Land of Fantasy

Enticed by the prospect of natural beauty and scenic locations, Madhu Jain visited Norway with her family – husband Sandeep and children Tanishq, Tavishi and Tanisha. The summer holiday began in the capital of Oslo, from where they explored the Scandinavian nation by rail and road. “Bergen, Averøy, Trondhiem, Oslo – Norway is such a beautiful place. Wherever we went, there were different shades of nature to behold,” Madhu says.
The Jain family began their tour by exploring Oslo’s history and its beautiful harbour for the first three days. “The famous Karl Johans Gate is the main street of Oslo,” shares Madhu. “It’s a beautiful walking area with restaurants featuring indoor and outdoor seating, shopping complexes with all the top brands, and nightclubs and bars, all in a very picturesque setting leading to the royal palace.”
“Another interesting site was the Viking Ship Museum, which has sea craft and artefacts that are more than 1,150 years old. It was incredible to see how the museum authorities have preserved these relics. The harbour was also very beautiful and lined with eateries featuring virtually every cuisine you could imagine. Outdoor seating provides heaters and blankets as it gets quite chilly in the evenings. It’s from this harbour that we took our fjord cruise.”
Norway has many hundreds of fjords, which are deep and narrow waterways with steep land on three sides and an opening towards the sea. Madhu adds, “On the cruise, we got to see the first lighthouse in Norway and some beautiful homes with the most exotic scenery. Norwegian architecture is among the best in the world, and the royal family’s golf course is probably the most scenic of its kind.” The family also celebrated Tanisha’s birthday while on board the cruise.
From Oslo, the Jains took the six-and-a-half-hour train ride to Bergen. “Bergen railroads have been voted as one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys. The trip takes you through five kilometres of tunnels and forests surrounding a number of fjords. There’s also a beautiful harbour view with some very luxurious yachts parked. You can even hire one if you want.”
‘Norway in a Nutshell’ is a day trip. The train takes two hours from Bergen to Myrdal, where you change trains to Flam. “You feel like you’re living out The Polar Express. It’s a wooden train, and the ride is most spectacular,” Madhu says. From Flam you take a ferry to Gudvangen, into the fjords. In about two hours, you’ll see waterfalls and mountains, and from Gudvangen a bus to Voss will take you through breathtakingly steep roads with lovely views. From Voss, you take a train back to Bergen. “That night, we couldn’t help but wonder if the tour was just a dream.”
The next day, the family went to see the fish market and visited Mount Floyen, the highest point in Bergen. But many travellers believe there’s no better way to explore the countryside than by road, and the Jains did not miss out. “We set off from Bergen to Averøy – a good eight-hour drive. It was just amazing. The roads are so good; it feels like you’re playing a video game! The fjords are on one side and the train tracks on the other, and you go through long tunnels to come out and find a ferry waiting for you, to drop you on the other side of the fjord. What a drive it was!”
Madhu Jain Family 
“But it was also well worth reaching Averøy. We’d booked a villa with a breathtaking view of the lakeside, and a swimming pool and sauna right there on the deck. We definitely needed those once we checked in! The next day, we left for the eagerly awaited drive on the Atlantic Ocean Road, the most scenic 8.3-kilometre stretch in the world, also known for its cycling track. We saw a 100-year-old house made of wood and, yes, it was still standing strong!”
The Jain family left for Trondheim by road thereafter. Situated in the middle of Norway, the town has beautiful restaurants and a surprisingly vibrant nightlife. The Nidelva flows through downtown Trondheim, and you can dine at several of the venerable wharf buildings along its banks. “The bridge in the old town is 300 years old. Simply unbelievable, it is one of the most photographed attractions in town. After a few days, we left for our final leg in Oslo, the only place in Norway with an international airport!”
With plenty of special moments to choose from – the amazing drive on the Atlantic Ocean Road, the beautiful train ride in Bergen, the enchanting villa near the lake in Averøy, celebrating Tanisha’s birthday on the cruise – the family concluded their trip with memories that will last a lifetime.                                                                                                                                               ..... Rahul