Sunday, 31 July 2016

Five Tourist Impressions about Norway

These are not proper trip reviews, but a collection of impressions, insights, and emotions shared by five different people who visited Norway. 

Five Tourist Impressions about Norway

NATURE IS THE MAIN TREASURE OF NORWAY 

Norway is a kingdom with many big and small creeks shooting in the land – fjords. The nature here is astonishingly beautiful. We were in the country in May, but the snow still covered the mountains, and waterfalls were heard from afar. Unfortunately, photos cannot translate the beauty of emerald water, strong character and traditions of reticent but very decent and thoughtful Norwegians, coziness of villages and the taste of various dishes made of fish. 

Five Tourist Impressions about Norway

I cannot say that fish is cheap in Norway, but it is really fresh and very tasty. I was surprised that you may pay with a credit card at the market. 

The Norwegians really care about their houses. Their homes are clean and neat, it feels like a competition: whose house is better and the garden more groomed. 

If you like alcohol, your habit will cost you too much in Norway. Sunbathing is also not a valid option there. The climate is quite severe. The level of living (including salaries and prices) is high. 

I think it is worth going to Norway in search of new experience. 

A FAIRY-TALE WITH UNFORGETTABLE LANDSCAPES AND FANTASTIC PRICES 

I was so impressed by stories and TV-broadcasts that planned my trip to Norway for two years. To my mind, the list of must-see sights should include Vigeland’s Park, Oslo rådhus, a trip to fjords and waterfalls, a drive through tunnels and, if possible, Bergen

Five Tourist Impressions about Norway

Everything there is thought-out well: roads, transport, hotel conditions, public places. In the same time, they manage to keep everything simple, without excessive luxury. Public toilets are really clean. And it is totally normal to drink tap water. 

Food and souvenirs cost really much though. Comparing to this, entrance tickets to museums and excursions seemed really affordable! 

I was enchanted by the beauty of the Sognefjord. We got there by the Flåm Railway. I experienced a journey on a 13-floor ferry. It was like a town on water with various attractions like duty-free shops, clubs, cafes, restaurants, sauna etc. 

The reasons to visit this country are numerous: the fantastic nature, the legends, the high quality of life – but not shopping. The goods, though of very good quality, are imported mainly from China, and prices are high as well. 

Come to Norway to change your perception and feel tranquility and peace deep inside. 

FISH 

Five Tourist Impressions about Norway

It seems that the air there is absolutely transparent. You feel strange when you swim in an ocean liner through the water corridor, and next to you rise a mountain wall 800 meters high – and goes vertically down. And inside this majestic beauty floats our tiny ship. As there are many waterfalls in Norway, their clear spring water runs down the cliffs everywhere – and it is fantastically beautiful as well. 

Five Tourist Impressions about Norway

The freshest fish in the world is here in Norway as well. At the local markets fish is stored in small refrigerators and can stay fresh for several days. 

THE COUNTRY YOU WANT TO VISIT AGAIN AND AGAIN 

It is a wonderful country that you wish to visit again and again. Last year I went to Norway for the first time, and returned immensely pleased! I was especially stunned by Sognefjord. Aside from waterfalls, seas and rivers, there are unspeakably beautiful fjords – narrow and deep inlets with steep and beautiful shores. They were created because of the movement of tectonic plates, or maybe by the drifting glaciers. The Sognefjord is the largest fjord in Norway, its lengths is 204 km, the basin area exceeds 12 thousand and depth is 1300 meters! 

Five Tourist Impressions about Norway

We also admired the Geirangerfjord. The word “Geiranger” is derived from the words in old-Norwegian “geir” which means an arrow head and “anger” – fjord. The height of the shores of the Nærøyfjord is up to 1700 meters. 

In conclusion, everyone should visit this place. It is unbelievable! 

BREATHTAKING BEAUTY 

Although I have a pretty good travel experience, I nevertheless expected that Norway will astonish us with its beauty. And our expectations were exceeded! Now I can state with confidence that Norway is legitimately considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world. You may endlessly describe the beauty of its fjords, lakes and waterfalls, but only personal acquaintance with the country will convince you that its natural beauty will not leave any person indifferent! 

