The journey back to Oslo was a lot of fun… with some breaking and entering (we think?).
We left Aurland in excitement to get to the Oslo Christmas Market! But that was not forgetting out stops along the way! So we set of on our next 4 and a half hour journey!
Our first stop on our journey was a beautiful snowy piece of road where the lake came beside the road and the mountains reflections in the water were almost perfect, this spot was called Eldrevatnet. And it was breathtaking. The next stop was in a similar area where we decided to take SLIDE on the ice! It was just a really nice way to break up the journey.
This second spot was also where we took our group pictures!
Our following stop was the windy road town of Gol, Norway! THIS was where we were wondering if we were breaking and entering! I found a stave church named Gol Stavkyrkje Gordarike on the maps, it was the first one to come out out of 3 in the area and naturally this one was the fake one. Either way it was good to see what is known as a viking stave church in Norway!
The stave church was in this area which had hotel rooms and a beautiful surroundings with the stave church in tow. There was no one there to stop us form walking in and the hotel rooms didn’t even really look like they were being used. We wondered if we had just come at a low part of the season because it was so quiet! Either way we walked right in and had a proper good snoop and film of the stave church they had don their grounds!
We stopped finally for some food in Fla. Not Flam, Fla. For a really really traditional Norwegian meal. McDonalds! It really wasn’t too much different to the UK. Macca’s is Macca’s at the end of the day. There was also this huge troll statue also which signifies their stories of legends that they tell to their children when young of trolls that roamed the land before us and among us quietly. This is a pretty big thing in Norway as it goes years back into Norwegian folklore!
And then we arrived in Oslo!
Next Stop? Oslo Christmas Market! (After the hotel of course).
Stay tuned! J
But if you don’t want it to be over just yet;
Catch it and all the girls social media links & our Norway Videos Below!
That following morning we were up and ready for action! Exploring Flam and Aurland!
We walked out around Aurland for a while before we headed into Flam just 5 minutes down the road in the car around the fjord! Getting a glimpse of Aurland in the morning makes all the difference when the clouds are gone! The air is so fresh! We also went to the cutest little coffee shop as well and it was so gorgeous, all homemade cakes and pastries!
We then bopped into the car and headed our way to Flam! The journey was short and sweet. Just a little bit further around the fjord and even then there really were not may buildings at all in Flam! As you pull up right at the end of the fjord there is a nice small touristy area with a museum, the train that can take you up the fjord and some tourist shops to buy souvenirs.
The buildings are an iconic yellow and white and they really stand out between the mountains and the water. Here in Flam you can also get the ferry through and down the fjord from Flam! The sunset there was beautiful. The museum was a small train history museum of how the rail was built through the mountains and we just could not get over how quiet and peaceful the whole area was.
There was a small hotel and restaurant but when I say small I mean, small, there wasn’t a mad amount going on but there was a shop for dinner! Which was a bonus! Life would be so peaceful and eaaaaasy with beautiful sunsets to follow!
We had a pretty chill night after this day all just in one room laughing, sleeping and reading, it was a really enjoyable experience being able to go on a holiday where we REALLY had no idea where we were or what there was to offer in the area amounted to not much!
Abbie and myself were not very tired this particular night which made for a lovely fresh walk at 10:30pm in Aurland in the other direction to SPAR and the shops. We hadn’t headed that way and so decided to wear ourselves out with a wander! We found elephants drawn in the snow and chatted away, we even put our toes in the fjord before we went inside just to say we had done! It was ice cold!
The next day is the road trip back to Oslo!
With even more stops than the road trip TOO Flam! Stay tuned!
But if you don’t want it to be over just yet;
Catch it and all the girls social media links & our Norway Videos Below!
When we went to South Africa, Cape Town, we visited the Dark Tourism and heavily emotional site that is Robben Island. Robben Island is known as the Island that Nelson Mandela spent years imprisoned before being released.
