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12 Day Scandinavian Adventure

Locations Visited/Stayed:

Sweden: Uppsala and Stockholm- Berns Hotel

Norway: Oslo-Radisson Red at Airport, Lofoten Islands- Holmen Lofoten, Odda (Trolltunga)- Trolltunga Guesthouse which was the closest but there is also Tyssedal Hotel and Trolltunga Hotel

7/28: Travel Day

7/29: The trip started off in Sweden visiting one of my closest friends. After spending part of the day in Uppsala having fika and walking around, she surprised me with a girls night in Stockholm. We stayed at the Berns Hotel which was perfect for us. This hotel is known for their two night clubs which we had access to for free because we were guests of the hotel. After enjoying some champagne in our room, we headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant for an Asian fusion dinner. From there, we had drinks at Glasshaus, Hotel Diplomat, and Sturehof (head to the center of the restaurant and head up the stairs one floor) before heading to the nightclubs at our hotel.

7/30: We had complimentary breakfast at the hotel, and spent most of the day walking the beautiful city of Stockholm. Places we visited: Grand Hotel (fanciest hotel that we will stay at next time now that we’ve stayed at At Six and Berns), Old Town, and saw the Royal Palace. We then went our separate ways as I headed to the airport to fly to Oslo. I made the decision to stay at one of the two Radissons right at the Oslo airport, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was also only a 5 minute walk to the airport.

7/31: Wish I knew about the complimentary breakfast at my Radisson Red hotel, but I didn’t. Next time! I walked to the airport (5 min) and boarded my flight to Bødø. Once I landed in Bødø, I had made reservations ahead of time to rent a car (I used Sixt) which was super easy being right at the entrance to the small airport. Once I got my keys, I turned left outside the airport, and the rental car park was right there for me. I drove to the ferry terminal where I had reserved a spot with my car to take over to the Lofoten Islands. The ferry took 4 hours, and I enjoyed a traditional Norwegian lunch of meatballs and potatoes on the boat. Once docked in Moskenes, I headed 5 minutes up the road, and checked into my room at Holmen Lofoten. They greeted me with a glass of homemade strawberry kombucha with sweet meadow that they had just picked that day. I settled into my room, and headed to my dinner reservation which was in the next house over from my room. The dinner was extremely well done, and if you don’t mind the $120 pp price tag, I highly recommend at least going once. Everything is so fresh, and the chefs are typically from amazing restaurants all over the globe that come to work at Holmen. The hotel itself is family owned, and everyone was so warm and welcoming. After dinner, I took in the sights there on the property and headed to bed. Since it was the end of July, it would get somewhat dark around 11 pm (at home this same darkness is around 8:30 pm at home in MA same time of year for comparison).

8/1: I woke up at 3 am to get ready for my first big adventure. Today was the day I would hike the famous trail/stairs called Reinebringen which was located 7 minutes away. I arrived with my car in Reine around 5. There was plenty of parking, and hardly saw anyone despite how light it was out. After reading multiple blogs about this hike, the best place to hike is the lot where many campers park overnight right before going over the bridge/heading into the tunnel leading into Reine. You can actually see the stairs from this pull off/parking area.

Things I brought on this hike: my water bottle filled with LMNT, a snack in case I got hungry, and my rechargeable battery with the cord.

About this hike: it is strenuous! There are almost 2000 steps leading up to the top. I really didn’t train for this trip, and I could feel it. I would take breaks every time the stairs made a turn or where there were pullover spots. My heart rate was between 160-180 the whole way up. When I got to the top, there were only 3 other people up there. I had my own spot to sit and take in the sights. It is better than any photo you will see. I think having to hike up all those steps makes it 10 times worth it. Seeing the view in person was surreal for me. I had that photo on my desktop for the past 5 years, and it brought tears to my eyes being able to see it in person. It was a dream vision come true for me. On the way down, my legs were shaking hardcore the whole time. I don’t know what was harder. The heart rate going up, or the physical beating of your legs coming down. Either way, it's still worth it 100%. I wore long leggings with a long sleeve Nike athletic top with a tank top underneath. Don’t forget a good pair of socks with your hiking boots too. The hike took me in total 2 hours to do with the stop at the top.

After the hike, I headed back to Holmen and went for a dip in the ocean because my legs already felt like jelly. The dip in the 55 degree F water felt amazing, and was a game changer for my recovery after the hikes. After the dip, I went and had my complimentary breakfast which again was out of this world. Once my belly was full, I headed back to my room and took a nap which I NEVER do but my body needed some good old fashion sleep recovery. When I woke up around 1 pm, I decided to do a Lofoten road trip.

