Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Denmark & Norway

I arrived back in Berlin ready for a good nights sleep before my contiki begun, I met my roomie and promptly went to sleep after watching a little German tv. 

When we woke up we met our fantastic group and begun our journey to Copenhagen in Denmark! 
Denmark is known as the happiest country in the world and it's not hard to see why, the landscapes are beautiful, the people are relaxed and they have Princess Mary and Prince Frederick - how could you be mad about that?! 

After meeting my new roomies (who have now become a lovely tight knit group - huzzah!) I wandered outside to find it was Tshirt and shorts weather, so good!
Our first stop was the incredible Nyhavn, a post card picture setting 

Open containers are allowed in Denmark (another reason why they must be so happy)
So carlsberg beers were consumed in the lovely weather 

P.s I got sunburnt today 

We walked around the stroll, which is the main shopping district in Copenhagen, stopped myself from spending more money in H&M and the group met up to see the little mermaid statue 

Not only did we see some strange Asian tv show filming here, but we also had some local Danes flashing us as we got back on the bus. 
Us girls had a few drinks and head down to the hostel bar, but decided to keep it an early night for a big day tomorrow. 

Day 2 -
We had a bright and early start this morning for an orientation walk around Copenhagen. We saw the town hall, the statue of Hans Christian Anderson

Saw where princess Mary and prince Fred got married, and went to the Carlsberg brewery for "history" and beer tastings 

The Carlaberg brewery has the largest bottle collection in the world, with over 20,000 beer bottles on display

We had a free afternoon and were going to head to the park for a picnic, however it started hammering down with rain, so the desicion to have a room picnic was made. We had some wine and cheese, bread and weird ham, but it was a splendid way to make the most of a rainy day. 

There's a town called Christiania in Copenhagen, which is quite literally a hippy commune where pot is legal. They don't allow cameras, you're not allowed to run in there, and they charge $10 for a burger knowing that stoned hippies get the munchies hard and will pay anything for a burger.
The fact that we bought one should be ignored however. 

Obviously I didn't want my camera stolen or broken (the norm if you disobey the hippies) so I only got one photo, but it was an awesome experience to see a commune in the middle of Copenhagen! 
Quote of the day: 
Random weed selling man - "you high?"
Sally - "that's just my face"

We finished off our time in Denmark with a visit to the happy wall, smack bang in the middle of town there's a huge wall with coloured panels you can change around to spell things out, we decided to show our contiki pride!

And it totally made the top picks on Contikis Facebook for the week - winning!

Day 3 - 
We had a huge day on the bus today as we crossed over from Denmark to Norway. Norway is also known for being particularly happy and full of super fit, blonde, tall, gorgeous people, but it's also known as one of the most expensive cities in the world.
For example, a Big Mac from McDonald's ?
A standard beer? 

Absolutley mental!! 
However our first stop after checking into our hostel is Frogner park in Oslo. An awesome place full of statues depicting our life stages - family, divorce, love, etc.
A really incredible park to visit, but it's even more fun to attempt to replicate the statues ... Which we did 

We aren't allowed to have parties in our hostel rooms, so we had an 11 person "gathering" in a room said to be built for 4, but more likely 2

At 2am in the morning it's still light outside and we crash, hard. 

Day 4 -
We're given a free day to roam the city of Oslo today, so we hop on the train and wander around the city's centre. It's really beautiful and the people are really friendly. 
We visit the harbour and the Nobel peace prize museum, and say hello to another famous artwork, "the scream" by Edvard Munch 

We take a look at the Oslo opera house which you can actually walk ontop of, so we made our way up with a very expensive lunch (bananas are $6 each) and get a beautiful view of Oslo. 
Once again were blessed by fabulous weather and I get sunburnt, AGAIN 

We had an afternoon bike ride which was a short 20km, me thinking I'm totally up for it and forgetting that I haven't ridden a bike for close 5 years - I struggle a little. 

But the ride is fantastic, we go through amazing forestry, along the coast line and visit the Viking museum which is pretty cool. 

We also took a brisk dip in a fjord, only 15 degrees Celsius

We successfully made it back to the citys centre, a little worn out mind you

And our awesome tour guide, Mike (or better known as pops) got himself a selfie 

At the end of the day, we had a fantastic time in Oslo and tried to fall asleep, but at 11pm it still looked like this outside 

Goodnight Oslo! 

Day 5 -
Up bright and early (again) and begun a long but scenic journey to Voss. 
We travelled along many a fjord and stopped at a service station with this view 

But from a beautifully sunlit fjord we travelled through a tunnel and ended up here 

Then back to a humongous waterfall 

It was a little windy....

And for the first time in my life, I saw European snow! 
In a dress 

Definitely a massive highlight of my trip! 

We soon arrived at our hostel, perched on an amazing lake.

We decided to take the polar plunge, which is basically the worst idea ever.
You sit in a sauna, get super sweaty, then BOLT through the hostel and run into the lake water which is approximately 5 degrees... 
I say it's a bad idea but actually we did it twice. When in Norway!!

We had a big BBQ dinner with the group and had a goodnights sleep, still in daylight

Day 6 - 
Today was another hugely scenic day and I quickly filled up the last of my memory cards on this section alone. We saw a magnificent waterfall in the pouring rain 

Breathtaking mountains 

A freezing cold glacier 

An awesome fjord on someone's private property 

More pretty snow and ice blue water 

And then got stuck for close to 45 minutes by road works. Mike announces that we need to catch the last ferry at 5pm to Hellesylt so we put our faith in Ricky our driver. 
He guns it through Norway (not good for my stress levels) and drops 500m in a mere 5 minutes - brilliant! 
We literally pull onto the ferry at exactly 5.00pm and the whole bus cheers and claps , it's epic to say the least. 
And were so glad we get onto the ferry because the views are incredible 

The sun is shining, the weather is beautiful and we pull into the 200 person populated town of Hellesylt, and our view is pretty awful 

We play a fantastic game of trivia and our team (the fighting mongooses...mongeese?) come third! 
Some tasty drinks are consumed and we head to sleep before our last day in Norway!

Day 7 -
A bright and early rise started our final day in Norway.
We stopped in the small town of Lom to see our first stave church from the 12th century 

We saw our last fjord 

And popped into the small town of Lillehammer, an Olympic town in 1994, and went to the bobsledding track to give it a go. 

I gripped onto my gopro for dear life and recorded the 98km p/h ride down - absolutely f*cking crazy (pardon my Norwegian) 

It was way more intense than we could have imagined but an absolutely awesome way to finish our stay in Norway. 
We checked into our hotel (yes!!! A hotel with no bunk beds) and passed out real quick!

Norway and Denmark have been an absolute pleasure, next stop - Sweden and Finland! 

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