August 2013 - Vikingess Voyages

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sightseeing in Norway: Hike to Trolltunga

9:34:00 PM
Trolltunga (The Troll’s Tongue Rock) is an amazing tourist destination which deserves a spot on any 10-places-to-visit-before-you-die list and can thus also be described as a natural must-see destination for visitors to Norway. The place is situated a couple of hours from Norway’s second largest city Bergen and the hiking outset in Skjeggedal is reachable by car, or by bus during the tourist season.
Although it is a great sight it is certainly not a destination for anyone though, as you have to calculate a 4-5 hour hike just to get there. Add that you have to stand in line if you want to test if you’re brave enough for a walk on the edge of the horizontally stretched rock, and the roundtrip up and down the mountains might take you anything between 8-10 hours in total. Whatever you do, remember to bring good shoes..
Climbing the first mountain on our way to Trolltunga
Our hiking team consisted of me, my mother, my boyfriend Yuma and my American friend and travel buddy Adaora. We were all totally psyched about visiting the Troll's Tongue Rock, and were pretty ready for the long hike that awaited us.
Our hiking team!

When that is said, I have to mention that as Norway is a really mountainous country with a small population a lot of people grow up close to nature in an environment where it is quite common with outdoor activities such as hiking in the mountains. That is why our dear friends from Denmark (a land known to be as flat as a pancake) like to refer to us Norwegians as “Fjellaber” (mountain monkeys) from time to time. To put it simple: Not all of us had the same suitable background for mountain climbing, which made parts of the hike go extremely slow. On the other hand, having a will of steel is also a rather practical ability, and this meant that we were still able to reach the famous rock surprisingly fast. The whole hike took 9 hours in total, which included a large number of photo breaks and of course some 15-30 minutes waiting to get our photos taken at Trolltunga.
A sign showing the road to Trolltunga
Although parts of the hike proceeded very slowly this meant that some of us had a lot of time to enjoy the view and eat berries on the way. Norway has a lot of wild edible berries such as blueberries and cloudberries in the mountain, so my mother and I spent some time gathering 
berries on the way. This earned us a new nickname too: “berry pickers”. Haha..
Picking blueberries along the way
Just climbing a tree for fun :)
T stands for tur (from tour, meaning trip), and shows you the path you have to follow
A big rock Yuma climbed on the way
Trolltunga is not the only place you can see beautiful nature during the hike
Panoramic view of the fjord
Another T-sign
Adaora going nuts ;)
The view from Trolltunga was absolutely amazing (I have always been traveling more abroad than within my own country, so for me it was a very unique experience) but there were also a lot of great views on the way there too. We passed through a variety of different landscapes, which made me think of my 3-day trekking trip to La Cumbre to Coroico in Bolivia a couple of years ago. The difference in temperature was also quite big, and we should probably have brought warmer clothes than we did. Especially standing in the bitter wind waiting for the chance to take photos on Trolltunga was a rather cold experience.

Waiting for the chance to stand on Trolltunga!  
Sitting on the very edge of the rock

On Trolltunga again, with me being held up by my bf.. :)
Relaxing on the way back
A map of the area with some hiking routes
We had a long and tiring but amazing and unique day hiking to Trolltunga. If you want to see the unique landscape Norway has to offer then a trip to Trolltunga is truly a must..
Next time I come home to Norway I hope I get the chance to check out Prekestolen (the even more famous Pulpit Rock) and Kjerag, I'm sure those are really interesting hikes too! It apparently takes around half the time to hike to Prekestolen, so for those who want a lighter alternative to Trolltunga is probably better. On the other hand, the "easy" access and the fact that Prekestolen is more famous means that you have to expect a larger number of tourists there..
Oh well, that's all for now. I'll be back with some more delayed posts about my trip to Norway soon! Ciao! :)

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Medieval Dining Experience in Riga: Restaurant Rozengrāls

10:04:00 PM
In the center of Old Riga you can find a medieval restaurant called Rozengrāls that offers authentic cusine from the Middle Ages in an ancient wine-vault first mentioned in scripts dating back to 1293. In addition to giving you the chance to experience dishes from a distant past a visit to this restaurant also gives you the chance to enjoy the charming medieval atmosphere of the vine cellar.
The experience begins as soon as you stand outside the restaurant, where you can enjoy the sight of some of their medieval artifacts, and if you're lucky there might be some staff members dressed up in medieval clothes too.

At the day we went to visit Rozengrāls there was a man in medieval clothing who was at making a helmet..!

The restaurant is situated in a quiet street in Old Riga

Medieval wagon outside the restaurant..!

The restaurant itself is rather dark, it has no windows and is only lit up by candle lights. The atmosphere is quite nice though!

Their menu is indeed quite interesting; a lot of the dishes comes with extra information so you can actually read about their historical origin in the menu.

