Norway in a Nutshell

And now – the reason everyone comes to Norway (apart from the Northern Lights that is) – the Fjords! I’ve never seen a fjord.  I only recently even learned to say it. Feejord, right?

Since I’ve only got one day left in Scandinavia, I take the Norway in a Nutshell tour.  It’s not really a tour, complete with fat people and whistle stops, it’s just a train ride which incorporates a ride up the mountains on the Flam Railway, the ‘steepest railway in the world’ (they haven’t seen Katoomba) and a boat ride from Myrdal through the Gudvangen fjord to Voss, then by bus to Bergen.

The only thing to do on this kind of tour is sit there with your camera glued to the window and your mouth hanging open.  There are firs everywhere, rising from mist-shrouded streams and lakes shimmering in the early morning sun.  Mirror-like water reflects snow-topped mountains.  On the foreshores, little chalets nestle amid flocks of sheep and emerald meadows.  In short, it’s real pretty.

Some of the houses have grass roofs.  This seems weird for Norway though it would probably be normal for Samoa.  My trip-friend, a hunky young Swiss photographer, says it’s probably great insulation (note, write to the Australian Minister for the Environment, ‘You want to do something to make everybody forget pink batts? How about turf batts?’).

Along the lakesides are these timber structures which look like the framing for giant humpies (anyone? what the hell are they?).  Pondering the purpose of this, a great sleepiness comes upon me (I stayed up way too late discussing the problem of human suffering with the psychologist and then was kept awake by snores of  fat tattooed girl).  But no – must..keep..focussed..on..scenery!

The photographer reckons Up North is the place to go.  He says Iceland is spectacular and that I should see the Faroes and take a ferry around the Lafoten Islands.  He has a pack the size of a house so he should know. (I am SO going to, next trip)

The boat trip is just fantastic! What more could you want! Great big pointy stone mountains with white tips, plunging waterfalls, deep green lakes, tiny patches of meadow with quaint steep-roofed cottages nestled in them, MORE happy sheep… There appear to be no roads in or out, so they’d better be happy there (someone later tells me that you get there by boat only, which explains all the tiny jetties with little boats tied up to them).  I want to live there please??? (in summer)

By the end of the boat trip, I’m a bit tired of fjords.  I don’t suggest more than two days worth of fjord-viewing, unless drunk or in the company of a topless Nordic millionaire who happens to own one of those REALLY NICE chalets (and a boat, in case he goes all Hostel and you have to leave in a hurry).



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