I have a chrush on San Diego

9 days in San Diego this summer and I'm so happy I know I will be back! Perfect temperatur, perfect beaches, good food and more!

The whole reason we ended up doing a roadtrip in USA this summer is because I was going to a conference in San Diego in July. I stayed there for a week at the conference and then my man came down for the roadtrip. We drove San Diego to San Diego so we spent å couple of days there at the end of the trip as well. 

The conference is mainly the reason I know I will come back and get to know this city better. The conference is yearly and is a conference for people working with the Esri software for geographic information (GIS) as I do. And I know that I will go to this conference again.

Enough about that - back to what I like about San Diego. And let's start with the temperature and weather. It's perfect! Sunny all year around and mostly between 20-30 degrees celcius. Never 40 as in some places during the summer. And San Diego has a coastline with many city near beaches. I visited two of them: Coronado and La Jolla and loved them both.

Coronado is easy reachable from the city center by a ferry and then during the summer there is also a free shutle bus to the side of Coronado where the beach and the famous Coronado hotel is. There are also some nice shops not far from the beach. The sand is beautifully white and the beach is big. I had no problem finding a not to crowded spot. Coronado - I will be back!

La Jolla is a small town a bit outside of San Diego, we stayed there for two days at the end of our trip. La Jolla has nice shopping and really great food. It's a bit posh, but down at the beach it's more relaxed. There is the main big beach at La Jolla shores and some smaller ones at La Jolla cove. La Jolla Cove is also beautiful with its cliffs and coves, loads of people snorcle there. La Jolla Cove also have the nice shops and restaurants and a facinating sea lion colony. Very cute and entertaining. 

When I was at the conference I stayed in the Gaslamp district with bars and restaurants everywhere. Central and nice. There are som great restaurants around San Diego. For shopping it is all about Fashion Valley or Las Americas a bit outside of the city center.

Thank you San Diego - can't wait to see you again <3

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Those Sea Lions! 

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La Jolla  

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Very photogenic pier in La Jolla  

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Coronado beach

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Roadtrip USA: Beautiful Sedona and facinating Joshua Tree Park

When we first planned our roadtrip, Arizona was not in it. But when we did the day by day part we suddenly realized we had som extra time. So after some research we decided to spend a couple of days in Sedona, Arizona. That sure didn't dissapoint. Sedona is beautiful and again different from everything on this trip.

We had seen pictures of the red mountain formations and was a bit confused on our way into Sedona, we only saw green forrest and lots of it. But after a while the very special red mountains started to show. Because that's what is so special about Sedona. It was both. It kind of looks like å crossover between a very cool very red dessert with mountains and a Norwegian forrest. 

Beauty in all directions, the temperatur not that high, it even rained a bit. And we got the best hotel view I have ever had at the Orchard Inn. Big window and balcony with panorama towards the mountains. On our full day in Sedona we had a slow day. Walked around in the small city, bought some stuff, got surprised by the amount of alternative shops and healers and so on. It seems they belive that a special kind of energy radiates from the earth in Sedona... This must be the place on earth with the most readers and healers compared to the number of people living there. Not my thing, but it sure made Sedona a bit more colourful.

In the afternoon we drove through some scenic roads and planned to do a bit of hiking, but then a heavy rainfall came and we ended up relaxing with the beautiful view at the hotel instead. And got to bed early because the next day we were picked up at 4.45 to go on a balloon ride. Our first. It was fun and a beautiful way to start the day - seeing the sun rise over the mountains from a balloon. We first saw how they inflated it. It is way bigger than I imagined! And we were in the air for about an hour just floating by the woods and the mountains. Just beautiful! 

The rest of the day just felt very long. We drove for about 6 hours (after getting up that early) to our next destination, the Joshua Tree Park area. The reward was arriving at the most beautiful hotel in Dessert Hot Springs. El Morocco Inn and Spa is like a little Moroccan oasis. Everything so beautifully made and exotic. And one of the cheapest hotels on our trip. Go for it if you are in the area!

