I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve been to the middle of nowhere, which I find quite surprising. I’ve always thought I’m more of a city girl, but the more of the world I see, the more I’m drawn to the serene beauty of nature. Though Paris, London and Melbourne will always hold a place in my heart, the middle of nowhere is becoming more and more enticing to me. Norway very much fits the bill and is probably one of the more secluded places I’ve been, next to being on safari in South Africa. So when it came time to find the perfect getaway for our wedding anniversary, Norway was top on our lists.
I fell in love with the dramatic landscapes that we saw at every turn in Norway. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more breathtaking, you’d stumble across another perfectly still fjord reflecting the mountains, sky and everything around it. Though the fjords are the most famous, the landscape changes dramatically as you move closer to the ocean and as you move inland towards the mountains. It is always so tranquil and it’s hard not to find a bit of peace of mind while there.
When there are very few villages for miles and miles in each direction, finding food is a tad bit difficult. You always need to have a plan (which is usually rare for me) and know that often picnics are usually a great option! A bit of cheese, crackers, nuts and cherry tomatoes actually make a yummy lunch when you’re sitting by the side of the road soaking in the views. But when you do find a village or city, you can be sure the food is deliciously traditional and very hearty. A lamb stew or a fish pie on a cold evening is just what the doctor ordered, but creamy fish soup or bacalao (dried salted cod) is also welcomed! The great thing is that most places we ate at took pride in carrying on the tradition of eating off the land and sourcing local. It’s always exciting to see chefs interested about the life cycle of the food they cook and being passionate about serving traditional Norwegian fare. It also means that you can expect mostly fresh, smoked and salted fish as well as lamb and reindeer for your meals!
We ended up taking a risk and venturing up to this beautiful country on the off season. And though Norway’s national tourist board really doesn’t advertise the autumn as a good time to visit, I would wholly recommend it. If you manage to time it right (we just got lucky) you can see the leaves change from green to beautiful yellows, oranges and reds. The landscape is completely transformed and is undoubtedly breathtaking. We couldn’t stop taking pictures even though they never seem to accurately capture the beauty of the place. We got really lucky with a bit of warm weather and since it was low season, we had the roads and the beautiful nature virtually to ourselves. Perfection!
Juvet Landscape Hotel | Hotel | One of the most unique hotels we’ve stayed in so far. Made up of minimal cabins placed in the middle of nature overlooking a perfectly blue stream coming straight from the mountains above it. The most amazing views from enormous glass windows give you a private view of breathtaking nature. Great place to forget your worries and
Storfjord Hotel | Hotel | A beautiful luxury hotel set high up above Storfjord with a breathtaking view of the Sunnmore Alps. Very friendly and attentive staff and beautifully decorated rooms. The most perfect home base as you travel and hike around the region.
Pingvinen | Bar/Restaurant | Great little bar in Bergen with lots of atmosphere serving no frills Norwegian food like your grandmother would make! More of a pub, less of a restaurant.
Invit | Cafe/ Restaurant | Perfect for a light lunch or a coffee.
Lyst | Restaurant | Great restaurant on the pedestrian street in Alesund. Be sure to try the fish soup!
Rost | Shop | Beautifully designed shop in the Bergen Bryggen with lots of great things for the home.
Trollstigen | Destination | Beautiful place with amazing architecture to stop and enjoy the scenery. Well worth the drive!