WANDERLUST: NORWAY SERIES DAY 1
When I visited Norway, I fell in love. The country is so beautiful, the people are welcoming, the food is delicious and the fashion is amazing. Norway’s landscape is so diverse with mountains, fields, farms, cities, fjords and winding roads. There is so much to see and do in Norway. I cannot wait to go back again and discover more of this beautiful country.
When planning my visit to Norway I knew I wanted to see the mountains and have a cottaging adventure. Over the next two weeks I planned a trip to go to Skabu, Trollstigen, Dovrefjell and Oslo. Although Norway has a great transportation system with trains going all around the country, the places I wanted to visit required a car, especially during the time of the year of my visit. Plus, with a car you have so much freedom to go wherever you like and see so much more.
My sister and I rented a car from Oslo Airport from Hertz. I had booked it previously at home and the women on the phone was so helpful and great. It wasn’t too pricey either and used our personal insurance to cover the car.
Once we arrived at Oslo airport we were a bit tired but pumped! Time to start our adventure! Actually - before the adventure is duty free. Alcohol is regulated by the government and really expensive. We did what the Norwegians did and bought our wine at the airport. It’s interesting because the duty free is before you even pick up your baggage. The selection is pretty good at the airport and I would recommend buying your alcohol here too.
Finding the car rental place was a breeze and everyone at Hertz was really helpful. The car was a hybrid which I highly recommend because gas in Norway is hella expensive. The only drawback about our car was that the GPS was terrible. From the beginning it could never figure out where we were going. It was so bad in fact, I had to run back into the airport to use their wifi so I could load the directions to our first destination on my phone. I’m not sure how Google Maps works even without data or wifi, but it does and it is honestly the best thing ever. Thank you Google Maps, you are my favourite.
Our first destination was to a cottage in Skabu. Once we got our directions we were off! What I really love about driving in Norway is that there is no traffic. Perhaps it’s because I went during low season, but it’s wonderful. We began our journey to Skabu trying to follow the car GPS. At first it was smooth sailing along the highway until it told us to exit onto some side road. This road was our first experience with the narrow, cliff hanging, mountain hugging, no barrier roads in Norway. These winding roads go around mountains with sharp turns and no barriers on either side. One too sharp turn and you’ll either crash into the side of the mountain or go flying off into the abyss. Luckily, neither of these scenarios ever did happen to us.
While driving to Skabu the first thing you notice is how beautiful Norway is. The mountains, the fields, the farm houses. Everything is so picturesque. I couldn’t stop being in awe of everything around me. We stopped at a grocery stop to pick up some essentials. Norway is a pricey country so I highly recommend buying groceries and cooking for yourself. Plus, where we were headed, there were not a lot of restaurants around.
The horrific GPS kept trying to drive us off a cliff so we decided to follow our Google Maps app directions which seemed to know where it was going. The sun didn’t go down until around 10pm which was great because there are no street lights on most of these Norwegian roads. There are these reflectors that are stuck to sticks on either side of the road guiding you along. The reflectors work pretty well to be honest, but we still drove with our high beams once the sun went down.
Norway has so much wildlife and they all come out at night. We saw wild cats, deer, and foxes. You just have to try your best not to run any of them over. Once we got close to Skabu the mountains were all around. The roads go up and down the mountains and everyone is driving crazy fast with high beams blaring. It was kind of spooky.
By the time we got to the area where our cottage was it was around midnight and it was pitch black. Our handy Google Maps brought us to the right area but could not pinpoint where our cottage was. This realization of not knowing where the hell our cottage was left us kind of scared and unsure what to do. We drove around the area knocking on doors to see if anyone could help us but there was no one around. Anywhere! My sister thought it would be a good idea to go walking in the darkness because Google kept saying we arrived at our destination. It was cold and not our best idea.
We drove back to a sign we saw that said Skabu Cottage and figured out there was a hidden road between the forest trees leading somewhere. We took this road – unsure if it would lead us to a cliff – and made it to the other side! The road opened up to an area filled with cottages, and a lake surrounded by mountains. We made it! The owner of the cottages left a note and the keys to our cottage. We were so happy to have made. The cottage was quaint and had the perfect feel for the beginning of our trip.
Even though it was a bit difficult to find I would highly recommend staying at Skabu Cottage. The owner is so nice and friendly. The views are incredible, the water is hot and the location is excellent.
After a crazy travel day, what do you do? Eat soup, drink wine and watch Heathers!