Having one full day there we took a short trip to Palm Springs. Yes, there are loads of palms - facinating many, but beside that Palm Springs didn't give us that much. Mostly resorts. But Joshua Tree Park did not dissapoint! Rather the oposit. Pictures from the park sure doesn't give it enough credit. We drove (hiking is not a good idea in 40°C) through the park to Keys view for the sunset and had to stop all the time to explore the facinating landscape. Again - like nothing I have ever seen before. Joshua trees and mountain formations in constant change as you move through the park. I could easely spend more time there. And the sunset at Keys view sure delivered as well!

After all these days through so many landscapes unlike anything I've seen before, we are getting to the end of our trip now. La Jolla in San Diego and some beach time awaits before we are heading home. It's been a blast!  

 

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Hotel room view in Sedona

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Sedona - green and red

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Just wow

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Hotel room view

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Driving through Joshua Tree Park

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Joshua trees as far as you can see

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Sunset at Keys view

Roadtrip USA: Death Valley, crazy Las Vegas and an amazing helicopter tour to Grand Canyon

Las Vegas was the next stop on our roadtrip. Leaving Bishop we decided to drive through Death Valley towards Las Vegas. That way is a bit longer and very very hot, but so worth it!

The views were great all the way, from plain desert to sand dunes and vulcano shaped mountains. My favourite stop on the way was  Zabriskie point. I really reccommend driving through Death Valley. But bring enough water (it was 49°c/121°f at the most there!). Also fill up the gas before you start and bring some food. You will drive for hours with no options for food, water and gas.

Arriving Las Vegas was even more crazy than I had imagened. So much of everything everywhere. And a bit sad to observe all the gambling. We stayed at the Venetian. So big! You could stay for weeks in Vegas without leaving that hotel. And it even feels like you are outside when you visit the Venetian canal and italian plaza inside the hotel. That sky looking huge roof almost fooled me. A must see in Vegas.  The hotel only has suites, they are nice! At first the price was nice as well. About 150 USD per night. But then we didn't know about the resort fee most of the Vegas hotels charges without really telling about it. Suddenly the price increased with 40 USD per night...

Taking Las Vegas in is fun if you go with the flow. It's like nothing else I have seen. The strip with all the hotels is just facinating, but I enjoyed the Fremont district more. That is kind of the old strip with old signs and stuff. Much more laid back and real fun. Like one big street party. 

The most fun we did in Vegas was definitely a helicopter tour to Grand Canyon. I don't think there is a better way to see the canyon. We flew for about an hour+. So amazing and well organized. They landed at a beautiful spot down in the canyon where we had 30 minutes. If you have the money - go for it! We went with Sundance helicopter, they did a great job.

Two days in Las Vegas is enough for more outdoorsy people like us. So next stop is Sedona in Arizona.  

 

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Death Valley

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Death Valley

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Death Valley

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Death Valley

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On The Strip, Las Vegas

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Fremont district, Las Vegas  

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The venetian canal inside The Venetian

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Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon

Roadtrip USA: Outdoorsy Bishop and the ghost city Bodie

Leaving Yosemite, we headed for even more outdoor fun. Bishop was our stay for the next two days.

The area around Bishop is heaven for outdoor lovers. Skiing at Mammoth, cycling, hiking, climbing. You name it - this area has it. Beautiful mountains and lakes everywhere! However we really wanted to see the ghost city Bodie just outside of Lee Vining (another cute little town). So we settled down with enjoying the mountains from the road. Really not bad that either! Especially driving with the cab down in the beautiful sun.  

And driving to Bodie sure didn't dissapoint. Bodie was first a mining town and then they found gold in the area. Around 8000 people lived there at the most. But they all moved away, person by person and the city was eventually left as it was with no people in it. It was first called a ghost town in 1915. This is a heaven for historians and photographers. We just walked around for 2 hours taking it all inn and off course did a lot of filming and photographing. You should really go there if you are in the area! But make sure you drive the right dirt road in there;) Not the old one. As we did.... Bumpy roads in a Mustang - not a good combo. 

Loved our stay in this area! And if you are ever in Bishop. Eat at Holy Smoke BBQ. Great texan BBQ! 