Robben Island is a national heritage site, but it is also where political prisoners were kept and was a gruelling prison for others. Mandela was imprisoned here for 18 years before his release. Robben Island is literally no larger than 2 miles and to reach it involves a boat trip!
Naturally the weather when we visited wasn’t all that nice. SO this boat ride was like something from hell for me. The water was So choppy I was terrified and nearly in tears whilst my family laughed at me of course. It really wasn’t that bad which is why they laughed at me, I’m just a wimp.
I didn’t take many pictures but considering the experience it really didn’t bother me. Once we arrived at Robben Island it was incredibly bare or covered in greenery there was no in-between. There was also barbed wire fences in most area’s indicatig where the outer edges of the prison were.
Once leaving the mini port they had to reach the island we walked and jumped on a coach. This coach took us all around the outskirts of the island with a guide telling us little bit of information about the area before we reached the main prison. We were taken to a little cafe area also where we could look out back to the mainland and have a quick snack. Then it was back on the coach and to the actual prion building.
When we arrived at the building we all piled off and entered a large square room. We knew we’d entered the prison because of the barbed wire and bars across the windows of the rooms we were in. Now a gentleman greeted a small group of us and it was until he had introduced himself that we realised we would be taken around the prison by an ex prisoner! It was something that I was absolutely blown away by and made the experience all that more moving and better because we got it from the point of view of a prisoner who used to spend his time there.
So we started the tour around the prison and we were taken around the entire prison ground by our ex prisoner tour guide and it was incredibly fascinating but harrowing. We were taken to the yard where they would spend their time in the day, all of the cells and also where they would eat which was also sometimes their cells.
We were taken to see Nelson Mandela’s cell that he stayed in whilst he did his time on the island and it was so small. It amazes me how prisoners cope with such small cells, but then realistically they don’t (I watch too many prison shows). So the cell was pretty small, he had a bed with a pillow and blanket which was set up on the floor, a table with a small bowl, one barred window and a toilet. I did take my own picture of the cell but unfortunately couldn’t find it for this post so i’ve found a picture which is exactly what his cell looked like to give you an idea.
Overall the experience at the prison was something that was eye opening and harrowing but also incredibly fascinating at the same time. I left the island in a somber mood and reflected in my mind quite a bit about the conditions and wondering how they were treated.
I would definitely recommend visiting this site as it will leave you with lots of different thoughts for sure.
(Photo creds to google as I didn’t take my own bar one which I couldn’t find)
After being in Johannesburg for a few days we headed to Cape Town for the rest of our Holidays! we were in Cape Town for 4 days and we stayed in a hotel song Camps Bay!
Now I really love the beach, so to be able to come out of our little villa for the 4 of us and be practically on the beach was wonderful, the only thing I’d forgotten to research was how cold the water would be. FYI, Its next level FREEZING. The weather wasn’t really beach material but It was still warm!
Because we were right on the beach front there was plenty of restaurants and bars along the front as well as some small little shops that sold touristy bits, the usual! One thing that was also awesome was the fact there was a little bit of surf but at the time I couldn’t surf to save my life so going wasn’t even an option, especially cause it was damn cold.
We went for a little wonder around the rocks at one of the beach and found this funky little walkway and water pool, so of course my sister and I went for a wonder along that to see how far out to see the pathway around the edges the pool would take us. Plot twist; not that far at all.
But during all of this the most breathtaking thing was that shadowing us in our villa and whenever we were out of the villa and on the front, a huge mountain was behind us! And it really was a wonderful sight. And too add to that wonderful sight was the sunset. Every night we could watch the sunset from our villa over the beach and disappear into the horizon, it really was wonderful and something I never thought Id be lucky enough to witness.
I think the only thing I could fault was the night club next to the hotel. I didn’t sleep.
Once we’d settled into our Villa it was TIME TO DO TOURIST STUFF.