Here are the spots I hit:

  • Leknes

  • Lofoten Seaweed

  • Henningsvaer

  • Unstad:surf town to have cinnamon buns at the Artic Surf Cafe

  • Haukland Beach

  • Tried to have dinner at Anita’s Seafood but they closed at 9 pm so I didn’t make it in time….they are known for their fish sandwiches and fish soup

8/2: I had breakfast then I decided to book a private hiking guide. The hike started at 10:30 am and lasted between 4-5 hours. I had a lunch made for me as well. The hike was gorgeous. The middle of the hike was when we had lunch at a lake in the center of the mountains. I went for a swim, and ate lots of cloudberries along the way. I learned so much about Lofoten from my guide. Highly recommend it, especially if you are with your family. After this hike, I went for another swim then headed to my sauna reservation in Reine at Catogarden. I had the sauna to myself as I overlooked to towering mountains that I had looked at from above on my hike the day before. After my 30 minute sauna, I walked across the street and took a dip in the water. I couldn’t believe how boyaunt I was in the water. After dinner, I went back to Holmen, freshened up and headed for my dinner reservation at Maren Anna. I had the fish of the day which was again out of this world. As you can probably now tell, food in Lofoten is so fresh. They are known for their salted cod which gets shipped worldwide after the fishing season that takes place between January and March. I would like to return in March or April for this as well as the first week of September to see the foliage.

8/3: Had my final breakfast and headed to the ferry. Took the ferry and plane back to Oslo, then took public transportation to my friend Danny’s apartment.

8/4: MY BIRTHDAY! Myself, Danny, and Danny’s friend Johan from Sweden hopped in the car to begin our road trip to Odda. We stopped at the Hopperstad Stave Church where the guys surprised me with a birthday cake. After this, we continued our drive to our sauna Åkrafjorden Sauna/Glamping. We had almost 2 hours to enjoy the sauna to ourselves, then we headed to our Trolltunga guesthouse to check in. We had an early night as we prepared for our big hike in the morning. Went visited Odda and grabbed some food at the local market as well as Thai food takeaway which we ate by the water.

8/5: Trolltunga Hike Day! We arrived at P3 parking at 6:26 am exactly (parking lot opened at 6:30 am and we were the second car). When you park at P3, you pay $59 and $20 for road tolls. Once you park, you have to walk downhill 100 meters to start the hike. (Having to do this at the end of the 13 mile hike was not fun)

About this hike: it is long (13 miles/ half marathon bike) and is quite hard on the knees/I don’t recommend doing this as your last hike. My body was HURTING for the last 4 miles of the hike which is a lot when the majority of those 4 miles are down steep hills. My knees were shot especially since my legs were still recovering from the 2 hikes I did in Lofoten. It is hit or miss with weather in the fjords. I personally would suggest starting this hike around 3 pm if during the summer months so it will take you a solid 6 hours and the chances of less clouds are during the day instead of the morning. Once you reach what I call Pride Rock of Norway, it will most likely be chilly and there will be a line waiting to take photos on the rock. Pack yourself a lunch so you can relax and eat/eat while waiting in line. A Norwegian hiking tradition is to have chocolate wafer cookies that are Kit Kats. On the inside wrapper is tips about the mountains. What to wear: layers! What to bring: two water bottles, lunch, snacks, portable battery charger for your phone

After the hike, we went for a swim off the main road leading from Tyssedal to Odda/sunbathed and relaxed. For dinner that night, we went to the Tyssedal Hotel then headed back to go to bed. We were all pretty tired after the day we had. Another great food option is the Siderhuset Ola K.

8/6: Had breakfast at our room which had a kitchen, then drove back to Oslo. That night friends came to Danny’s and we all enjoyed nachos together.

8/7: Spa Day at the Well. One of my favorite spas! I enjoyed lunch and a light dinner here.

8/8: Explore Oslo (best free public bathrooms-National museum and opera house)

  • Waffles and tea/coffee at Hønse-Lovisa’s House

  • Damstredet

  • Lunch at Den Glade Gris

  • Royal Palace (changing of the guards 1:30 pm daily)

  • National Theatre

  • Aker Brygge (shopping, Nobel Peace, National Museum)

  • Akershus Fortress

  • Opera House

  • Oslo Domkirke church

Oslo is very walkable and has trams/buses everywhere. Make sure to download the Ruter app.

Other food places I’d like to try:

  • Grezzo

  • Oslo Street Food

  • Bei Bei

Danny and I then met up to go use the saunas at Sukkerbitten. For dinner, we grabbed pizza from Jungel Pizza. Highly recommend anything with their rosemary pesto.

8/9: Travel Day

This trip has been a dream of mine for the past 5 years, and my adventure cup is overflowing! Seeing the Lofted Islands in person and standing on the rock at Trolltunga are moments I will never forget.

I will be putting together a separate post of the ultimate trip to Norway that will combine my 2018 and 2023 trips there. It is a country that will take your breath away as many do.

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