Is anyone else craving snow and mountains right now? I am, but I almost always am!
In mid-November 2017, I took a trip to Norway and Sweden. It was an awkward time of year to go as Fall was ending but Winter wasn’t truly starting and the snow wouldn’t be plentiful…yet. Nonetheless, I fell in love with Scandinavia.
First stop Oslo – after a long flight with layovers (you need to work on those routes, KLM) I landed in Oslo. It was late but I still ventured downtown to grab a snack and see the city at night (plus my hotel was close!). My friend was arriving the next day so I was a little concerned about walking around alone. But once I set out, I felt completely safe. I found a cafe, had a great apple pie with wine, walked by the local church and then went back to the hotel.
The next day my friend arrived. Right off the plane I convince her to do a city hike for sunset (because sunset was around 5pm) and to walk around some of the art in the city. Now even though this was late in the year, and sunset was early, the sky still lit up for a good hour after.
After sunset we walked around and looked at the sculptures downtown. Oslo is fairly known for the art, and boy is it interesting! Below are a few examples.
Also while in Oslo we visited the Opera House (saw 6 modern ballets), the viking museum & Noble Peace Museum. I was surprised as to how modern and clean the city is. But the food, ugh! Nothing is warm prior to dinner, and when it’s rather cold and gets dark at around 5, all I wanted was warm food!
Next stop was a short flight to Stavanger (on Norwegian). Stavanger is a port city, so cute and charming.
Our only purpose to go here was to hike Kjeragbolten (“boulder”) and Preikstolen (“pulpit rock”). But due to seasonal timing Kjerag was already iced over, so we had to opt for Preikstolen only.
The next day we start out by renting a car, taking a ferry and then driving to the start of the hike. A slight journey to get there!
After getting lost through the countryside for an hour (which is beautiful), we finally make it around 11:30am. The site office warned us about going up to hike since it will be dark by 4:30 and the temperature was falling (hello ice). But we decide to put on our Yak Trax and Micro Spikes and begin anyway!
It is truly a beautiful hike all the way up and down (between 4-5 miles, 1150ft in climbing). As we began climbing, snow is all around making the trail tricky to find at times. Once you get less than a mile in, the stairs begin guiding you to the top. The stairs are uneven and stop and begin over and over. Towards the top you see the full fjord and country-side. There are meter signs telling you how far away the top is. Now if you don’t know how to convert meters to miles (like us) this is a little frustrating, but the views make up for it!
As we’re making our way to the top (which btw took 2 hours), the fog deepens. And deepens and covers us.
We finally get 100 meters to the top and the true overlook and we can’t even see around the bend.
At that point it’s sleeting on us, and we head back down (1.5 hours). But just in time to hike down during sunset, was so, so beautiful and still worth it! (Isn’t it always, though?)
Next stop – Sweden!