Next up on our roadtrip - Las Vegas! 

 

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Bodie

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Bodie

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Bodie

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Bodie

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Bodie

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Sunset in Bishop

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Roadtrip - Yosemite and a funny detour due to wildfire

Heading out of San Francisco towards Yosemite we had booked two nights at a beautiful farm in Mariposa. Well, that didn't happen... But Yosemite did as planned and we got a funny detour to Oakdale and cute Jamestown.

We drove of from SF and to get some nice views on the way we went to Oakdale and then towards Coulterville. Just before Oakdale we got the call that due to a wildfire around Mariposa we couldn't stay at the farm. We decided to head for Mariposa to find a motel there. But as we arrived the funny little village of Coulterville the road ahead was closed and we were told that the whole of Mariposa was evacuated.  It was then we realized that this fire was big. At this moment more than 150 km2 has burnt down! So back again we went to Oakdale and a motel for the night.  Oakdale wasn't much and we had a looong day....

The next day we got up very early to drive the 2,5 hours to Yosemite. You have to be early to get parking this time of year. Yosemite was just as beautiful as we had imagined and more! We hiked the Mist trail. Amazing waterfall views! Very crowded the first part, but to the top of Nevada falls it was ok. Stopping plenty of times to take photos the round trip took us 5-6 hours. Totally reccommend it! And driving or just walking around areas of the park gives you plenty of beauty to look at as well.

The day before we just pointed the map around Yosemite and ended up booking a night in Jamestown. That was not at all what we expected. This was the cutest little town with funny shops, historic design and a beautiful historic hotel - Royal Carriage Inn. The only open restaurant Willow, served local beer, good food and looked like something from the 1800th century. Jamestown also had about 10 antique shops. Even though we missed out on a ranch stay I'm sure glad we got to experience Jamestown! 

After Yosemite our next stay was booked in Bishop so the next drive was over the beautiful Tioga pass. We did actually want to spend more time in Yosemite that day, but when we got there the whole park was covered in smoke from the wildfire. So we spent some more time at the Tioga pass and also experienced a beautiful scenery from Lee Vining to Bishop. 

More to come!

 

Yosemite

Yosemite

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The hotel in Jamestown

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Tioga pass  

Roadtrip first part - San Diego to San Francisco

Roadtrip so far soooo good! Started of in San Diego since I attended a conference there first. Rented a cabriolet and headed towards the first stop Laguna beach. 

We only had a short stop there. But it was a really nice place. Beautiful beach and nice shops! Then we headed of to Venice. Oh amazing Venice beach. So lively, colourful and fun. I could watch people there non stop. On our drive this day we altered between Highway 1 and the motor way 101. Beautiful sea views on 1, but also a drive through amazing wine fields on 101. Our stop for the night was in Solvang, just north of Santa Barbara. Believe it or not, this is a danish city - looked almost like any small city in Denmark. A bit cute and a bit weird. Amazing breakfast at Paula's pancake house.

The next day our goal was Monterey. Because of large parts of Highway 1 beeing closed we drove 101 up there. Parts of it beautiful with more vineyards and historic roads. Parts of it more boring. Almost at Monterey we took the famous 17 mile drive. A really scenic and nice drive through woods and past beaches. We then headed to Carmel by the Sea (nice little town!) for some food before we headed south again on Highway 1.

We wanted to see the best part of this special road. We drove down to Big Sur and we got to see the sunset at the most amazing spot before we once more headed north to our stay for the night in Monterey. 

Monterey was a really cute town as well! And as many tourists do we wanted to see if we found some whales on a whale watching tour the next morning. We headed of with no expectations at all. But we sure got surprised. At one time we had 10-15 whales sirkling around the boat! 

Then we headed to San Fracisco to stay the night. Since we have both been there before we only took a walk down to the marina and Fishermvan's wharf. Very very touristy, but thanks to Foursquare we found the very best pizza in a side street - Carmel Pizza Company.  

Stay tuned for more roadtripping - next stop is Yosemite.

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The Cab! My man! 

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Venice! 

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Venice 

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17 mile drive - Spanish beach

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Big Sur

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Whale tail!