The staff inside the restaurant is also dressed in medieval clothing.

It was not the most amazing culinary experience I've ever had, but as a cultural experience it was defitely worth taking the trip here. I would not recommend eating fish here, unless you don't mind it when the fish is both whole and boney. Of course I should have thought about this before ordering a medieval style dish with fish in it, which I unfortunately did not.. Still, knowing that the dish originated from some historical medieval wedding made the experience more interesting.

For more information about the restaurant, please check out:

Rozena 1, Rīga, Latvija
tel./fax : +371 67224748

Friday, August 23, 2013

Flying in Sigulda w. Aerodium Wind Tunnel!

5:40:00 AM
Situated about an hour from Riga there is a town called Sigulda where you can experience a variety of extreme sport activities such as bungee jumping, paragliding and even flying. Yes, flying..! At a place called Aerodium they are actually offering you the chance to get lifted up in the air with the help of a vertical air tunnel that allows you to float up to three meters above ground. Me and my other travel buddies soon decided that this was one of the things we simply had to try out while in Latvia!
Looking for some inspiration in Segulda.. :p
A lady in the tourist information at Sigulda's train station helped us making the reservation, and we took a taxi to the outskirt of the town where we met up at the center about a quarter before the time of our flight. which is required for the sake of an information section where the instructors demonstrate the different hand signals they use while you're in the air, as well as safety issues and so on. Rent of the flying equipment is also included in the price, and you pay according to the length of the flight. The length can vary from 2 to +10 minutes, and the starting price is 19 LVL (student discount 10%, children & pensioners 40%).
Aerodium in Sigulda
I actually went to check out this attraction with my travel buddy Adaora, my cusine and.. My 75 year old grandmother! Wow, I was amazed that she dared to join us!! My grandmother was even the first one of us to try it (partly because she wanted to get it over with fast)..! It seemed like she enjoyed the experience quite a lot too, although she probably wouldn't have tried it if we hadn't convinced her that it was safe.
My 75 year old grandmother flying with Aerodium!
Like most people I've also been dreaming of flying since I was a little kid. Trying the wind tunnel was quite an interesting and fun experience, but at the same time it is quite limited what you can do due to the obvious restrictions they have to implement for the sake of safety. One of the instructors did however demonstrate a little bit of more advanced flying for us, and it looked really cool! It must be a fun part time job..^^
Me and the instructor flying above the wind tunnel!
If you're interested in trying out the wind tunnel you should order the flight online before going there, either through their internet page or by calling them directly. As previously mentioned we had a girl at the tourist information in Sigulda helping us with contacting the Aerodium, but it might be better to order online through their homepage to make sure you get your prefered time. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sightseeing in Latvia: Riga

4:38:00 PM
The Baltic countries has long been a place I've wanted to visit, and when I found out that an new airline offered really cheap tickets available from Bergen to Lativa I decided to go for it and spend some days there with friends and family. I teamed up with my old travel buddy Adaora, my cousin and my grandmother, and left a rainy Bergen hoping for some sun in the Latvian capital Riga.
The House of Blackheads
Riga is the largest capital of the Baltic countries, not to mention that it is an old Hanseatic city dating back to1225. It has a rich history which has left the city with marvelous architecture and an increadible atmosphere. The old part of town offers the best sights for tourists interested in Riga's rich history, all within walking distance.

We spent 5 days in Latvia, and during those days we also went for daytrips to Sigulda and Jurmala. For Riga you can actually see most of the city in just a day or two, and if you are short on time there are the usual tourist busses driving nonstop around the city. For us, doing Riga on foot was a good alternative, and it is especially rewarding if you have a stepcounter with you so you can see how much walking you have done once it's all over.. Haha..

Delicious dinner at the Key to Riga restaurant
The Key to Riga restaurant with St. Peter's  Church in the background
By the Piletas canal there is a bridge where couples can attach keychains to the fence for good luck at their wedding day. The key is then thrown into the rivier, and it is believed that as long as the keychain remains unlocked the wedding will last too.

The old power tower in Riga

Cute cat scarves made of wool

An interesting store that sells products made from wool and yarn
If you are interested in doing some shopping while in Riga then I guess products made of wool is one of the typical things that you can find anyware at both good quality and prize. There are decent number of small streeetvenders who sell products made of 100% wool, and a lot of the products are handmade as well.

You can find handmade products made of wool almost anywhere in Riga. (Babyshoes 6 L, pulsewarmers 15 L)
If you run out of things to do in the city, don't worry. There are a lot of things you can do if you travel out of the city to the rural areas of Latvia. We spent a day in the small town Sigulda and a day at the beach in Jurmala, and both were easily accessible by train from Riga, which I will write more about in my next post.

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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