Eventyr i Norge: my Norway travel journal

4 comments | Filed in: | By Valérie
The past ten days, my boyfriend and me went on an adventurous holiday to Norway. It was even more beautiful than I imagined, so that's why I wanted to share our journey with all of you! 

DAY 1: We left Belgium around five o'clock in the afternoon, landed in Rygge (close to Oslo) about two hours later and slept in the station building — the waiting room to be precise — till five in the morning, when we had our train to Oslo and our train to Geilo, where we would be staying for a few days before we moved on into the direction of Aurland. 

DAY 2: When we arrived in Geilo, by eleven in the morning after hours of travelling, we felt really tired and searched for a camping, where we rested and slept almost the entire afternoon. Later that day, when evening fell, we went for a small walk. Geilo is a beautiful village, most popular in winter because of its ski slopes. In summer there are less tourists, but still we met quite a lot of them during our walk.

DAY 3: We felt adventurous that day and decided to go "over the mountains" to see the Hardangervidda which is a huge mountain plateau. I'm pretty sure we walked more than twenty kilometers — not the usual kilometers, but down the hill, up the hill, on the rocks, off the rocks... It was hard but little did we know that things would be even harder the next few days!

DAY 4: After being completely worn out because of our Hardangervidda experience, we decided to make this a rest day (it was Sunday after all). We went to Geilo village and had lovely softis with brown sugar! I've never tasted better ice cream in my life! In the evening we had dinner in a local restaurant called "Ekte". It was expensive but not overly expensive. My boyfriend had elk carpaccio — made of moose meat — and salmon as a main dish. I chose bruschetta with cheese and tomatoes and... a big beef burger with bacon and fries because I usually don't try local food when I'm starving haha! Comfort food it was.

DAY 5: After these days in Geilo we continued our journey by taking the bus to Stemmerdalen. From there we would follow a hike route to Østerbø and Vassbygdi, a total of thirty kilometers, spread in three days (so each day we would hike about ten kilometers and camp in the wild). I have to admit that I was worried about camping in the wild, I'd never done it before and I had some horror scenarios in my head. The weather was quite awful by the way, lots of rain so it didn't really put me in the mood for crazy adventures. Nevertheless we started the three-day-hike and let me tell you, it was hard. From Stemmerdalen to Østerbø the paths were made mostly out of rocks, add rain and there's me slipping and sliding with a heavy backpack. By the evening we finally made it to Østerbø, placed our tent seconds before it started to rain again and basically went to bed without food because we both were so very tired.

DAY 6: The next day there was (luckily) less rain, or maybe I just thought there was less rain because I simply didn't care anymore. The air was very moist and warm aswell. We left Østerbø about two in the afternoon — way too late — we wanted to camp between Østerbø and Vassbygdi because there's twenty kilometers in between but nature didn't really agree... We were halfway and the sun was already setting but there was literally no place to put our tent. There were only rocks and rivers and mud and swamp land. It was getting darker because of the weather (and time) so as you can imagine I felt panic building up in my head. At some point I thought we would have to hide under a cliff and sleep there. Luckily by eight in the evening, we arrived at the Sinjarheim farm and when we saw another tent placed on the cliff there was no way we would continue our journey that day! We were so lucky and placed our tent close to the farm (none lived there by the way, but you could use the toilet and visit some of the barns). To me, this was the most rough day we've had and I didn't even mention the four spiders we met in our tent when we woke up.

DAY 7: We had only a few kilometers to go to Vassbygdi so we started around ten o'clock. It was a beautiful route and the paths were easier. When watching my step I noticed a raspberry on the path, looked up and saw an entire mountain side with raspberry bushes. I instantly stopped and yelled "raspberries!!" to my boyfriend and we spent more than half an hour eating and collecting them. They were the sweetest thing! When we arrived in Vassbydgi we took the bus to Aurland, where we rested at a camping.

DAY 8: We were really tired so we went to the center of Aurland, to visit and explore the little village. It's so beautiful. The weather got better aswell and we sat in the sun and ate chocolate chip cookies. The picture below was taken in Aurland. We didn't really do much that day, but enjoyed the view and the peace and quiet of the village. We had dinner at a pub — we both ordered a burger. I really think we earned that one after those hard days!