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San Francisco

3 weeks in USA ahead

Finally, vacation time is here. Well, there will be a light start this year. Tomorrow I'm leaving for a work conference in San Diego for one week. Then my man is flying in and we will spend two weeks roadtripping!

Yay! We are talking California, Highway 1, Cabriolet, Yosemite, Las Vegas, helicopter ride to Gran Canyon, Sedona, ballon ride and much much more!

Stay tuned for updates.

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Namaste Nepal!

They say you go to Nepal for the mountains, but come back for the people. I agree. My first trip to Nepal was a couple of weeks ago. Such a beautifull, interesting and exotic country. The trekking was really beautiful, but what will really stick with me for ever is the people. All the namaste's when meeting people up in the mountains, the smiles, the attitude. 

I spent two weeks in Nepal, an organized trip with Norwegian Ethical Travel Portal and Nepal based Socialtours. It was a combined yoga and hiking trip with some extra time in Kathmandu. I attended the first ever Yoga in the Mountains Festival in Kathmandu and then did yoga outdoors twice a day during the trek - perfect combination!

Swoyambhu

Swoyambhu

 

Here is a summary of my Nepal trip:

Kathmandu and Pokhara

All together I spent about three days in the city of Kathmandu. A very interesting, vibrating and dusty.... city. So much colors, people everywhere, bicycling around with their fruit to sell or whatever big boxes of other stuff to deliver. And off course all the stuff you can buy. From very much fake North Face and trekking guides on every corner to some pretty nice stuff. And the sellers aren't very pushy, that's a good thing about Nepal!

The dust and the traffic was the down side. One full day in the busy district of Thamel was enough, there is so much dust and so much traffic to look out for that you really feel for some calm afterwards. But there is definitely stuff to like around Kathamndu. Like The Garden of Dreams. A quiet  beautiful park just a door step away from the busy shoppings streets of Thamel. And Karma coffee and the yoga studio Pranayama in the same very cool building. And off course Swoyambhu - or the Monkey Temple. Beautiful views over the city and an interesting spot!

I also spent half a day in Pokhara. Wouldn't mind spending more! A beautiful little city by the riverside. Nice shops, less fake stuff and a very festive feeling to it all. This is the backpacker spot, where most trekkers go by and it shows. 

Pokhara

Pokhara

 

The trek

We did a six day trek in the area of Annapurna, but we did not trek the circuit as many do. Our trail was a eco trail, very quiet and nice. Actually we only met a handful of other trekkers on our way. Our goal was Mohare Danda 3320 masl. We started in Galeswhor and hiked to Bas Kharka the first day, where we stayed at a beautiful home stay. The next day we hiked to Nagi and the third day we hiked from Nagi to Mohare Danda, surprised by a very nice noudle soup lunch in the middle of nowhere. 

As Mohare Danda was our goal, a beautiful mountain!, we stayed there for a day. But eager trekkers as our group was, we spent 4 hour of our 'day off' to hike over to the more known Poon Hill. Also a very nice place! The next two days we went down, first from Mohare Danda to the very beautiful village Shikha. And then on the last day to Tatopani, a place with the most beautiful mountain view!

Shikha

Shikha

 

What I liked most about our trek was meeting the people who lived up there in the mountains on our way, so friendly and so interesting to see how they lived. And a bit sad, many people are poor and you can see it. But yet they seem happy. And they had wifi! I like the way they live up there, like in another century, but they still watch the same stuff as us on Youtube and connect with the world. 

The whole sherpa culture was also very interesting. Our sherpas was local young boys who did this as a summer job. Together with our guides they was like a second hand to the people who ran the places we slept or where we stopped for lunch. They helped out making the food and they served us the food. It was a good experience with people happy to have this job. 

Mohare Danda

Mohare Danda

 

I really liked hiking in Nepal, but because of the weather, a bit foggy and cloudy we didn't see as much of the impressive mountains as we hoped for. It didn't bother me that much, but to be on the safer side for the mountain views, autumn is a better timing. But it comes with more people off course. Being able to trek almost on our own was something I really appreciated!

