Norway: A Land of Infinite Discovery
When it comes to experiencing nature, I am a big fan of traveling to and discovering new places. However, I had such fond memories of my first trip to Norway in 2016 that I decided to return two years later, even retracing some of the steps I had made before. The last time was my very first solo trip overseas, but this time I got my friend Jay Dubs to travel with me for half of the trip. Having a travel companion definitely made for a different and overall more positive experience, because while I enjoy being alone, having someone to talk to, photograph, and laugh at my jokes was nice.
We went in October, which is actually not the best time of year, because winter seems to start early in Norway. There was plenty of rain and the temperature stayed pretty low most of the time, but that resulted in some unique conditions.
Also, because of the time of year, unfortunately some roads had already been closed, so we weren’t able to see everything that we planned. But luckily, there were plenty of perfectly adequate options for plan B.
Jay eventually headed back to Berlin, and I continued the trip by myself, taking a series of short flights up to the Lofoten Islands. This part of the trip was definitely the most epic, as the Islands contained some of the most breathtaking landscapes I had ever seen. Being in the Arctic Circle, this was also the farthest north I had ever been. The islands are mostly untouched wilderness consisting of mountains, grasslands, and beaches, with occasional farms and fishing villages scattered around.
Driving from one end of the archipelago to the other didn’t take too long because the distance wasn’t too much, but there was just so much to see that I had to spread out my itinerary between the entire 3.5 days I was there. Usually I would get in the car, drive a few minutes, and then pull over to snap some quick shots or even turn the car off and explore the area, then eventually get back in the car, drive a short distance farther, and repeat. There was just so much to see. Most of the spots were easily accessible by car, but I also went on two hikes, each of which were pretty strenuous. The terrain was very steep, muddy, and rocky, and I must have been pretty out of shape, because my body was hating me halfway through each hike. The views were totally worth it though.
The fishing village at the very end of the archipelago is called Å (guess how that’s pronounced).
I bought groceries more often on this trip, because eating out can be pretty expensive. A typical meal I would put together would be smoked salmon, bread rolls, yogurt drink, salad, and apples. My portion sizes ended up being smaller than normal overall, but still filling.
Renting a car is definitely a good idea. Driving in Norway is not hard at all, and there’s almost no traffic in the countryside, other than the occasional slow truck. Parking is super easy.
For some reason, even some of the most remote of locations had full cell reception.
While up north, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. My Airbnb host told me that there had been some sightings recently, so one night I drove out into the middle of nowhere and staked it out for an hour in pitch darkness. Unfortunately, the lights didn’t show up that night, but they did the next night, when I had decided to just sleep because of the exhausting hike that I did, and I completely missed the show. So the lesson from this is: stake out the lights every night.
Some things I utilized a lot on this trip:
Vacuum sealed bags for my clothes
Tripod and ND filter for long exposures
Waterproof bottoms shell
Multiple layers of jackets
Extra insurance coverage for rental cars
Even though I had already been to Norway, I loved getting to discover new places and revisit some old ones. There’s just so much open land, most of which I haven’t even glimpsed yet. I think that the country has enough to fill quite a few more trips. Being there pretty much spoiled California for me, because the mountains in Norway make California’s look like small hills, and they’re also right there.
I highly recommend going and experiencing Norway for yourself, and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.