Every time I have a look at pictures of Norway, I have to pinch myself to believe just how magnificent and awe-inspiring the landscape of this country really is. Even though I have seen all these places with my very own eyes, I still sometimes find it hard to understand that a country this striking actually exists in real life and not just on the big screen at the movies and I feel all the more blessed to have been able to go study abroad in Norway. But as time goes by, the memories that used to be so vivid in my mind start to feel more and more like they are the memories of another person.
If I close my eyes, I still remember the cold wind on my face, still hear the sound of Edvard Grieg's Morning Mood playing with steep mountains in the background, still see the images of the rugged Norwegian landscape pass me by - but the girl going through all these experiences does not seem like me anymore. I suppose this is only natural - life always goes on and as we move from one place in our lives to another, things that used to be so clear start to fade into the distance. And I guess that is one reason why I love writing and photography: It lets me capture the feeling of the moment, so that I may go back later and remember just how I used to see things.
There were a couple of things that I still wanted to do before leaving Norway and one of those was to take a fjord cruise up to the coast north of Bergen. I had gone on several fjord cruises along the south coast, but had never ventured into the opposite direction and so I was eager to see this part of Norway at least once before I left the country. A friend had recommended a trip to Mostraumen a couple of weeks earlier and since it seemed to be one of only options to easily visit the northern coastal landscape of Bergen, we decided to give this cruise a go.
We had been told that the cruise sometimes sold out fast, and so we arrived at the Bergen Tourist Office an hour early to purchase our tickets. During the summer, there are two cruises a day - one in the morning and one in the afternoon - but we wanted to catch the early one, so that we would have time for a hike later. Tickets are also available online, but we wanted to be more flexible and had no problems at all catching a seat.
Our boat quickly left the harbor behind and sped up along the coast. The sun was shining brightly, but the speed of the boat let a cold wind blow over our heads and I immediately wished I had brought some warmer clothes with me. Since we were still close to the open sea, the fjord was so wide that it was hard to make out any details at the shore and our boat felt very small in comparison. We passed underneath Norway's longest bridge - an impressive construction over 1600m long - that only served to reinforce that idea and then turned east into the Osterfjord where the boat started to slow down again.
As we cruised along the shores of Osterøy, the largest inland island in Norway, the fjord grew more narrow and the landscape became increasingly wild, but still retained a certain sense of peacefulness. The mountains were rising straight out of the deep water and because the trees that were covering them grew so very close to the shoreline, it almost seemed as if they wanted to remain undisturbed from outside influence. The water had become calmer and the landscape grew ever more serene and therefore it was hard not to get lost in the beauty of nature.
Occasionally, we passed little settlements and I wondered what it would feel like to grow up amidst such fantastic nature. I love the idea if living in the countryside, away from the stress of big cities, but I doubt my fourteen-year-old self would have appreciated living in a remote place back in the day.
After an hour or so of our cruise, we finally reached Mostraumen, a small sound at the end of the Osterfjord - far away from the coast - that boats can only just pass through. The boat slowed down and with the sounds of the most famous of all Norwegian classical composition - the aforementioned Morning Mood by Edvard Grieg which you probably recognize from countless media references - people were leaning over the railings to take pictures of the impressive landscape.
The blue of the water stood in an incredibly vivid contrast with the greenery on the shores and the views were as good as on any cruise on the very famous fjords of the country that I had visited - maybe even better. The fjord wasn't as narrow as the UNESCO-World Heritage recognized Naeroyfjord and the mountains were not as high and imposing, but the mere fact of knowing that you didn't see what thousands of other people saw the same day made the trip all the more special.
We took the same way on the way back, at greater speed this time, and when the Bergen harbor appeared in our field of view we were quickly torn away from the romantic peacefulness that had surrounded us only a few minutes earlier again. Bergen can hardly be described as a sprawling metropolis, but in comparison with the stillness of the surrounding fjord landscape, it may just have been the loudest place on earth.