 

Namaste Nepal - thank you for showing me your country, your mountains and all your friendly people! Thank you for all the nice talks and the company Katja, Arne, Betina, Silje, Stein Michael, Hildegunn and Anette. Thank you Linda, Ray, Jangbu (and team) for showing us Nepal! And thank you Camilla for beautiful yoga sessions - under the sky (not the roof) and in a sky!

Poon Hill

Poon Hill

 

 

 

One day in Prague

Being in Prague feels like a time machine just sent you back to around year 1800. You have to walk pretty far out of the old city and Mala Strana to see the newer world. The exception is off course the many tourists, content of the shops and so on. You also have many areas without cars, it makes this feeling even stronger. Prague is probably the city I've been in that is most true to the old architecture. 

Having one day in Prague (combined it with a business meeting) I chose to mainly walk around, just taking in the medieval surroundings, taking picture and eating amazing trdelink! The Old city and Mala Strana are the best areas, and Charles bridge! (just make sure to pass it early in the morning, too much people the rest of the day). You can't take the wrong direction in these areas, old beauty combined with candy colored buildings everywhere.

I also went to the part of the city called Vrsovice, named the hipster part of the city. It's not quite Williamsburg, but definitely has it's very cool cafes and all of that. Krafarna is one good choiche.

Do not bother going to the Black light theatre they talk so much about. Not very impressive, mostly strange, I left before the second half started. But you should eat at St Martin, KARE cafe or U Mecanase. My hotel Vintage Sax was very central and pretty cool as well. 

Enjoy medieval times and don't forget to eat that trdelink!

 

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Autumn magic in Urke, Hjørundfjorden

I visited home sweet home Urke in Hjørundfjorden last weekend. It was autumn magic and Norwegian fjords and mountains at it's very best. Hiking, a boat trip on the fjord, some more hiking, waffles at Urke Kaihus and just enjoying the beauty. The recipe of a perfect weekend!

The hikes went to Gapahuken Bentebu, Leknesnakken and Haukåssætra. Short hikes with amazing views! The Hurigruten was also there, the people adding an international touch to this amazing fjord village.

I'll let the pictures tell you the rest of the story. 

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Going to Gothenburg? Liseberg is a must do!

Living in Oslo, the city of Gotheburg in Sweden is only a 3 hour ride away. So waking up on Staurday morning we decided to take a short weekend break and go to Gothenburg to have some fun. Our main goal was the amusement park Liseberg

It was my first trip both to Gothenburg and Liseberg. Having only Saturday night and Sunday morning in the city before heading to the park didn't leave much time for exploring. But I will go back for a longer weekend, because Gothenburg is a small, trendy and beautiful city. We had dinner at the Dim Sum restaurant Hello Monkey and breakfast at Konditori Brogyllen. I can recommend both.

Liseberg

But let's talk amusement park! Liseberg is a bit different than many other parks. It,s actually very cozy with a calm athomsphere. Well... there are off course the long lines and loads of people in the high season, that's hard to avoid, But there are small wooden buildings with shops and kiosks, a small harbour and streets you can stroll along accompagnied by cute swedish music (not Abba, more "Svenska visor"). And the food you can buy there is really good.

And there is the attractions - like Helix - the longest and fastest roller coaster in Scandinavia. And my favourite AtmosFear - the tallest free fall attraction in Europe. Liseberg has attractions for everyone, read about them here.

So - go to Gotheburg and make sure one day is for Liseberg only. Have fun!

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Vøringfossen, Norway - a majestic waterfall

Just as amazing as the waterfall itself is the mountain block its falling from. It's like a fairytail, huge, impressive and romantic at the same time.

The waterfall Vøringsfossen has a free fall of 145 metres. You can either see it from the road or walk 30 minutes in to it - we didn't but they say it's worth it. Vøringsfossen is placed on the beautiful Hardangervidda (the road from eastern to western Norway) and the also very romantic Måbødalen. In other words - one of those road trips worth taking in Norway. We drove from Hemsedal to Eidsfjorden and then back to Hemsedal via Voss and Flåm. That's a lot of Norwegian beauty. Stop at Eidsfjord Gjestegiveri to eat some pancakes after taking in the sight of the waterfall. 

