Saturday, October 25, 2014

Experience the Julemarked and joyful Norwegian Christmas traditions

Winter holidays are the most cheerful days of the year, when everyone celebrates Christmas and is preparing for a sparkling coming New Year, and every single place is surrounded by a special atmosphere - dancing snowflakes, a delicate pine tree scent blended with Christmas traditional cakes, gingerbread cookies, boiled wine with flavored spices, roasted chestnuts, Christmas carols and crispy voices of children choirs, Santa Claus and reindeer...

December is the perfect time when we celebrate the romance and magic of a traditional Christmas with family, friends and even alone.
Many locals and tourists coming from different corners of the world are enjoying winter markets were they have the opportunity to buy unique Christmas gifts, Christmas food delicacies and various home decorations.

And what would be most enjoyable than to ramble around a Julemarked/ Christmas Market, looking for joyful gifts for special persons in our life? : )
Julemarked (Photo by Øyvind Schei)
Julemarked (Photo by Øyvind Schei)
It is said that the European Christmas Market origins are from Tyrol area in Austria and Germany, and nowadays became a wonderful annual tradition spread worldwide.
Nowadays, Julemarked (Christmas markets) are all around Norway, and you can travel to your desired destination and chose from a wide variety of locally handcrafted products inspired by the Scandinavian old culture - handmade paintings, art glass and pottery, furniture, lamps, jewelry or even designed clothes - or attend a unique workshop - sheep shearing, wood carvings, activities for children, folk dancing, reindeer, horse and sleigh (free rides for the children), homemade products and Christmas decorations for sale.

In Norway, most companies, museums, galleries and various associations are organizing their own Christmas markets where they sell unique, handmade products along special activities, traditional concerts and festivities, and events attended by professional and amateur artists where they can sell their own pieces of art in any form - from organic jams or cheese from farms, homemade soap and cookies, various herbs, wool sweaters knitted with Norwegian pattern, to paintings, jewelry, pottery or other piece of art - and one can have a cup of coffee with Norwegian Christmas specialties and feel the magnificent Christmas spirit at any step around the place.

Visit any Norwegian Julemarked/ Christmas Market, enjoy the holiday atmosphere, catch a glimpse of the northern lights, and buy unique gifts for family and friends!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sauesjå - the sheep exhibit in Kvinesdal

If you like simple things in life, love nature, autumn, local traditions, good food and pleasant gatherings, it definitely be an excellent choice to attend a "sauesjå" while traveling to Norway, and feel filled with lot of positive energy at the end of the day! :)
Sauesjå - the sheep exhibit in Kvinesdal (photo JH)
Sauesjå - the sheep exhibit in Kvinesdal (photo JH)
About "sauesjå" in Norway... This is common exhibition in most parts of Southern Norway, and the word comes from a combination of old Norwegian words: "sjå" (meaning “to see”) + "saue" (meaning “sheep”) = "sauesjå" (“watch the sheep”), similar to another combined world, "dyrskue" meaning the "animal show" (“dyr” = animals + “saue" = “to see”)...
Sauesjå - the sheep exhibit in Kvinesdal (photo JH)
This year, "Sauesjå", took place on Sunday/ 20 of September in Kvinesdal (a picturesque city from Southern Norway), and locals were very lucky to have a wonderful day, with nice weather, temperature at 17 - 23'C, sunny, ocasionally feeling a pale chilled air, just perfect to tempt everyone spend time outdoors, take a walk in the surrounding area admiring the trees start changing their colors getting the copper touch, and enjoy the beauty of the day and local special festival.
Sauesjå - the sheep exhibit in Kvinesdal (photo JH)
Early in the morning, the weather felt more autumnal, with a thick fog in the valley that shortly disappeared, being replaced by a joyful sunshine whole day long that emphasized the fantastic autumnal scenery with colorful leaves, making everyone enjoy a lovely dinner as a reward.
Sauesjå - the sheep exhibit in Kvinesdal (photo JH)
  Sauesjå - the sheep exhibit in Kvinesdal (photo JH)
Some people were busy doing everything for the sheep exhibit success, others were busy taking care of their large gardens, cutting and cropping the branches from apple and plum trees - being the perfect moment of the year for the trees to be pruned in the fall – but all at one moment came to join the "sauesjå" which turned into a very pleasant gathering, everyone happy to see and talk to each other (family, friends and simple curious persons passing by), smile, check for the goodies (tasty food), admiring also the old cars parked nearby, join the show and traditional festivity.
Old fashioned cars at Sauesjå - the sheep exhibit in Kvinesdal (photo JH)
So, if you are a curious traveler willing to find out about local traditions, this could be a perfect experience for you and your family, that will make you smile in the sunshine, and start the day in a cheerful spirit!
Sauesjå - the sheep exhibit in Kvinesdal (photo JH)
Special thanks to a dear friend of mine from Kvinesdal.for sharing this topic with me, and now with you.
Also, all the images enclosed here are offered from his personal collection.