Five Tourist Impressions about Norway

Our first trip to Norway did not include cities, we decided to focus on fjords, waterfalls and glaciers. Me and my husband thought out a route and rented a car. Norway is insanely expensive, and we made up our minds to stop at campings that we booked and paid in advance. A night at a hotel starts from 100 EUR – and it is expensive if we take into account money for a car rental, gas and, of course, food. Campings where we stopped had a shower with hot water, an equipped kitchen, Wi-Fi. The shower cost roughly 1,5-2 EUR for 5 minutes. The bed linen is usually not included in campings, and we took our own with us. 

Food prices were high – a loaf of bread cost 4 EUR, a pack of two raw middle-sized pork steaks – 30 EUR etc. 

Despite the prices, it is really worth saving money on some material comforts and going to Norway. I recommend it! 


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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Best Places for Cross-Country Skiing in Norway

Norway offers multiple high quality and free of charge skiing runs. Below there is the list of the most popular places for cross-country skiing. 

Best Places for Cross-Country Skiing in Norway

FINNMARKSVIDDA 

Finnmarksvidda is Norway's largest plateau that will take you through the unspoiled nature of Arctic. Up and down tundra is impressive and gives the feeling of endlessness. If you are lucky, you may enjoy the northern lights. 

JOTUNHEIMEN 

Jotunheimen covers the area of 3.500 sq. km. You may spend there several days skiing from one tourist house to another. Moreover, it offers great skiing opportunities even in spring and summer!

Best Places for Cross-Country Skiing in Norway

 Amazing starting points are the small towns of Beitostølen and Vågå. If you prefer skiing high in the mountains, it is worth trying the route from Hindseter to the Nautgardstind peak (2258 meters above the sea level). 

OSLO 

Oslo is the capital of winter sport. Here, apart from skiing you will find multiple in-town attractions on the fresh air. This 30-km city offers more than 2000 km of wonderful skiing runs! 

PEER GYNT LØYPE (THE PER GYNT TRAIL) 

North-west of the Olympic town of Lillehammer is the 100 km Peer Gynt Løype. The ski trail is entirely prepared and goes from the Espedalsvatn fjord through a landscape of distant horizons, birch tree woodland, Norwegian farmsteads, and frozen lakes. 

Best Places for Cross-Country Skiing in Norway

The local mountains offer ideal cross-country skiing terrain. The stable inland climate ensures good snow conditions throughout winter. Most of the route sits at around 1000 meter running through beautiful varied terrain. It is a wonderful option for families who want to ski on a difficult but in the same time enjoyable skiing run. 

RAULAND 

You will find there many cross-country skiing runs: 150 km of tracks that go through the mountains and the forest. As well as 14 km of illuminated runs for skiing in the night-time. 

TROLLØYPA (THE TRAIL OF TROLLS) 

The “trail” is a marked skiing run of 120 km length. It goes through the untouched nature from Høvringen and Rondane in the north via Ringebufjellet to Lillehammer in the south. 

Best Places for Cross-Country Skiing in Norway

The track is diverse, part of it is located high in the mountains. Usually it opens on February 1st and closes on the last day of Easter. 

OTHER SKI RESORTS 

Cross-country skiing runs can be found practically in every Norwegian ski resort, for example in Geilo, Trysil, Hasedal, Kvitfjell and Hafjell where you can have a great time skiing or try many other amusing winter activities! 


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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Norway’s Trolltunga

The long history of Norway finds a place for mighty Vikings, Scandinavian gods and legendary trolls. The country’s landscape features the severity of snow-covered peaks, mystery of pathless wildwoods, and enchantment of lucid lakes. 

Norway’s Trolltunga

One of the current most visited places in the country became popular not so long ago. A small rock came off majestic Skjeggedal mountain and, despite the gravity, managed to hold at the height of 350 meters practically vertical to the cliff. 

The new rock needed to be named, and attentive Norwegians noticed its similarity with a big stone tongue. Who can possess such a tongue? Of course, a troll! According to a legend, if trolls do not make it to hide in the rocks before the dawn, they turn into stones forever. 

Norway’s Trolltunga

It is hard to say whether these creatures have anything to do with the natural deformation of the rock, but the number of tourists who want to see this unique attraction is growing exponentially every year! 

HOW TO GET THERE 

Famous Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue) is just 10 km from a small town of Odda in Hordaland county. The most convenient way to get there is by car. There is a free of charge parking at the beginning of the hiking trail. 

