The Arctic Beauty of Norway: A Wishlist

When we reach the proverbial ends of the earth, there is a magic that happens nowhere else. The extremities of life emerge in palpable ways, showing their harsh beauty in visions of towering glaciers, haunting mountainscapes, and gaping sapphire fjords. We find animals whose oddities have allowed them to thrive in severe weather; people with customs, languages, and work ethics as resilient as the earth itself. Every day possesses a raw sense of survival and urgency to appreciate the world. For, in the Arctic and Antarctic alike, life is an intricate balance of toil and joy.

I came close to approaching the South Pole when I visited Patagonia in my early twenties. It wouldn’t be until I was in my thirties that I would head much farther north, realizing my lifelong dream of visiting Iceland. Bundling myself up like never before, I ventured into the dark, snowy beauty of winter, my teeth chattering while my eyes feasted upon topographies I thought were only possible in the imagination. The truth is, before this trip, this region of the world seemed so unreachable, so unnavigable, but I was proven wrong. A love for extreme weather, rugged landscapes, and Viking culture was born within me, prompting me: Where to next?

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“Snow-Sea” by Matilda Diamant. Photo via CC Commons.

Since that time, I have seen many countries throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, but Scandinavia is calling me with rabid persistence. There is still so much to see, and, after pouring over my friend Candace’s drawings, and beginning to read Blair Braverman’s Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, I am certain that I must travel to Norway. It’s unabashedly summoning me. Admittedly, I’m more of a spontaneous traveler, but over the years, I’ve found that it’s important to do research ahead of time and to have a grasp of the activities/sites that you absolutely cannot leave the country without doing.

Here is my minimalist  wishlist for Norway:

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“Oslo01” by Pål Nordseth. Photo via CC Commons.

CULTURE

  • Arrive in the capital of Norway, Oslo, preferably during summertime. While winter in Scandinavia is gorgeous, there is nothing like enjoying the midnight sun. Surprisingly, this city is home to approximately one million people and is at the forefront of global trends.
  • Attend the Øya summer music festival, which is headlined by some of the world’s most prominent bands. It’s also one of the greenest, most environmentally-friendly events with organic food. Music festivals are some of my favorite celebrations and a great place to meet like-minded people- no matter where they come from!
  • Eating at Oslo’s leading vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants! As always, whenever I travel, one of the things I most look forward to is trying their local plant-based dishes. I’d especially like to try råkostsalat and raspeballer.
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“Trolltunga – Norway” by Jean Schmitt. Photo via CC Commons.

NATURE

  • Head (way) north to the islands of Lofoten to catch the Northern Lights. (This would require a separate trip, as you can’t see the aurora borealis during the summer time.) I was lucky enough to see the lights dance twice in Iceland (from my hostel balcony, nonetheless!), but there’s something inexplicably mesmerizing about this natural show. Just as sunsets still captivate me, I don’t think I would ever tire of the lights.
  • Hike to Trolltunga. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not much of a hiker so this 10-12 hour trek might seem like a death wish for me. Nonetheless, with some preparation (and training), the view at the top of this 1,100-meter cliff rock would absolutely be worth it. I imagine myself, dangling my tired legs off the top of the Troll’s Tongue, gazing at Lake Ringedalsvatnet, breathing in the fresh air, and feeling (quite literally) at the top of the world.
  • Go on a wildlife photography rampage! If you know me, you are familiar with just how much I adore animals. Norway is home to a plethora of gorgeous animals, such as polar bears, reindeer, puffins, arctic foxes, and so many other wild animals. It doesn’t matter how many glaciers hikes, snowmobile outings, boat rides, or sleds I’d have to board; I want to see all of the animals and photograph them in their natural habitat.
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“Fjellrev / Arctic fox” by Erik F. Brandsborg. Photo via CC Commons.

That, in a nutshell, is my wishlist for visiting the arctic beauty of Norway. Once there, I’m sure I will find so many other adventures to embark upon.

Have you been to Norway? What was your favorite activity or site, and what do I need to add to my list?

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16 thoughts on “The Arctic Beauty of Norway: A Wishlist

  1. Zac says:

    I had no idea about Norwegian cuisine outside of seafood but those raspeballer look to die for :O I’m planning to swing by Norway late in the year to hit up Ålesund. I’m also really keen to do a free(!) tour of the Oslo rådhus, although it’s not for everyone’s tastes hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mei & Kerstin 👭🌍 (@_travelwithmk) says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautifully written post! Your poetic words almost made us want to explore the North (or South) Pole. hehe… But we must admit that we prefer exploring the warmer areas of the world, since it never gets hot enough here in Luxembourg. Landscapes of deserts, red rocks and canyons are what we love most. Although Patagonia is also on our bucket list. So maybe one day we’ll have enough courage to travel up north to catch the Northern Lights.

    Like

  3. Ghia Lorenzo says:

    Oh my Norway is such a beautiful country to visit! What I love love is too witness the Northern lights though it is a separate trip, maybe hike the breath takingTrolltunga and witness also its majest view, discover Norway’s wildlife and enjoy taking pictures of the animals there like the arctic foxes, and lastly enjoy a Norwegian cuisine. Thanks for sharing this post! I really love all of the photos!

    Like

  4. Jen says:

    I haven’t been to Norway, but now I want to go! I think my main goal would be seeing an arctic fox. I have yet to see a fox in the wild. I also love hiking and the scenery here is gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rachel says:

    Oh I love Norway – so stunning! i took a train ride from Oslo to Bergen in Dec a few years back, and the Artic views along the way were like nothing I’ve ever seen before or since. Now I want to go back!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. StephanieM says:

    I had no idea you had Norway on your wishlist too!! Since my last tour of Europe I’ve realized, I must visit Scandinavia! And Norway is at the top! Especially for its natural wonder – and as a hiker – hiking Trolltunga is on my hiking bucket list!

    Like

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