Trolls - the most legendary and mysterious creatures of Norway

In Scandinavian mythology and folklore, a troll is a supernatural and shy being that comes from stone and is avoiding sunlight to don’t be turned into stone again - and according to the legends - some of them have bad impact on humans, others positive, and the most important thing was to don’t make them be your enemy.
Trolls turned into the stone (Own photo)
Trolls turned into the stone (Own photo)
It is said that the mystical trolls were hiding into the deep wooden forests and caves, living isolated in small families in the mighty snow-capped mountains, between rocks or near roaring waterfalls and would come out only after sun-set, and they would disappear before the morning sun arose because the direct exposure to the sun could cause them crack, turn into stone and possibly get burst.

As features, some trolls have long crooked noses, only four fingers and toes on each limb, and most of them had long bushy tails. Some are huge, ugly and and slow-witted, some look and behave exactly like human beings and others are very small, curious and friendly to humans.

As you can see, the trolls are not equal. Some of them reflect in legends created hundreds of years ago, while the rest appeared in stories of writers from Northern countries.
Norwegian Trolls (Own photo)
Trolls (Own photo)
It seems that trolls are of many different types, most of them being described and coming from old myths and legends, others created by various authors from Northern countries and worldwide in their fiction books:

- The troll of the forest - man-eaters - a giant, slow yet strong, ugly and lazy creature living in Norwegian mountains, deep in the dark forests, lied on the ground and looking like a huge hill, often being very old having mushrooms growing in his ears and moss coming out from his nose, yet able to sense the human scent, follow it and chase people to eat them.

- The troll of the mountain - as savage mountain dweller, as the troll of the forest but crazy about gold - he robs everyone met on his way, no matter if rich or poor. 

- The two-headed and three-headed troll - the most terrific creature compared to the rest of trolls - He has three empty brains which make him act weird and do nonsense. 

- The troll that could be a witch, a demon or an evil spirit, or a ghost.

- The good-natured and naive troll - a silly creature that could be easily played full, and if they realize this, can become quite revengeous and kidnap animals and children.

- The troll that is helping people... in which case are expecting a favor in return. :)

- The troll of the war - brought up in the contemporary fiction novel „Lord of the Rings“ - a monster wearing a heavy coat of mail, fighting with giant weapons, that can be defeated only by the greatest knights and restless fairies. 

- The Moomins - the best and sweetest trolls even able to sing - they appeal to the children willing to discover the “Moomin World”.

The most recent fairytales are saying that all around the beautiful fjords of Norway - in mountain areas full of rocks - are plenty of trolls still living nowadays, hide from sunlight and unexpected guests.
Be aware! Trolls passing by! (Own photo)
Be aware! Trolls passing by! (Own photo)
So, why not prepare your backpack and rumble around Norwegian mountains, fjords and waterfalls and get the chance to take a photo to the large local stones - often described as being the product of a troll's toss or being the trolls turned to stone upon exposure to sunligh -, and with the first troll popped onto your way!? :) 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Helgefylla - weekend binge drinking in Norway

If you'd like to have fun in a different way... than you may travel to Norway right before Christmas and join the "Helgefylla".

In Norway, in the last weekend before Christmas, is the holiday party season known as julebordsesong (Christmas party season)/ Julebord festivities or „weekend binge drinking”, a well established tradition when everyone - man and woman - goes to bars and nightclubs getting fun and sometimes a bit wasted.
Helgefylla (Photo by Sven-Erik Knoff)
Helgefylla - weekend binge drinking  (Photo by Sven-Erik Knoff)
Weekend binge drinking is a sort of amazing yet paradoxically „moment”.
A lot of Norwegians - as any other citizen of the world - at a certain occasion or event, are drinking in moderate amounts just to be more open to express emotions and eventually to get engaged into a social conversation, while others enjoy the alcoholic consumption until they became hammered and almost senseless.

Despite the very high price of alcoholic beverages in Norway, restricted access to it (can be found only in special stores/ Vinmopolet) and quite stringent punishment if caught driving under the influence of alcohol (sometimes imposing the loss of driving privileges for lifetime, without appeal) ... it is always a way to rewind oneself!... and binge drinking is somehow popular here, and also accepted as an excuse for indulging if one is getting into antisocial behavior.