The further travel to Trolltiunga will demand some physical training and a bit of patience. The funicular that used to take the tourists closer to the rocck, does not work from 2010. You will have to make the whole route to the final target on foot. 


However, if you plan your trip from June to October, the hike should not be that difficult. In winter, there is a risk to get lost in high snowbanks. Walking to Trolltunga you may enjoy the local landscapes, fresh air, as well as stop at several deep mountain lakes. These lakes are called “trolls’ cauldrons”. 

The whole journey takes around 5 hours and 12 km. You will refresh your forces after admiring the magnificent view to mountain ridges from the destination point. 

UNFORGETTABLE LANDSCAPE 

Trolltunga hangs out over the lake Ringedalsvatnet, surrounded by impressive rocks. From here, you will see green cliffs and snow-covered peaks. The view is breathtaking, and some tourists may spend hours enjoying the Norwegian nature. That is the reason to start your journey early in the morning, so that you will be able to return before it gets dark. 

Norway’s Trolltunga

On the other hand, you may bring a tent with you and sleep right in the mountains. 


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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Did you know about Norway…

A bunch of unexpected facts about the land of midnight sun.

Did you know about Norway

Did you know that the word “Norway” literally means “the way to the North”? 

Did you know that thousands and thousands of years ago the country was fully covered with ice? 

Did you know that thanks to the Gulf Stream the sea that washes the northern shores of Norway, above the Polar Circle, does not freeze even in winter? And in summer, the temperature in the area rises above 20 degrees Celsius. 

Did you know that the coldest month in Norway is March, with snowfalls and ice-slick, and in December, you may find roses still in blossom at some places? 

Did you know about Norway

Did you know that Norway is the largest exporter of… ostriches? 

Did you know that at weddings the Norwegians give cows beer to drink? The tradition is that everybody should be drunk at the fest and moo something jolly for the bride and the groom. Even cows are no exception! 

Did you know that as Norway consists mainly of mountains and rivers, plain is one of the cheapest way of travelling inside the country? But not the fastest one. For example, the flight from Stavanger to Trondheim that normally should take about 1.5 hours may last about 5 hours because of numerous stops to let passengers in and out on the way. 

Did you know about Norway

Did you know that when you travel by car high in the mountainous roads, and it feels like you are lost and forgotten by everyone, you would often find an equipped parking or an information point? 

Did you know that despite the previous statement, there is a real trouble with cleaning the roads from snow in winter? 


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Monday, 18 July 2016

Car Rental in Norway: Hints and Tips

Renting a car and driving along picturesque routes is a great way to discover Norway. Note that summer offers more opportunities, as in winter some mountain roads are closed, as well as some campings and hotels. 

Car Rental in Norway: Hints and Tips

RENT A CAR 

“Car rental” in Norwegian means leie en bil. It is better to choose round routes, because if you pick up a car in one town and drop off in another, it will be more expensive because of the “one way extra charge”. 

If you want to visit Norway in winter, mind that some roads will be closed from November until May. Some roads may be closed because of bad weather conditions as well. 

Car Rental in Norway: Hints and Tips

The telephone of a twenty-four-hour road service is 175 

NECESSARY DOCUMENTS 

In order to rent a car in Norway, you will need an international driving license, a paid insurance and a credit card. The driver should be older than 19 years with driving experience longer than one year. For some types of vehicles, the demanded driver’s age should start from 25 years. 

THE PRICE 

The rental price usually includes unlimited mileage and insurance. For a supplementary payment you may order a booster chair, a GPS-navigator, or higher insurance coverage. 

Be ready that 100 euros from your credit card will be blocked as a deposit. 

GAS AND GAS STATIONS 

Car Rental in Norway: Hints and Tips

Leaded gasoline is prohibited in Norway. Gas stations offer only diesel or lead-free gasoline 98 and 95. Price difference can be considerable within the country – as well as the mileage from one gas station to another. 

TRAFFIC REGULATIONS 

Dimmed headlights should be always on while driving. All passengers should fasten the belts. The driver should not speak on the phone. 

Car Rental in Norway: Hints and Tips

The speed limit at home zones is 30 km per hours, in towns – 50 km per hour, at speedways – 80-90 km per hour, and at highways – 90-100 km per hours. It is necessary to follow the speed limit not only because the fines are high. Any time a wild animal may run from the forest to the road. 

