Around the queen of fjords- Geirangerfjord, Norway

Fjord country Norway was on my travel list for a long time but turned into reality when I could convince a few friends to take a road trip through this breathtakingly beautiful country. I feel that the real beauty of Norway can be experienced during a road trip when nature beckons to stop at every step to soak in the different hues of green, clear blue skies and crystal clear water in the fjords and lakes. We drove down from Bergen to Geirangerfjord (UNESCO World Heritage Site) stopping umpteen times on the way before we reached the small village of Geiranger at the end of the fjord.Geirangerfjord Norway

This is also a popular camping ground next to the fjord. We reached late evening when the sun was nearly down but the faded evening lights lingered on until 10pm at night though it was nearing end of August.Geirangerfjord Norway

The morning light streamed into our fjord facing room in Hotel Grande Fjord the next day. I peeped out to get a whiff of cool and fresh air and was greeted by rays of sunlight which had set the top of Akerneset Range aflame.Geirangerfjord Norway

Soon the Hurtigruten ferry made an appearance at the bend of the fjord and slowly floated towards the edge. Geirangerfjord NorwayWe walked around the fjord, exploring views from different corners, infact the aerial view from a point that we reach after a short trek upwards, was the best ever. There is yet another point at the edge of a cliff which was a popular photo point for brave tourists to take a picture on the ledge. Fortunately or unfortunately, it is now encased with iron railings and I had to remain content standing against it and reserve my daredevilry for another date.

A trip to the fjords is incomplete without experiencing its flow through the deep gorges. Though not a great swimmer, I finally took the plunge to sit in a canoe to float around the fjord to get a close and personal experience. The 90 minute ride around the fjord accompanied by stillness and silence occasionally interspersed by the ripples from another canoe, an odd helicopter air dropping material on the mountain tops or the flapping wings of the birds brought me out of my reverie. I could relive the memoirs of Roald Dahl and his escapades around the fjords. As we turned into the bend, the 2 waterfalls – “7 sisters” and “Suitor” cascaded down in all their glory. The Suitor was indeed wooing the youthful 7 sisters and he had a tough choice at hand :). As we drifted towards the Suitor, it was not hard to imagine the handiwork of nature as the glacial erosion took place over millions of years to create this U shaped fjord or narrow inlet. I sprinkled a palm full of cold water on my face, as I looked up to the sky to thank my heavenly benefactor for this experience. 

Travel Tip:
  • Fly into Oslo or Bergen. Though the closest airport is Alesund, it is not an international destination.Ideally rent a car to drive around or take the Ferry (Hurtigruten)that goes all the way up to the Northern Tip beyond Tromso.
  • During Summer months of 15th June to 31st August, there are bus services from Oslo and Bergen over the Trollstigen Mountain Road.
  • Take a train to Andalsnes and then avail bus service during summer months
  • There are quite a few hotels around though Grande Fjord has some of the best views and awesome food.
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Fishy Times in Bergen, Norway

While planning my trip to Norway, I was quite intrigued reading up on the Bergen Fish Market but was considering giving it a miss since I have seen enough of those in India. It so turned out that the hotel we were booked into was close to the harbour, a stone’s throw away from the Fish Market. With a tad bit reluctance, I made my way and what transpired over the next two hours is anybody’s guess. We did a quick recce of the place before settling down in a corner sampling the taste of Torget (Bergen Fish Market).

My friend soon shed all her doubts and indulged into the fresh aroma of the mildly spiced salmon, smoked chewy whale and the juicy succulent lobster as they made their way onto our plate one after the other. The cool breeze across the harbour and the warm sun shine on our back just added to the taste !!

Bergen is the central point for a trip around the fjords – Sognefjord, Geirangerfjord and Hardangerfjord. If you are in Bergen, make sure to visit the fish market for a meal if not all :). The market is open from 8 am in the morning until 7 pm in the evening on all days.

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Postcards from Bodo in Norway

The train journey from Trondheim to Bodo was a treat for the eyes, passing through shades of greens and blues until we crossed the Arctic Circle when shades of brown took over. Walking towards the hotel from the train station, I was surprised by Coiffeur boards in every street and sometimes a few in a row. I was left wondering if people in Bodo were blessed with some special DNA where they had lot of mane to manage and style.

Soon, we were near the harbor and at the first glance I wanted to set sail. Walking around, the streets and alleys, it did not appear that this city was nearly destroyed during World War II in 1940 and has been rebuilt since. The familiar PwC logo in the street corner building reminded me of my alma mater in whose India office I began my work life years ago.Bodo Harbour

The main attraction of the place is “Salstraumen” or the maelstrom where the world’s largest tidal currents occur, throwing up different varieties of fish within the whirlpool. We waited on the banks for a while and all that we got to see was a mild version of the maelstrom and an odd angler trying his luck for the catch of the day.Bodo Salstraummen

Then off we went towards Kjerringoy Trading Post but due to heavy rains, took a detour towards the coast, soaking in the warm sun, blue sky and even bluer Atlantic. The creator seems to have overturned his blue palette while creating to this place. Negotiating through the rocks and moss, we managed to find a large boulder to spend the rest of the afternoon and give the Arctic Circle Museum located 70 kms away a miss.Bodo Atlantic

Bodo Atlantic Sea

I was taking the last walk around the harbour with 32 NOK in hand, I noticed a few people gathered around a boat. On closer look, I realised that he was selling prawns. For a moment I was wondering whether to take the plunge but was not sure if I had enough coins with me. I stretched out my palm with the coins and he served me with a smile. I got a tray full for 25 NOK served in a small sheet of paper. Bodo Prawn Seller

Sometimes, actions and expressions convey more than words and I parked myself on the closest bench devouring them. Lightly boiled and mildly salted, with a pinch of paprika like spice, my cup of joy brimmeth over. These are moments when I am most generous with everything but prawns. My friend Arundhati got a taste of it  and resorted to clicking pictures unable to keep pace with the fervent de-shelling.Bodo Prawn

We landed there sometime in August, a tad bit too late for the Midnight Sun and a little too early for Aurora Borealis. Wandering around for a day in Bodo was enough to experience the warm hospitality of the locals. We were particularly touched, when a lady walked over with two toddlers in tow to help us with directions when we were poring over a map trying to figure out our way. I have to be back to this beautiful country to experience nature’s largesse and get my fill of prawns !!

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Picture Perfect Alesund (Norway)

We were on a road trip through Norway, stopping by at nearly every bend to admire the breathtaking natural beauty. After living on Geirangerfjord for a few days we were headed up north beyond the Arctic Circle to Bodo. We stopped by at Alesund, a shipping town, off the Norwegian Sea and it appeared to be a leaf from a painters handbook. We took a short climb up Mt Aksla to get a bird’s eye view of the city and to say the truth, if I were a bird I would only hover above Alesund. This may not be the city that one would specifically head to, but more of a convenient stop-over while exploring the beautiful fjords (Geiranger, Hjorund etc) around.

Alesund View

The sea was vast as it ever could be and the occasional small island was a beautiful green break from the varying shades of blue.

Alesund Aksla

After a while, we came down and walked along the port, enjoying the brief spell of sun light, relishing shrimps and admiring the Art Nouveau Architecture around.

Alesund Port

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