Gabriel’s Trilogy, Part II: The Norwegian road trip

Jules (the optimist), Gabriel (the six-month old baby) and Verne (the introvert that hates chaos) get into a car… It could be the start of a bad joke, but it wasn’t. Our first road trip with Gabriel stretched from Oslo to Trondheim, 500 km (300 miles) of amazing landscapes, never-ending winding roads and breath-taking beauty. Plus nap times, feeding frenzies, and diaper changes. And the occasional tantrum (from both Gabriel and Verne).

This is the second part of Gabriel’s maiden voyage, you can read the first part here.

But before we fasten our seat belts, let me first time-travel back to the nineties, when I was a 10-year old with a passion for English (and perhaps a small crush on the English teacher). I had penfriends from all over the world, but my favourite was Astrid from Norway.

We used to exchange teenager clichés, stickers and photos. She would often send me amazing pictures of snowy landscapes and beautiful sunsets by the lake.

Like many Norwegians, her family had a small cottage up in the cold mountains, which sounded magical! Living in Ponte de Sor, right in the middle of one of the warmest and driest regions in Portugal, I had never even seen snow before.

My mind would wander through imaginary pine forests, leaving behind footsteps in the pristine snow. I would row a boat through cold waters and into an orange and pink sunset, and then warm up with a hot chocolate and a fire place. I’ve been wanting to travel to Norway since then. When this opportunity came up, my inner 10-year old jumped with joy!

Now, truth be told, a 6-month old baby was never part of my inner 10-year old wanderings. Some grown-up planning would be required to make things work.

We strategically scheduled driving hours around Gabriel’s nap times. These were long and plenty, but so was our route. Driving through the Rondane National Park, halfway between Oslo and Trondheim, was a lengthy but unforgettable journey. The tepid weather from Oslo grew colder and colder, and soon we were travelling through snow filled mountains.

Sometimes Gabriel would grow impatient from sitting in the car for too long, starting a bawl that pierced through the serene Norwegian landscapes. Fortunately, there was no shortage of spectacular places to stop and admire the view while waiting for Gabriel to calm down.

Sometimes it was Verne that grew impatient from the noise and the chaos of feeding and changing diapers in the back seat of a car. Fortunately there was also no shortage of memorable places for him to run away with the camera.

Progressively the mountains gave way to the countryside. It was already May, but the full effects of Spring were not yet visible. Blocks of snow clung stubbornly to river shoulders, next to crystalline rushing waters. Patches of green grass grew here and there, but the fields were still mostly ocre.

It took us a few days to reach Trondheim, but when we finally got there I had my eyes filled with wonder. Everything felt raw and unspoiled, exactly like I had imagined as a little girl. As for the baby and the introvert, they not only survived the trip, but also enjoyed (almost) every bit of it.

Travelling with a baby is undeniably more challenging than when it was just the two of us backpacking around the world, but it also adds a new perspective to our trips. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child takes us back to the innocence and curiosity of our childhood, and gives us another shot at questioning the world.

 

See you in Trondheim!

Jules *

56 thoughts on “Gabriel’s Trilogy, Part II: The Norwegian road trip

  1. I love the amazing photos that come from the little run aways. These sights are so massive and so raw. They called out to me. I am glad to see a new traveler bring raised to appreciate this planet and all its beauty. The world needs more travelers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Vicki! Thank you so much 🙂 The vastness and grandiosity of these landscapes also mesmerised me and made me feel so little in comparison. I’m totally with you regarding the need for travel(ers): the more we see and travel, the easier it gets to really appreciate other cultures and opinions, and that is priceless (Jules)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. wonderful journey! I was right there with you….the photos are amazing and give a tantalising glimpse into one of the countries high on my list of ‘place I want to go to’ 🙂 Bravo for travelling with a 6-month old, that’s not for the faint-hearted.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norway was on the top of my list for a really long time, and I can tell you that it was really worth it. If you have a chance you should definitely go! I’m really keen on coming back… hopefully with an older Gabriel, already able to appreciate his surroundings and capable of enduring some hikes with us (I might need to wait for a while, eheheh) (Jules)

