Just a small distance away from the north pole of the earth on a barren stretch of a frozen lake where the pearly radiance of ice illuminates the horizon like a glowing thread, I am reclining on crafty sled busy enjoying the hospitality of Angis and of Delfin, Furoe and Adrian.
” Ha Delfin Ha…Buck-up Adrian…” Angies said in a peppy voice and our royal carriage moved.
What? you didn’t understand…. well I am having a sled ride with Alaskan huskies away in the northern Norway, on the island of Tromsoya
What? no clues again, never been to Norway?…. well then why don’t you take short detour from your regular plebeian route and enjoy this Norwegian delight with me.
Delhi’s skyline had an air of invisibility literally, having been covered in thick poisonous smog that suffocated our lungs and caused eyes to burn like a nefarious viral. That was the time when I decided to break free for a much-needed vacation and took a flight to this Scandinavian beauty. The fantastic decision…my thankful soul said.
The trip was planned to accommodate two nights in Oslo, one night in Bergen and two nights in Tromso. It was a very short trip. As I said earlier breaking away from your plebeian route, no matter how hard you may try the grip of mundane forces are so strong that they will pull you back before you had enough time to cherish the moment…Alas!…. but a good short breather it was….and let it stay like that.
A Finnair flight took us to Oslo, the capital of Norway with a short layover at Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
I have purposely decided not to talk about the infrastructural, technological and the human advances that you may be hit with as soon as you reach Norway, upon viewing its roads, its buildings, its vehicles and their discipline on roads when they move, the mannerism of its people, their attitude, their fitness levels when they walk past you in their fast pace and high up stance. Because these things are the hallmark of many Europian countries. Perhaps, Norway is blessed to have an iota more.
I will restrict to highlighting only the key points of Oslo city tour with regards to its natural and historical backgrounds.
The Oslo city tour started with a visit to the Opera house. This magnificent structure, shaped like an iceberg with a portion of the building going underwater, stands majestically at the head of the Oslo fjord.
“The slanting stairway has led me to the top of glistening white granite plaza allowing me to admire the mystic charm of Oslo skyline flanking the grand fjord. And the slight shower immersed in the penetrating Polar chill made the moment… blissful.”
Our next stop was the Oslo fort.
Imagine, on a cold winter morning under the aegis of the soothing winter drizzle you are climbing up the concrete pathway of the fort entrance covered by the romantic maple fall…. its Mohabbtein for you..
Oslo City Hall
And this ladies and gentlemen, the solid brown brick structure casting different imagery compared to the rest of the sleek modernist Scandinavian architecture is the Oslo city hall decorated with fine murals on its walls by the renowned Norwegian artists.
December 10, 2023
the central auditorium is packed with almost a thousand guests from all accross the world, I bow humbly to the King Herald And his wife queen Sonja amidst the thunderous applaud as they confer me the Nobel peace prize for the year 2023…..Ha Ha Ha
At this designated date every year, from this very auditorium, the Nobel peace committee announces the name of the Nobel peace awardee.
Vigeiland Sculpture Park
How can one miss this sculpture park situated in the heart of Oslo city? More than 200 sculptures standing grandiosely represent various stages and emotions of life.
Two statues not to be missed while in Oslo.
The visit to the ski tower, another architectural marvel, was equally fascinating. It wasn’t hard to imagine that another month or so and the ski lover from all over the world will start clustering around the place to have a go.
Okay, what? too much of the history. Just chill have a sound sleep overnight for tomorrow is going to be a long and beautiful day, a day that is surely going to cast a lasting imprint on your memory lanes.
From Oslo To Bergen
The journey from Oslo to Bergen involving three modes of transport Bus, train and finally ship was like a fairyland odyssey.
The bus journey cut across the sparkling snow-covered countryside with beautiful row houses decorated meticulously by the divine downpour and the snow-covered fields stretching the compass into a cottony blanket giving the eyes a spectacle to behold.
When we left the bus at a small railway station to catch a connecting train it was snowing there. We walked across in the knee-deep snow to reach the platform and waited for the appealing red train to arrive. I was like a red celestial mass moving through the cottony clouds.