Toll roads are quite widespread in Norway. The price varies from 10 to 20 NOK. The entrance in some towns is paid as well. 

PARKING RULES

If you plan to leave your car for more than three hours, do not park it in the street, go to a public parking. Parkings are fee-based on weekdays. Usually, the further they are from the center, the cheaper they become. There are also parkings outside of towns. You may leave your car there and use public transport to travel in the town. 


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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Folgefonna National Park

Folgefonna is a 545.2-square-km national park in Hordaland Сounty. The park is located on the Folgefonna peninsula, which, with its fjords, mountains, rivers and lakes, is a popular touristic site. The Park was opened by Queen Sonja on May 14th 2005. 

Folgefonna National Park
 
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Folgefonna offers multiple opportunities for active pastime. You will find there ancient routes and mountain roads, as well as modern hiking trails. There are four tourist huts on the territory of the National Park, they are open for everyone all year round. 

Folgefonna National Park

Folgefonna is famous for its spring ski resorts; however, you can ski there whole year round. The route Sunndal – Keiserstien – Fonnabu is especially popular among skiers and hikers. 

RIVERS

The Park is rich in rivers – all are twisted and fast, abundant with salmon and trout. The Eneselva River is especially picturesque, and is popular among kayakers. However, many parts of it are still wild and untouched. 

GLACIERS

Famous Folgefonna’s glaciers cover most of the National Park. You may even have a guided tour and explore deep glacial fissures, or enjoy a walk on the vast icy expanse above while peering down at the fjord and toward distant ocean. 

Folgefonna National Park

Buerbreen glacier flows down the valley toward the Buer glacier. As the ice breaks up, it forms a labyrinth of crevasses and ice-towers. 

Møsevassbreen glacier is a magnificent icefall that drops directly into Møsevatnet Lake at the southern end of Folgefonna. It is a most impressive and relatively young icefall. The lake offers kayaking amongst icebergs! 

The Juklavassbreen glacier takes you through deep ice valleys and between tall jagged ice towers. 

Folgefonna National Park

The glaciers used to cover the major part of Folgefonna during the last Ice Age. However, it is a mistake to consider that the contemporary glaciers are the remnants of those period. There are many evidence that Folgefonna fully defroze in the Stone Age, about 8,000 years ago, and new glaciers appeared because of the change of climate. 

FLORA 

In the major part of the mountainous area, flora is relatively scarce because of acid rocks and a short vegetation period. Still, you may find rush, dwarf willow, sedge and cotton grass. 

Cliffs are covered with saxifrage, moss campion, and bartsia. In the forest area, grows large and majestic gentian, usually missed by tourists. 

Folgefonna National Park

In the western part of Folgefonna and lower in the valleys, the humidity level is high. There you may see digitalis, heather, wood rush and several kinds of fern. 

FAUNA 

Folgefonna National Park

High in the mountains lives ptarmigan whose areal makes golden eagles build their nests closer to glaciers. The most widespread bird in the area above the forest is meadow pipit. The forests of Folgefonna are home for wild deer, black grouse and white-backed woodpecker. 

THE BARONY IN ROSENDAL 

Folgefonna National Park

The manor is situated right in front of the National Park. It was built in the 17th century and transferred to the state in the 1920s. It is the only Barony in Norway. The smallest "palace" in Scandinavia is surrounded by a luxurious rose garden and is one of the most popular places in Norway. 


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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Twelve Interesting Facts about Norway

Norway is beautiful. It is an indisputable fact. Another indisputable fact is that this country is immensely intriguing. Twelve impressions from a recent tourist. 

Twelve Interesting Facts about Norway

1. Vast territories. Houses are located significantly far away from each other. Fishing villages may consist only of two dozen settlements stretched for a couple of kilometers. 

2. Emptiness. People go to bed early – at 8-9 pm the streets become practically empty. On Sundays, everything is closed and the locals travel to the suburbs. And there are no fences around the lots. 

Twelve Interesting Facts about Norway

3. Houses. The Norwegians like to make the interior of their houses comfortable and cozy. Inside and outside the house you can see many cute ornaments, statuettes, figurines. Maybe it can be explained by the cold weather that makes the locals spend more time inside. 

