After moving abroad I have come to appreciate my home country in many ways that I just didn’t before. I had grown up in that country, with all its good bits and annoying bits, but I think it’s pretty common to simply take things in your home country for granted. You don’t know anything else. I never stopped and thought about the fact that Norway has a strong welfare system compared to many other countries, or that Norway has been voted to the world’s best country by UN a number of times. That the salary level is among the very highest in Europe neither. It just didn’t really mean anything to me. It was just how it was. I hadn’t lived in any other countries and didn’t have anything to compare with.
Then after a stay abroad when I was 20, my eyes were opened to a different way of living. I got to see so many new and different things, and I learned a lot about this other country, just as I learned a lot about myself. Fast forward some years and I moved to Spain. This time with different goals and plans, and it has been the most wonderful adventure for me on so many levels. But living away from Norway has taught me things about Norway too.
One thing that I find curious is that I keep meeting people who go all dreamy when I tell them where I am from. Here in Las Palmas, I have heard on several occasions that many people dream about going to Norway, even that it’s a typical destination people would choose for their honeymoon! If someone told me that, a few years ago, I would think they were seriously disturbed. I just couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to go there at all- let alone on their honeymoon! But it turns out Norway has quite a bit to offer the tourist.
Personally, I loved traveling to old cities abroad with a lot of history and architectural beauty, and Norway doesn’t have a lot of that. What Norway has more than anything else is Nature. Beautiful nature. Wild, raw nature. There are just about 5 million people living there and it’s a big country. Lots of space/nature in other words. In fact, if you look at the map of Europe, flip Norway upside down, North Cape (in the north of Norway) would reach Rome in Italy. Just as an illustration of how long streched the country is. I grew up with the mountains and the fjords, and I didn’t see it as anything special. But thanks to being abroad, and also seeing through the eyes of foreigners, I have opened my eyes to it.
Many people here talk to me about going to Norway. But the bottom line is always that they can’t afford it. They have heard it’s an expensive country to visit. Which is true. If you come to Norway on an average Spanish salary it would be painful. Cost of living and salaries go hand in hand in Norway, more than here in Spain. Spain is cheaper than Norway in pure price comparison, but if you compare salaries and then the prices, Spain is actually more expensive than Norway on most, or at least many things. But again- coming to Norway as a tourist can be tough on the bank account.
Once I took 3 foreigners visiting Norway to see some highlights of the Fjord-part of Norway, and once my penpal from the USA (!!!) which whom I wrote old fashioned letters with since I started learning English, and then almost daily emails for years when we finally got email addresses came to visit, and I showed her fairly big parts of the country as well. (We probably wrote together for about 10 years before meeting, but she had always had a deep curiosity for visiting Norway seeing as she was part Norwegian somewhere quite far out in her family tree!) It was through seeing the enthusiasm of other people about the beauty of Norway that I started noticing as well.
I have been giving advice about how to save money while traveling in Norway and still be able to see good stuff to so many people individually I thought I might just write a blog post about it. Maybe someone would find it useful?
Where to go and what to see?
As I said, the country is large/long. And there are a lot of mountains. And a lot of long fjords. This means that there’s not one great highway from north to south, or east to west. Short distances can take (much) longer than expected due to narrow and curvy roads, and even ferries here and there.
And if you want to come to Norway you’ll want to see more than just Oslo, I hope (or maybe even skip Oslo and get right on to the better bits?). So first- you’d need to decide what part of Norway you want to cover. Unless you have a lot of time (and money) it’s not very realistic that you’ll cover all of it. (Again, long country!)
So, normally the first thing to decide is north or south. The south has a lot to offer. The landscape changes a lot from east to west to south. The west coast has stunning nature, steep mountains and fjords. Two popular cities in this region would be Bergen and Stavanger. For example, it’s good to combine a day or two in Bergen with a fjord or three, and this is what many people choose to do.
|Geiranger fjord, see my post about this fjord here|
The north is something completely different, but truly beautiful. If you’re not tempted with the idea of all those fjords, but think dramatic mountains, long white sandy beaches, small fisherman’s towns, reindeer and the midnight sun in summer / or the aurora borealis in winter is tempting, then north is where you should go.
|Lofoten, see my post about Lofoten Islands and the Midnight Sun here|
Once that is decided you’d need to work on your itinerary. It’s best to plan a little before arriving, at least to a certain extent, if not you risk losing a lot of valuable time ending up not seeing as much as you could have. (Distances look shorter and quicker on the map than what they really are.)
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This post is now already so long, that I think I should stop for today.
But I was thinking that I would continue this post post once a week, and cover subjects such as TRAVELING INSIDE THE COUNTRY, ACCOMODATION, FOOD & DRINK,
and any other subject that I might think of. Always with spending as little money as possible in mind,
while really getting to see good stuff.
I want to show you HOW TO TRAVEL IN NORWAY ON A BUDGET!
If someone would like me to cover something in particular, let me know in the comments section!