After Copenhagen, we spent two days in Oslo before heading to the Norwegian countryside. Norway is the most expensive country we’ve visited yet, so we had to breeze through it in only one week. We made the most of it and were able to get in plenty of museums, hiking, and beautiful train rides.
In Oslo we visited the National Gallery, where we saw one of Edvard Munch’s Scream paintings. Then we visited the Contemporary Art Museum. You never know what you’re going to get with modern art, and this place was no exception. It was pretty small, and after an hour of looking at things like a box of garlic powder and sculptures made of molding bread, we decided it was time to move on. We spent the rest of the day enjoying the sunny weather, walking around the city’s old fortress, and checking out the opera house where you can walk on the roof!
Our second day we decided to do as the locals do and hang out in a park. Our host told us that everyone tries to spend as much time outside as possible in the summer since the winters are so long and dark. Sounds like Wisconsin, right? Although it gets colder in Madison than Oslo, Norwegians have fewer daylight hours in the winter. We soaked up the sun at a picnic in the Vigeland Sculpture Park, checked out the Oslo City Museum, and meandered through the palace gardens.
That evening we stopped at a small brewery and nearly cried when we saw the prices; a pint of beer for $15? And we complained about $5 beers in South America! In addition to crazy alcohol prices, we also spent double to triple what we did on lodging in South America. Restaurants were outrageously out of our budget so we cooked all our meals. The one thing we found that was cheaper than elsewhere was fresh salmon. This became our staple protein while in Norway.
After Oslo, we trained to Stavanger, the country’s third largest city located on the southwest coast. Stavanger itself was a pretty small town, but with its winding cobblestone streets we managed to get lost everytime we wandered around. The real reason we came was to hike to Pulpit Rock, one of the most popular hiking destinations in the country. Unfortunately for us it poured that day, but even the rain could not ruin the view.
Bergen, dubbed “the gateway to the fjords,” has a similarly quaint old town area, but it was mostly overrun by cruiseship tourists and kitschy souvenir shops. Bergen is, however, in a beautiful area surrounded by mountains and fjords so we hiked to the top of Mount Fløyen for great panoramic views of the area.
Similar to Copenhagen, we would have loved to do more hiking and exploring in this area of the country, but the prices of lodging and transportation alone were just too much for our current trip’s budget. Hopefully we’ll make it back some day when we have jobs. Really good jobs.