Norway July 12 and 13 - Andrew Fernando
We left Narvik on Tuesday, July 12 and drove to Mo I Rana. We crossed the Arctic Circle on our way and moved down to this town which is below the arctic circle.
The drive from Narvik to Mo-I-Rana took us through some beautiful scenic areas. We drove through snow capped mountain ranges and fjords.
There were many small villages with small but beautiful and colourful houses. They have coloured the walls with bright colours mainly Green, Red and Yellow.
We saw some houses and huts with green roof tops. First I thought the grass was due to long Winter weather and the difficulty to maintain them.
Later we found that they actually grow grass on the roof. They prepare their roofs with special sheets and add a soil layer on top to grow grass. They believe these roofs act like insulators and keep the houses warn in Winter and cooler in Summer.
Mo I Rana is a small city with a population of about 18000 people. We have booked the hotel Clarion Collection Hotel Helma for one night. Clarion hotels are very popular among locals.The main attraction is that they provide free breakfast and also a free evening meal. You do not have to go out for dinner. In all the Clarion hotels, the rooms are very similar with good comfortable beds and good clean bathrooms. You can go down to the restaurant any time and have a free coffee and sometimes cake or fruits. The staff are highly service oriented and would go out of their way to see the customers are happy.
July 12th happened to be one of the exceptional sunny and warm days in Norway. There are very few warm days in Norway even in Summer. When we came to the hotel and walked into our room, we found the room given to us was very hot. The room window was facing the sun and the closed room has become very hot. For the first time during our trip, we were sweating profusely. Mala wanted the Air conditioner on, but there was no air conditioner, only a heater. Most hotels in Norway, do not have air conditioners. They can manage without air conditioners because they rarely have hot days. Mala called the reception and told the girl at the reception, that our room is extremely hot and we need the air conditioner on. The receptionist, a young girl came up to our room immediately. She was very apologetic. There are no air conditioners in the hotel. She offered to open up the windows to get cool air. Air outside was not cool either. That was not going to help. The sun would be falling into our room till about 10:00 PM in the night. She offered to move us to a room on the other side of the hotel, which was not facing the sun. That room was much cooler. She came with us to the room and opened the locked window in case we wanted to open it in the evening.
When we went down to the hotel restaurant to have dinner, the receptionist, came to meet us again. She has spoken to her duty manager about the inconvenience we had to go through. He has sent his apologies and also offered free drinks to go with our dinner. We declined the offer, but she insisted that we have free drinks. It was a good gesture on the part of the hotel and we felt we should accept her offer. I had a local beer and Mala ordered an apple cider. It was customer service at it’s best.
Next day, after breakfast, we started driving along the coast further south towards Trondheim. We are now driving towards Geiranger, the most famous Fjord in the world. It was too far away to drive in one day. We have planned to spend one night in Trondheim.
In Trondheim, we stayed in another Clarion hotel called Clarion Collection Hotel Bakeriet. This hotel was in a very old building built in 1907, but beautifully renovated and well maintained.
Trondheim is a big city with a population of about 180,000. It is the third biggest city in Norway. Trondheim has a long history. It was first established by the king Olav Tryggvason in 997. It became famous when the king Olav Haraldsson was killed in a battle and later canonised as a saint. He was buried in the Nidaros Cathedral and pilgrims from other countries started visiting this cathedral when miracles started happening.
We visited this famous cathedral and took a tour of the cathedral. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos inside the church. We took some photos from outside. There are several tour guides who take you on cathedral tours. Our tour guide, who spoke fluent English was a young girl. She while touring the church, told us the story of Saint Olav and the story of the cathedral. It was destroyed by fire several times and rebuilt each time. When miracles started happening, the church exhumed Olav’s body and found his body remained in-corrupt. Not only that, his beard and the nails have been growing continuously.
Another important landmark in Trondheim is the Nidelva river flowing through the town. There are old but very beautiful storehouses on both sides of the river. We did not have enough time to visit all the attractions in Trondheim. It is a charming old town and you need at least two days to see all the attractions in the city.