the beginning of the 90's, I applied for a job as European air-traffic controller
with Eurocontrol. I was invited for a selection in Hamburg, Germany. This
selection was not very successful for me. I could leave on the second day due to
a negative recommendation. I was not the only one who could leave after two days
of testing. Among them was Berit Averstad from Norway.
We got in contact and decided to use this opportunity to spend our last night in
Hamburg together. We had a nice evening and a friendship started that lasts
the summer of 1997 Berit spent her holiday in The Netherlands. During the summer
of 1998 I traveled to Norway. While I was in Norway, Berit also
celebrated her birthday. She reached the age of 25 years. After the celebration
of her birthday, we left for a trip around Norway with her new car. This turned out
to be an experience someone never forgets in his life. I will try to give a
report on this unforgettable vacation. It takes a while to read the report, but
it's really worth the time. Especially when you are planning a trip to Norway.
July the 30th 1998 I flew with KLM to Oslo. At the end of the afternoon I
landed on Fornebu-airport in Oslo. Berit picked me up there and we drove to a
village called Kløfta. Kløfta can be found on the map 30 kilometers north-east
of Oslo. The parents of Berit live in Kløfta and run a farm.
At home I got a warm reception by her parents and Berit's two sisters. I was
invited to join a Norwegian dinner they prepared for me. It was a stew
of elk meat. This kind of meat was completely new to me. But it tasted very well,
especially with the nice glass of red wine. I can recommend elk meat to everyone.
the first night at the farm, I had to get used to the silence. Being a city boy,
I was not used to complete silence. Also the sound of mooing cows in the
morning was strange to me. But I got used to it very quickly. And waking up in
Kløfta was not a punishment at all. When I opened my curtains I had a wonderful
view. After a nice breakfast with fresh milk from the cow, I was ready to face the new day.
The first day in Kløfta, we hadn't planned to much. The next day was Berit's
25th birthday and was planned to be celebrated big. So a lot of preparations had
to be done for the party.
On August the 2nd the party started. A lot of family and friends were
invited. The living room was changed to a big dinner room and in the kitchen a big
meal was prepared. When the evening started everybody arrived and could join the
I was happy that almost every Norwegian is able to talk English. Because the Norwegian
language is hard to understand. Although it can be learned quite
the meal everybody thanked Berit's parents for the banquet. They worked hard to
make this banquet a success. After the meal they left the house to get their
deserved rest and to 'flee' the coming party. The house was used to party all
night until sun would rise again.
During this party I learned about a good Norwegian habit, drinking alcohol and
have a lot of fun. Luckily the neighbors of the farm live quite a long distance
away. The neighbors didn't suffer from the party noises.
the 4th it was time to discover Norway by car.
We had an appointment with friends of Berit (Edvard, Paul and Edvard's
girlfriend) in Oslo to
drive to Bergen from their. Edvard and his girlfriend live in Bergen. They decided
to travel on a nice route, which I can recommend to everybody who wants to
travel from Oslo to Bergen. Coming from Oslo one can take the E16 to the north.
Near Hønefoss you can take the RV7 in the direction of Gol. This route takes
you through the wonderful Hallingdal along the Krøderenlake. Here you
experience the first time the beautiful nature and landscape of Norway. After Gol
you travel on the RV7 to Geilo. This a favorite village to go skiing. Geilo can
be found near to the Hardangervidda. This is a plateau looking like a tundra landscape. The Hardangervidda is a national park and is positioned south
of the RV7. I recommend you to wear a sweater. Although it is summer, the
temperature feels like it's winter.
leaving Geilo we traveled on the RV7 to the west coast. On the way we passed a
big storage lake. This lakes provide the Norwegians on their electricity. Near Maurset
we reached the highest point on the plateau. This is marked by a statue of a big
Troll. We got out of the car near the Troll and had a nice view on the Hardanger
Jøkulen. This is a big glacier. After we threw some snowballs, we traveled on
through the Måbødalen to Vøringsfossen. This is a large waterfall. The
water falls down 182 meters into the Måbødalen. An attraction which you
shouldn't miss. After Måbødalen I saw the first time a fjord in front of me, the Eidfjord.
This is a side fjord of the famous Hardangerfjord. Somewhere near Brimnes we took
a ferry to cross the Eidfjord. After the cross we traveled on westerly to Bergen.
On the way we got out of the car once more to see the Steindalsfossen.