4. Bikes are extremely popular. But besides going by bike to a neighbor village or in travels, people use old bikes as a decoration element. You may often see an old bike standing next to the house, decorated with flower pots. 

5. Flowers. Flowers are everywhere, abundant and extremely beautiful. Both, in town and villages – and in the nature. 

Twelve Interesting Facts about Norway

6. Motorhomes. Motorhomes are popular; the travelers are usually elderly couples with pets. 

7. Troll-like rocks. When you cycle through those rocks, it feels as you are in a fairy-tale. The fog is low and makes the atmosphere more mysterious. The stones resemble troll figures. And it seems that someone is looking. 

8. Black horses and white sheep. The locals told us that sheep are white, fluffy and cute only if they pasture high in the mountains. Those who are at the bottom of a mountain look pretty ordinary. 

Twelve Interesting Facts about Norway

9. No currency exchange! At all. Nowhere. In 98 per cent of cases, you may pay with a credit card. In the rest 2 per cent – with Norwegian crones. It was weird and unpleasant to walk with euros, unable to purchase anything. 

10. Freeze resistance. The Norwegians are truly freeze-resistant. Once we were riding our bikes in a storm, it was truly pouring. We could only spin the pedals, because when you go your wet clothes is not at least that cold. In the same time the locals were walking their dogs. One family with little kids was getting into a boat to fish a little. The other day when it finally stopped raining and the temperature rose to +15 degrees Celsius, we took off our sweaters. The Norwegians were cycling in swimwear! 

Twelve Interesting Facts about Norway

11. Many hills. First, you ride one kilometer up, cursing everything, and then happily rush at the speed of 70 km per hour! The same with the bridges. 

12. Wood. Everything is made of wood: houses, buildings, industrial constructions, shops, shipyards, even power plants! 


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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Norway: Fishing Heaven

Soft climate and numerous various water reservoirs make Norway attractive for fishermen and fisherwomen from the whole world. Here you may find everything from freshwater fishing to sea-safari the whole year round! 

Norway: Fishing Heaven

 Norway hosts whole museums, exhibitions and festivals dedicated to this type of leisure. It is not surprising: the trophies are sometimes of enormous size, and fishing is an old and favorite occupation for the Norwegians. 

In the Lofoten islands, you may find the Espolin Gallery – a picture gallery that exhibits the works of Kaare Espolin Johnson dedicated to the life and destiny of coastal peoples. In Savolinna, there is the Provincial Museum that concentrates on the history of South Savo and particularly on preserving, studying and presenting the history of sailing on Lake Saimaa. 

SEA FISHING 

Multiple fjords and variety of the Norwegian coastline allow fishers to try all kinds of fishing, enjoy the variety of species and even participate in a competition. 

Norway: Fishing Heaven

Sea waters offer codfish, haddock and lancet fish, as well as typically Norwegian species like sable fish and coal fish. 

Hunting Codfish… 

For those who prefer sea fishing, cod becomes the main catch. You may find this fish in numerous bays and along the coastline. Usually people look for it in the northern part of Norway. Every year, starting in February, all trout-hunters come forward to the Lofoten islands, where trout shoals of several-thousand fishes come for spawning. 

Norway: Fishing Heaven

The grandiose fishing ends with a traditional championship. And in winter the Lofotens smell fish as trout is drying along the coastline. 

…and Halibut

Halibut is the most compelling representative of flatfish and a dream of all fishermen and fisherwomen. Hunting it is a real adventure. You may find halibut practically anywhere in Norway, but catching it is not easy at all. Sometimes the weight of a fish may equal 180 kg! 

Norway: Fishing Heaven

The best season for fishing halibut is from April until December. 

FRESHWATER FISHING 

For those who prefer freshwater fishing, Norway offers a vast net of lakes and streams covering almost the whole territory of the country. Here you may find trout and salmon, as well as white fish, grayling and Arctic char. 

Trout and Salmon 

Trout is a real gem of freshwater Norwegian lakes. The fishing season lasts from April to May, and from September to October. 

Norway: Fishing Heaven

In the central and northern parts of the country, you may fish salmon. As soon as the snow melts, lakes become abundant with this fish. The fishing season lasts until the beginning of September. 

Usually fishermen and fisherwomen manage to catch really big exemplars, 11 kg average. The weight of the largest trophies may go up to 18 kg. 


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