Some of you may have heard the word Eureka, a famous expression attributed to Archimedes, the Greek scholar who was said to run naked through the streets while shouting “Eureka” after making a great discovery.
Translated in English as “I have found it”, the word has since been associated to important discoveries, or what we can call as Eureka Moments.
by: Erika Grace R. Lapitan
However, the phrase is not limited to an invention or discovery. It can also be attributed to places that have given us the best Aha! moments. One of these places is Norway, a land found in the western part of Europe’s Scandinavian Peninsula. Located near the Arctic Circle, it is one of the countries labeled as the Land of the Midnight Sun because of the phenomenon where the sun stays up for almost 24 hours during summertime.
Enigmatic and mystical, Norway is a breezy paradise—the perfect place to visit for your Eureka moments.
For first-time visitors of the country, it’s always nice to travel around on an RV, locally called the Motorhome. Complete with kitchen, bathroom, and living quarters as well as cable, stereo and even a bicycle rack, this vehicle offers a perfect way of spending your vacation without the hassles of booking hotels and riding public transportation.
Motorhomes are great for camping tips and sightseeing by groups. They’re also very easy on the budget. Find and rent out one in the cities of Oslo or Grimstad so you can enjoy a unique road trip around magical Norway.
Before leaving for the countryside, you can explore the sights and streets of Oslo. The Norwegian capital is very famous for its historical and majestic structures such as the Oslo Opera House, Parliament Building, and Grand Hotel.
The Oslo Opera house is one of the largest cultural complexes in Norway, with a seating capacity for nearly 2000 people. The building was designed by the Norwegian Architectural Firm Snøhetta and was opened for public use in 2008. It boasts of marvelous white granite and Italian marble exteriors that’s great for those tourist snapshots.
Showcasing Norway’s unique culture through popular ballets and operas, the Oslo Opera House has been visited by thousands of people and has been considered as the city’s main attraction. The building’s solar panels provide the main energy needed to work its light and sound systems.
After touring the cultural hub, ride to central Oslo and take a guided tour around Stortinget, Norway’s Parliament Building. The yellow-bricked edifice was designed by Swedish architect Emil Victor Langlet in 1866. Its façade is a combination of several architectural styles from France and Italy, making it one of Europe’s most charming parliament buildings.
Since it serves as the seat of the Norwegian National Assembly, its most unique and dominating feature is the semi-circular plenary chamber found in the front part of the building. Tours are free of charge, start at 11:30 every Saturday, and last for approximately 45 minutes.
Another attraction that can’t be missed is the Grand Hotel near the Norwegian Parliament. Opened and founded by Julius Fritzner in 1874, the hotel has several restaurants that serve the best cuisines in the country. These dining destinations include Palmen Restaurant, Restaurant Julius Fritzner, and the Grand Café, where Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen used to dine everyday. The granite building also holds the Nobel Peace Prize banquet annually, where the winners are treated to a stay in its luxurious Nobel suites.
Talking and mingling with the locals is always an exciting part of any adventure. Since Norwegians are known for their kind heart and hospitality, a chat with the locals around their villages can liven up your journey. Relish a nighttime stroll around the charming cities in the company of newfound friends.
Norway is home to quaint communities known as tettsteds. One of these famous villages is Fredrikstad City, located near the mouth of River Glomma. Dating back to 1567, the destination continues to carry an old town charm even until now. You can also find this rustic appeal in Tønsberg, a tettsted founded in 872. The town’s most dominant feature is the hill fortress affectionately called as “the Acropolis of Norway”. Hatlestrand is also worth the visit, being a famous tettsted at the western part of the country.
Now that you’re in the west coast, roam around Stavanger, the fourth largest city of Norway. Go back in time as you tour Gamle Stavanger or Old Stavanger, known for maintaining its wooden settlements amidst the technological developments. Take a quiet moment in the Romanesque and Gothic Stavanger Cathedral. Also a must see is the Three Swords monument lying beside the Hafrsfjord. The massive landmark was built to commemorate the Battle of Hafrsfjord.
Like any other part of Norway, Stavanger also offers hiking, climbing, and ice skating for sports enthusiasts. Camping sites are also available for a fun adventure with the family. If you want to go on a swim, there’s also the Solastranden, a beach beside the airport.
B for Bergen
Another city famous among travelers is Bergen. Its attractions include the Bergen Art Museum that houses a variety of Renaissance and contemporary pieces made by famous artists like Edvard Munch. Kids will enjoy a tour in the Bergen Aquarium. Maritime lovers will like the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a century-old, three-masted bark that offers mini cruises.
Meanwhile, beginners and professional photographers would love taking photos of the Bergenhus Fortress. This ancient but well-preserved fort was once the seat of the king, but now serves as a venue for royal galas and public events. You can zoom off to the Gamlehaugen Villa, where guided and multilingual tours will bring you to the different areas of the village as well as give you some historical facts about the place.
Before getting out of Bergen, visit the Bryggen Street which was once used as a Hansa dock until the 18th century. A collection of Hanseatic commercial buildings, the wooden houses of Bryggen is a must-see, being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One can also get glimpse of their rich history through their museums, old houses, and restaurants.
Extreme and dangerous
A trip to Norway is not complete without trekking and spending a day or two in Lofoten Island and Trolltunga. These places might be extreme and dangerous, but the experience it brings cannot be compared with any other.
Situated at the northern tip of Norway, the Lofoten Islands is considered the most famous part of the country. This mystical spot is where the midnight sun is best seen. Stay up all night and observe the sun as it sits in the sky for almost 24 hours. If you’re visiting in the winter, grab the opportunity to take a photograph of the Polar night, when the sun never rises even in daytime.
On the other hand, Trolltunga is a place where you can literally walk on the edge. Translated as the Troll’s Tongue, the rock slab hangs horizontally from the mountain, over 700 meters above the Ringedalsvatnet. The area’s natural beauty captivates hikers and travelers, as it overlooks the Hardanger valleys, mountains, and lakes.
I have found it
Life is a process full of twists and turns, but despite these, there would always be those Eureka moments. These are special instances that would make us run through the streets, punch the air, and shout “I have found it.”
And those moments can be found in Norway. With its awe-inspiring beauty, the adventure you’re looking for is just within your reach. All you have to do is grab the opportunity and enjoy the visit.