Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Exploring the Land of the North

Today Norway is unfortunately in the headlines due to a horrible attack. The reality is it is one of the safest places in the world! My mom struggled with Rheumatoid Arthritis for twenty five years. Unfortunately, she passed away from the disease in 2007 a week after Rick and I were engaged. I already loved Norway, but her death instilled a desire to journey back to her homeland to reconnect with my roots. Her older brother still lives in Bergen, so we were also looking forward to seeing him.

We decided to rent a car to get around, as it would give us the most freedom to see the country. Cars are pretty expensive to rent there, and after watching the price for a few months, I went ahead and made a reservation through Auto Europe. It's cheaper to pick up the car in the city, so we planned on spending a couple of days at the beginning and end of our trip in Oslo. Knowing we were going to move every few days, we couldn't stay in apartment rentals as most have a 3-4 night minimum. As such, I had fun searching for unique accommodations in this book, since I wasn't having much luck searching online: The Norway Bed and Breakfast Book.

From there, I was able to book almost all of our accommodations. We had almost four weeks to tour around. My aunt has a farm in Nesbyen, where she grew up, so we started off our trip by heading across Norway, on our way to Bergen. We stayed at a charming Nesbyen B & B that was in an old farmhouse. Our room was fun, as it was like we were sleeping in the attic, with charming Scandinavian decor. The breakfast was scrumptious with several different types of breads, jams, and meat, along with some sardines, of course. We ate in the oldest part of the house, a room decorated with furniture that had been passed down through the family, original to the farmhouse. It was lovely.

I booked all of our accommodations ahead of time for peace of mind, as some of them were more isolated and popular. In Alesund, it was incredibly expensive to stay the night, so we ended up staying in a dorm room that was rented out for the summer for about $150 a night, which was the cheapest I could find. It was okay, and we had to pay extra to rent sheets. The location was great, though. One night we stayed on top of a fjord, renting a cabin-like accommodation across the street from a stave church. It was enchanting, and I relished the farm made jar of jam I brought home.
We spent our one year anniversary in a hotel sitting on the edge of Geiranger Fjord. In the late evening we sipped wine as we watched the sun disappear behind the cliffs from our window. It was very romantic. One of the most charming finds was a B & B in Larvik, a town on the coast just south of the town where my mom was born, Sandefjord. It was called Elle Villa, and we really enjoyed the vintage decor, warmth of the host, and delightful breakfasts that varied from day to day. We loved it so much we extended our stay. Surprisingly, there was a delicious Indian restaurant just down the way that was charming as well.

All photos were taken on my trip. 1) Nesbyen farmhouse 2) Nesbyen farmhouse breakfast room 3) Alesund 4) Gol Stave Church, Hallingdal 5) Geiranger Fjord
Elle Villa:

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