While blogging when travelling, the blog becomes kind of like my diary. You are privvy to my notes. I will do a more detailed travelogue, once I’m back at my desk and have gone through all my photos and notes. The Danish leg of this trip was so hectic that I realise I have written little about the beautiful Denmark. More on that soon!
So today..with just two days left of our Norwegian travels, I want to note down a few things I am wiser about:
However much you try not to, but you got to believe in luck. We did not know that Bergen receives just 60 days of sunny weather with little or no rains. We have seen two days already! Sunny and bright. Ditto with our luck in Flam and Aurland. People we spoke to there told us to be grateful for the great weather we got throughout this trip.
Lesson learnt: Pray hard for great weather but pack an extra jacket and raincoat in. Sensible shoes too. A European holiday calls for several hours spent walking. So keep the fancy pairs for an evening out but pack the good sturdy ones to use daily.
Euros don’t work in most countries, figure out money exchange or even better stick to using cards. Most places, even the smallest, cutest, quaintest (is that a word! In Europe, I’d vote for it to be) places accept cards. For a primer on our experience, do check out my post, A friend in need in Oslo. Another important realisation, public transportation is efficient but not cheap. Map your travel in advance and be prepared to walk shorter distances.
Lesson learnt: If you plan to use cash and need a currency exchange, plan well. There are fewer exchanges around in the new era of plastic currency. Figure out the local currency and the first point where you can pick it up from. Buses across Norway only accept cash. Only bus stops around the city centre of most cities allow you to buy tickets using cards. Buying tickets early (from a bus station or online) is way cheaper than buying one on the bus or train.
Eating local in Norway might mean finding burgers and pizzas and paellas cooked with locally grown produce. Norwegian delicacies like canned fish, reindeer meat and moose are fun to sample, but like the brown cheese an acquired taste for most.
Lesson learnt: Explore the sweeter stuff, the amazing cinnamon rolls, the bollers and the array of breads baked here. Also try out coffee. Norwegians are coffee lovers and have several kaffes that serve great brews. We loved the hot dogs and have tried at least one in all the cities we travelled in.
Explore new travel plans that don’t always revolve around the big cities. The joy of clean and picturesque Europe is away from the cities.
Lesson learnt: While you make time for sightseeing and exploring the museums and landmarks of various historical vintage across Europe, also head out into the smaller, lesser heralded towns. If you are travelling by road, stop at a cafe or pub in a village or town enroute. If you are taking the bus or train, break your journey in smaller towns.
And finally, use your guide books for what they are..they are guides and not bibles. Read several and not just one. No one has figured out all the best ways to travel and all the places to see in the number of days that you have. You are the best judge so set your own pace.
Safe travels.. Tak!