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.

Recommendations:

Norway in a Nutshell tours

Oslo

Bergen

Farsund

Lofoten

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).

Recommendations:

Downtown Napoli

Ischia

Boats off the Mediterranean

Oslo, Norway
Norwegian countryside
Beautiful stream on our way west to Bergen
Fjords
Norwegian fishing village
Norwegian countryside on the fjord tour
The fjords!
Norwegian flag against fjord backdrop
Sailboat in Bergen’s port
Top of Bergen
Another view of Bergen from up high
Norwegian woods in Bergen
My house in Bergen (just kidding, sadly)
Sunshine in Lofoten
Lofoten
Coast of Lofoten
me freezing in Lofoten, it looks warm but it’s not.
Mountains of Lofoten
Coast of Lofoten
Beach walks in Lofoten
Bridges between different Lofoten Islands
Stayed in the Rorbuers cabins in Reine
A i in Lofoten
Arctic Cod drying
Hiking the mountains
Beach, clouds, and mountains of Lofoten
Lofotr Viking Museum
Reconstructed Viking ship
Farsund
Farsund
My new boat! just kidding.
View of top of Farsund
Grand Hotel in Egersund
Sundays everything is closed across Norway. This made for excellent photo ops in Egersund!
Sognalstrand, the cutest town there ever was.
River in Sognalstrand
My favorite care ever, name “Frans”
Lighthouse off the coast of Naples
Coast of Naples, Italy
Apparently this was an Italian women’s prison.
Ischia
Boat I’d like in the coastal waters off Ischia
Bridge between the islands of the coast of Naples, Italy.
Another view of the women’s prison – seriously, what do I have to do to get locked up there?!
Ischia
The clear water of the Mediterranean Sea
Port of Ischia
Ischia
Young boy in Ischia
My dream house!
Boat Selfie
Family!
Downtown Naples
Downtown Naples
Love the cobblestone streets of downtown Naples
Coast off Naples, love the little boats!
Downtown Naples
Marine Monument off coast of Naples