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12 Reasons We Love Norway

12 Reasons We Love Norway

In other words, twelve reasons to push you over the fence on why you need to visit this Scandinavian country asap.  Flowers, berries, and sheep didn't make the list, but we love those things too.

12. Architecture

It's no secret that the Scandinavians are masters of design.  From the modern business buildings in Oslo to the charming red fishing cabins on the fjords, we couldn't get enough of the Norwegians' buildings.

Inside of the Oslo Opera House at night.

Inside of the Oslo Opera House at night.

11. Separate Bed Spreads

Every hotel, B&B and Airbnb we stayed at made the beds with two bed spreads.  For someone who has engaged in many spats over “hogging the covers”, this ingenious solution made for comfortable nights and pleasant mornings because unless someone straight up stole the other person’s comforter, it was your own problem if you didn’t have enough covers in the night.

Doesn't this bed look huge with two duvets?!  Taken at Hotel Park Bergen.

Doesn't this bed look huge with two duvets?!  Taken at Hotel Park Bergen.

10. Mailboxes

Norwegians have adorable mailboxes.  Miniature houses, professionally hand painted script, and double roofs to make sure the main roof doesn't get damaged from all the rain.  

Mailbox in Aurland, Norway

Mailbox in Aurland, Norway

9. National Tourist Routes

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration has chosen 18 of the most beautiful road trip routes throughout Norway and then commissioned architects and artists, mostly Norwegian, to create rest stops, bridges, and public works of art along the way.  It's the perfect marriage of natural and human design.  You can find all 18 of them here.

A model of Stegastein Viewpoint's "Bridge to Nowhere".  One stop along one of Norway's 18 National Tourist Routes.

8.  Cabins

The birthplace of cabin culture, Norway's cabins will incite longing into the most adamant city dwellers.  They're on mountain sides, along fjords, just off the sea.  Some have living roofs, others have white trim.  No matter where they are located, they all seem to have charm and we love them.

Red Cabins in Flam Norway

Red Cabins in Flam Norway

7.  Seafood

Never in my life did I think that pickled herring would be one of my favorite dishes, but the Norwegians know how to pickle a fish and I couldn’t get enough of that sweet & sour side dish.  Bergen’s fish market served up the tastiest fish and chips we’ve ever had (read: even better than Ireland!) and I couldn’t get enough of their delicious lox.  Whether it was pickled, raw, or fried, all the fish made seafood one of our favorite things about Norway.

Seafood at Bergen's Fish Market

Seafood at Bergen's Fish Market

6.  Hiking

A couple hours after arrival at our guesthouse in Aurland, our hostess came to greet us at the cabin and welcome us to the property.  She had just finished up an eight hour hike.  Like that was a normal thing to do on a daily basis.  You work for eight hours a day, Norwegians hike.  With all the gorgeous scenery around, it’s no wonder why.  One of our favorite days of the trip was a 5 hour hike from our guest house, past a waterfall and up to Stegastein viewpoint.

Hiking signs near 29|2 Aurland.  We hiked part of the "Prest" route to the Stegastein Lookout.

Hiking signs near 29|2 Aurland.  We hiked part of the "Prest" route to the Stegastein Lookout.

5. Free Wi-Fi

Everywhere you go in Norway it seems like there is free Wi-Fi.  With the fastest average connection speed in Europe and the 10th in the world for internet subscriptions per 100 people, Norway is connected to the ‘net.  We’re not sure if it’s because they are a socialist nation or because businesses really want you to like their Facebook page, but they also seem to like to share.  We were able to connect almost everywhere we went, from trains to cafés to gas stations, and even at the top of the Stegastein lookout point.

Okay, so I'm reading a book and not on my phone, but free wi-fi on the ferry meant that any place I found in the book could easily be researched on my phone afterwards.

4.  Living Roofs

The most common type of roof in Norway until the 19th century, sod roofs are created by layering sod on top of birch bark on a sloping wooden roof, and can still be seen throughout Norway's gorgeous countryside.  We're hoping they're coming back en vogue.

Why aren't sheds this cute in the States?

Why aren't sheds this cute in the States?

3.  Fjords

Fjords satisfy our need for both water and mountains and Norway has the best of them.  The steep, rocky valleys that were etched into the earth by glaciers millions of years ago make us feel small and insignificant in the most gentle way, reminding us that bigger things are going on in the world than our little lives.  Whether in a boat in the fjord, or looking down from the top of a mountain along the fjord, the views do not disappoint. 

Along the Nærøyfjord between Aurland and Gudvangen

2.  Tunnels

The longest tunnel in the world runs through a mountain in Norway.  It's 15.23 miles or 24.51 kilometers long and runs between Aurland (near Flam) to Laerdal.  On tunnel we went through had a roundabout inside it was so grand. There's something magical about tunnels and whether big or small, Norway has tons of them. 

Small tunnel along the Nærøyfjord

Small tunnel along the Nærøyfjord

1.  Waterfalls

It seemed that each time we turned our head a new waterfall appeared, all uniquely wonderful.  Narrow waterfalls, gushing waterfalls, tall waterfalls, bubbly waterfalls, elongated waterfalls, rocky waterfalls, singular waterfalls, waterfalls running into other waterfalls - Norway had all the falls and we were enamored with them.  The crazy thing is, even though the waterfalls were our #1 favorite thing about Norway, we started to take them for granted towards the end of our holiday.  When we first arrived, we took pictures every five minutes of a new waterfall.  Before we left, we would admire the fall (if it didn't require too much effort to get out of our seats), but definitely had stopped taking photographs.  

Waterfall stop on the train from Myrdal to Flam.

Waterfall stop on the train from Myrdal to Flam.

And 3 things we lived with because nowhere is perfect...

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Doesn't taste like ass.

Doesn't taste like ass.

1. It's Expensive

To give you an idea, an average beer costs $20 USD. 

2. It's Rainy

We loved the waterfalls, the living roofs, and the fjords, but of course those are only possible thanks to the rain!  It rained every day we were in Norway, so bring your rain jacket.

3. You can only buy wine at liquor stores Monday through Saturday.

Sometimes we just wanted a glass of wine and it was so hard to find.

Classic open faced salmon sandwich

Classic open faced salmon sandwich

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