I was invited to help celebrate a milestone birthday in Norway. Kaela was turning 50 while her husband, Tai, was turning a young 47. Along with others from DC, Toronto, Norway, and the UK, we met in Oslo and then embarked on an epic bike ride, Rallarvegan, through the country side of Norway to Flam. As everyone else made their way back home, Kaela, Tai and I spent an additional day in Alesund.
Most everyone on this trip met through soccer, and have become friends over the years of travel and pints. The first night in Oslo, my friend Brock’s flight was delayed in Toronto so I ended up in Oslo with Tim, who I met 5 years ago one afternoon in London through Kaela. We sat down that evening in a pub at a table for 6…and each person was from a different country. This 6 nation table had Norway, Sweden, Poland, UK, Bosnia, and the US represented. I can honestly say that has never happened before, and may never happen again.
We spent a couple days in Oslo exploring the city and the nightlife. There is a tremendous amount of new construction going on in the city, highlighted by the Oslo Opera House, designed by the firm, Snohetta. We also visited the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which was a memorable visit from my last time in Norway 18 years ago.
The Rallarvegan is a bikeroute along the old service road that was constructed during the building of the Oslo-Bergen railroad. We started in Finse, and 52 km later ended in Flam, staying in the Hallingskeid hut for one night. The scenery is breathtaking and hard to put in words, even the photos do not do it justice. We were dressed for all kinds of weather, for good reason, as we had sunshine the first day and 40’s and rain the second day.
Flam was a beautiful destination, as it not only is the end of Norway’s largest fjord, but has a wonderful brewpub, Aegir Brewpub, with a large fireplace to dry our clothes. Flam has one of the world’s steepest and most scenic standard gauge railroads in the world, the Flamsbana, and it took us back to Oslo.
Many of our new friends departed in Oslo while Kaela, Tai and I spent a couple days in Alesund, on the west coast of Norway. The city was rebuilt after a fire in the early 1900’s in the art nouveau architectural style. After walking up Mount Aksla for a panoramic view of the city, we spent the next day kayaking around the city and fjord with our guide from Kayak More Tomorrow before I had to catch my flights home.
It was an incredible trip with old and new friends, a beautiful landscape, and wonderful memories.