We even got a bonus rainbow when there!

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Gaustatoppen, Norway - the lazy way

They say you can see 1/6 of Norway from mnt. Gaustatoppen (1883 masl) in Telemark. There is no way I can verify this, but I can promise you that the view is really great and it does feel like you se at least a very big part of Norway. 

Normally people hike to Gaustatoppen, or go ski touring. It's a challenging hike, but if you are used to hiking, hit it. Just remember it's Norway - bring clothes for all weather seasons. More about the hike. But there is an easy way up, a cable car. We chose that way this time (let's call it research for the ski touring season;-).

You can take a cable car inside the mountain all the way to the top. It takes you 15 minutes, avoid it if you are claustrophobic, if not it's great. Or you can take it one way. Read more about it. We took it both ways.

As said, the view is really really nice and if you are in the area Gaustatoppen should be on your to do list for Norway. I'm looking forward to skiing it this winter!

Me and 1/6 of Norway. (Photo: Bjørn Dyresen

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From primeval forest to urban art - just another walk in Oslo

Yesterday we had a slow Oslo day with a walk of many variations. It reminded me how much this city has to offer. Why I like it so much.

The walk started from my apartment in eastern Oslo (Skøyenåsen), we passed the not so interesting area Bryn and then walked in to Svartdalsparken, a untouched primeval forest where you walk along the river. The birds sings, you pass old buildings and find your peace. The only sign that you are in a city is some streetart.

Out of the park we came to old Oslo and passed the medieval park, some very beautiful old areas, more cool streetart, a latin american marked and an urban garden. And then it all changed when we came to the area called the Barcode, urban architecture for real! We passed the beautiful Opera House where the child stars Marcus and Martinus just finished a free concert and hundreds of exited children came our way.

We continued our walk along the waterfront towards Aker Brygge, passing the area filled with people fishing and one of the worlds largest cruise ships (Queen Mary 2). Arriving Aker brygge, we went straight into the multi cultural festival, Mela, a party of cultures; music, food and fun. Also free. After visiting the festival, we walked all the way to the end of Aker Brygge, through the tourist crowd, passed many beautiful boats and to the very modern Astrup Fearnley museum. We ended the day eating Dim sum in Tordenskioldsgate.

Such a mix of cultures, architecture and great nature - my city <3

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A scenic road trip in Western Norway: Fjords and mountains all the way

The road trip we had last weekend was like a long beautiful dream with fjords and mountains playing the lead roles. Even though I live here and have traveled around a lot, this exact road trip was one of the most scenic I've done ever. One for the bucket list!

We started our trip in Hemsedal (since this was our base for the weekend) and including many photo stops, lunch and more it took us about 12 hours. So starting there it is a nice day trip, but it's a perfect weekend trip if you start in Oslo (spend a night in Gudvangen or Aurdal). 

This was our route:

Hemsedal - Lærdal (via the historic route Kongevegen)
We started by driving over Hemsedalsfjellet (wishing we had a cabin there), great mountain scenery, still in Eastern Norway. A while after passing the county limit to Western Norway (Sogn og Fjordane) we left the main road to drive the old Kongevegen (Kings road) - a historic route where we stopped at Borgund Stave Church (you should too). The road is narrow and very cool, passing waterfalls and steep mountains.

Lærdal - Kaupanger - ferry to Gudvangen
Our next goal was Kaupanger. To get to Kaupanger from Lærdal you need to take a 15 min long ferry from Fodnes to Manhellar. Make sure you buy Svele with smørkrem on board. In Kaupanger we had a a look at Kaupanger Stave Church before heading to the main goal of the trip - the ferry from Kaupanger to Gudvangen. Make sure you buy your ticket ahead (here). The ferry takes almost three hours and starts in Sognefjorden and ends in the famous Nærøyfjorden, a fjord on UNESCOs World Heritage List. Charge your camera, bring your Goretex jacket and enjo!y

Gudvangen - Stalheim - Flåm
Leaving the ferry we drove straight towards Stalheim Hotel (but you should stop and look around Gudvangen as well). Stalheim Hotel is a historic hotel, unfortunately not in it's prime shape any more, but the lunch was pretty good and the view you get for desert is almost worth the whole trip! Drive down from the hotel through Stalheimskleiva if you have the nerves. One of Europe's steepest roads. Our next goal was Flåm. Unfortunately Flåm is mostly a harbor for cruise ships these days and suffers a bit from that. But Flåmsbanen - one of the worlds most beautiful train journeys is worth considering.

