For as long as I can remember, my husband has wanted to drive to Norway – a country we know and love well, thanks to friends who we have visited many times… but usually by plane!
It was decided that summer ’23 was to be the year – so after months of planning, researching places to stay, visit and of course eat, we set off. Our journey covered thousands of miles, six countries – France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark and Norway, nine hotels and three other stops with friends.
Alongside some phenomenal scenery, less impressive driving in some places, we also had some amazing food. Here are just a few of my impressions and highlights.
I had never been, but the brief overnight we had in Aalborg has inspired me to come back again. A vibrant city, that was buzzing on the Friday night (unlike other cities we visited) where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at La Laconda – with some of the best gluten-free flat bread I have ever tasted (the O/H is a coeliac).
A common sight along our journey through Denmark, were wind turbines and the clear impression we had was of a country committed to clean and renewable energy. Apparently 50% of Danish electricity is supplied by wind and solar power.
Norwegian food shopping...
I recall my first visit to Norway over 20 years ago and the rather disappointing lack of choice in the supermarkets. Today even those stores in smaller towns offered a great range of fresh and ambient foods and an abundance of farm shops – which were also very clearly signposted.
I loved the packaging for this brand of Norwegian yogurt. Q is a private dairy brand, based in Bergen – sustainable packaging with some great story telling and engagement on back of pack too.
Cloudberries – no trip to Norway is complete without cloudberry jam. These fruits look a little like amber raspberries but I for one need them sweetened! Our host picks them in the mountains near her home – as they can be hard to find and only really grow in marshy conditions in countries including Norway, Finland, Sweden and across northern Russia.
A magical German city and the home of marzipan – so what’s not to love! It may not be the easiest city to visit but one that would make for a great weekend break and I hear has a wonderful Christmas market!
I loved this city and will definitely return. From the myriad of local beers to try to fabulous chocolatiers, great food and reasonable prices, this city has so much to offer alongside stunning architecture. I also found a brilliant local craft baker in the city centre – with a queue outside of the door on a Sunday morning!
As an fyi, a common denominator for nearly all our hotels and restaurant visits was a lack of staff. A variety of reasons were given (no one mentioned the B word) but many did refer to former employees returning ‘home’ and not wanting to work away again. This resulted in, in some places, there being a real lack of options when it came to dining out and in some hotels, a reduced service.
All in all though, it was an amazing trip – full of great food, sights, history and hospitality.