2015 was in many ways my favourite ever year of travel. So many things happened in that year that epitomised by travel style. Firstly, I visited over 10 unrecognised countries, including Christiania, Ladonia, Uzupis, Austenasia, Adammia, Lagoan Isles and Podjistan. It was one of the craziest years for that. But as well as that madness, I had the pleasure of visiting every country in Scandinavia (Norway, Ladonia, Christiania, Finland and Faroe Islands) that were new to me. I had already been to Denmark and Sweden but backpacked them both again. However, of those, Norway may well have left the longest lasting impression – because it was readers of this blog who voted unanimously for Norway to be my 99th country. With that in mind, here are my most memorable experiences from backpacking in Norway.
1.Crossing the border into Country 99
I took a train from Gothenburg in Sweden to Oslo in Norway for my entrance into country 99. It was an evening train and it all ran smoothly. There wasn’t actually a border check if I recall, but I had finally made it to my 99th country and of course this was a milestone.
2. Touring the Fjords of Gudvangen
When in Norway, touring fjords is a must, isn’t it? Well I headed to the beautiful Gudvangen fjord to tour. We boarded the boat near the town of Voss and cruised past simply stunning scenery in the Norwegian winter. The boat was fun as well – I met lots of friendly fellow tourists on there.
3. Riding the World’s Steepest Train at Flam
The town of Flam may not be the most memorable place ever due to its size and the fact that is more of a village next to the fjord (at least in my opinion). But after our fjord cruise from Gudvangen, we ended up here. From Flam, you take what is classed as the “world’s steepest train ride” up to the village of Myrdal. What was just as magnificent for me was the scenery in winter – pure snow everywhere, I loved it! It’s called the Flamsbana, Norway: Flåmsbana World’s Steepest Railway from Flåm to Myrdal
4.Nights out in Oslo
I’m a city boy at heart really. Well I did live in Belfast, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Montevideo, Bishkek, Gdansk and Warszawa. So a night out in Oslo was of course on the cards. I spent a few days in the city centre itself, whacking through a top 10 sights. The highlight of this was meeting Gunnar Garfors, the first man to visit every country in the world TWICE!
On those nights out, I enjoyed the bars of Oslo, the casino for Norwegian players and the live sports bar where I could watch English football. It was a great city to party in, despite people complaining about the prices.
5.Visiting Bergen’s UNESCO Site
I’ve stuck a fifth point on here, as Bergen itself was just so beautiful. I visited Bergen’s UNESCO listed World Heritage Site, known as Bryggen. I also loved Bergen, where I backpacked it cheap in a hostel and headed for good food (fish stew and stout!) and happy hour drinks.
Thanks Norway, for being my country 99, I had a lot of fun. Perhaps I’ll return to the North Pole or Spitsbergen one day, or maybe even Bouvet Island? The most remote island in the world!