Flåm - Aurland - Stegastein  
Our next goal was Stegastein viewpoint. We drove from Flåm to Aurland and then followed another narrow road with hairpin turns (one of Norways national tourist roads) up to Stegastein. The Stegastein viewpoint juts 30 meters out from the side of the mountain, 650 meters above the Aurland fjord. The panoramic view of the fjord is unsurpassed and was breathtaking!

Stegastein - Aurland mountain road - Lærdal - Hemsedal
From Stegastein we stayed on the same national road (also called the Snow road) over the mountain of Aurland and down back to Lærdal. Another road with amazing views all the way. From Lærdal we drove back to Hemsedal.

 

This road trip really gives you something else! Very worth it, but you should be used to driving narrow steep roads. The reward is amongst very few!

Kongevegen

Kongevegen

Borgund Stave Church 

Borgund Stave Church 

The ferry from Kaupanger to Gudvangen 

The ferry from Kaupanger to Gudvangen 

Waterfalls all the way 

Waterfalls all the way 

Nærøyfjorden 

Nærøyfjorden 

The view from Stalheim hotel 

The view from Stalheim hotel 

The view from Stegastein 

The view from Stegastein 

On the road in Norway 

On the road in Norway 

The mountains are calling and I must go

The mountains are calling and I must go is a quote by John Muir, one of America’s most famous and influential outdoor enthusiasts. I often feel just that. The urge to be outdoors, in one with nature. It doesn't have to be the mountains (even though I love them very much!). Things like kayaking, hiking in the woods, skiing hills or just sitting in a park - they all give me bliss, energy and joy.

I grew up in Urke, surrounded by the Norwegian alps (Sunnmørsalpene) reflected in the fjord (Hjørundfjorden). Time was spent outdoors, in the weekends we hiked. Some of it I enjoyed, some of it not. As children do. I actually had to grow up, to move away to understand how much I loved it. Today I will hike in Oslo, I'll start outside of my apartment, hike to lake Nøklevann, 2-3 hours. It doesn't have to be more. This weekend we will hike in Hemsedal, a few weekends ago we hiked a real mountain - Besseggen and camped by the lake. During the winter we went skiing every possible weekend. That's the life I like!

Travelling gives me great pleasure, but I have realized that being in the nature gives me just as much and I often seek outdoor activities on my travels. Living in Norway gives so many opportunities. My goal is that every possible weekend is about doing some kind of outdoor activity. At the moment it is. That makes me very happy.

I have a tent, skiing equipment, outdoor clothes and I own half of a kayak and a bike. It helps to have stuff you need but it's just as much about seeking the nature experiences, feeling the joy of it. Buy stuff to use it, not because you think about using it. Don't make it to complicated. Define your own adventures. Be outdoors, seek the green spots, the woods, the hills, the mountains.

The mountains are calling if you are listening.

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My top 3 summer activities in Norway

No need to spend that vacation time anywhere else, Norway is great in the summertime (and wintertime). Maybe not on rainy days, but what place is? There is so much to do and explore. These are my top 3 things to do:

Hiking
I love hiking and Norway has many many hundred opportunities. Like hiking Besseggen, exploring the area of Hemsedal, hiking Saksa in Urke, hiking in Oslomarka or one of the many many other hikes. This website gives you information about almost all possible hikes in Norway. Did you know that you can camp anywhere in Norway? Forget what you heard about Norway being to expensive to go to. Bring your tent and the options are almost unlimited.

