i heart norway

Well, one entire bottle of Dramamine later, I have returned safely from our week-long German road trip adventure!  More to come on that later.  But first, back to where I last left you…

It was a Saturday afternoon, and we were heading from Stockholm (Erin, Tyler & I) to meet up with BC in the city of Bergen, Norway.  After getting checked into our hotel, we met up with more of Tyler’s family and joined them on a funicular (basically a steep, uphill cable car) ride to the Flöibanen for a scenic view of Bergen and surrounding fjord.  Not a bad view to start our stay!

Getting excited at the bottom!

A long way up.

A long way up.

The lookout.

The lookout.

The view.

The view.

What cuties!

What cuties!

And one of us too!

And one of us too!

From there, BC & I let the family do dinner together and we headed off to do our own thing.  We ended up in the fish market, where had a tasty little dinner harbor-side.  This market was pretty great!  It had all sorts of fresh fish on display and they were cooking up dishes left and right as well.

One of the stalls.

One of the stalls.

Look at the size of that guy!

Look at the size of that guy!

Kinda smelly, actually.

Kinda smelly, actually.

We even found this...whale meat!

We even found this…whale meat!

Awww!  Not a bad Saturday evening!

Awww! Not a bad Saturday evening!

After eating, we walked over to the Bryggen Hanseatic wharf.  This area is one of the best known medieval settlements in Norway.  The old harbor buildings were really cool, and there was a food festival/market going on out front!  We checked it out.

Isn't it adorable?

Isn’t it adorable?

The market was closing down, but it was still busy!

The market was closing down, but it was still busy!

IMG_0939

We walked through these narrow alleys in between the buildings.

Then we met back up with Tyler & Erin after their dinner to do some casual strolling around the town.  (Shockingly, Erin & I were also on a dessert mission!)  I had a pretty awesome brownie sundae.  But most importantly, this happened:

Best polar bear expression...ERIN!

Best polar bear expression…ERIN!

The next day we were up early for what I can only describe as one of the most amazing days EVER!  We had an early train to catch to a nearby town of Voss.  You would think this part wasn’t that eventful, but even the surroundings during the train ride were beautiful!

Taken from the train!  What!?

Taken from the train! What!?

Me with said train.

Me with said train.

In Voss, we met up with our guide at Nordic Ventures, who was taking us kayaking through the fjords!  He got us all of our equipment and gave us a brief idea of where we were heading, and then we hopped in the van (plus one German guy who was joining) for our departure point, Bakka.  (Side note: should have paid more attention to where he told us we were going, so I could tell you where we actually kayaked.  Based on some online research, I believe we kayaked down the Nærøyfjord branch of Sognefjord…does that help?)  But first, at pit stop to pick up one more passenger, a fellow American.  Not bad views along the way again…

A little waterfall, no biggie.

A little waterfall, no biggie.

Seriously?  This is out the van window.

Seriously. This is out the van window.

Pit stop.

Pit stop.

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

Then some goats were blocking the road.

Then some goats were blocking the road.

Then we finally arrived at our starting point, got wet-suited up and set out on an amazing adventure through some breathtaking scenery!  Words cannot describe the amazing views, so here’s a photo series for you…ENJOY!  (FYI – A few things that happened along the way with no photos: we saw seals sticking their heads out of water, we passed by a town with the population of two, and we saw a group of school kids who were apparently on a camping/kayaking school trip in the woods.  Crazy!)

Starting point.

Starting point.

What a handsome kayaker!

What a handsome kayaker!

Stunning!

Stunning!

Getting a quick history lesson.

Getting a quick history lesson.

Note the waterfall from the melted snow.

Note the waterfall from the melted snow.

See that small green spot on the right - this is where we stopped for lunch.

See that small green spot on the right – this is where we stopped for lunch.

After about 2 hours on the water, we pulled our kayaks up at this small green area for lunch.  This is where we found out that BC & I had been carrying all of our lunch equipment (including huge jugs of water and juice) this whole time.  And I just thought we were incredibly slow kayakers…and I was quite frustrated by it too. 🙂  Anyway, our guide whipped out some hot water for coffee or tea along with some delicious little cookies to enjoy while he prepared our lunch.  I was expecting maybe some hot dogs…but we had pork chops and some cheesy-broccoli pasta too!  It was really tasty, and it was awesome to spend some time soaking in the surroundings.  Tyler even went for a quick swim in the water…that was REALLY cold!  Enjoy a few more photos to get the idea:

The kayaks.

The kayaks.

The view + us.

The view + us.

The scene.

The scene.  Taking it in!

The food situation.

The food situation.

This is just a hilarious photo that either makes BC look like a giant or Tyler look tiny.

This is just a hilarious photo that either makes BC look like a giant or Tyler look tiny.

After loading all the remaining lunch equipment and items back into our kayak (frowny face), we headed further down the fjord to see a really cool waterfall (smiley face).  We even handed the camera over to our guide to get a few shots of us together!  Then back on the long journey towards the starting point!  I was really struggling towards the end, but after about 3 post-lunch hours on the water, we eventually made it!  I could barely move my arms for the remainder of the evening (seriously. bad joints.), but it was well worth it for the unbelievable day kayaking the Norwegian fjords!!

Erin & Tyler

Erin & Tyler

The waterfall.

The waterfall.

There we are!

There we are!

Up close.

Up close.

Amazing!

Amazing!

Sheep on a boat?  Why not.

Sheep on a boat? Why not.

Our guide got out of his kayak onto a tiny rock in the middle of nowhere...  Didn't think he was getting back in!

Our guide got out of his kayak onto a tiny rock in the middle of nowhere… Didn’t think he was getting back in!

Even got a great one of me...don't worry this wasn't my real kayaking form.

Even got a great one of me…don’t worry this wasn’t my real kayaking form.

Of course, Erin had to feed the goats when we returned!

Of course, Erin had to feed the goats when we returned!

Seriously, this was one of the coolest things we have ever done together, and how perfect to have my bff, Erin and Tyler there too!!  It was an awesome day.

For our last day in Bergen, we did a little more touring around the city and stopped in a few shops as well.  I even took home a little Norwegian Troll Yarn for my future knitting projects! Here are a few shots to give you a feel for the city!

Isn't this what you imagine in Norway?

Isn’t this what you imagine in Norway?

I don't see a lot of these in IA...

I don’t see a lot of these in IA…

Part of the old fortress.

Part of the old fortress from the 1100’s.

Tree-lined paths have a special place in my heart.

Tree-lined paths have a special place in my heart.

Some vikings!

Some vikings!

Overall, as the title of this post might imply, I really love Norway!  I have no doubt that a return trip will be necessary!!  Unfortunately, this is where we had to depart ways.  For us, back to The Hague to do a quick un-pack and re-pack for the USA, and for Erin & Tyler, off to another Scandinavian city…Copenhagen!  It was so awesome to have Erin here.  I am excited to have these memories with her and for her to have a visual to all of my stories here in the NL!  THANKS FOR COMING ERIN & TYLER!  Love you guys!!!

As I mentioned, we headed off to the USA the following morning.  Many of you might know what went down there, but I will be back soon with details for everyone else (including all the unhealthy, yet delicious American foods that I got the opportunity to eat!). 🙂

Until next time,
-MK-

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