Regarding alcoholic beverage consumption in Norway it is said that:
- youth at 14 - 18 years old, binge drinking may be a common form of drinking even though they can be very friendly without having to drink first,
- amongst high school seniors was developed lately a sort of cultural phenomenon known as Russ”, a socially accepted venue for binge drinking, and in the same time, a symbolic practice as part of the transformation process going from child to adult,
- people over 27 year old binge drink on a typical drinking occasion, weekends and various celebrations, and one-day sick leave is for hungover employees.

As in any other corner of the world, at times, people need some time off from daily rules and pressure, and tend to get a bit unleashed at social gatherings, enjoy a good laugh and company while linger a glass of drink, and others get wasted ...

It could be(come) an occasional habit or just once in a lifetime experience that every person is worth trying at one moment to know the difference and, also, understand his/ her own limits and behavior.

The funny aspects about Norwegians - and any other people, in fact - getting wasted during the weekend, in julebordet, after outdoor activities or other special events are:
- a sudden happiness and an ease to socialize with strangers, freely without any internal boundaries,
- a tendency to get into bars with friends, colleagues or perfect strangers and eventually have sex afterwards, 
- starting a sudden friendship and intimacy while being emotional and sharing life stories and secrets - and keep in mind that you may get such liaison only for that night - because Norwegians have a saying “what happens in Julebordet stays in Julebordet”!

Quote about drinking - "It's like gambling somehow. You go out for a night of drinking and you don't know where your going to end up the next day. It could work out good or it could be disastrous. It's like the throw of the dice." - Jim Morrison

So, no matter if an active holiday, a cultural tour or other preferred activity, if you like to be sober or taste a glass of drink once in a while to get loose, keep your manners, be yourself, smile and enjoy every single aspect of your journey while traveling to Norway!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kvinesdal - a little heaven for walking lovers

Kvinesdal is the perfect place for a long walk into the nature!

Kvinesdal is a picturesque city (located in Vest-Agder, Sørlandet, Norway) hosting two valleys and the river Kvina rich in salmon (a constant attraction for fishermen), and here are living some people very dear to me, and throughout their photos I could imagine how would be a wonderful journey in the nearby forest...
Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by TMG)
Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by TMG)
Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by TMG)
Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by TMG)
So, what do you think about waking up in a bright summer day, enjoy your hot coffee made from fresh roasted beans awakening your senses with a strong specific flavor, then go out into the woods for a long walking in the morning...
Kvinesdal, Vest-Agder, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by JH)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by JH)
Here you can enjoy the solitude of your walk either single, as couple or traveling together in a group, absorb the scents, sounds and admire such a rich variety of landscapes so perfectly blended together.
Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by JH)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places - a walk into the woods (Photo by JH)
Step on off road paths, feel the freshness of the air, listen to the birds chirp and the sound of leaves while pale of wind are playing with them, observe the beauty of genuine nature, smell the flowers, grass and even trees bark... get full of energy, feel reborn, and get that special feeling that you're alive, reborn and that you can do everything!
Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by JH)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places - a walk into the woods (Photo by JH)
Here you can experience Kvinesdal area in depth, to see the surrounding mesmerizing landscape as the locals see it, and the only perfect way to do this is on foot, in the fresh air of outdoors, eventually with the promise of a cozy accommodation, delicious local food, a glass of red wine at return, and a very pleasant company along the way and at the end of the day.

Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by JH)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places - a walk into the woods (Photo by JH)
Amongst the woods you'll be amazed to find a little heaven for long walks lovers where one can balance the joy of walking with the thrill of being part of a fantastic landscape where you can ramble freely through the forest along mysterious paths, witness a curious squirrel popped out on your path and staring into your eyes for a split second, or a calm sheep digesting the grass eaten few minutes ago...
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by JH)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places - a walk into the woods (Photo by JH)
Keep walking (like Johnny Walker!) for as long as you can, on this friendly paths, where is no reason to avoid steep or uneven paths that could put you off-balance... here every path and corner is smooth and welcoming.
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by JH)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places - a walk into the woods (Photo by JH)
This is a perfect place for walking and hiking trips with your kids in the woods, from easy to moderate length and duration, and is suitable for all year round visits.
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by JH)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places - a walk into the woods (Photo by JH)
Do you feel the freshness surrounding you, getting into your whole being, bringing you a fantastic sensorial sensation and positive thinking? 
The forest scent and idyllic remote trails, sprightly streams where salmon leap offers a sort of romantic realm for the traveler that is walking alongside shimmering waters...
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by JH)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places - a walk into the woods (Photo by JH)
Kvinesdal - this little haven represents the perfect place to go for long walks into the nature, a very beautiful place to visit close to the see and to the mountain, rich in natural resources.
The walking here is fabulous through the forest, valleys, and along the river, and a chance to perceive your body, mind and soul at a different "dimension".
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by TMG)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by TMG)
The unforgettable sights and paths through the forested area, the captivating blue sky above and wherever you may look, the wild flowers all around the place, and colorful spots, are offering you so many moments to cherish.
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by TMG)
Kvinesdal and neighborhood places, Sørlandet, Norway (Photo by TMG)
Sooo, what do you think about unbelievably charming Kvinesdal' surrounding places?
Don't you think that the wild and unspoiled landscape, and gentle trails, in a sunny day looks just like a tiny little piece taken from Heaven!? : )
Kvinesdal, Norway - a walk into the woods (Photo by JH)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Strolling around Geiranger city

Strolling around Geiranger city while waiting for the ferry

Geiranger was the first Norwegian city on my holiday itinerary where I felt like in a contemporary fairytale – being surrounded by rainbow colored flowers, a whole world of  trolls (some happy, some sad, others short, few tall, and most of them quite cheeky), boats and bicycles, all surrounded by a hot chocolate flavor in „fjord - shell”.
Geiranger fjord city
Geiranger fjord city (Own photo)
Now, recalling all those sweet memories, colorful random images and various scents, makes me think that even if located in a fjord area, Geiranger city was built in an early summer day.

Was a chill morning of July, with temperature close to 15’C, few fluffy gray clouds and timid sun beams, here and there some rain drops falling down from trees from a light rain just few moments ago, lots of curious blossomed flowers popping out at every step around, some confused snails carrying their homes on their „shoulders” over the alleys, white houses with reddish roofs, and wooden houses with „hairy” roofs (covered by fresh healthy grass) and bicycles... lots of bicycles.

Until the moment to embark on the ferryboat for the most expected cruise thru Geiranger fjord, I took my time to stroll along the place and loved to see that sun took over, no raindrops anymore, all small ponds got dried, the tiny wooden houses hosting coffee shops and souvenir stores were shiny and appealing anyone passing by to enter and check latest items with viking swords, shields, collection of trolls or awesome postcards, the grass from to top roofs became bright green and vivid, kind of admiring the tourists rambling around...
Geiranger fjord city
Geiranger fjord city (Own photo)
Later on I’ve enjoyed the view over the marina sipping from a cup of hot delicious chocolate from „Geiranger Shokolade”, in a comfortable bench witnessing the ferries and some other small boats floating on calm turquoise waters with no waves, the majestic and steep greenish mountains with far peaks covered by snow making a splendid contrast with the perfect blue sky, few birds flying above with cheerful thrills, the delicate scent coming from fresh flowers, and lots of curious and excited tourists all over the place.
Geiranger fjord city
Geiranger fjord city (Own photo)
Have no idea if Geiranger city has its own emblem, but definitely could be a troll riding a bicycle with a basket full of flowers set upfront, whistling a frolic Norwegian song and a cup of chocolate in one hand.

Unique activities in Norway

Loshavn, Southern Norway (Photo TMG)
Loshavn, Southern Norwa

In Norway you can participate to various and unique activities, such as:

- Basecamp SHIP IN THE ICE (the only ice-bound hotel ship in the world) - Spitsbergen;
- Bird Sanctuary at Runde Island;
- Elksafari/ moosesafari in Marnardal;
- Fjord and Midnight sun cruises;
- Fossils hunting in Svalbard Isl.;
- Helicopter Sightseeing;
- Ice caving in Svalbard Isl.;
- King crab safari;
- Langedrag Naturpark;
- Moving the reindeers during the spring to Finnmarksvidda; 
- Seal safari;
- Spend the night in a lavvo (Sami tent);
- Stand up Paddleboard;
- The Atlantic Sea Park;
- The Mineralpark (Mineralparken);
- Troll safari in the National Park Reinheimen close to Trollstigen;
- Visit Husky farm and puppy training;
- Whale/ Orca safari.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tromsø - the Midnight sun and Northern lights - a fantastic lifetime adventure

And what about experiencing a fantastic lifetime adventure at Tromsø, witness the Midnight sun or chase the Northern lights?

