Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Norway's Natural Wonders

The next morning (OSLO), we set off for Vossestrand. The journey was long but filled with stops to immerse in the breathtaking scenery, stretch our legs, and enjoy lunch. Untouched nature lined both sides of the road, making the drive feel like a moving postcard.

By 1:00 pm, we arrived at the charming Solstad Hotel in Gol for lunch. By this point, I had my fill of salmon. It wasn't the fish's freshness but the missing punch of bold flavors, especially the spiciness I craved. No amount of pepper or lemon could replace our fiery Malaysian sambal or chili dip. Despite this, I nibbled a bit before stepping outside to marvel at the stunning views.

As we continued our journey, the scenery remained captivating, a perfect display of nature's beauty. While my fellow travelers dozed off, I couldn't tear my eyes away from the landscape, each twist and turn revealing more to admire. By the time we arrived at the hotel, nestled by a serene lake and framed by majestic mountains, it was already late evening. Despite it being summer, a chill crept into my bones. Dinner and the next morning's buffet breakfast at the hotel were delightful. I tried goat’s cheese, known as Brunost, for the first time. A friendly staff member explained it was made by boiling milk, cream, and whey for hours, allowing the water to evaporate and the milk sugars to caramelize, giving the cheese its unique brown color and sweet flavor. It was an amazing discovery and tasted incredible.

By 9 am, we embarked on a thrilling journey that felt like a roller coaster ride. The narrow, winding roads took us up and down steep slopes with hairpin turns, making for a true adventure. There were moments when I doubted the driver’s skill, but he expertly navigated the treacherous route, and we arrived safely for our Fjord Cruise. The cruise took us through the breathtaking Aurlandsfjord and the narrow Nærøyfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The scenery was spellbinding, making every twist and turn of the journey worthwhile.

The surroundings were utterly beautiful, simply marvelous. As the ship arrived, we queued up, but found ourselves pushed aside by eager Chinese tourists. They didn't just stop at pushing; they also rushed to grab the best seats. Oh dear! We decided to let them be and instead chose to stand outside, taking in the breathtaking scenery.

For the first half hour, the magic of nature had me completely enthralled. After that, I decided it was best to find a seat before we docked in Flam. The unspeakable rush and push for the restroom and lunch was quite the spectacle. These are the kinds of travel experiences no one talks about. I grabbed a quick bite to avoid the cramped restaurant.

Once the train arrived, we set off on the Flam Railway ride. Wow! This train ride outshone the cruise by far. It was edgy, rugged, thrilling, and fast-paced - like a scene straight out of a Harrison Ford movie. I couldn't keep still, standing on my feet and looking out from the fast-moving train, soaking in every bit of the exhilarating journey.

The 20 km ride on the Flam Railway was a thrilling adventure, cutting through mountains and darting in and out of dark tunnels. Every now and then, beams of sunlight would flash in as the train sped along, sometimes so close to the towering trees and lush plants that you’d want to reach out and touch them, but couldn't because of the safety windows. We had an interval stop at a massive, constantly gushing waterfall. It was breathtakingly majestic, and the views were drop-dead gorgeous from start to finish. This experience earned millions of thumbs-up on my travel bucket list. I achieved it.

But, as with all good journeys, this one had to come to an end. We arrived at Myrdal, where we picked up our road trip again, heading towards Bergen. Bergen, here we come!





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