The trip to Oslo between the 4th and the 7th of June was one of the most exciting trips of my life. Not only did I love Oslo as a city, I also loved the culture and people of Norway.
On our last full day in Oslo, I woke up at 7:30m. It was June, 6th, my birthday, and I was ready to head to our new adventure. Bruno and I left the accommodation early in the morning, and we took the metro to go pick up a rental car from the garage.
The plan was very simple: we were to drive to the border and carry on driving until we reached Strömstad, where we would get on a boat to explore the Koster Islands.
The Koster Islands are situated 10 km west of Strömstad, where the landscape is dominated by smooth bedrock, bears witness to volcanic activity and subsequent wear due to the Ice Age.
Upon arrival, I couldn't help but notice certain resemblances to Portuguese places: Praia da Areia Branca, Bombarral...there was something about Strömstad that reminded me of my home country.
The weather was so sunny and it was also very warm...26 or 27 degrees, if I'm not mistaken.
We found a car park and headed over to the pier to search for the boat timetable and get on the next one to explore the Koster Islands. We were planning to get off at Ekenäs and spend the afternoon on the island, before getting on the boat back to Strömstad.
I am not going to lie...I am not the biggest fan of boat rides. Ever since I got sick during a scuba diving trip many years ago, I've sort of convinced myself that boats aren't for me. But I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth this trip went. We got our tickets, and once we boarded the boat, we both made our way to the deck. I looked down at the colour of the water and I couldn't believe how blue it was!
We had all sorts of weather for the duration of the trip: we've had blue skies and sunshine, really dark, grey skies, torrential rain and even thunder! It was like all seasons in 30 minutes! It almost reminded me of the UK. When the rain started, we looked for shelter on the boat, and as soon as the sun came back out, I was back to photographing and enjoying the sunshine and views from the boat.
During the journey, we met a friendly local who told us where would be best to get off the boat, where we should go on a future trip, and where the best spots are to actually see the northern lights, etc. Thanks to him, we now have been given lots of tips for a future trip.
I couldn't get over that blue colour of both the sky and water. The boat journey was actually very pleasant! We circled around all the tiny islands and this was honestly one of the most beautiful landscapes and colours I've ever seen.
We stopped at some of the Islands to let people get off and on the boat, and I was so jealous of the peaceful life that the locals must lead.
The next stop? Ekenäs! We weren't really sure what to expect, but I was hoping we could at least find a place to rent some kayaks that we could use to move around the island. Unfortunately, we weren't lucky. These could only be rented for a full day, and we would only be spending a few hours on the Island. Plus, it was really expensive, and not worth the money. While on the boat, we passed a few people with kayaks, and I was so jealous! But I am still planning to do this on a future trip.
Once we got to Ekenäs , we stopped for lunch. I couldn't find anything vegan, so I ended up ordering a margherita pizza. No, the cheese wasn't vegan, but sometimes it's hard to find dairy-free alternatives in small places. Still, I was impressed with the fact that the café right by the pier had vegan ice cream choices and vegan snacks to choose from.
I had a vegan Magnum for dessert, and after lunch, Bruno and I headed over to the bikes shop and asked how much they charged for a couple of hours. The staff was super friendly, and they gave us a fair price. We got to choose which bike we wanted, and after a few minutes, we were ready to explore the island on two wheels!
It was hard to take photographs and ride the bike at the same time, so I had to limit the photographs on the Island. We did stop regularly, though. Not to mention, Bruno was struggling to keep up with me...(sorry, it had to be said!).
We stopped for a few minutes to recover, then got back on our bikes and continued to explore the Island. I am so thankful for the fact that we were carrying a bottle of water, because even though we arrived on the Island with torrential rain, it did get pretty hot in the afternoon.
Soon, it was time to ride back to the starting point and return the bikes. We then had an extra hour to kill, and we used this time to sit on a bench by the café and relax. Although this trip was an absolute dream, it was also pretty tiring, and I couldn't wait to rest. I was looking forward to that very last boat trip back to Strömstad, especially since the sun was coming down.
We took not the very last boat of the day, but the one before that, at 7pm, and I still had time to capture some further photographs of the beauty of these Islands.
We got to the pier and walked towards our car, where we prepared to drive back to Oslo. During our visit to Sweden, we spent a little money because it was my birthday, so we budgeted for this when we opted for having lunch at the café. But the boat rides were inexpensive, and so was the renting of the bikes on the island.
After we returned the car to the stand, we met another very nice man on the Bus station, who helped guide us toward the right bus stop, and where to get off. I was seriously convinced that the people from Oslo are incredibly nice. During the trip to both Oslo and Sweden, we've had to ask for advice several times, and people have always been super friendly and willing to help.
We woke up in Oslo the next morning and we got out to explore the city for our last day in Norway. We've had a very relaxed day, compared to the other three, where we dropped the bags off in the lockers at the train station, and we rented electric scooters to explore the streets of Oslo.
We visited a few shops for some souvenirs: I really wanted a fridge magnet to add to the collection, and we also bought a few postcards.
At the end of our trip, our flight from Oslo to London got delayed by one hour, which meant we arrived in London at 1:00am, rather than the predicted 12:00am. We were incredibly tired, but we had to once again stay awake through the night and split the driving back up to Newcastle. We stopped for coffee on the way, and went straight to bed upon arrival.
I absolutely loved this trip! Every time I get to experience new cultures, meet new people and travel abroad, I always feel cleansed from the daily routine. It was the perfect time for this trip, and I can't wait to go back to Oslo and Sweden to explore other parts of the map that we didn't get to see this time around. Bergen, for example, is on the list for future trips to Norway, and there's a few places in Sweden we'd also like to visit.
I've got it now! It's better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times. Life was made for great adventures, and I can't wait for my next one.