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June 14, 2010

Our Trip to Norway.

Hd and I have always been wanting to visit the Scandinavian countries. But since the weather is quite harsh there, summer is the only time to visit and it was just not happening for us. We decided to fulfil our wish on our 10th wedding anniversary. We left Zurich on the afternoon of June 2nd and landed in Oslo around dinner time. Took a train to the City centre and walked to our hotel. The room was so small and I could nt believe how expensive the city was! Ashu was ecstatic that there was a bunk bed in the room. It was weird to see the sun shining until 11 pm and even around midnight, it was nt completely dark. The next day, we took a hop on hop off bus trip to see the city. We first stopped at the Vigeland Sculpture park. Its a huge place with around 200 statues. From there, we went to the Viking Ship Museum. It was fascinating. Its jaw dropping to read about the history of Vikings and their seafaring passion. Then we got back to the city, walked around the harbor, hiked to a small park, had dinner at an Indian restaurant($8 for a garlic naan!) and called it a night.

The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and took a train to Bergen. The train route is one of the most beautiful in the world. It was like watching Lord of the Rings out of the train window! The family compartment had a small children's play area complete with a TV showing cartoons and the kids had a blast and 6 hours went in a jiffy. We got down in Voss which is an hour before Bergen. Its a small town almost a village. Our B&B was a good 20 minute walk from the station adjacent to the lake. The location was awesome. There were bunk beds here too much to Ashus excitement! We left our baggage in the room and went for a walk around the picturesque town. Ashu was playing outside until almost 10.30 pm under the bright sun! And refused to go to bed because "Its not yet night, Amma!" The next day was June 5th, our 10th anniversary. Hd surprised me with a pair of designer sun glasses while I gave him a hand made card bought from a souvenir shop there! We took a train to Myrdal and from there the famous Flamsbana train to Flam. Its one of the steepest rail routes in the world. The train stops at the Kjosvossen waterfalls and it was a beautiful sight. And then stops at Flam from where we took a boat for a Fjord cruise in the Naeroyfjord. The 3 hours cruise was just an out of the world experience. Everything was so dramatic with dozens of waterfalls on the way, the sea gulls following us for some bread crumbs, the beautiful fjords, picturesque houses in the middle of nowhere, ... It was fabulous. We got down in Gudvangen and took a bus back to Voss.

On 6th, we checked out of the B&B and checked into another hotel near the station. It was a beautiful place with antique charm and the hotel has been there since 1888. The rooms were fantastic and not only were there bunk beds for the kids, but it was in a small room attached to our room. Excellent! :) We left our bags and took a train to Bergen. Bergen is a charming city and attracts lots of cruise passengers. We were very lucky with the weather because according to reports, it rains 275 days in a year in Bergen! We walked through the fish market to the Bryggen area which is the old town. And the colorful wooden houses by the wharf are on the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. Its such a picture postcard perfect place. We took a funicular to the top of a mountain and took in the aerial view of the city. We came down and took the touristy road train for a small tour of the city. It was fun. After a leisurely walk around Bryggen, we took a train back to Voss. The next day we did another Fjord cruise. The second largest in Norway, the Hardanger Fjord. We took a bus to Ulvik and from there a boat to Eidfjord. We took a sightseeing bus tour in Eidfjord to go and see Vøringsfossen, Norways biggest waterfalls and Hardangervidda Nature Centre. The latter had a 20 min panoramic movie of Norway and it was mind-blowingly good. The waterfalls was also a fantastic experience. We got back to Ulvik by boat and took a bus back to Voss.

On 8th, our last day, we left Voss and reached Bergen airport. We took a plane to Oslo instead of the 6 hour train trip. And from Oslo, we flew back to Zurich and reached late in the night. The girls were quite happy to be home and Ashu was visibly homesick on the last day. But both Ashu and Antu were very cooperative throughout the trip even though we did nt do much kid centric stuff. We wanted everything to be about us both in this trip and succeeded quite well. Norway is so expensive that its not funny. An ice cream cone from a street corner shop costs around 7 to 8 dollars! I would never say Zurich is expensive any more. But what was surprising was everyone spoke English there. Right from school kids to old folks. Every shop keeper and every one on the street. It was such a pleasant change from Zurich. Its also such a clean country. (and that's saying something since we live in Zurich!) People are very friendly. The bus driver actually stops the bus and helps you carry down the stroller. The Swiss will have a heart attack at all the time wasted and the buses running a couple of minutes late!

So that's it. Norway - ✔

I could also tell you about how Antu fell down from the lower bunk with a thud or how my hair caught fire from the candle flame in a restaurant or how Antu got her first ever time out at the Bergen airport or how Ashu purely survived on hot chocolate and ice cream the entire trip, etc, etc,... May be later. :)


Shankari said...

Oh wow! The trip sounds so exciting and I really admire you for all the trips you take with two kids in tow! I shudder at taking them to a restuarant, unless it is rainforest cafe or someplace kid friendly :)

Sreedivya said...

Hi : I have been following your blog for sometime , i have recently become a stay at home mom from a working mom and am finding the transition very difficult because of lack of adult conversation / company and lot of time in my hands. i also have 2 kids whose age is similar to yours . how do you manage being a stay at home mom ? can u give me your typical routine ?

WhatsInAName said...

Firstly, I delurk to wish you a very happy 10th anniversary.
Secondly, I want to touch your feet and take your aseervadam, though you are younger to me, for ulagam suttral with 2 kids!!! Hats off!
Thirdly, I am Green with envy! You lucky girl! What lovely places you visit!
Lastly, here's wishing you many more of such trips. it feels nice to do a virtual visit to such exotic places.

Subha said...