Another special waterfall, because you can walk behind the waterfall.
it started to get dark and late we traveled to Bergen without any rest. In fact
one can't see anything in Norway once it's dark. Because it's really dark in
Norway after the sun is taking a rest. By the way, before I forget it.... it's
nice to look for all the salmon-breeding grounds one can see often in the fjords.
I haven't been able to visit one, so I can't tell anything about it. But you can
recognize them on the big round basins in the fjords.
next day Edvard's girlfriend had to work again. Together with Berit, Edvard and
Paul we went to see Bergen. It rained in Bergen, as it does almost 365 days a
year. This is because of the position of the town. Bergen is surrounded by high
mountains... so the rain clouds are driven against the mountains. So bring an
umbrella while you visit Bergen. In Bergen a lot of things can be seen. First
you can visit the local fish market. It's next to the harbor of Bergen. All the
kinds of fish and the smell makes you really hungry. I also noticed that you can
buy parts of whale-meat. Well I like to eat new things but this meat I
the fish market you can find Bryggen. This is an ancient part of Bergen where in the
early days German merchants lived and worked. They told me that they called it
in the past Tyskerbrygge (=Germans quay). A part of this quarter was
unfortunately burned down in the past. But luckily a lot of the old Hanze-houses
were still intact. The houses which were burned down were rebuilt authentically.
You can recognize the rebuilt houses quite easily. The new ones are straight as
In Bryggen you have to visit the bakery 'Baker Brun'. You can buy some very
special pies called Skillingsboller. These are spiced little breads with a size
of a little dish. Especially the boller spiced with cinnamon and sugar are very
nice. A local treat you don't want to miss.
After visiting Bryggen we took Fløybanen to the top of the mountain Fløyen.
This is a steep cable-railway, which connects the center of Bergen with the part
of Bergen build on the mountain Fløyen. On top you have a fantastic view on
Bergen, the harbor and the little islands near the coast. If the weather is
having a good mood of course. Otherwise you will see nothing but clouds. but you
have to know that the weather is changing very rapidly in Bergen. At one moment
it's clouded and the next moment the sun is shining.
a walk in the inner-city of Bergen we shopped and went home. We were treated
by a homemade pizza made by Berit. This pizza tasted very well together with the
Norwegian beer. In the evening we stayed at home. We drank some alcohol, had fun
and we listened to a CD of the Norwegian pop group called Postgirobygget. Even
though I didn't understand a word of the lyrics, I liked the music a lot. I
bought myself a copy of the CD and I am still trying to find out what these guys
are singing about.
next day we planned drive on to another place in Norway. We had an appointment
with the aunt and uncle of Berit. Before going there Edvard wanted to show us
the house of the famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Along the way to this
house we passed the Fantoft Stavkirke. This church can be found 6 kilometers out
of Bergen nearby RV1. In 1992 a pyromaniac put this church on fire. But
the Norwegians rebuilt it in a original way.
seeing the stavkirke we drove on to country-seat Troldhaugen. On this
country-seat the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg has lived and worked. Grieg,
famous about the Peer Gynt suites, has lived here for 22 years. Grieg studied
abroad for years, but his heart was with the Norwegian folk music. On this folk music
his work is primarily based.
His house and working room can be found on the bank of a lake and is fully intact.
You can also find a concert hall and a museum and a real-sized statue of Grieg. I
can say he was not very tall. But he was a genius and I can't say that.
same day we said goodbye to Edvard and Paul and we drove to a little village
near the Sognefjord, called Vik i Sogn. We drove in north direction passing Voss.
Because we were a bit late we didn't stop in Voss. After passing Voss we drove
over the Vikafjell. During the winter this mountain is closed for traffic
because of the amount of snow they have on this mountain.
By the way, I was very happy to see some wildlife on this mountain. In fact, I
thought I saw some wildlife. Because I saw a reindeer eating the juicy grass. I
got out of the car immediately to get me a picture of that. But Berit showed me
the chain that was around the reindeers neck and I noticed it was a domesticated
After driving up all the hairpins you arrive on top of the mountain. Here you
have a magnificent view on Vik i Sogn and the Sognefjord. Right behind the
mountain you can find Vik. There we arrived at our next stop, the house of Berit's
aunt and uncle, the family Riiber. They own a hotel in Vik called Hopstock.
We were given a warm reception and we could join the diner
right away. Berit's uncle, who was able to speak English very well, told us a lot
about Norway and also about the fjords. So the evening passed before we even
aunt and uncle advised us to go and see Europe biggest glacier, Jostedalsbreen.
