12 to 18 May
This morning we were up very early and out to CDG for another trip!
But before we go into the trip, let’s talk about packing for flights in Europe on the discount airlines. Depending on the airline and the price you pay for your tickets depends on how much you can bring on, and if you can pick your seat in advance. We have learned, that you have to have the European size carry on, which is smaller than the US size. You also need to be very careful about weight. We have been over on weight before and had to go check bags after we already checked in, which is a nightmare, and costly. We have learned that if you have a bag with wheels, you will be picked to have your things weighed almost every time. So for our flight we flew AirFrance which normally is crazy strict on weight. So we had to be under 12 kilos, or about 24 pounds for a 5 day trip to a very cold area for the bag that goes at your feet AND the one above you in the cabin. Let’s say, we brought as many basics as possible, including the crappy folding hairbrush that is lighter than more normal one. We were both proud to be just at 12 kilos!
We took the metro to CDG and got off at Terminal 2 since we were going out of 2G. Mind you we were running late because for some reason all the RER A was being cancelled/delayed. So we got to the airport about 30 to 40 minutes later than we wanted.
After we got of the metro we followed the signs to 2G. Well 2G is not connected to the rest of Terminal 2 so we loaded a bus and were driven over. At that point we were there about 30 minutes before boarding and had our fingers crossed for no lines. Luckily the travel gods were on our side and there was no line at security. However, with our perfectly packed bags, we were not weighted which pisses me off since I had left an extra pair of pants and my hairbrush at home for nothing.
So then we were off to Oslo with no issues. My sisters flight was a little delayed, but we met them at the airport with no issues. We then went to pick up our rental car, which Jer booked. So it was an Audi (figures).
Now we were off to our Airbnb in Oslo. We settled into the Airbnb and found a place to park the car for the night. Jen and I went to the grocery store to pick up food for breakfast and all our driving tomorrow (including lunch).
We all then got our daily metro passes and went into city center, grabbing lunch along the way at the Norwegian version of Wawa (but it wasn’t as good).
We used part of Rick’s walking tour and made our way down to waterfront.
We then decided to take the bus to Viking Ship Museum instead of a ferry since it was convenient.
The Viking Ship Museum is small but incredibly impressive. There is two Viking ships fully intact and one that is not. There is also a lot of items found within the ships such as jewelry and pottery. The reason the ships were in such good shape was that they were used in Viking burials. You may be thinking of pushing a boat out to sea then setting it on fire. That is not the case. These were buried underground in perfect conditions to preserve the items within the ships. They are also not small row boats. The ships are about half a football field long and 3 car lengths wide. It is amazing to think these were built by hand nearly 3 thousand years ago.
We then made our way back to waterfront by bus from museum. With our Oslo pass we could take one ferry around the fjord. The contrast of views from a bustling city to a tiny picture perfect island with no cars in a short 5 minute ferry ride was unparalleled.
Once we were back on dry land we walked the waterfront to find a restaurant for dinner and ended up at Louise Restaurant & Bar which was well equipped to keep us warm as night fell under heaters and fur blankets.
After dinner we went back to the Airbnb to finish our planning for a big day tomorrow!
This morning we were up bright and early and ready to move onto our next destination. We now started our Norwegian road trip!
Today we had an 8+ hour drive up into the fjords North of Oslo.
After going through many possible routes we decided to go as far North as possible before going West. Thankfully the weather cooperated and roads were open. Since we are in Scandinavia in May, and going way up into the mountains, road closures due to snow are still very much a worry.
The first leg of our trip brought us North to Lillehammer host of 1994 Winter Olympics.
We then continued due North and we started to see sneak peaks of the mountains we were going over.
Our first stop was at the base of the real mountains in Lom. At Lom we also found a beautiful Stave church. These churches date back before some of the first cathedrals. You can see how natural and mythical beasts influenced these places of worship.
While in Lom we picked up some more food and snacks for our next Airbnb and lunch tomorrow. In Norway alcohol is heavily taxed and has restricted times when you can purchase it. For example, no alcohol can be sold after 8 pm or on Sunday’s. You can only get beer and wine at grocery stores and hard liquor at specialty shops. Coming from Pennsylvania, I never thought I would find a country with stricter laws on booze, but I guess the few hours of day light in the winter could drive people to drink.
We stopped so many many times as the scenery seemed more and more beautiful as we continued.
Finally to our highest altitude (1400m). And there was so much snow!
Since we made it to the top, now it is time to make our way back down. The roads were super windy but thanks to the Audi which Jer could switch between automatic and manual, we did not burn out the breaks.
We finally made it out of the snow and into the fjord country. These are some of the most stunning views I have ever seen. To think that a giant glacier moved through here millions of years ago creating this is mind boggling.
After driving along the fjord, we made it to Slinde and our Airbnb right on Sognefjorden called Lunden Ferie. I will highly recommend this place to everyone I ever meet. The place has 4 units which are managed by a husband and wife that live across the street on their farm. The building sits on a jut out into the fjord so you are surrounded on 3 sides by water. It is so peaceful.
In summary we drove from 9:15am and arrived at 6:15pm. It was a long day in the car, but it was with great company!
We went into town (Sogndal) for dinner at Restauranthuset Malin. It was a mix of Asian and Norwegian but very good.
Back to the Airbnb to relax with a few beers and enjoy the views since it is still light out at 10:30pm here.
We were up again this morning and ready to move on again.
We started our drive by backtracking to a waterfall that we had seen a few times, but didn’t have a chance to stop at. It was worth the 15 minutes.
We then continued down the road, but you can only go so far until the road ends and you have to take a ferry across to the other side. We drove onto ferry and across then enjoyed the views as we crossed the fjord. We drove off the ferry and back on the road again.