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    1. Hi Manja, thank you so much! But if you’d seen the back of our car I sincerely doubt that you’d still use the word “lovely” ehehehehe. It was a challenging trip, but our memory is an amazing thing and looking back I can only remember the good stuff 🙂 (Jules)

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  3. Looks like you had an amazing trip. The photos are truly stunning and beautiful. I too had a penfriend (well, several) when I was growing up. One of them lived in Finland, and we used to write all the time, and your reference to your penfriend made me smile. Going to see her, and stay her mum’s work-owned cabin in the countryside was a good holiday. Thanks for sharing you trip, and also for reminding me of my own holiday to Scandinavia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you for reading through. Unfortunately I lost contact with my penfriend a long time ago and never ended up meeting her. It would have been great to meet her face to face and tell her how much I enjoyed her country. Who knows… she might end up reading this one day! (Jules)

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    1. Ahahahahhaha! We definitely deserve the second award (parenthood is an amazing thing, but it also tests your limits for sure!), not sure about the first! I guess we still need to take him on a few more places to be able to compete for that one 🙂 (Jules)

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    1. We also love roadtrips, and it had been a while since we’d done one. Ans despite the added challenge of bringing a 6 months old, it was still super fun! So glad you enjoyed our post 🙂 (Jules)

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    1. Wow, thank you so much! That is one of my favourites pictures too: Verne took it while I stood in car shivering because of the snow. There’s actually a sad story behind that church: “In 1720 a law was introduced that required people to go to church twice each year. The inhabitants of the Setningsdalen valley had to make the long trek across the mountains to Ringebu, and on one occasion an entire group of travellers froze to death. In 1732, the king granted permission to build a new church, but the inhabitants of Sollia did not receive any funds for construction. As a result, the local parishioners mustered the ground, timber and stone to build the church themselves. The timbered church was completed in 1738”. You can check more here: http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes/rondane?attraction=Sollia%20kirke (Jules)

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      1. Wow Jules, what an incredible story this is. This is so nice you made the time to share this with us. This is what we love so much about meeting folks like you is we learn so much. We will be following the link. It is great being with you and sharing adventures and keeping the dream alive for all of us!!!!

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    1. I’m also a sun and warm weather person, and if I have to choose between the snow and the beach, there isn’t a moment of hesitation on my mind! However, probably because of the so many photos she sent me, there was some kind of attraction with Norway… and it did not disappointed. But every time the temperature dropped or started snowing, I would immediately start looking for the nearest source of heat 🙂 As for the penfriend, unfortunately I lost track a long ago (Jules)

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    1. Hi Jolene, thank you so much! That’s exactly how I felt when we were driving in those long roads, in the middle of the mountains: truly inspired and with an inner sense of peace (at least when Gabriel was asleep and not crying ehehe). In Portugal we have a word for that “missing feeling” you talk about: “saudades”. Basically it’s a mixture of longing and sadness for nor being in a place/with someone. You should go back there and take care of your “saudades” 😉 (Jules)

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      1. Hey Jules, I googled your word and I love it!! It embraces everything that I am feeling, both for the sense of “missing” being in a place and for being in a place with someone. Thank you so much…

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    1. Thank you so much Ursula! Enjoy your time in Japan: we were in Tokyo and Kyoto during our RTW, and I really want to go back and explore more. Specially the countryside, which is said to be beautiful. (Jules)

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  4. Ah, it’d been a while since I read from you guys last! Love Norway, what an apt destination for the newborn… Frankly, Norway seems to me like my home region in the Alps, just with added sea and without the people who live in the Alps (we’re not the friendliest, most open or communicative of peoples).

    Looking forward to Part III.

    Fabrizio

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are absolutely right: apart from the cold, it is a country totally adapted to babies and a perfect destination for a newborn. And yes… it had been a while since we last wrote, but with our work and the baby, it has been difficult to gather the necessary time. But we’re already working on part III, so should come out pretty soon! (Jules)

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      1. So funny! Everyone would be like “Whaaat? But Portugal is amaaazing!!” 🙂 But I can relate to it. My man is from Barcelona, and it looks like living in Norway for many years have opened his eyes for how great his home town is :))) This are the benefits of learning how to explore abroad – you can transfer this skill to your home place 😉

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