Norway 2023

Following on from parkrun in Oslo, we had another day there before picking up a hire car and doing a little road trip. We spent Saturday in Oslo.

We hired e-scooters for a bit (something I would not wish to repeat- they were OK when there were cycle lanes but I was not a fan of being on the roads, especially with the trams)- this was mainly so we could get to Handbakt, a bakery selling lots of vegan goodies (including school bread which I’ve not had since going vegan).

We wandered around the palace gardens, walked up the opera house (it has a sloped roof so you can walk up it), found a cool sculpture park where all the sculptures had been designed by children, and went to Nordvegan for dinner. We shared a salad bowl (you picked mains and toppings etc) and lasagne, and then carrot cake after.

On the Sunday we got the train back to the airport to collect our hire car, and then we were off on our road trip- one night in each place. We went to Voss, then stayed in a mountain lodge on the way to Fjellstove where we had a little self catering place too, then to Alesund, then a hotel on Geiranger Fjord, the Friday night in Lillehammer before driving back to Oslo on the Saturday. There was amazing scenery the entire time- we stopped the car so many times to hop out and take photos. We also had places to stop at including a wooden stave church, walks to glaciers, amazing waterfalls and even a skywalk with public toilets that had windows so you could look out across the fjord as you used the facilities!

When in towns, vegan food options were easy to find, but we had a couple of days where most places were shut due to Whitsun (late May Bank Holiday) so we ended up with a supermarket picnic one day. I got quite good at using the breakfast buffets and sorting a vegan breakfast- they all had allergens clearly marked so I could easily see if the bread was OK. Rye bread with fruity jam and lots of fresh fruit tended to be what I went for, plus cups of tea of course. I was amused by the sizes of the cups as they got smaller and smaller as the holiday went on (we even started with teapots)- seems such a waste of teabags having to brew such a small cup as I am going to brew multiple ones, whereas with a big cup I’m just using one.

The drives often went through long tunnels (up to 25km long) and some even had roundabouts in them. They also had sections of coloured lights to help keep drivers alert- such a good idea.

And yes, one place had whole avocados at the breakfast buffet so of course I made myself avo on bread for breakfast!

The overlook on the top right picture looked down onto a tiny town- it had a glass floor section and I wasn’t keen at standing on it. One couple were having wedding photos there- a very spectacular place for them. The bottom right is the view from the public toilets there- the cubicles had windows that looked down onto the fjord- amazing.

We did some walks to see some glaciers. Both so interesting, but also really worrying as they had markers to show where the glaciers were even ten years ago- climate change is having such a huge impact in places like this. A good reason to swap your dairy milk for plant based milk if I ever heard one.

This was a national park we stayed in for one night, Briksdalsbreen, and once the day trippers had headed off on their coaches back to their cruise ships, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We walked up in the evening, as it was light so late (basically it didn’t actually get dark, so even at 11pm it was still pretty light)- in the daytime there are queues for this swing as it’s a social media moment, but there was no-one else around so of course I had a go!

In Alesund we found a gorgeous cafe (but more of a coffee bar with a proper food menu) for dinner, and lots of places had vegan brownies so I did treat myself one day. Here’s the comically tiny tea cup (I mean, the teabag barely fit in it) and also each time we had to get a ferry, the satnav would just show the route going into the water! The ferries were great- the hire car had a tag (a bit like the tag you can get for the French toll roads), so no need for tickets, the charges were just added to your bill. You just joined the queue and every 20 mins ish a ferry would turn up, you’d drive on (toilets on board were handy during longer road trip sections) and then drive off once you reached the other side.

Another tiny tea cup.

Scenes from the boat tour we did of the Geiranger fjord. It was amazing, and definitely lived up to all expectations.

Then we walked up to a waterfall at the edge of the fjord for more amazing views. I was not a fan of the big cruise ships dominating the scenery though.

On our drive back through the mountains to Lillehammer- loads more snow, snow covered lakes, just beautiful and felt like we were at the top of the world.

Olympic ring spotting in Lillehammer- a lovely walk down to the lake and around the town.

So, there was have it. A wonderful week away with just beautiful scenery at every turn.

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