I was always wondering how would be a trip to Tromsø and experience adventure to its core, meet Sami people, admire reindeers, pure wilderness, fantastic landscapes and maybe once in a lifetime show of colors and lights, a different chance to another perception for all your senses?

Fjellheisen_Aussicht_Bruecke_Kirche.jpg
Tromsø (Photo by Benutzer Fjellheisen)
How would it be to have the chance to observe the midnight sun’s warm glow or chase the Northern lights, meet the Sami people and be a part of their wonderful traditions even for a couple of days, be in the middle of such a magnificent landscape full of fluffy snow and ice like taken from a winter fairy tale, visit the magnificent ice caves, admire polar bears... or feel the frozen air and the warmth breath of sliding dogs, taste from a Sami food delicacy or freshly boiled cup of coffee in front of a small camp fire...

Sami people - how would be to witness for a while the oldest culture from Northern Norway, the Sami people, see them raising and herding reindeers, listening to their Joik song (one of the oldest traditional music in Europe, still kept alive), wearing some of the „Duoddji” knitted jackets or boots, crafted by them with so much creativity following local traditions by eons, and taste from „bidus” (a thick and brown soup made from reindeer boiled meat, carrots and potatoes served by Sami people as delicacy at parties and weddings).

Reindeers - how would be to come across a domesticated or wild reindeer while traveling to Norway, and especially to Northen Norway, see them graze freely in open areas in summer and winter pastures, or on their way to the coast where they spend the whole summer under the Midnight sun, or digging down the fluffy snow searching for lichen in winter?
And what about joining reindeers Spring migration in April, when thousand of them will move from the plain to the coast areas, and find out what the work of a reindeer herder involves, help to move the herd on snowmobiles, prepare food, leave in a Sami lavvo tent, and certainly take stunning photographs?
And if traveling in early summer you may have the chance to see moulting reindeers, the time of the year when „Rudolf” - the Santa Claus’ favorite reindeer will look a little bit ragged. : )

Northern Lights (Photo by Gaute Bruvik)
Northern Lights (Photo by Gaute Bruvik)
Northern lights - a natural and unique phenomena that mesmerizes all of us within the Arctic Circle, from November to the end of March, and when the night passes without going dark... at all sometimes.
Here you’ll have the chance to go in the depths of winter wearing warm arctic proof boots and clothes, take night photographs of the mountains and capture the flickering lights dance over the Arctic sky and scenery, while driving your own dog sled and experience the awesome feeling of being in the middle of nowhere - you and the magical Aurora Borealis!

The midnight sun - another fascinating phenomena in Nordic area, when the sun never sets during summer at North of the Arctic Circle and for few months is visible 24 hours a day.
In this period of time you can experience a magnificent midnight sun either strolling down the streets visiting a variety of shops, eating local tasty fresh seafood and drinking in a cozy cafe, bar or restaurant, and taking a safari or cruise... and nothing compares to that absolutely gorgeous feeling to be on a fishing or cruise boat surrounded by so many sensations offered by the lights dance and colorful show right in front of your eyes... wide open to don’t miss a thing! : )

In Tromsø you can taste appetizing Norwegian seafood, visit the Arctic Cathedral and participate to:
- Cultural events - art exhibitions, library events,
- Sami Arctic Winter Market,
- Sami Week - in 6th of January,
- The Great Bike Festival - Arctic Race of Norway,
- Visit Tromsø Lyngenhorse center.

In Tromsø and Lofoten you can experience amazing outdoor activities:
- a day trip to the island Ørja - for collecting seagulls eggs,
- dogsledding (with Alaskan Huskies),
- hiking,
- kayaking and canoeing,
- lasso throwing,
- Midnight sun trips,
- Northern lights trips,
- Reindeer racing,
- skiing, snowmobile, snowshoeing,
- take a cruise around fjords,
And many other fantastic activities.

Hope that traveling to Norway you’ll put Tromsø on your „must visit” holiday destination list!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Norwegian music and unique festivals to go

Here are few lines and videos about Norwegian music that will make you understand better the local atmosphere and enjoy your traveling experience to Norway, and also a list of fantastic unique festivals to go - if you love entertainment from Monday to Sunday : ) - and combine relaxation with the pleasure of listening some excellent bits of music, either alone or in a good company.

In 19th century, Norway gave outstanding composers like Edvard Grieg and Johan Svendsen that brought symphony music and concerts at high standards and performances, while later on was influenced by international music getting closer to social dancing and entertainment.

