One of the places I was absolutely most excited to go during my Europe trip was Norway. Not only am I obsessed with lefse and green mountains, but I have Norwegian heritage, and I just really couldn’t wait to visit the motherland and meet my kin!! And guys. It was #perfect #worthit #thebestnorwegianexperienceever #hashtag. It was four hashtags amazing, and I had some of my greatest times there, and when can I go back?!?!
I started my Norwegian adventure in Oslo, where I saw viking ships and so many naked people!! (And by people I mean statues). I stayed with a man from China who had lived in Norway for years, and he gave me some of the best recommendations and was the nicest ever! I spent my nights before dinner eating chocolate, drinking tea, and sitting in his kitchen talking about the world with him. After dinner, I would walk around Oslo until late hours of the night, because it’s ALWAYS sunset there after 9 PM. I found some amazing coffee shops with beautiful blonde baristas and even found a secret lake where the metro ends.
After Oslo, I got on an eight hour train ride through the Norwegian mountains to Bergen, and it was absolutely, hands-down, the best train ride I took in all of Europe. The rail slowly climbed through the tippiest-toppiest point of Norway, through a field of white and blue even in the middle of July. In the more hospitable parts of Norway, I looked down upon rows of tiny, brown cottages with white trimmings, rainbow flower gardens, and older couples sitting on their porch enjoying wine and snacks. I snuggled in my seat with a cup of milky, black tea from the snack carriage and stared in awe for the entire journey. I think it may have been one of the best parts of Norway.
When I arrived in Bergen, the magic ended momentarily when I got caught in the biggest rain storm in my life, dragging my suitcase through puddles while trying to find my airbnb. And although my suitcase never dried the entire time I was there, I had a blow dryer to fix my hair, changed into a new dress, and met up with my airbnb host at a tiki bar with his friends, where we drank the sugariest drinks of my life and danced and danced and danced. It was one of the times that I felt most welcome, and I will always cherish the experience of being taken in my a group of strangers in Bergen. After the tiki bar, we met with all the other Bergen locals at the kebab shop down the street and sleepily leaned against the doorjambs while we waited for our takeout. Upon arriving home at 3 a.m., I cozied up in my jammies, drank a pot of tea, and ate while chatting with my new friends. Maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe Bergen is just a secret hub of amazing Middle Eastern food, but I think it was the best kebab of my life.
- The Kasbah – a super cool Mediterranean restaurant & cafe with a boho vibe in a locals’ area of Oslo. This place has lots of seating, some great hummus, and a yummy chicken pita!
- Supreme Roastworks – A lovely coffeeshop with an even lovlier barista walking distance from The Kasbah. I went twice, and I highly recommend their pour overs ♥
- Sognsvann – the secret locals’ lake that is literally at the end of the metro. Get off at the metro stop with the same name, and enjoy a serene walk around the lake right outside of the city! Also, don’t forget to bring a picnic, because it’s the perfect spot.
- Vigelands / Frogner Park – For a free, outdoor art experience, stop by Frogner Park and see hundreds of naked people statues. The gardens are breathtaking, and honestly I just can’t believe this whole art gallery is in the middle of a park!
- Oslo Opera House – the perfect, and I mean perfect, place to sit with a bottle of wine to watch a sunset. I ate one too many chocolate-covered marzipan bars here while walking along the opera house roof and watching a pink and purple sky.
- Bygdøy – take a ferry to this island to see all the museums including the Viking Ship Museum which I can’t recommend enough!!
- Fuglen – an adorable coffeehouse with a name that translates to ‘the bird’.
- National Gallery – a museum full of Monet, Degas, Picasso, and Munche! I saw some of my favorite art pieces (I loooove Degas!) and then I went for more coffee at Supreme Coffeeworks.
- Selam – a really delicious Ethiopian restaurant recommended by my airbnb. It’s barely advertised, hardly noticeable, but has a beautiful inside and delicious sega tibs!
- Kaffemisjonen – my favorite coffee place in Norway, this is about a minute away from Selam. The baristas are so knowledgeable, and the atmosphere is relaxing on a misty day.
- Mount Fløyen – take a fernicular up the mountain for a pano view of the city. Also, there is a music note fence up there, and it’s so cooooool!!!
- Walking around town – it sounds silly to add this as a favorite ‘thing to do’, but this was one of the coolest experiences in Bergen! I found some really adorable bakeries, great thrift shops, walked by the zoo, and got to see some adorable houses.
- Fish market – ok, ugh. I couldn’t do this. I had to walk through it multiple times to get to Bryggen, and I gagged the whole time. But if you like eating fish and whales and reindeer, I guess go here and live your best life. On the positive side, the market vibe was wonderful!
- Bryggen – old town Bergen with the best art shops, sweater stores, and restaurants! 10/10 recommend.
- Naboen – a really wonderful restaurant with delicious steak + potatoes + beer. It’s a more upscale place, and I had a lovely romantic solo dinner.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: It’s Always You by She & Him