One can go there easily from Vik. In Vik you can buy a ticket for the trip with
a ferry and the entrance to the glacier museum (Norsk Bremuseum) in Fjærland.
In Vik you can go on board on a fast ferry to Balestrand.
Balestrand you get on a slower ferry which sails via Hella into the Fjærlandfjord. This
fjords gets more narrow while you are sailing into it and offers a magnificent
view on the mountains around the fjord. I advise everybody to take a boat once
in your trip around Norway to enjoy the fjords from the boat. It offers
really nice views on the fjords and mountains. At the end of the fjord you
arrive at a village called Fjærland.
This a small, really small church village. You will see only 12 houses. During
the summer months a bus gets you from Fjærland
to the Norsk Bre museum. This bus will also take you to a spur of the glacier
Jostedalsbreen. By the way.... take a warm and wind-proof jacket.... also during
After visiting the glacier we got back on the ferry and went home. There Berit's
aunt prepared a really nice Norwegian dinner. A big fillet of Norwegian salmon
swimming in a sauce of butter. This dinner
next day we walked around Vik. In fact Vik consist of the three little villages Vik, Hove en Hopperstad.
In Vik we visited the local Hopperstad stavkirke. This church is open for public
during the summer months. It's a tiny church built in the year 1150. I noticed
the smell of tar in and around the church. This tar is used by the Norwegians for protection against the
weather. The inside of the church is very soberly
and small, but the sphere is very nice and everything is made out of wood.
I don't know if nowadays this church is still used for religious service. But
it's very nice to see this stavkirke on the inside. And the nice thing about
this particular church is, that it isn't frequently visited by tourists, what
gives this church his charm.
uncle also told about a small authentic Norwegian farm which can be found
against a mountain slope in Vik. This little farm is still used by an old lady.
She still keeps some sheep. During our visit to this farm Berit's niece joined us.
She also stayed with Berit's uncle and aunt.
By the way, I don't know if this farm is still in use by the old lady. One
should ask at the local tourist office. If so, it's possible to visit the farm.
a few days in Vik we traveled on. Our next goal was Lillehammer. Berit's
aunt and niece traveled with us to Fagernes. Our trip to Fagernes is one I
won't forget. We traveled from Vik to Vangsnes to take a ferry to Hella. From
there we drove to Kaupanger. In Kaupanger we had to get on a ferry again to
cross the fjord. This crossing takes a while, what gives the possibility to
enjoy the views you have on the fjord. And we were lucky with the weather. The
fjords look even more beautiful when you have nice and sunny weather. When the
ferry arrived in Revsnes we traveled on to the Lærdal. You will get there when
you travel on the E16. The Lærdal is a valley one have to see. It's to
beautiful to miss.
The Lærdal is a valley full of beautiful nature. Through the valley a
little river can be found. Berit's aunt told me that especially during the
period of the migration of the salmon this river is very spectacular. In the
valley you will find only one village called Lærdalsøyri. You will also pass
the best preserved stavkirke in Norway, Borgund. This church is built between 1150 en 1180.
On the outside this church is very nice. We didn't see the church on the inside.
The valley was in the old days used as an important post route between the cities
Oslo and Bergen. It's also called the Kings way. Unfortunately we had not enough
time to enjoy this valley much longer, because we had a long way to go.
the Lærdal we drove on in the
direction of Vangsmjøsa. This a 19 kilometers long lake. This lake is the most
southern of an system of lakes at the south side of the Jotunheimen mountains.
Although we are not far away from the Lærdal,
the landscape changed completely. That is the beauty of Norway. After passing
every turn on the road, the landscape looks completely different. Near the lake Vangsmjøsa
we got out of the car for a little break. I thought it was near a little village
called Øylo where I made this picture.
the break we traveled on to Fagernes. There we met Berit's cousin. We have been
eating in Fagernes and after that we said goodbye to Berit's aunt, niece and
cousin. Berit and I traveled on to Lillehammer. But Berit's cousin told us that
an event was going on in Lillehammer and that probably all the hotels would be
booked. In fact this was the case so we planned our night in a village called
Dokka (near Lillehammer). In fact Dokka is not that interesting, but we had a
lot of fun there. But I think we had a lot of fun because of the bottles of wine
we bought in the pub of the hotel.
we had a bit too much alcohol, it was very hard to get out of bed the next
morning. But we were just in time for breakfast in the hotel. Feeling a bit
fusty we traveled to Lillehammer. There we visited the open-air-museum Maihaugen.
