I truly enjoy traveling and this trip marked my 4th time in Italy and first time in Scandinavia. Norway and Italy are two very different places, even their climates are drastically different, one being cool and rainy and the other being hot and dry. Somehow though, they made for the perfect trip together!
We began our journey in Oslo, Norway, where we enjoyed the city, its architecture and food. We then took a train to Bergen, touring the countryside of Norway, seeing Norway’s greatest attribute, its beautiful natural landscape. We saw so many fjords, waterfalls, snow capped mountains, and forests! It was unbelievable how green it was. Our final destination was Bergen, where we enjoyed the port city with its dockside restaurants and old town shopping.
Post exploring Oslo and Bergen, we took short flights, trains, and automobiles (Planes, Trains, and Automobiles anyone?!) to the islands of Lofoten. Lofoten is a group of islands near the Arctic Circle, the northern most point of Norway. It’s gorgeous and stays light almost all day long during this time of year, the sun sort of sets at midnight. The sunset is not a traditional sunset, but more a lessening of light for about an hour and then it rises again around 1:00 am. It’s not a place for sleeping; it’s a place for eating cod (they are the foremost source of arctic cod and salted cod) hiking, drinking Aquavit, boating, and enjoying the great outdoors.
We also took a trip to the Lofotr Viking Museum while in Lofoten. You can see a reconstructed chieftain’s house, learn about their way of life, try on some armor and throw some axes. I highly recommend it!
After our time in Lofoten, we headed back to the mainland to see the oceanside town of Farsund, which is where Eric’s father’s family is from. It’s another gorgeous coastal towns with great people, hiking, and views. We toured the south of Norway then, with stops in Flekkefjord, Egersund, Jossingford, Helleren, and Sognalstrand.
Post our chilly and rainy Norway trip, we headed south for Naples, Italy. I have some family there and we stayed with them to get a real Italian experience. Naples is a stark contrast to the beautiful outdoors of Norway as it is an urban city. Naples is gritty and doesn’t offer the same beauty as some other Italian cities like Florence, Venice, or Rome but we found it has its own charm to it. We found the warmth, sun, and food a welcome change to our eight days in the chilly North. We stayed in Lago Patria, just outside Naples. I recommend taking a boat out on the coast one day to enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean sea, as we did. We saw the lovely island of Ischia and soaked up the sun’s rays. There’s not a lot of sand in the ocean there so the water is incredibly clear and refreshing to swim and snorkel in. I ate pasta and fresh seafood everyday (spaghetti pomodoro and octopus salad were my favorites!)
I also recommend taking some time to explore downtown Naples – shopping, walking, dining, and experiencing the city in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius in the background was pretty great. Oh, and we ate gelato everyday – my favorites are cafe (coffee) and coco (coconut).