DAY 9: We left Aurland and went back to Geilo, our first village. It was our last entire day, because we needed to leave the next one in the afternoon. We had the delicious ice cream once again — I had been dreaming of it ever since I first tasted it — and walked around, visited a local church and a farm. In the evening we tried "Norwegian" spaghetti with meat balls and knackwurst, which I had been nagging about all week — can we please try it?! — but ironically it was kind of heavy on the stomach and it left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. 

DAY 10: We woke up in a sauna tent because the sun was shining (at last) and we had a lovely morning. We basically spent the few hours till our train eating our last food. At three in the afternoon we left for Oslo and Rygge where we would stay in a hotel (our train and flight hours didn't really match). Unfortunately our hotel was fully booked, so we had to stay and sleep at the airport till five in the afternoon the next day.

DAY 11: We spent the next fifteen hours sleeping on and off, eating, reading and I was just staring around observing people with a blank, tired expression haha. Time went by and it had been a long time since I felt so tired. We had a good flight and my boyfriend's parents were so kind to pick us up from the airport and provide us with food, because honestly I felt like starving and I'm pretty sure my boyfriend felt the same way. When I came home, I ate so much fries I almost felt sick. After that I had a lovely bath with oils and stuff — much needed — and finally went to bed smelling like flowers. 

It was definitely an adventure and I'm pretty sure I passed all my boundaries in terms of comfort, but I loved everything even though some parts were hard. I also liked a lot of small things, like snuggling in my sleeping bag after a long day, drinking tea and reading in the evening, making food on a fire my boyfriend had made, drinking from mountain streams... During the trip I felt most of the time at ease and peaceful (except for that one day, as I wrote above). Norway is such a beautiful country. I think we'll definitely go back in the future! Norge, kommer jeg til å savne deg!

Nike Free Run 5.0+

3 comments | Filed in: | | | By Valérie
This year I definitely (re)discovered a passion for running. I've been running approximately at least two times a week since March, minus my finals month where I was too tired for anything but studying. I've had a pair of Nike Court shoes — designed for tennis — for the past two years, but naturally fell in love with the Nike Free Run range (like everyone else in the world, I think). 

Nike Free Run 5+

Whenever a shop sold them here in Belgium, they never had my size and the price tag was sky-high for me... until last week. My sister said they sold them in America Today on sale and she had spotted my size, so the very next day I was on a mission for Nike Free Runs. They had various colours; I doubted between a neon yellow pair or the ones above and as you can tell I went with the light blue ones because they match my running outfits (priorities!) and it's just a pretty and feminine colour. 

DESCRIPTION: The Nike Free 5.0+ running shoe is designed to maximize the foot's natural range of motion while providing protection and cushioning for a smooth ride. To soften your step, the midsole offers adequate cushioning to keep your feet comfortable, mile after mile. The rubber outsole features waffle pistons that help absorb impact and ensure reliable traction on a variety of surfaces.

RATING: I really like them because they're so lightweight and comfy to wear. They feel softer than the pair of running shoes I was wearing before and I feel like they are better for my ankles. I tend to have sore ankles after 10K and my left knee has always been prone to injuries, that's why great shoes designed for running are important to me (and to a lot of people). I was afraid they wouldn't provide enough support for my feet, but I feel more stable in these than I've ever been in a running shoe. I think they look beautiful for a running shoe (running shoes aren't the most elegant shoes in the world, but this pair does an awesome job). I would definitely recommend them + they all look pretty amazing!

PS: This post has been scheduled — I'm still in Norway at the moment! ☺

Packing for Norway

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Packing for Norway

Tomorrow evening, my boyfriend and me are leaving for a 10-days-adventure in Norway! We plan on hiking and sight-seeing and maybe some wild camping if I'm not scared. I'm really nervous for this trip because I haven't done anything like it — except maybe sleeping in a tent for five days on a camping in my own country, but I've never been to Scandinavia. I don't know if it's just this that causes my nervousness, or maybe the fact that I'll have to make it through ten days with only a 40L bag to hold my stuff. Might be easy for the adventurers amongst you guys, but not for me, it's stressing me out! I'm an over-packer especially when it comes to first aid (it's better to be safe than sorry!). Other than that I'm really curious about Norway because I've heard a lot of people say it's beautiful. I'm also looking forward to no comfort or no Internet although I think the first day will be the hardest to adjust. Luckily I find myself easily settled in circumstances with little comfort. Oh and then there's just one last thing that's scaring me the most: flying. If I survive the flight, I'll survive everything!