letter twenty-three to gioia: dbtwjhg

my dearest,
the 6-hour train ride from the lovely city of bergen to the still unknown oslo has started and that seems like an appropriate time to write a post about the time i’ve spent in norway so far, no? i can’t believe it’s been more than two weeks since sophia and i left switzerland for the adventure we’re currently still on, but time is always a strange thing when traveling. the days stretch out and merge into each other at the same time and suddenly one doesn’t really remember what exactly happened when. i’ll try my best to recall what we’ve been up to…
it all started with a very long drive through the night from basel to kiel, where we arrived very early on sunday morning, apparently the perfect time to meet some slightly weird strangers, the worst time to find a place to eat breakfast/go to the toilet. so we opted to have a picnic at the harbour instead. we spent the rest of the morning there as well, until it was time to board the ferry at noon. not just any normal ferry, nooooo, ’twas a whole new world – on a ship! there was a spa and a mini water park and a casino and two different clubs and although we didn’t visit any of those places, we did take the opportunity to sunbathe on the deck and have drinks at the panorama bar. we were graced with the most amazing sunrise and even saw a dolphin/whale before having pizza at the italian restaurant on board (where we were all very shocked by the fact that norwegians seem to like ketchup a bit too much, spreading it all over the pizze (scandalous, right?!)). the next morning we enjoyed our coffee on deck, taking in the view of the oslofjord and finally the city itself. 


there was no time to explore oslo as sophia and i rushed straight on to the airport to catch our flight to bodø, from where the next part of the adventure started. after picking up the car (a volvo with the most beautiful brown color anyone has ever seen), a tent and some other camping equipment we took the ferry to moskenes the next day. it was love at first sight, let me tell you. the next days were spent in awe of the views that were offered to us around every bend in the road. we drove around, stopping every so often to take it all in, hiked to a lonely beach, had the best kanelsnurr ever in å, spent a fun day with tanika and her parents visiting the viking museum and another, equally lonely and lovely, beach and got accustomed to sleeping in a tent in the ever-changing weather conditions of northern norway. 




after a few days as a duo we said our goodbyes to the lofoten and made our way even further north to pick up magnus and carry on as a trio to vesterålen. after a failed attempt to take the ferry to senja from andenes because of too strong winds we decided to drive to the second biggest island of norway (aforementioned senja) via harstad. i’d say it was faith that led us to harstad and the pizza scissors at peppe’s, but what do i know? 

we made it to senja in the end, where we spent the next days. as our campsite was conveniently located right next to the ånderdalen national park we hiked the 12km to the lake and back the next day, accompanied by dragonflies and the traditional kvikk lunsj. we all made it back without major injuries one lucky kettle touch later and rewarded ourselves with much deserved ice creams. 

wednesday was spent driving around the yttesia of senja, visiting the world’s biggest troll on the way and finally picking up my beloved gioia, whose arrival was celebrated with a barbecue and a round of time’s up (newly baptized “make some noise” by sophia), resulting in lots and lots of laughs (and admiration for magnus’ miming skills). as we had to be in bodø again for our flight to bergen, we continued southwards the next day, this time actually being able to take the ferry from gryllefjord to andenes and onwards to myre, driving through the most spectacular evening light. we made it to the campsite just before the fog started to roll in, covering everything in sight.


on our second to last day on the road we rode out to nykesund, climbing the rocks and cliffs near the village first, then making our way to the town to enjoy lunch. and what a special lunch it was indeed! although none of us girls was courageous enough to order a whale kebab we all tried some and were pleasantly surprised by the non-fishy taste. 


then, all too soon, it was time to return to bodø and bid the car and tent farewell. ready for a bit more civilization again we made our way to bergen to meet runa, our host for the time in the city. the weather forecast wasn’t great and we definitely weren’t expecting blue skies and sunshine, but i don’t think anything could have prepared us for the amount of rain that has been pouring down on us tha last two days. fortunately, there were enough things to do in the dry, e.g. watching the movie adaptation of dahl’s ‘the witches’ or visiting kode, bergen’s art museum. however lovely it was to see what rainy bergen has to offer, i’m sure we’ll be back someday to experience sunny bergen, too. as of now oslo is waiting for us, oslo AND øyafestivalen, of course. 
last but not least and although we’ve already started reading august’s book (more on that soon), let me say a few concluding words about july’s. i liked it, i really did. in contrast to your experience, i felt like it was the perfect time for me to read the book, during the last few days leading up to the start of the norge trip. i thoroughly enjoyed its slowpacedness and was even more curious to get to know at least some of what norway has to offer. 

which is a lot; this is truly one of the most picturesque places i’ve ever traveled to and i don’t want to stop exploring more of it. luckily we don’t quite have to yet. 
yours, 

rahel

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