Voss and Midsummer's Eve in Oslo
(5.0) (3 votes)
June 23rd, 2005
We saw real reindeer!
Cons : None
We left a once again rainy Bergen to head back to Voss to spend
the day watching some extreme sports before we headed back to (gasp!)
drop off the car and spend a few days in Oslo.
The Voss Extreme Sports week seemed to be a big deal from what we
heard. When we arrived, the town was a little quieter than we expected…but
nonetheless there were numerous events going on. We tried unsuccessfully
to watch rafting and river boarding, but were able to find the skydiving.
After managing to drive through a Norwegian military base (after
a few wrong turns) we found the airfield and watch some heli-skydiving.
The copter would take up two or three people at a time while the
rest waiting on the airstrip. Planes were taking off all over the
place…it seemed sort of unorganized. But it was pretty amazing
to see these little dots appear from a hovering helicopter and slowly
gain speed and parachute to earth.
After enjoying a little sun down on the main lake in Voss we headed
up to Eli’s Farm for our dinner with her family. I let Ashley
drive the car the few miles up to the farm…so needless to
say, I was pleased when we arrived in one piece.
Eli’s daughter Celia joined Erlend (the son), Arvid (father),
Eli and us for a wonderful dinner of Salmon with vegetables. None
of the family had even been to America and we had great discussions
all about America, Detroit, healthcare, and traveling. Arvid was
quite interested in taking a road trip across the states and we
were trying to tell him about all the different parts of the country.
Eli made these wonderful panache type things (with all or some combination
of the following) where you put jam, sour cream, sugar and cheese
and roll them up inside. Ashley and I ate WAY to many and Eli just
kept putting them in front of us as we chatted with everyone (Celia’s
boyfriend and other friend joined us, as well as Lucas, the Brazilian
After dinner we headed into Voss to watch the skydiving extravaganza
(if you will…) that takes place every Extreme Week. On our
way, I let Celia’s boyfriend drive my car (he was a big car
guy and I told him he had to drag on Woodward) and he seemed to
be a bit more excited than I would expect…but he went on to
tell us, that with taxes the Volvo s40 would cost close to 700,000
Norwegian Crowns or about $100,000 US Dollars…crazy! Taxes
on cars here are over 100%...to have a car as a young person is
nearly unheard of…I wonder what these kids would do walking
around the Cranbrook parking lot!
After we watched the skydiving formation (it was a little thrown
off because of the clouds, but was still quite amazing as some of
the divers flew crazily down at nearly 100 Km/hr) we said our goodbyes
as we wanted to head closer to Drammen (near Oslo and six hours
away) where we had to drop the car off by 3 PM.
We sort of just planned to drive as far as we could and then camp
on the side of the road. It’s legal in Norway to camp anywhere
as long as you are more than 100m from a house. Our drive took us
across the narrow and windy Route 50 up and around on the Hardangervidda
Plateau. Of all the drives we had made, I really think this, our
last, was the most amazing. We literally were the only car on the
road as we would up and around a few small fjords and on top of
the plateau. We came across a beautiful mountain lake (that was
formed by a massive stone dam) and up in the hills we saw a herd
of Reindeer (WE SAW REAL REINDEER! I have been talking about this
non-stop and Ashley is getting quite annoyed). Around midnight we
finally called it quits a few hours from Drammen and pulled over.
Today the drive to Drammen was quite painful as the directions and
terrible map made it near impossible to find the damn auto transport
service. After finally arriving (I did somehow manage to get off
at the right exit, but the five exit traffic circle sort of made
things difficult) we sadly signed off the car and took a taxi to
catch the train to Oslo.
Our hotel in Oslo is located near the train station and close to
Karl Johans Gate, the main pedestrian street complete with shopping,
cafes and street performers. After cleaning up we headed to the
Munch Museum, freshly reopened after a few of their paintings were
stolen last year (a color sketch of “The Scream” and
“Madonna” were stolen and recovered). The redone museum
was almost like a fortress. It was nearly impossible to not set
off the metal detector and you had to enter through two electronic
gates to just get to the paintings, which were mostly surrounded
by glass. Each room had numerous cameras as well as “an eye
in the sky”. Once you finally were able to see the paintings,
Munch’s inner demons showed through. They had a small permanent
collection of his works (most are loaned out), the majority of the
museum was the current show called “Munch by Himself”.
It showed the transition of Munch from his early self-portraits
of 1892 to his highly disturbed and dark paintings all the way up
to his death in 1944. “The Scream”, “Starry Night”
and “Man Between his Bed and Clock” were all deeply
disturbed and dark. I was relatively unfamiliar with Munch (other
than “The Scream”) and this collection of a few hundred
of his self-portraits really gave one insight on his troubled and
After the museum we took a stroll down Karl Johans. During a brief
stop at a café (it was 70+ and Sunny out!) we ran into some
random French dude wearing a Pistons shirt. I thought maybe he was
from the Big D, but his Frenchness made it quite apparent that he
was not. He was however a bit fan…so we gave him props for
sporting the blue and red and sent him and his little lady from
Chicago (who made fun of us for telling everyone where we are from
by showing them on our hands) on their way.
After the café we headed down to the old inner harbor, Aker
Brygge. All the former shipping warehouses were gutted and filled
with trendy eateries and stores, so it was quite nice to walk around.
After making our way through the Gay Pride Festival (Ashley seems
to find these wherever she goes…) we found a nice Italian
place on the water called, you guessed it, Sopranos. Our quality
dinner was supplemented by our gregarious waiter Sall. He invited
us to sail out with him and his wealthy family on their eight-bedroom
yacht along the coast all the way to Bergen. He informed us of his
$15 million dollars saved and trust fund that would be used to start
a Michelin 5-Star rated restaurant on the outskirts of Oslo. We
were very saddened to have to turn down this offer to travel to
Bergen (once again) on an Italian Yacht, but being that we are leaving
for the UK on Saturday, it just wasn’t possible. Although
we did drive to Bergen along all routes possible in the car and
we could complete the tri-fecta by taking a boat there and train
back…but sadly, it just wasn’t going to be…
So now we are back at the hotel…on midsummer’s night
eve…a big holiday in Norway. Why are we going to bed so early
do you ask? So we can watch the Pistons at 4 AM…that’s
why! Thanks to the world of the laptop, Internet and NBA.com, we
hopefully will be able to tune in and watch tonight (this morning’s
GOING TO WORK!
Catch ya on the flip side,
- M & Turtle