It's Friday, which means I'm about halfway through my trip to Norway and so far I have been completely blown away. What an amazing place...
In 4 days I have taken nearly every known means of transportation: 2 planes, 3 cars, 2 boats (one big, one small), a bus, a taxi, a funicular, and yes, my own two feet. And already it has been a week of firsts: my first tick (ew), my first taste of whale meat (yum!), my first time getting completely lost on an island a la Gilligan (funny once it was over), and my first brown goat cheese (delicious - I am addicted).
I left Calatrava at 6:30am on Tuesday to catch my flight to Oslo via Munich, which allowed me only 15 minutes to make the connection. Much better than my 11 hour visit there last summer... Jan-Erik met me at the airport and we had lunch (lots of shrimp!!!) on the wharf in the sunshine. Apparently I have the good fortune of enjoying the best weather in Norway like... EVER. Nonstop sunshine, no clouds or rain... basically completely strange for this part of the world.
Jan-Erik told me that there had been a slight change of plans and instead of staying in Oslo, we'd be going to an island. Great! Met up with Nanna and their friend Morton, and before I knew it we were on a boat cruising for "Cheese Island." Morton's family cabin there is incredible and while the boys went golfing, Nanna and I decided to take a "short" walk. Oops. Three hours later, after accidentally visiting the houses of many island residents, we finally found our way home... around 10:30pm. At least we worked up an appetite! Burgers on the dock in the still-bright nighttime; the only problems being the swarms of mosquitoes and the seemingly rabid swan that attacked us.
We started Wednesday morning with a swim in the fjord (brrr!) and breakfast outside and then headed back to Oslo to meet my dad for lunch at an amazing restaurant on top of the mountain near the old ski jump. Dad's in town for a conference, so while he headed off to that in the afternoon, Nanna showed me around Oslo a bit before we went for the best sushi EVER with Jan-Erik. That's where we had the whale. And it was good. We wrapped up the night with some very potent Norwegian drinks on the roof of the Grand Hotel in the center of town.
Yesterday morning dad and I hit the train station at 8am to begin a 12-hour odyssey known as "Norway in a Nutshell." After a 5 hour trainride that took us through valleys and forests and into massive snowdrifts, we switched to a smaller, older train for another hour, which cut right through some massive fjord-created valleys and along side raging waterfalls. From there we took a 2-hour ferry and saw dozens more waterfalls and quaint villages and then took a bus to the town of Voss, stopping along the way at a hotel perched at the top of a mountain with an incredible view of the fjords. In Voss we took a final train to Bergen and at 8:30pm we had finally arrived. We had a beer on the wharf surrounded by rowdy locals and then called it a night because he had to do the final round of his presentations today.
Today I had coffee with Nanna's cousin, an actress, and then wandered all around Bergen, which is a really beautiful port town and was once the capital of the region... before Norway was Norway. This afternoon I'm off with my dad and his colleagues Egil and Ingrid to their summer home on the fjord about an hour outside of Bergen. On Sunday I'll fly back to Oslo for a final afternoon with my tour guide Nanna and then on Monday, back to Barcelona!