Journey Through Norway
At the end of May, I embarked on a solo journey through Norway. This was a trip that I had been contemplating and planning since last year. Many people ask me, "why Norway?" and the answer to that is: for quite a while, I've been seeing beautiful photos taken there by both my friends and other photographers, and I wanted to experience it for myself. Also, Norwegian Air offers direct (and cheap) flights from Oakland to Scandinavia, so that made things a lot easier. A big thanks to my friend Adrienne Young for meeting up with me and sharing her experience to give me ideas of locations to visit. Admittedly, I put off a lot of the planning til the final weeks, but I threw together an itinerary, packed, and on the afternoon of May 27th, boarded the plane to fly to Stockholm, where I would catch a connecting flight to Bergen, Norway.
After an uneventful 10-hour flight, I landed in Stockholm and made my way over to my connecting gate. On the way there, I came across this weary traveler, down for the count:
Upon arriving in Bergen, I took the bus into town and started wandering around. This trip was my first time in Europe, so I eagerly absorbed all of the sights.
The next morning, I was feeling pretty jetlagged, so I got out of my host house (about 30 minutes south of Bergen) at around 4:30am and explored the area.
Later that day, I took a bus/ferry ride down to Stavanger, where I spent the night.
The next day, I took a trip to Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, which was a 4 km hike from 300m to 900m elevation. Midway through the hike, I experienced a fair amount of rain and wind, which continued all the way to the summit. But the view from up there was so worth it!
The following day, I took a domestic flight up north to Ålesund. I picked up my rental car (after getting a free upgrade to a BMW!) and drove up to a popular viewpoint, but the thick fog gave zero visibility. I guess fog can be bad sometimes...
My next destination was a 2-hour drive east of Ålesund. However, I was in no hurry, and I had to pull over numerous times because the scenery was just so breathtaking.
I finally reached the place I would be staying in for the next two nights, which was honestly one of my most anticipated things about this trip. I had booked a stay at Juvet Landscape Hotel, which was one of the main shooting locations for the film Ex Machina, which has become one of my favorites ever since I watched it for the first time. The visuals were just so stunning (most of the film was shot in the surrounding countryside), and the building was so unique.
Seeing as my room was still being prepared, I had plenty of time to explore the complex, which is actually a group of buildings on a farm. After that, I hopped back in my car and drove northeast towards Trollstigen, then down the winding road into the valley. Of course, on the way there, I pulled over countless times because the countryside I was driving through was amazingly beautiful. I felt like I was in heaven.
As I drove, I played very specific music in the car, namely the soundtrack of Ex Machina and Astrid S's new EP. When in Norway, right?
My stay at Juvet was for two nights, so the next day I drove down to see Geiranger. This was the fjord that inspired the scenery of the kids' movie Frozen. The fjord itself was nice, but driving up beyond it was even better. After a while, I would just drop a pin on Google Maps on anywhere that looked interesting, and just drive there. I loved the freedom of being able to drive wherever I wanted, spend as much time there as I wanted, and then go somewhere else. In this part of the world at this time of the year, the sun doesn't set until close to midnight, so there was plenty of daylight.
After my two days up north were over, I flew back to Bergen. On the plane ride, I was sitting next to a trumpet player who was on his way to Bergen for the Arts & Music festival. We chatted quite a bit on the short flight, and when we landed, he brought me along on his ride back to the city, which happened to be a Tesla Model S provided by the festival, driven by a Derek Hough lookalike. For the remainder of that day, I walked around Bergen, admiring the beautiful architecture and approaching locals to take their photos whenever I could.
The final part of my trip consisted of a few hours in Oslo. One of my uncles connected me with his friend who lived there, so he took me around to see the various civic buildings.
Overall, I had a fabulous time in Norway, and I would recommend the trip to anyone. I definitely wouldn't mind going back to some of these places, especially the area around Juvet and Geiranger. Sometimes I found myself wishing that I had other people with me to take landscape portraiture of, but I really enjoyed being by myself. I can't wait for the next adventure!
Gear used to take these photos:
-Fujinon 10-24mm F4 OIS lens (on my camera 99% of the time)
-Fujinon 35mm F1.4 lens
-Moment Wide Lens