Oslo, Norway

Day 21, Wednesday 10/10

Waking up this morning knowing we had reached the end of our Hurtigruten adventure was bitter-sweet. We never like ending a cruise, but we had experienced such a wonderful time and we were excited to see what was next.

Thankfully we booze-packed our luggage the night before. So when we woke up it was really just our carry-on we needed to have sorted. Due to a miscommunication on our end, we were not out of our room by 8am as you should be and so we were in a bit of a mad rush to get sorted. G had already started looking at the weather in Oslo, to see if we would be getting back to warmer weather!

After we left the boat and headed to the bus which would take us to the airport, I was able to hug and give a kiss on the cheek to the exploration director, she was absolutely wonderful and I think she made the trip as good as it was!

Our bus ride to the airport was another cramped experience. Honestly, as majestic as the return trip would have been on our cruise, I think I am in desperate need for some wide-open spaces and need to get away from lines and crowds and rudeness and staring (seriously, four days is about my limit).

During our booze-packing last night, I seemed to have the insight that my luggage would absolutely be over the 20kg limit. We are flying with Norwegian Air Shuttle and I think this is the airline with the least amount of luggage permissible. I bought an extra two kg’s and thankfully came in with 400grams to spare. We cooled our heels at the airport for a couple of hours and we were able to say goodbye to our wonderful dinner buddies, Ros and Wendy – two beautiful souls from Adelaide who we had connected with on the trip.

As terrible as this sounds, honestly knowing we would not have to handle the aggressive behaviour and poor social skills of 75% of the guests on the ship had the same effect on us as too much champagne. As we boarded our bus and drove off towards the airport it was bitter-sweet. We could not believe that this journey which we had waited years for, was over. Just like that. What an adventure!

Once we made it to the incredibly tiny airport in Kirkenes, we had a few hours to wait before our flight. Our flight to Oslo was quite quick and to look out the window and see the beautiful landscape change so drastically was amazing. I guess given the 1800km stretch of land between Kirkenes and Oslo, was roughly the same as Cairns to Brisbane (with very little change in the landscape in comparison in terms of seasonal change), it was mind-blowing to see such huge changes.

Landing in Oslo was amazing, that airport is just phenomenal. We had less than 24 hours in Oslo and given our exhaustion we were so glad we had decided on the train into town for our very brief stay.

As we carried our gigantic backpacks, day packs and all of our de-robed jackets/scarfs through the streets we immediately realised that Oslo was a city we would return to one day. After spending a week in very cold, sparse areas of Norway it seemed a shame that we had only one night in Oslo.

We made it to our hotel, immediately received a room upgrade (this was so welcomed and so appreciated!) and then I decided to spend an hour in the shower. Washing, scrubbing, exfoliating, shaving (!) and basically stretching out in the gigantic shower-bath. I typically hate shower-baths, but after very cramped quarters on the ship, I was so excited to be able to reach behind my knees!

I decided to accompany my shower with 90’s music, a bottle of Limoncello (had only intended for a small glass but once I realised the extent of my wild-woman body-hair, the bottle quickly became necessary. An hour slipped away easily and as I emerged feeling like some glamorous, post-Arctic-circle siren – I threw my thermal leggings in the bin, dumped my empty Limoncello bottle on top of it, threw my hair into a top-knot and was ready for our express Oslo tour!

NB: ‘Tour’ means us legging it for as far as we can go in one direction, then coming home. Usually involves several stops at drinking establishments. Always completely worth it, as we always come across the prettiest places and sights, and all for free when you’re walking!

 

Our walk was warm and pretty and we could visibly see the seasons changing and I wasn’t wearing thermals! Yay! We hoofed it to Kampen and then walked back to Tøyen and then found ourselves standing outside what would quickly become Grant’s favourite part of Oslo. Way Down South. Hello, American BBQ. After all of the fish which I had consumed, and the Sheep’s Head we quickly tried to forget, it was for the best that my red-blooded man had come across a restaurant famed for their trays of meat.

*Edit – I have since become a vegetarian and I also believe that eating my weight in salmon and also seeing my Husband consume the head of a sheep had something to do with it. Oh, and the white/blood sausage, but that’s for a future post!

EUROPE - 947The hospitality was amazing, it was our favourite thing to do – banter with the Owner and Staff (our highlight was meeting the lovely Jim himself, enjoy delicious food, enjoy each others company and then go for a long and slightly tipsy walk home. We both left with our amazing #stretchypants t-shirts, full bellies and without the guilt, we perhaps should have felt, about scarfing down American style ‘Family Pickins’ platter BBQ in Norway.

Oslo was such a brief stop and I would be lying if I said I didn’t think of it often. One day I hope to return and spend a lot longer in Norway, explore the family heritage and throw ourselves into everything this beautiful country has to offer.