The Flam Railways
The Flam railway trip, an hour-long, enduring sojourn between Myrdal and Flam showcasing the picturesque fjord, snow-covered mountains, waterfalls and tunnels was undoubtedly one of the best train tours of the world.
‘I am sitting inside the enticing compartment staring through the glass window in oblivion. All my fear, worries, ego, present and past have frozen on the rocky mountains, taken out of my soul and plummeted on the rocks. I am feeling light and detached just looking them run past me.’
Bergen is a beautiful port city. Its main street flanked by the ferry ships and private yachts on one side on the multicoloured alluring showrooms on the other side. Together with the meshwork ghetto gullies inside the old german colony, it kind of had a sneaking resemblance with Venice.
Bergen city tour comprised of a small forest walk to see the state church, now converted into a museum that was closed for Sunday. But never the less the walk was refreshing and for those who are interested in architecture could admire the Viking influence on the church facade. Dragons decorating its top to protect against evil forces.
Our final stoppage before flying back home was Tromso, the place where there are high chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis. What? you don’t know what aurora is? Well, to explain in short, these are electrically charged solar particles that enter into earth’s atmosphere where they interact with the electrically charged particles already present within our atmosphere and present a swirling spectacle of colourful lights. since the earth’s magnetic field pulls these charged particles towards its poles, the spectacle can be easily seen in the polar regions. So, you have
- Aurora Borealis or the Northen Lights and
- Aurora Australis or the southern lights
Though we had allocated two nights for aurora hunting, snowfall and clouds made a foul play and prevented us from witnessing these magical lights.
This resentment of not seeing the celestial dance would have stayed much deeper into my heart but thanks to my interaction with the Alaskan Huskies which more than made up for everything. Blessed to be in the husky farm cuddling Delfin, Furoe and many others.
wandering about the reason behind the charming smile on the face of this young model?
well, its a smile of awe admiration for he is standing beside a legend. The iron lady Tove Sorenson, one of the famous name in dog sledding races all over the world who has successfully completed, a number times, the race stretching up one thousand two hundred kilometres over six days. Can you beat it, alone with only huskies to accompany in the snow-covered barren land under shearing cold and with only a sled to sleep on.
Few things about Norway that amazed me
There are a few things about Norway some of which are definitely factually correct while some maybe just a personal perceived notion attributed the charming influence that this country and its people had. None the less they are amazing
- Norway is a country free of all debts. In fact, they have money in surplus and is growing.
- Though the Norwegians pay heavy income tax the entire healthcare and the education is free.
- Norway perhaps is the only country in the world which does not charge any fees even from the foreign students for studying in its universities rather provides monetary assistance to do so.
- Norway has a unique ‘Trash to Cash’ approach with regards to its waste management system. This system was perhaps originally developed by Sweden but they had affordability issue. Whereas Norway has successfully adopted it for the past several years. The garbage thrown in the dustbin is quickly sucked in the underground pipe system and travels at a fast pace to reach the big incinerators located outside the city. This garbage here is converted into energy which is utilised for the city’s own consumption and even sold.
- Average life expectancy is considerably more compared to ours. one could easily find birthday cards for hundred-year-olds There are more than 1000 people past their centenary year in Oslo and still working.
Few regretful misses of the tour or you can call the things that I would love to indulge in while in Norway…may be next time
- The mystical aurora borealis
- Watching the spectacle of Sun set and the simultaneous Sunrise in the land of midnight Sun
- Perhaps a bicycle tour of the so lovely countryside
Word of appreciation
And finally its the time for thanksgiving and appreciation. Thanks to this man Mr Ashutosh and his company Utazzo the entire trip was meticulously planned and hassle free.
Everything right from travel to itinerary to food and beverages was well taken care of.
The stay at Clarion and Radisson was comfortable and all the Indian restaurants especially the Indie at Tromso were excellent.
My personal recommendation to get in touch with Utazzo before making your travel plans.
And here is my plebeian self signing off…Bye Bye
As you can read in the link to this post…. just two hundred kilometres away….its a typo error. My sincere apologies for the same. Here are the facts
Tromso is about 2200 kilometres from the north pole.
Alert Nunavut in Canada is the northernmost permanently inhabited place on earth.