This museum gives a nice impression how the Norwegians lived during the history
of Norway. Also the history of Norway is being told. Due to the constant
domination by other countries, Norway is in fact very young. The museum shows a
collection of 150 original Norwegian houses. I noticed the grass growing on most
of these houses. In The Netherlands we don't have that.
It is a nice idea to visit this museum if you want to learn more about the Norwegians
and their habits.
also nice to visit Lillehammer. Of course you have to see the Olympic ski jump.
Also during the summer you can see people jumping. They train on mats of grass.
After having diner in Lillehammer we took the car again to travel back to Kløfta.
Of course I had to see the ice stadium in Hamar, Vikingskipet. Our national Dutch
speed skating team were in Hamar to train. But unfortunately the stadium was
closed. So I haven't seen them training. After seeing the stadium we drove to
last days of my vacation we used to visit the capital of Norway, Oslo. During
our first day in Oslo we haven't done much. We started with visiting Akershuset.
This is a fortress over viewing the Oslo fjord. Originally this fortress was
built for defending purposes against the attacks on the city. Standing on Akershuset
you have a beautiful view on the Oslo fjord and Oslo. You can also see the
Rådhuset, see picture. The inner side of the town hall is certainly worth a
visit. One can see a lot of relief's, paintings and wood carvings. From Rådhuset
it is a short walk to Aker Brygge. This is a shop and business center of Oslo. I
can recommend the boats fitted up as restaurants. One is inclined to stay on the
pavement whole afternoon to enjoy the nice food and the wonderful view.
Another sight of the town Oslo is certainly the Vigeland park. This is a park
just outside the center of Oslo where you can see the collection of statues made
by the artist Gustav Vigeland. The Vigeland park is built inside another park
called Frogner park. Going by the name "Cycle of Life" sculptor Vigeland
made 200 sculptures out of bronze and stone. Each statue shows a mans emotion.
These different emotions are represented in statues from child to elderly
people. Famous is the statue of the little angry boy. This statue was stolen
You can also see the 17 meters tall Obelisk with the twisted figures of all ages.
The park is frequently used by the Norwegians for recreation especially by
skaters. So be careful with your ankles.
Before I forget, in the park they sell very tasteful breads with sausages and
next day we went to Oslo again. We first visited the ski-jump of Oslo,
Holmenkollenbakken. Of course, at Holmenkollen you can see the ski-jump but you
can also enjoy the view over Oslo and the Oslo fjord.
The ski-jump is built in 1892 and is rebuilt a lot of times in the years later.
The ski-jump is built on a mountain and it's possible to get on the top of the
ski-jump by elevator and stairs. In fact the ski-jump is only used during
the Holmenkolweek in the beginning of march. This week attracts thousands
of spectators. Later that night I heard that Berit's father once jumped at
Holmenkollen. Not even a gold bar would get me of these jump. To high for me.
After seeing Holmenkollen, we drove into the city. We tried to be in
time for the change of the guards at the Royal Palace in Oslo.
Unfortunately we just missed the change. This change of guards can be seen at
1.30 P.M. when the king is in the palace of course.
palace of king Harald V was built in the first half of the 19th century. The
style of building is quite sober. It certainly doesn't deserve a price for
architecture, but it's nice to see it once.
After seeing the palace you can walk down the Karl Johans gate. These 1400 meters
long street is full of bars and street musicians. A lot of fun in this street.
When you walk down the street you will the national theatre and the
university of Oslo. At the end of the street you will find the Stortinget. This
is the house of parliament in Norway.
In front of Oslo's university you can see a statue of the famous Norwegian
painter Edvard Munch. I was told that he also painted some frescos in the
interior of the university. By the way, I haven't seen them myself.
last thing I like to tell about is a little street called Damstredet. This a
part of Oslo (or maybe better Kristiania: This was the name of the city until 1925)
built in the 19th century. In this street you can see little old wooden houses
which date from the beginning of the 19th century. Nowadays mainly artists live
in these houses. The street offers a kind atmosphere.
these day in Oslo my vacation in Norway was over. In fact Norway is a country
that everybody must have seen. But the country is so big that it's almost
impossible to see everything in one vacation. I have seen only a small piece of
the country, but I certainly want see more. I can recommend to everyone to pay a
visit to this country. Beautiful nature and very kind people.
of course I like to thank Berit, Berit's parents and family and all her friends
for giving me a wonderful time in Norway.
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