Along the drive we had so many switchbacks and more amazing views (with many stops).
A ‘scheduled’ stop was at Tvindefossen Waterfall. This waterfall is just stunning.
We then continued on towards Bergen, our final destination for the evening.
But we actually (on purpose) drove past Bergen trying to get all the way out to the ocean. However since there are many small islands it is hard to get an unobstructed view.
We arrive in Bergen around 3pm to get into our Airbnb for the evening. We get settled in and found parking for the car.
Thanks to Rick, we walked down into city center and towards waterfront using his walking tour as a guide.
We ended up going to the aquarium and watched the penguin feeding.
We then walked down around the old harbor area and old town Bryggen taking in the sights.
We settled on Bryggeloftet & Stuene Restaurant thanks to Rick again. It did not disappoint.
We stopped at Torget 7 bar on the way back for some very expensive beer and some football.
We then walked back to the Airbnb taking in some additional city sites.
We then called our mothers to say happy Mother’s Day.
We played cards and finished the beers since we were no longer driving to our destinations and had a flight tomorrow morning.
This morning there was some very crappy weather. We could actually hear it pouring all night. As we got our acts together, Jer walked to get the car and we headed to airport for our flight to Stockholm.
The closer we got to Bergen airport the nastier it looked outside. Once we got into the terminal we realized something was up. No planes could land with the fog since it was so bad. I started to worry that we would be stuck at the Bergen airport all day.
We got really lucky and fog lifted just before our plane had to be diverted and ended up only about 30 minutes late. There were some at the airport who’s flights were just cancelled all together.
We landed in Stockholm and got our bags no issue. However, we did have a little issue getting our Uber, but got it sorted out and we were on our way. We got to our Marriott, settled in and headed out to find lunch. We ended up at Hirschenkeller for a light lunch and some local beers. Nothing fancy.
We then went to the closest metro station to get our 24 hour metro passes and headed to Public Library. Jen had found this library through Instagram pictures and it did not disappoint. The Amazing cylindrical design was out of an architectural magazine.
We then took the metro to old town. I love a good metro system.
We walked around with the help of Rick and stopped at The Royal Palace. I mean, this is the palace of Sweden and being of Swedish decide, it is where we belonged. Just kidding.
We then stopped in the center of old town to have some fika. Fika is a Swedish coffee break. It is the equivalent of teatime in Britain. We added a kanelbulle or cinnamon bun to our coffee’s. It was perfect.
We did a little shopping at some of the cool old stores in old town. I found a little Saint Lucia. For those of you who remember American girl dolls, I have Kirsten who was dressed up as Saint Lucia at Christmas. My mother also dressed me up as Saint Lucia on many occasions. I can remember the white dress with red sash and a wreath with candles (made from styrofoam and felt) on my head.
After we were done shopping and heading back trying to come up with evening plans and dinner when we noticed some football (soccer) supporters. They were really loud and seeming to have a lot of fun so we said hey why not follow? However, when we Googled the jerseys we thought we saw it was two local Stockholm teams playing so we couldn’t figure out which stadium to go to. Thank god the customer service people in the metros are super kind and speak English to direct us to the proper stadium. We also were all cold and were glad to see the stadium was partially covered.
We ended up following the local fans (with the help from customer service) of Djurgardens IF to their match against IFK Gothenburg.
When we went to buy tickets, the lady helping us though that Jen and Kelsey were our children. Yes you read that right. They thought my sisters who are 17 months and 6 years younger than me were my children. After we sorted out that no they are not our kids but they are students they got the student rate, we were on our way to the match.
We had a great time and Djurgardens even scored a late goal to win the match! Jer was also super excited (and has eyes like a hawk) to recognize Mix Diskerud, a USMNT player on the field.
While at the game we made a reservation at Restaurant Pelikan for some traditional Sweedish Meatballs, thanks to Rick. It did not disappoint. It was also a traditional Swedish beer hall.
On the way back we stopped at a few metro stops taking in the amazing metro artwork that Stockholm is known for.
We had some time this morning since our flight wasn’t until 4pm to do some more exploring of the city.
Jer and I went on Rick’s walking tour of the new town. We went to a nice market and the place where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.
We also walked around some antique shops again in the old town trying to find something fun.
We met my sisters at the Kulturhuset mall for lunch at Cafe Panorama, which is a traditional cafeteria. We were able to enjoy our lunch outside as it was finally a really nice warm day on the last day we were in Scandinavia.
We then went back to the hotel to finish packing and get ready to head home for us but the sisters to continue their trip in Paris!
We had no issues with getting to the airport, baggage or our flight.
Bienvenue a Paris!!
We were back home by 9.
We wanted to enjoy beautiful weather so tried to go to l’Aero for outside seating and it was packed. We luckily got a table in the open windows to enjoy the night air.
We finished dinner and walked down to our special Eiffel Tower picture spot.
Today we went to the happiest place in earth, Disney!
But first, we went down to Intermarche for food for snacks at the park and dinner tonight.
Disney was a very long, hot day. Comparing Disney Paris to the USA parks, it is very similar yet on a much smaller scale. There is less room between rides and between parks. A lot of the rides are the same, but there are some different ones including crush’s roller coaster (Finding Nemo themed) and a 3D ride for Ratatouille. What surprised me more was that Jer had never been in the tower of terror in Florida so this was a must. And he screamed like a little kid. It was awesome.
We took the RER home, just beating the rain thankfully. We had a nice relaxing dinner and evening at the apartment. In Lund fashion, we drank wine and played cards. We also had what we think was a lady of the night in an apartment across the street. Seeing the coming and goings of her gentleman callers was an interesting way to end our trip.
After we said our goodbyes to my sisters, I was back to work and Jer had a mountain of laundry to start.