Wandering in Norway – Norway in a Nutshell®

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Here is the second part of our Norwegian adventure! We’ll see you at the bottom of the page for the surprise!

When planning our trip, our top priority was the polar circle, but we still looked up information on what we had to see in the south of the country in winter. For different reasons, mostly timing and, let’s be honest, budget, we ruled out the Lofoten islands. We wanted to see fjords, of course, and looked for easy solutions that we could reach from Oslo, remembering that driving wasn’t an option that time of year (potentially closed roads, etc…). Train looked like the way to go, and that is how we stumbled upon Norway in a nutshell®!

Second stop : Norway in a nutshell®

What is it you ask? It is an absolutely gorgeous, preorganised tour, that enables you to see a maximum of things in minimum time, for a very reasonable price. It is a loop through unreal, diverse landscapes, splendid train rides, a short bus trip and, of course, a boat cruise! And, as a bonus, the Fjord Pass that gives you discounts in the Bergen area (activities, hotels, rentals…).

DAY 1 : OSLO – BERGEN

You leave from Oslo, and for that matter you return to Oslo (told you it was a loop!), early in the morning to enjoy as much of the Bergen Railway as you can. This train ride is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, and we can only agree! From snowy plains to steep valleys, going around frozen lakes along rivers and through pine forests… and let’s not forget the small Finse station at 1,222m of altitude! 6 hours on a train never went as fast! It is by the way a good reason to start with the train ride (the loop can be done the other way), because doing it on the way back would mean less daylight as the train leaves later in the day.

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We arrived in Bergen at 3pm, and the sun was already going down. We had booked a room in a traditional house with a painted facade. Located in the heart of an old residential neighborhood dominating the city and harbor, the place had great comments on Airbnb, and our host Mindor deserved them all! Welcoming, and very nice, he is the proud father or Petter and Bjarne, two beautiful bengal cats! Yet another great adress! One piece of advice, pack a light bag with only what you need for the night, and leave the rest in a locker in the trainstation, because the walk to that neighborhood uphill is pretty steep!

We only spent one afternoon and evening in Bergen, as Svalbard was waiting for us, however one more day would have been nice. Something you can do with the Norway in a nutshell® tour (you can do your loop over three days). But we were still able to make the most of our time there: we strolled in the city, watched city Christmas tree lights being switched on, saw a bit of the fireworks that went with the ceremony, ate the local delicacy, visited the harbor, and, last but not least, we took the Fløyen funicular to see the town from above. Cherry on the sundae, what was rain at the bottom turned to snow when we got to the top!

Where to eat in Bergen? We can only suggest you try eating at Pingvinen (The Penguin), a Norwegian pub with good beers, cider (that’s where we discovered Bulmers), and local bistro specialties. We went for pinnekjøtt, smoked and salted preserve lamb ribs. Delicious although maybe a bit too salty for some.

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DAY 2 : NÆRØYFJORD X FLÅM RAILWAY

The next day, we got back to the station early to get our luggage and catch our train. We then transited by bus through what looked like a perpetual post card. A waffle and hot chocolate later, we boarded on our boat for a three-hour cruise on the Nærøyfjordsurrounded by mountains… I’ll let pictures speak for themselves!

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Almost in shock after such a spectacle, we then waited for our next ride on the Flam Railway, which looks a lot like the Hogwarts Express inside and out. Bonus, a short stop at the bottom of the Kjosfossen waterfall…

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Last stop, Myrdal, where we got back on the Bergen Railway taking us back to Oslo for our last night south of the polar circle…

 

SAVE IT ON PINTEREST !

Feel free to pin the picture below, that I created specially for Pinterest… for you to find your way back to this article more easily!

 

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