Burghotel auf Schonburg

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Perhaps the coolest and heaviest hotel key room that exists

Some time last year the realization that I was turning thirty washed over me like a stomach ache after too much beer the night before, the hangover of my twenties. Perhaps the moment of reality, of sobriety, came when assisting a client with a new database he is building. There, on the Excel sheet in front of me, buried thousands of names deep were several of my former classmates – there were those with whom I had been close, those whom I had (and still do) admired others with whom I had barely ever spoken, and those with whom my only relationship now exists via “liking” photographs of their children on Facebook. Read More »

Ryflyke, Norway

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One of many narrow tunnels in Norway
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Suldalslågen river and the hosebridge.
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Waterfalls were everywhere we looked.

Ryfylke National Tourist Highway stretches from Tau to Roldal, through Norway’s fjord country and past waterfalls, zinc mines, and wooden churches. Every few kilometers there are brown signs with a white-knotted squares, indicating tourist stops. They pop up and quickly disappear, though nothing in this country is truly quick, the roads weaving and narrow with tunnels that go on and on until you wonder if the end is ever going to come until, finally, a tiny dot of light can be seen far ahead.

For us, the Ryfylke Highway meant one thing more than all the others – salmon. Read More »

Rogaland, Norway

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Sverd i fjell near Stavanger, commemorating the 872 battle of Hafrsfjord when Norway first joined under one ruler
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Mmmm escargot
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All loaded up on the car ferry from Stavanger to Tau

Rogaland was one of my favorite areas of Norway and a place I’d like to return to in better weather to see where the ocean meets the fjords. At its heart lies Stavanger, Europe’s oil center with charming wooden houses clustered together in a quiet downtown.Read More »

Lysefjord, Norway

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The tiny town of Lysebotn at the end of the Lysefjord is reachable only by boat and the treacherous Lysevegen

The Lysefjord is a perfect example of our time in Norway – lots of driving, sunshine-turned-to-snow-turned-to-sunshine, and inaccessible hiking trails. We started out from Telemark, where we had stopped the night before in the tiny village of Valle at a no-name hotel where we ate our fill of meats, potatoes, and jams for dinner. Leaving Valle, we soon turned off the main road onto the Suleskar Pass, a mountain pass from Setesdal through Sirdal to Ådneram and Suleskar on the Lysefjord. In normal conditions, the pass opens around the first week of May, but, this year, due to seven feet of snow falling the weekend before our roadtrip the pass had been open fewer than 24 hours when we turned off the highway onto the narrow road. Read More »

Telemark, Norway

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One of the things that is great about longer trips is the ability to have some flexibility in which road you choose. As we headed out of Oslo towards the Lysefjord our initial plan took us along a southernly route before turning north to the fjord. Sitting in the passenger seat I entertained my father with the history of the area before coming to the guidebook’s must-see, the Heddal Stave Church, which our current route – the GPS’ shortest distance between Point A and Point B – would have us completely miss. So we backtracked, more than a little bit, before heading into the country’s interior-lying national park in search of the 13th century wooden church.Read More »

Oslo, Norway

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As the plane descended toward Oslo it was enveloped in think grey clouds. When we finally broke through we were what felt like merely a few hundred feet from the ground. Spread below was a thick green forest. Outside it was 5* C (41*F) in June. Meeting me at the airport was my father with whom I would travel for the next ten days and who would continue on, after my departure, throughout the Read More »