oslo to Copenhagen. Two nights on the boat, six hours in Copenhagen, and chance to see the Norwegians outside of their natural habitat. I was so in.
To me, it felt like most of the mini cruise passengers were in my parents’ age group…and did they know how to party! Leaving the Duty Free with bags filled as if they would never see a Duty Free shop again. From the time we left Oslo to when we docked back in Norway, the festivities were ongoing. I don’t know about them..but I was tired. This American girl could not keep up with the Norwegians…not even the older ones. I guess I’m ok with that…I guess I have to be.
When we got to Copenhagen, it was a quick stop for breakfast, coffee, and a chance to plan our route to maximize our sight seeing in the 6 hours we had. I think we walked a minimum of 10 miles and saw so much. The city hall, where we got to celebrate many couples getting married, the Tivoli Gardens, Vor Freslers Kirke, this magical place called Hotel Chocolat, Stroget, Nyhavn, Christiania, The Little Mermaid statue and Amalienborg….just to name a few.
It was far too short of a trip to really get a feel for Copenhagen. I definitely want to go back..but what I noticed: It is far more flat that the cities I’ve been to in Norway. There are a lot of bikes….everywhere. Bikes to Copenhagen is broken umbrellas to Bergen. Buildings in Copenhagen are far more grand than those in cities of Norway. A lot more gold, a lot more detail, a lot more impressive.
After we docked back in Oslo, I took the bus to Bergen. The day was perfect for this. The sun was out and my eyes got to experience 11 hours of greatness. The first 8 hours were filled with the gorgeous Norwegian autumn. So much untouched nature clothed in the perfect colors of fall. Sigh. So good. The last three hours my eyes got to focus on the perfection that is the inside of my eyelids.
This bus trip, while long, was good for me. I sat next to this nice young mom who told me about some of the places that we passed through including a town called Seljord. Within this town is a lake, Seljordsvatnet, and within this lake lives a sea monster much like Nessie. It’s name? Selma. I love how they pick such intimidating names for these “monsters.”
The bus trip was also interesting in that it wasn’t so direct…I had to switch buses. I am so thankful for the woman I was sitting next to, because without her, I would have found myself somewhere else at midnight last Sunday. It was a little crazy for me to think about. I was alone, in the middle of nowhere Norway (try saying that 10x fast), with a bus driver that didn’t speak English, little to no cell service, and was wondering who I would call in the case I did get lost. As my mom would tell me, I would just have to figure it out. Luckily, nothing happened, and I found myself back at my dorm, walking up the 6 flights of stairs due to the broken elevator. Finally home.