Kayaking
You can rent a kayak almost anywhere these days. How about kayaking a fjord? The lakes in Oslo are also great and kayaking in Lofoten is on my top list of things to do some time.

Oslo - exploring, hanging on the islands or in the park. 
Oslo is a great city in the summer! There is so much to explore and so many great places to eat, check out this crowd sourced guide. Wanna take a swim in the city center? Check out Sørenga. Like parks? My favourite is Slottsparken. Or take a ferry out to one of the surrounding islands, like Langøyene. We bring a slackline and a barbecue to go and hop on the boat after work.

Enjoy summer in Norway! 

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Copenhagen - urban and friendly city for foodies

My trip to Copenhagen last week was much about good food experiences. Copenhagen has been known for great food for a while, Noma being the star. But Copenhagen is also a food city if you don't have the Noma kind of budget. Add friendly atmosphere, cozy areas and an urban feeling (+ great craft beer) - Copenhagen should very much be in your list of city escapes in Europe.

Having one day in the city my visit was mostly about strolling around, enjoying the vibe, doing some shopping and eating great food. This is what I recommend:

  • Go to Nørrebro - this part of the city is multicultural and you find some of the hippest streets here (Elmegade and Jægersborggade). Shopping is great with unique design stores. Colorful buildings and street art makes walking around a pleasure. 
  • Strøget - the main shopping street is very crowded, but worth a visit as an important part of this city. And step by the Round Tower for a great view over the city.
  • Vesterbro - another trendy but relaxed part of the city, and most important (in my opinion) home of Kødbyen - Copenhagen's Meatpacking District. Very cool atmosphere with restaurants placed in old butcher stores and fish halls. Loved it! 

Where to eat, drink and relax with your book? These are the places I loved:

  • Fleich - butcher and eatery. Dinner and lunch.
  • Risteriet - great coffee and breakfast.
  • RETRO Nørrebro - cool cafe with a very chilled atmosphere.
  • Mirabelle bakery - great for breakfast or lunch. They make their own pasta.
  • Cafe Mandela - chilled cafe/eatery with the coolest map covered bar area.
  • Kødbyens Fiskebar - do fish for dinner. Or muslings. Fish and chips was great.

If you are on a budget - the Urban House is the best place to stay. It's been some years since my last hostel stay, but this was a very good experience! 

Thank you for the great food Copenhagen!

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Hiking Besseggen, Norway - a unique scenery

This weekends escape was to the area of Jotunheimen, to hike over Besseggen ridge. The scenery is unique and hard to compare with other mountain hikes I have done. The views are amazing. I loved it.

Besseggen ridge is also one of Norways most popular mountain hikes, so you won't stroll on your own. But I didn't mind, it was still worth it and more! The night before our hike we camped by lake Gjende, also very recommended if you are in the area.

Worth knowing before hiking Besseggen

  • You need to be fit. The hike takes about 6-8 hours + breaks with net 900 meters elevation gain/loss. And you should have some hiking experience. Parts of the hike is rough, you need to use your hands and shouldn't be too afraid of hights. But it's not an extremely hard walk, so if you are normally fit and have done some hiking earlier - go for it. 
  • Start early, I recommend to start from Memburu and walk to Gjendesheim. That way you walk up the steepest part with plenty of air on both sides. It's way less scary than walking down. You can stay at Memburu lodge or camp. If you camp you can send your luggage with the boat to Gjendesheim and pick it up when you get there. Or you can stay at Gjendesheim lodge or camp by Gjende llke we did. Then you take the boat to Memburu the day of your hike. Make sure you catch one of the earlier boats and take your place in the line about 30 minutes before departure to secure your place.
  • Pack good clothing and enough food and water. We had all kinds of weather from sun to heavy wind and sideways rain in the middle of July.
  • Bring you camera and make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy the views!

Some picture from our camp/hike. 

The famous view

The famous view

My man taking photos 

My man taking photos 

Photo: Bjørn Dyresen 

Photo: Bjørn Dyresen 

Met Rudolf

Met Rudolf

Our camp

Our camp

Bliss. Photo: Bjørn Dyresen

Bliss. Photo: Bjørn Dyresen