København. Adventures to, from, and in.


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.


Yes, I had the urge to sing “I’m on a boat” every time we went on deck.

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.


Oslo from the Boat

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.


City Hall on the right.


The Little Mermaid

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.


Oslo in the Summertime.

Last weekend I traveled to Norway’s capital, Oslo. It is Norway’s largest city, and I have to say, it was nice to be in a “city city” again. What do I mean by this? Right now I live in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, and it is just…so…pretty. It’s extremely clean and the buildings all look so old and European and decorative. It’s quaint, and dare I say, cute. It’s not what comes to mind when I think City. Oslo was a bit dirtier, had grey buildings, and more of a subway system.  *Sigh* It almost felt like home. Still, Oslo is by no means a Big City, at least compared to Chicago. According to Wikipedia, Chicagoland contains an estimated 9.5 million people, with about 2.7 million actually living in the city. The entirety of Norway has a population of about 5 million, roughly 600,000 of it being in Oslo….just to give some perspective.


Oslo’s Skyline


Chicago’s Skyline

I took the train to Oslo from Bergen early on Friday morning with a fellow intern at my work. The trip is about the same distance between Chicago and St. Louis and it was 7.5 hours of beautiful scenery: lakes, fjords, mountains, valleys. Basically, all of the nature to behold was seen on this journey. In comparison to the “gorgeous” nothing and cornfields that is southern Illinois, this long trip to Oslo was much more enjoyable.


It was interesting to find out that there exists a sort of rivalry between Bergen and Oslo. Whenever I tell people in Bergen that I went to Oslo, they immediately get a scowl and say, “We don’t like Oslo.” When we were in Oslo and said we were living in Bergen, it was sort of the same…almost. I’ve heard it said that when you’re from Bergen, you’re not from Norway, you’re from Bergen, just Bergen. So much attitude. It reminds me of south side vs. north side, Sox vs. Cubs rivalry, or West Coast Best Coast kind of stuff. Not sure why, but I guess I thought people in Norway were just peaceful and all friends. Hometown pride is a thing everywhere. Duly noted.

First stop off the train was the hostel where we were staying for the weekend. The people I hung out with during this trip were surprised to find out that I had never stayed in a hostel before. I didn’t think that we even had hostels in the United States, but the girl from Minnesota staying in the same room informed me that we did (P.S. it took me 5 weeks, but I finally met a fellow American! She’s from St. Cloud and I, of course, immediately made a How I Met Your Mother reference…I think she gets that a lot). I came to the conclusion that we have a lot more options for cheap hotels, so that’s that.

The weekend activities were arranged by an IAESTE member in Oslo and the first night’s itinerary was a barbecue in Sofienparken. We grilled an amazing salmon dinner and played a game of Kubb. Kubb is a little hard to explain…it’s a game from the Viking times where you throw pieces of wood at other pieces of wood and try to knock them down. You can’t hit the “King” in the middle until you’ve knocked over all of the other pieces of wood on the side opposite to where you’re standing. Maybe instead of a vicious throwdown that is described in the poem Beowulf, Grendel and the great hero just played a quality game of Kubb for the mead hall, Heorot…maybe not.1085056_10200967989555514_1142393682_o

Saturday’s activities:

Holmenkollen – ski jump.

Frognerparken – the largest park in Oslo that has a record amount of naked people statues.

Oslo Ice Bar – self explanatory.

To end the day, an evening on an island in Oslofjorden, Hovedoya. Sometimes things seem like they’re not really happening. Like, how are people from China, Romania, the United States, Austria, Poland, Norway, Italy and Switzerland all hanging out on an island in a fjord in Oslo, having a barbecue and bonding over music and delicious food? So cool. I’ve learned so much…especially about what others think of the United States…for example, why we gotta be in everyone’s business? (I’m really bad at fielding political/foreign policy questions). Why do we need guns? (There’s a lot to say about this one, but not here). Also, a Norwegian was surprised when I didn’t say “like” every other word…’cause like, I’m, like an American girl, like, so I, like, must, like, talk like this, like like like.

Conclusion: I really liked Oslo and wish I had extra time to get more of a feel for the city.