About two weeks ago, I visited Bergen for the first time in my life. And there was a lot I didn’t have time to see, but I made time to walk around the city center and take the Fløibanen cable car to Fløien and get a nice view of Bergen. The classic picture of Bergen is of these older buildings on the waterfront, so I clearly had to see them in person.
Since I visited in early February, I got the nice mixture of wind, rain, and snow. Which meant that there was snow on Fløien (which some other people took advantage off with a snowball fight), but also that I felt like it was the Bergen I had always heard about. Chilly and rainy, yet cozy in a way. Plenty of coffee shops to find coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in, and plenty of shopping centers to step into if the weather proves too much. All in all, I recommend a visit to Bergen, as long as you prepare for all weather possibilities.
This is the Royal Palace in Oslo, where the reigning Norwegian monarch live. In January 1991 King Olav of Norway passed away, and his son, the current king of Norway, King Harald ascended the throne. Which means it’s time for a small hurrah for the 25 years that King Harald has been on the throne. It’s a man with humor that jokes about his wife or his death being exaggerated, and it’s a King who turns 81 on February 21st.
This picture was taken in February 2014, when I was walking around in the city center of Oslo, feeling like a proper tourist as I tried to see a lot of the sights to see there. But there’s always something more to see, which is why we continue to travel and see the world. I hate leaving a place and feeling like I’ve seen it all, then it feels like there’s no reason to return. I like to return to cities I’ve been to before, to walk around and see the changes, to feel slightly local, and to discover even more of a place.
Kristiansand is the home of Hennig Olsen Is (ice cream). And apparently, it is also a city that celebrates all year round the gift that is ice cream. This picture was taken in February 2017, when there were flags for the ice cream company on the flagpoles of one of the bridges between Lund and Kvadraturen.
Hennig Olsen Is is according to their own website the oldest producer of ice cream in the Nordic region, and has since its establishment in 1924 been owned by the same family as one of the few privately owned food companies in Norway.
This picture was taken in February 2014, on the railroad somewhere between Oslo and Kristiansand. I’m honestly not quite sure where it is along the Sørland Railway (going from Oslo to Stavanger via Kristiansand).
If you check out NSBs (the Norwegian passenger railway company) website, they have a page about their destinations. Here you can see that parts of Norway are well covered by rails, and if you’re going to other parts you might need to fly or go by bus, car or boat.
If you travel from Stavanger to Oslo by train it’ll take about 8 hours, and it’ll take about 50 min by airplane. The train is nice for a view, and if you’re going between shorter distances, but it’s not always the best alternative for a short trip.
On the other hand, if you have the time and want to see more of Norway while seated somewhat comfortably, the train is a very nice way to travel. Parts of the trip might be a lot of trees and tunnels, but suddenly you’ll get a nice view of a fjord, lake or mountains.
As I’m writing this, I look out my window on the snow that’s been falling the last couple of days and wait for the snow to start melting and leave behind ice to slip on. Because that’s what it’s like living on the western coast of Norway.
But this picture does not capture that image, instead, you get southern Norway in sun and summer weather. Kristiansand on the first of May 2017, when I needed air as I was writing my thesis and the weather just begged me to go outside.
When I visited Berlin in February 2015, we stayed near Alexanderplatz. Not far from Alexanderplatz is the Berlin Cathedral Church and the museum of life in the GDR (German Democratic Republic). A bit further up the road is a collection of multiple different museums, so there is a lot of older and newer history hiding in buildings in the area.
The DDR-museum was quite interesting to visit as it’s about eastern Germany post world war two, and it’s a collection of entertainment, general life and the more serious parts of the regime. For a Norwegian born after Germany became one, it’s a different mindset to understand and see similarities and differences from what I have to compare it to.
Sometimes you just need to go outside and start walking, and some of those times you might end up with a view like this. One of the things I like about walking around in Norway is that suddenly there’ll be an opening with a view. Sometimes it is trees in the way, sometimes it’s buildings or mountains, but most of the time a viewing point isn’t too far away.
The picture was taken up in the mountains in Sirdal in the easter of 2016.
A few years ago, I was out walking after it had snowed. One of the things about snow in Stavanger and Sandnes is that it usually disappears pretty quickly again. It might melt away or rain away, but we get a few days of “oh, it’s snowing!” and public transport chaos. At least it looks pretty while the snow falls.
The picture was taken on a parking lot in Sandnes in January 2012, but the area has later been changed from a parking lot to a building with a nursing home, apartments, a few stores and restaurants, and underground parking spaces.
This was taken late November 2015 in Kristiansand, when they had turned on the lights for the large Christmas tree in the city centre.
One of the things I like about December is how the streets fill up with lights, and the darkness that has been increasingly sneaking up on us is slightly decorated. The darkness that fills the streets and town, that you might not notice that well until the lights are lit. We don’t seem to notice how dark the outside gets, or how dark it gets for ourselves before something breaks or a light is lit. So, as we move away from 2017, a long year that kept going really quickly, and move into 2018 I hope you’ll try to keep the lights lit, and that 2018 will be one of your best years so far. Happy holidays, happy new year, and good luck with 2018!
Last year I visited a Christmas marked on Grim in Kristiansand. In one of the streets they had decorated for Christmas, and there were booths that sold anything you could connect to Christmas (and more). It was really magical walking around, looking at the decorations and trying different kinds of jam.
This picture was taken in December 2016, and I really liked how they had decorated the house and the garden. It was Christmassy, but not too much. Hope you’re having a peaceful time wherever you are, and that there will be more peaceful times ahead for us all.