Sunday, October 30, 2011

Norway ... In A Nutshell

A long time ago .....

One of our big vacations this summer (ahem, yes I'm THAT far behind) was to Norway! After a lot of discussion about traveling through Norway versus basing our travels out of one location ... we settled on basing our adventures out of Flam, which is nestled in the innermost part of the Aurlandsfjord. We don't regret that decision for a moment! This trip was the perfect balance between relaxation and exploration ... it's exactly what we needed.

In a nutshell. 1) Norway is the most picturesque place I have EVER seen ... I will run the risk of sounding like a complete dork and tell you that the scenery and its enormity pretty much moved me to tears. Really ... it's THAT amazing. 2) Norway is the MOST expensive place we have traveled. Whoa! To offset the cost of the trip, we knew we'd be packing our lunches and skimping on meals ... I swear, it's 3 months post-Norway and I still cannot stomach a peanut butter sandwich. Thankfully our hotel stay included breakfast ... we completely gorged ourselves every morning, packed a PB sandwich for our lunch and bought the cheapest food we could find for dinner. How expensive could it be? Converting the currency to U.S. dollar ... a personal pizza was $50 - $65, a bowl of soup was $18 - $22, a hamburger was $30+ ... and we're not talking sit-down restaurants! I'm talking little quick-service establishments! 3) Did I mention Norway is simply breathtaking?

So. We flew into Oslo late on a Friday night, picked up our rental car, and drove about an hour out of Oslo to our first hotel. The next morning we hopped on the road to drive to our destination, Flam. We based all of our activities out of Flam, a tiny little village that happens to be a cruise ship destination. Each morning we enjoyed watching a new cruise ship dock and each afternoon after the ship left and we enjoyed the peace and view of the fjords. It's as if we had the village to ourselves. It was perfect ....

A view through the fjords towards Flam ...

Grass roofs ...

Loved this. Red homes and buildings were pretty popular, it was completely stunning amongst all of the green. This little roof even had a clump of trees growing on top ...

We stopped frequently along the route between Oslo and Flam to capture photos. We had all the time we needed ....

Kelty absolutely loved Norway. In fact, he still calls it "my Norway" and has requested to go back. We spent all of our time outdoors ... I can see why he loved it!

Flam! Busy during the day and quiet in the evenings ...

Flam is home to the "Flamsbana" (Flam Railway). Every day we watched the train depart for a trip that is claimed to be the most beautiful in the world ...

A view of our accomodations, Flamsbrygga Hotel. I sat on the deck every morning, afternoon, and evening while sipping coffee. Perfect ...

Look at the reflection!

Our first day we took a boat trip up the Naeroyfjord to Gudvangen. It was stunning! The waterfalls that dominate this region are spectacular ...

So picturesque ...

Kelty was SO happy ...

I love this. A couple was sitting outside their home ... simply enjoying their view. The husband was "people watching" as the wife knitted.

We cruised by this beautiful piece of land ... Al and I both fell in love with it. If only we could find a piece of property like this to build our retirement home on! You can see the sheep grazing and a little boat pulled ashore (bottom right). sigh.

After we reached our destination, we explored for about an hour until we caught the bus back to Flam.

This makes me smile ...
The next day, we visited the Hopperstad Stave Church which was built in the early 1100's. Stave Churches are Norway's oldest surviving churches ... we were able to see a few throughout our trip, but this is the particular church we took the time to explore.

The wood is covered in tar ...

Ketly enjoyed everything about it ...

Later in the week we decided to hike to a nearby waterfall ...The start of our journey. You can see the waterfall waaaaayyyy in the background.

I forgot to mention that it had been raining ALL week and we were warned it was going to be a difficult and messy hike. It was!

We made it! We were completely wiped out but it was gorgeous and Kelty was so proud!
This was taken after I busted my butt ... you can see the mud and the deep imprints our shoes made. It took us a few hours to hike there and back but it was one of our most memorable family hikes.

We took an afternoon and drove the "snow road". It's a 30-mile scenic drive which eventually took us to the Stegastein viewpont. The views were breathtaking. Along the drive (and most of our driving excursions in the area) we always saw little rock towers .... Al stopped to make a contribution of his own.Stegastein Viewpont

Our last big excursion was a hike to Jostedalen Glacier. We drove to the national park (which ended up requiring us to board a ferry ... Kelty was REALLY excited to ride the "car boat").

From the car park area, we hiked about an hour to the face of the glacier. This is where I had a tough time capturing the grandeur of Norway. This was HUGE! Can you see the hikers on the glacier ... it will give you a little perspective of the size.

This is one of my favorite photos. Daddy and Kelty taking a break along our hike to the glacier ...

It's blue!

A family photo! The only one we have of the three of us!

On our last full day, we drove the tiny nearby town of Undredal ... which apparently has a population of about 75 people and 400 goats. It's also famous for a unique brown goat cheese ... which was so unique, we opted not to buy after tasting. :o)

We were a little disappointed not to run into any goats while we were walking through the town .... well, we found them all on our way out!

During our time in Flam, Kelty's favorite past time was climbing rocks ...

and that's a wrap on Norway!


  1. STUNNING Photos ...
    What kind of camera did you take them with and are any of them edited ?
    REALLY ENJOYED this one
    ( ya - me - right ? )

  2. You make me smile.

    I have a Nikon D90 Digital SLR. The photos are not edited ... with the exception of cropping a few. The landscape is truly THAT vibrant!

  3. Great photos and content Jaime. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. It does look absolutely beautiful there. But more gorgeous than the scenery is that family photo of the three of you!

  5. Beautiful family!! I'm planning to go on May, your honest opinion what do you think about the Flamsbana train journey? Is it really worth the price? Thanks

    1. Thank you! We unfortunately did not do the Flamsbana train trip, however it is supposed to be spectacular! We had a rental car and chose to drive the snow route instead of doing the train trip but if we were to go again, I think we would invest in the train journey as well. :) Have a wonderful trip!


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