Norwegian folk song

Norwegian folk dance

Later, the tendency in Norwegian music was to reveal its roots and express traditional sounds and lyrics being closer to epic folk songs (the medieval ballads), folk music (both instrumental and vocal), Sami music (joik), North Germanic (ballads) and influenced by Viking age, myths and fairy tales, while nowadays we can perceive a rebirth of it in an eclectic way, with a combination of traditional instruments, folk music and modern influences.
  
Sami music

Norwegian music has influences from traditional Norwegian sounds and bit of European touch and vibes.

Modern music - A-HA - famous Norwegian group

Modern music - Ole Paus


While traveling to Norway don't miss the chance to enjoy traditional and contemporary (live) music going to these unique festivals:

- Grieg in Bergen - Bergen - tba,
- Hardanger Music Festival - Ullensvang - in June,
- Ice Music Festival - Geilo - in January/ February,
- Inferno Metal Festival - Oslo - in March/ April,
- Norwegian Wood Festival - Oslo - in June,
- Polar Jazz - Longyearbyen (Svalbard) - in February,
- Riddu Riddu Festival - Kåfjord - in July,
- The Førde Traditional and World Music Festival - Førde - in July,
- Vikingrock - Gudvangen - in July.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Trondheim - definitely on my dream vacation wish list!

I read about Trondheim and seen some random images along the time but nothing compares with the absolutely amazing photos taken by the talented photographer Sven-Erik Knoff - who was so kind and gave me the permission to post his excellent work on my website, and show you all a wonderful novel facade of Norway seen through his eyes and captured by lenses.
Trondheim (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Trondheim (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Trondheim is a splendid city full of history - the city was founded in 997 as a trading post, and was the capital of Norway during the Viking Age until 1217 - and has a marvelous harbour and sheltered conditions (from the strong south and southwesterly winds which can occur along the outer seaboard), and unique aspect offered mainly by its southern shore that lies from Trondheimsfjord till the river Nidelva, where are so pleasantly combined the old architectural styles with the newly modern age designed buildings.
Trondheim (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Trondheim (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
You can admire everything - the scenic fjords, blue shimmer waters, the seagulls flying above the sky - while enjoying an ice cream by the shore and stroll around, breathing the sea air, serve a delicious meal (eventually with a moose fried meat) and take a break for a rich flavored coffee at one of local restaurants or other cozy places.
Trondheim - midnight sun (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Trondheim - midnight sun (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
And if this happens during Midnight sun... and you let your senses fascinated by powerful nature experiences, no doubt you'll feel like awaken to life and sort of sweet metamorphosis from within.
Trondheim harbour (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Trondheim (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Here you can visit a lot of historical sights, museums and art galleries strolling the city by bike or by foot on cobblestone streets, admire a charming mixture of small and colorful timber houses (previously belonging to the working class - laborers, seamen and fishermen - now all restored), a variety of shops and coffee places, or you can experience kayaking or even go fishing for salmon downtown Trondheim.
Trondheim night view (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Trondheim night view (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
The most appealing tourist attractions in Trondheim are: Nidarosdomen Cathedral, Ringve Museum - Norway's national museum of music and musical instruments, Rockheim - Norway's national center for pop and rock music is the newest attraction in Trondheim (opened in 2010), Sverresborg - Trøndelag Folk Museum, The Archbishop's Palace,

Trondheim night view (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Trondheim kayaking by night (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
and the Tyholt Tower restaurant (74 m) gives you an exquisite panorama of the city and its surroundings view.
Tyholt Tower - Trondheim (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Tyholt Tower - Trondheim (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Beyond Trondheim's city center you can take a walk to one of the 2 public parks - Bymarka and Estendstadmarka, a trip along the alluring coastal area or a boat trip to the historical Munkholmen island (a good opportunity to see Trondheim from the sea), take a ferry or catamaran to the Fosen Peninsula, visit the islands of Hitra (and see the fishing farms) and Frøya, or go hiking and skiing in nearby area and on bewitching Trollheimen mountains.
Trondheim winter (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Trondheim winter (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
If you'd like to get some entertainment in this "ancient city with a modern soul" where centuries ago were living Viking raiders and Hanseatic traders, and participate to the latest concerts, shows or festivals in Trondheim - click here - to get the full updated program.
Celebrating New Year in Trondheim (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
New Year in Trondheim (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Now, after seeing these awesome captures, what to do!? Just put Trondheim on my next travel destination vacation wish list! : )

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A colorful journey to Bergen - the capital of fjords

A colorful journey to Bergen

I’ve been to Bergen - one of the most beautiful and colorful cities of Norway - in the same guided tour around Scandinavian countries, in 2012, excellent organized by a professional travel agency from Romania (the one that along the years became my favorite tour operator for its wide range of tourist services and „holidays provider”).