Thank you, Norway, for everything you shared with us, for all of your beautiful sights and for planting within us a seed to revisit. It will take us a few years (maybe ten or twenty) but we WILL be back!

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post.

You can find me on:

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For any wholesale, product sale, blogging or photographic requests – please email me at hello@courtneygayecreative.com.

x Courtney x

 

 

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Honningsvåg, the North Cape, fish ice-cream & the Aurora Borealis

Day 20 – Tuesday 9/10

Each morning we woke up, to the slow rattle and roll of our beautiful ship, the MS Kong Harald pulling into port, we knew another incredible adventure was ahead of us. We chose to travel in Autumn, so the fact we had seen as much snow as what we had, was incredible. There were many hours where we would lay sideways in our bed and just stare out of our window, completely amazed by what we were looking at.

EUROPE - 7270It was hard to believe we had already reached day 5 of our trip. It seemed that this amazing adventure we had waited so long for, was going past so quickly. We wanted to embrace each and every moment and with relative whiplash looking from one side of Norway to the other, our eyes were drunk with beauty.

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Today was the day we would get to visit the North Cape, Nordkapp – the beautiful home to Honningsvåg. As awful as this is going to sound, the relief we felt when we were able to get off the ship and board an English-speaking bus away from the mass population of incredibly rude, pushy, eyes-for-Christmas people we had spent nearly a week within our small quarters, was invigorating!

Honestly, I think we had the best tour guide, he was so passionate and absolutely nothing on this Earth grabs my interest and inspires me than learning about a place from a local with stars in their eyes. It reminds me that although some people think that taking tours is not ‘authentic’ enough, I disagree with you completely. Having someone who loves where they are from, enough to share it with you is the epitome of travel and experience, really absorbing the location you are in.

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Nordkapp sits at latitude 71°10’21” N and safe to say it is the furthermost North I have ever been, or am likely to ever go! We knew that in terms of tourism, this particular location is known as a tourist trap, and it is expensive but it is beautiful. As I write this, I can see my beautiful Sami-made Christmas decoration on my tree and I have absolutely no issues with the cost we faced to visit this place. It was AMAZING. Our bus trip was around 30-45 minutes up the mountain to the visitor’s centre. We were still completely blown away to see snow wherever we looked.

Nordkapp was eye-opening and I would have loved to have spent more time in the Sami-district, but seeing as we only had a day in the area, that unfortunately was not an option. Grant and I made our way away from the crowd when we got off the bus – heading straight out to the point and avoiding the visitor centre and the actual monument. With hundreds of people up there, we preferred to enjoy the beautiful view, have a view moments without interruption and avoid the reality that it was definitely a tourist butterfly-net. It was worth it, completely. It was completely overwhelming to realise where we were, what we were experiencing and to try and imagine all of the people before us over hundreds of years who had visited the area.

We only had a short time in Nordkapp but I can honestly say, that as we exited the bus and headed back towards the ship, I was really dreading leaving such a beautiful place, the most northern place I had ever been to and one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. I think our kisses at the most northern point of Europe would stay with us for quite a while!

EUROPE - 6669This was also a pretty terrible day to realise that although my boots were great for hiking, they were 100% inappropriate for ice, I cannot count how many times I nearly completely stacked it!

So, some fun facts about Nordkapp, which we were told by our incredible tour guide:

  • Nordkapp is not actually the northernmost point of Europe, the neighbouring Knivskjellodden is 1457m further north.
  • In approximately 1664, the first tourist was reported to have climbed the plateau, he was an Italian Priest and it took him more than two years to make his journey.
  • The first group travel was arranged in 1875 for 24 participants.

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This destination is certainly expensive but it is absolutely beautiful and I figured that if we were going to travel all that way, only to stay on the boat and not go on the journey, it would have been a missed opportunity.

The entrance fee is 275NOK, which is around $45AUD – you will pay more to go on an organised tour, but the climb is steep and the tour guide is a local and is passionate – so well worth it if you can afford it.

Once we made our way back down the mountain and back onto the ship for our final leg of our Hurtigruten journey we finally tried the Brown Cheese and Stockfish flavoured ice-cream on board the ship (unusual, but not all that unpleasant), rugged up with warm drinks and waited for our chance to see the Aurora Borealis.

I had already been asleep for an hour when G came and woke me up once they were showing, I had the wrong lens on the camera and was totally out of it. However, you can see my very very amateur shots below!

Thank you for reading my post! I am a Brisbane based creative and blogger. I do not receive payment for my blogging, and in the event, I have been gifted any products and items, I will always mention this. I live with my Husband, make hand-crafted household and personal eco-friendly items, accessories, and provide photographic services when requested.

If you enjoyed my post, I would be so appreciative if you left me a review and liked this post.

You can find me on:

Instagram 

Facebook 

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For any wholesale, product sale, blogging or photographic requests – please email me at hello@courtneygayecreative.com.

x Courtney x