I have been reading your blogs for a while and delurked today to wish you a very happy anniversary..though it is a little late now..

What a great travelogue..Thanks for writing it down for your readers..
Kalakareenga..Hope to get to know you better..

Asha said...

wooo.. sounds like you a nice trip.

Me too said...

And I thought I was done with sight-seeing after just a few glimpses of Europe!! Like everyone else I am at awe at how adventurous you are travelling with kids!!! I am just a tad bit encouraged to follow suit!

bitsofchocolate said...

Sounds fabulous. Love the coordinated outfits that Ashu and Antu are wearing in the photo

You hair caught fire ?? Do tell.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

WOW ! WOW ! WOW !!
Sounds like must see places ... So glad you had fun.

You know, the advantage of living in Swiss is that you can plan to leisurely explore neighboring countries .. each one being a vacation in itself.
For someone to fly from distant continents, it will be so much more challenging in terms of duration / packing and of course money ... You are lucky !

One point I have to admit - Except for Voss, I dare not pronounce any other place in the post :(

Me said...

Boo...I really wish I lived in Europe. I could have just borrowed your vacations plans and had a nice time without spending time on planning.

Madras Chick said...

Hi Boo,

Much of what I wanted to say the others have said already! Still.. I totally love your spirit and the fact that such young kids do not deter you from making travel plans over and over!

Of course I'm delurking for the first time.. ;)

I've been wanting to make my first trip with family to Europe. I would have never considered Norway, if I hadn't seen the utterly beautiful pics that you've posted and reading what you could do when you are there. You've blogged about it in such a way, it's easy for anyone to do a copy-cat plan without much trouble. Thank you so much for that!

As far as Europe goes, I HAVE to start with the customary London and Paris, and so I wanted to see if you had listed your travels to these places. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a "search" button on your blog or a travel category on the left panel.

Would you be able to tell me if your travels are grouped somewhere on your blog or point me to a post where you've blogged about your London/Paris visit. Please..

I couldn't control my laughter reading how delighted you were that the kids were in a separate room just that one night! lol

And of course, need we say all that you've mentioned towards the end qualify for individual posts?

Last, not least.. Happy Anniversary!

Sachita said...

Seriously jealous:)

Happy anniversary.

Choxbox said...


Wish I'd read this a week ago - we were wondering abt a Norway trip but thought we'd had issues with finding veggie food. Next year maybe, and I'll bug you for gyaan on that front then.

rv said...

Long time reader, de-lurking to join-in on the appreciation for your exciting travels with kids.

I'm really curious about one thing though. Did you write the names of all the places from memory :) (If you honestly said yes, I agree you are superwoman!)

B o o said...

Shankari - The trips with kids are stressful. After the Amsterdam trip, I swore i ll never go anywhere with them until one of them is in college!!! :) But there are nice parts too and thats what keeps us going, I guess! :)

Divya - I was miserable when I was working and it was before the kids, mind you. We can never be happy if we are doing something we dont love how much ever we try. I think going out to some mom and toddler groups or to the local library or hitting the gym,... might keep us lot sane. Try them. Mail me if you want to talk about it. Good luck.

Whatsinaname - Thanks for the wishes. :)

Subha - Thank you.

Asha - It was a wonderful trip.

Me too - I think living in Europe gives us the added advantage of not having to travel a long time. Otherwise, it would be tough to do with the kids.

PV - the coordinated outfits just happened. who had the time to pick matching outfits while packing when we had to go straight to the airport from the school? (Ashu had a show at school could nt miss it!!)

CA - you are so right. the distance surely matters. and LOL about the pronounciation. Norwegian and German do sound similar so we had no problem with that.

B o o said...

Me - I love to make plans. For myself and others. Should try to make a business out of it! :)

Madras Chick - Thanks for your lovely comment. I did a post but it was a very short one. About my travels. Why dont you mail me?(boobabytalk at gmail dot com) I can send you a itenary. And you can decide what interests you.

Sachita - :) Thanks.

Chox - Theres always veggie pizzas and indian restaurants and salads! :) and one of our hotels even had a common kitchen for the guests. so food was nt a problem except for the price of course! :D

RV - of course I remember the names. We were there only last week!!! May be I ll forget the names in year or so. Like I told in a prev comment, Norwegian and German do sound similar. So it was nt too tough! yay! im a super woman! :D

ambulisamma said...

Where did my previous comment go?
So this trip is cherry on top of your favorite icecream.

Subha said...

Boo, do you know any bloggers from chennai from atlanta??

Sue said...

You know what I will remember about this account? That the train compartment had tv and a kid area!

Lovely post. :)

Chakra said...

Seems like you had a great time. Happy Anniversary.

We were in Swiss from May 29 - Jun 1. While we were in Zurich, I kicked myself for not having your number. At least, would have called up to say hi.

Until 2 weeks back, I thought UK is the most expensive place on earth and our Swiss trip broke that idea (Channa Masala for 16 CHF). Here you say Norway is more expensive.

Anonymous said...

I was planning a mushy mail to you on Jun. 4, wishing you on your 10th anniv. Your wedding date means a lot to me - my daughter was born that day, as I had noted from one of your previous posts. I wanted to say that muhurtha naal probably brought a lot of sunshine to the concerned peoples' lives, etc etc.

But then me being lazy me, I never got around to doing it. Anyway, Happy Anniversary to one of the best couples in blogdom!!

Mama - Mia said...

what an awesome awesome trip! fabulous account!

but after reading last para i realized i want to know more about the juicy bits rather than just the travelogue! ;)


Vegetarian Zest said...

the pictures say it all...

Anonymous said...

i happened to go to Norway and Flam was beautiful... It was worth it..

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