We’ve reached to Bergen - the capital of fjords, surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords - after seeing Sogneford - the longest and deepest fjord from Norway and worldwide - and a captivating trip by train from Flam to Myrdal.
Bergen, Norway
Bergen (Own photo)
Bergen is the second Norwegian city after Oslo, and it is famous for its colorful 2 to 5 story narrow houses made from wood and stones, hosting museums, art galleries and lots of restaurants, most of them aligned along the port.

The center of Bergen is quite picturesque, full of charm and medieval history.
Vågen Harbour, Bergen
Vågen Harbour, Bergen (Own photo)
Here you can take a long walk along the VågenHarbour and see various sides of boats floating peacefully along the channel tempting you to take a cruise around and admire the old buildings - white, red, yellow with withe and green windows, and pointed roofs - get into a cable car and enjoy a panoramic view over the city from the above or jump into a hop-on-hop-off bus for a sightseeing from a top deck seat that will reveal you Bergen from a fantastic angle.

In Bergen you have so many delights and tourist attractions where you can go: Bryggen - the Hanseatic wharf (included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list), Fløibanen Funicular and the Fish Market, Fantoft StaveChurch, manor houses, museums, Aquarium and VilVite Science Center, restaurants and bars, and much more adventure for everyone.
Bergen, Norway
Bergen (Own photo)
Enjoy sightseeing in Bergen - during the day or by night (and relish a real show of lights and colors) - by foot, by buss, taking the funicular or a harbour cruise.

Once your tour around Bergen reaches to the end, the best way to rewind and filter all the information gathered into your mind during that day, is finding a comfortable seat in a local restaurant or tavern, „eat Norwegian” and taste from appetizing seafood variety cooked by professionals or take a light meal and a cup of freshly roasted coffee, a cold beer or a flavored hot tea, relax, feel and observe...

Visit Bergen and you'll feel mesmerized, no matter the season!

Most impressive Norwegian Fjords

If you’ll decide to take a fjord cruise in Norway - and I’m sure it's no doubt about that! : ) - then, expect to find here a wide range of tour packages with flexible programs and activities options that will bring together comfort and breath-taking natural beauty for an unforgettable experience.

And, all you need to do is simply enjoy the incredible scenery, discover the charming local culture and rich variety of adventures, making your holiday an unforgettable voyage that will take you to the top of the world in complete comfort, convenience, leisure and lot of pleasure.
Geiranger fjord, Norway
Geirangerfjord, Norway (Own photo)
It is said that these are the most impressive Norwegian Fjords:
- Aurlandfjord,
- Fjaerlandsfjord,
- Geirangerfjord (UNESCO heritage),
- Naeroyfjord,
- Nordfjord,
- Sognefjord.
Sognefjord (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Sognefjord (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Sognefjord (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
Sognefjord (Photo Sven-Erik Knoff)
The breath taking view from top of the mountain over the fjord is hard to forget...

A list of Norwegian fjords

As you may know, National Geographic Traveler Magazine voted, in 2009, the Fjords of Western Norway the best preserved attraction on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The Norwegian fjords, are offering one of the most enticing yet stunning scenery in the world, with giant clefts and snowcapped mountains in the landscape running from the coast deep into the interior, to calm waters through to lush green hills and small shoreline villages, which can make one almost “touch the surrounding stilling tranquility.

Sognefjord, Norway (Own photo)
Sognefjord, Norway (Own photo)

Norway has about 1200 fjords, and here below are enclosed the most of them:

Name of fjord
Length (km/mi)
County
4 km (2.5 mi)
12 km (7.5 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
11 km (6.8 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
32 km (20 mi)
57 km (35 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
28 km (17 mi)
26 km (16 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
14 km (8.7 mi)
32 km (20 mi)
94 km (58 mi)
5 km (3.1 mi)
17 km (11 mi)
14 km (8.7 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
22 km (14 mi)
31 km (19 mi)
17 km (11 mi)
40 km (25 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
35 km (22 mi)
26 km (16 mi)
6 km (3.7 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
18 km (11 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
16 km (9.9 mi)
4 km (2.5 mi)
8.5 km (5.3 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
14 km (8.7 mi)
11 km (6.8 mi)
18 km (11 mi)
18 km (11 mi)
75 km (47 mi)
6.5 km (4.0 mi)
3 km (1.9 mi)
14 km (8.7 mi)
14 km (8.7 mi)
12 km (7.5 mi)
25 km (16 mi)
12 km (7.5 mi)
2 km (1.2 mi)
36 km (22 mi)
15 km (9.3 mi)
6 km (3.7 mi)
32 km (20 mi)
15 km (9.3 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
5.5 km (3.4 mi)
11 km (6.8 mi)
16 km (9.9 mi)
35 km (22 mi)
2 km (1.2 mi)
40 km (25 mi)
15 km (9.3 mi)
9 km (5.6 mi)
179 km (111 mi)
29 km (18 mi)
25 km (16 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
38 km (24 mi)
8 km (5.0 mi)
13 km (8.1 mi)
46 km (29 mi)
35 km (22 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
4 km (2.5 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
23 km (14 mi)
8 km (5.0 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
17 km (11 mi)
12 km (7.5 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
3.5 km (2.2 mi)
6.5 km (4.0 mi)
107 km (66 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
24 km (15 mi)
2.5 km (1.6 mi)
16 km (9.9 mi)
16 km (9.9 mi)
3 km (1.9 mi)
7 km (4.3 mi)
3.5 km (2.2 mi)
26 km (16 mi)
9 km (5.6 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
5 km (3.1 mi)
22 km (14 mi)
9 km (5.6 mi)
117 km (73 mi)
8 km (5.0 mi)
8 km (5.0 mi)
72 km (45 mi)
6 km (3.7 mi)
35 km (22 mi)
16 km (9.9 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
2 km (1.2 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
35 km (22 mi)
40 km (25 mi)
121 km (75 mi)
3 km (1.9 mi)
42 km (26 mi)
8 km (5.0 mi)
60 km (37 mi)
12 km (7.5 mi)
8 km (5.0 mi)
32 km (20 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
5.5 km (3.4 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
35 km (22 mi)
17 km (11 mi)
16 km (9.9 mi)
1.5 km (0.93 mi)
7 km (4.3 mi)
106 km (66 mi)
4 km (2.5 mi)
18 km (11 mi)
78 km (48 mi)
5.5 km (3.4 mi)
17 km (11 mi)
5 km (3.1 mi)
12 km (7.5 mi)
100 km (62 mi)
27 km (17 mi)
123 km (76 mi)
3.5 km (2.2 mi)
68 km (42 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
7 km (4.3 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
40 km (25 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
88 km (55 mi)
13 km (8.1 mi)
29 km (18 mi)
4 km (2.5 mi)
9 km (5.6 mi)
9 km (5.6 mi)
25 km (16 mi)
15 km (9.3 mi)
16 km (9.9 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
26 km (16 mi)
32 km (20 mi)
15 km (9.3 mi)
24 km (15 mi)
15 km (9.3 mi)
3 km (1.9 mi)
14 km (8.7 mi)
205 km (127 mi)
27 km (17 mi)
18 km (11 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
110 km (68 mi)
132 km (82 mi)
17 km (11 mi)
9 km (5.6 mi)
17 km (11 mi)
25 km (16 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
10 km (6.2 mi)
4.5 km (2.8 mi)
40 km (25 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
4 km (2.5 mi)
12 km (7.5 mi)
13 km (8.1 mi)
70 km (43 mi)
15 km (9.3 mi)
54 km (34 mi)
17 km (11 mi)
45 km (28 mi)
9 km (5.6 mi)
11 km (6.8 mi)
12 km (7.5 mi)
2 km (1.2 mi)
130 km (81 mi)
4 km (2.5 mi)
25 km (16 mi)
59 km (37 mi)
4 km (2.5 mi)
5.5 km (3.4 mi)
110 km (68 mi)
8 km (5.0 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
83 km (52 mi)
30 km (19 mi)
100 km (62 mi)
20 km (12 mi)
5 km (3.1 mi)
51 km (32 mi)
22 km (14 mi)
31 km (19 mi)
155 km (96 mi)
155 km (96 mi)
6 km (3.7 mi)
18 km (11 mi)
53 km (33 mi)
18 km (11 mi)
15 km (9.3 mi)
46 km (29 mi)
108 km (67 mi)
64 km (40 mi)
12 km (7.5 mi)
67 km (42 mi)
23 km (14 mi)
24 km (15 mi)
6 km (3.7 mi)
67 km (42 mi)
4 km (2.5 mi)
16 km (9.9 mi)

Info source: Wikipedia