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Monday, 10 March 2014

Project Norway



Long-awaited trip. This time around, it was only for 5 days and we were actually testing the waters and going for our ultimate goal: the Northern Lights. Did we manage to see them? Read ahead.

  • Day 1:
- Late-afternoon flight to Oslo [Sandefjord Airport, Torp].
- Torp Express to Oslo [1h45’; fare: 250 NOK (adults), 180 NOK (students)].
- Overnight in Oslo, Anker Hostel [twin ensuite, 500 NOK/night]. Short walk from Oslo Central Bus Station.    
  • Day 2:
- Short walk from Anker Hostel to Oslo Sentrum [Train Station]. Early-morning train to Trondheim [6h41’; fare: 598 NOK (return, minipris)]. Tickets can be purchased online and collected at the train station or via the NSB application. An early train ride is recommended in winter (when days are shorter) for some nice views. Enjoy the free Wi-Fi.
­- Overnight in Trondheim, City Living Hotel Lipp [double ensuite, 1105 NOK/2 nights; free coffee and tea at the reception; 15% discount at a nearby bakery (for breakfast)]. Short walk over Nidelva River.     
  • Day 3:
- Short walk to Nidarosdomen, the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world.  
Nidarosdomen
- Closer view of the wooden harbour buildings along Kjøpmannsgata, Fjordgata & Sandgata. Although abandoned at one point, these superb and Nordic-feel buildings were reconditioned, to host restaurants and various businesses. The Old Bridge is the best spot for taking pictures, guaranteed. 
- Short walk up the hill (although Trampe, the world’s first bicycle lift, can also be used free of charge) to Kristiansten Fortress, erected at the end of the seventeenth century to protect Trondheim against an attack from the east. After taking in the marvellous views over the city, you might want to get lost in the narrow and charming streets of Bakklandet – the Old Town.
View from the Old Bridge
- Longer walk to Lade Peninsula, home to Norway’s Museum of Musical Instruments, Ringve, one of the best museums I’ve ever been in [opening hours: 11:00am-4:00pm (Tue-Sun); guided tours every hour; admission fee: 100 NOK (adults), 80 NOK (students)]. Allow at least 2h30’-3h for a visit and at least 30’ for some quality time in the Music Garden and in the museum’s shop.     
- End-of-the-day walk along Lade Path – or Ladestien as the locals would call it –, the perfect spot for jogging, bicycle riding, or walking your pet. I must say it was one superb and soothing sunset.
- Our surprise came at the end of the evening, with the Kp-index rocketing. February 27th seems to have been a magical night all across Northern Europe for the spotting of the elusive Northern Lights. We got our front-row tickets to the show again on Lade Path. To be continued.   
  • Day 4:
- Longer walk to Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum [opening hours: 11:00am-3:00pm (Mo-Fri), 12:00pm-4:00pm (Sat-Sun); admission fee: 70 NOK (adults), 55 NOK (students)]. Don’t be dismayed by the distance and by the winding road. The views over Trondheim are great and the wooden and colourful houses you are going to come across before reaching the museum are beautiful to walk by. A walk from the centre of Trondheim to Sverresborg Museum and back (museum visit included) will not take you more than 4h-4h30’.
@Sverresborg Museum
­- Sverresborg Museum has more than 80 historical buildings and some very interesting exhibitions. I highly recommend the Ski Museum. Of course, your visit would not be complete without a very short trek to the ruins of King Sverre’s Castle, one of the first Norwegian castles, dating back to the end of the twelfth century. You will fall in love with the view over Trondheim Fjord and will learn some very interesting facts. For instance, during World War II, Trondheim was occupied by Nazi Germany from April 9th 1940 until the end of the war and the castle ruins were used extensively by the German troops. 
- Late-afternoon train journey back to Oslo [6h45’].
- Overnight in Oslo, Citybox [double ensuite, 600 NOK/night]. Very short walk from Oslo Central Train Station.
  • Day 5:
- Longer walk to Vigelandsparken and its 212 bronze and granite sculptures.
- A visit to Oslo would not be complete without a walk on its famous opera’s roof. The views are fantastic and it feels nice!
- Short walk to Akershus Fortress. Built at the end of the thirteenth century to protect Oslo, this historical landmark is very well kept and well worth a visit [opening hours: October-April – Main gates: 7:00am – 9:00pm, Side gates: 7:00am – 6.00pm].

It was time for us to prepare for our journey home. Despite not having felt welcoming on the whole, Norway holds a rough beauty, which I feel like exploring more someday, probably in summer. This trip gave me beautiful memories of Trondheim and one of the most beautiful nights in my life, which will be impossible to forget. I feel readier to face the unfriendly prices and a tad closer to the country’s extreme north and to one of my greatest travel dreams: reaching Svalbard at some point in time.    

N.B. Romanians may enter Norway with their Identity Cards only if these are issued after 2009 (the previous IDs did not specify the citizenship and cannot therefore be accepted as valid travel documents to Norway, which is not part of the EU). Passports are also valid. 

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