So, we visited Penguin Island, Table Mountain and Cape Point, Robben Island and Waterside Shopping Mall, and you’re about to read a little bit about all of them except Robben Island which I’ll cover in a separate post!
Table Mountain was phenomenal because I don’t think I will ever get over the view! For those who aren’t aware Table mountain is a mountain in Cape Town famous for being flat at the top, like a table, Hence Table Mountain. We waited in line for about half an hour to get onto the cable karts that take you all the way up the mountain side. The cable karts also rotated!! so we got a 360 degree view as we were taken up the mountain slowly.
Once we were up there there were information points, benches and all these different viewing areas and it was incredible. It was like you were up in clouds, and technically we were! It was awfully windy which made it a bit chilly but Im certain nothing could have faltered the view and the general experience. It was wonderful to be so high up and be able to look over Cape Town in awe, I will never forget it. You could honestly see for miles and miles and look over the coastline too, it was some real natural beauty.
Cape point was another part of the trip that was just as phenomenal because of the view but also because of where we were. Cape point is a national world heritage site part of the Table Mountain national park! It sits on the cape peninsula and it usually pretty breezy and chilly but beautiful and v far to get too.
The drive to Cape Point was a barrel of fun, we were in a Mini Bus, and I think there was just us and one other family. It took us about 2 hours, We stopped on the way on the side of a road and for a short while I was like ‘Why are we stopping?’ UNTIL I saw that we had arrived next to an Emu/Ostrich Farm!! So of course we got out of the car to have a look at these funky birds especially as we could actually get quite close!
Upon arrival theres a large road/driveway I guess you can call it? It goes on for quite some time until you arrive at the car park and gift shop, and you can either take the funicular up to the point, or the stairs! Now typically because Yes I am LAZY. I wanted to take the funicular. I know, wheres the fun in that? But guess what, it wasn’t working on the day we went so I had no choice but to walk it anyway! And I’m actually really glad I did.
The views from the walk up were a lot better than I thought, way better. And because we walked up we could stopper photos and enjoy them more! When we were looking out at Cape Point bays I realised all these little pathways disappearing off into a different direction towards a cove and a beach, I didn’t get to investigate so one day when I go back I’m going to make sure I follow the pathway all the way around.
Once we arrived at the top INSTANTLY I loved the sign post showing how many miles away all the different locations around the world were. I LOVE things like this because It really puts into perspective just how far away from your usual norms you are and how you’re actually out there in this world exploring something thousands of miles away! It was a sunny but chilly day and like Table Mountain the views were something spectacular and not something I will ever forget, and hey my sister and I even got on for longer than 2 hours. Now that is a miracle.
Penguin Island was HANDS DOWN THE CUTEST EXPERIENCE. To get to the most central beached area you had to walk all the way along this beautiful wooden boardwalk the lined the coastline. Honestly my first thought being here was why would there be penguins in Africa? trust me at the time when we went to South Africa I was a little confused and amused at there being penguins.
Then I remember just how cold the sea is and that South Africa is obviously, well, South. And near the Antarctic. Hence why the sea is also so cold. So its actually perfect for the little penguins really cause its warm as hell when they leave the water but cold as shit once they jump back in! It was unusual seeing Penguins in the area but they were really cute, and seemed pretty happy lounging in the sun by all accounts!
P.S. If I tried to crop myself out a picture harder than the one above I may have bust a blood vessel in my brain. Alas I failed, and it is tragic. Enjoy.
Waterside Shopping mall was something that we visited maybe once or twice,There were plenty of shops and things to buy of course. Plenty of restaurants as well and there was ALWAYS some sort of entertainment going on around the outside areas and the marina parts! What I thought was pretty awesome was the large red man made out of coke cola boxes by the mall itself.
I imagine this was something done for the football that was held in South Africa, and the stadium was also really lovely although I didn’t go inside and Im not a massive football fan, form the outside its pretty presentable is you ask me!
One night we went for dinner in Waterside Mall and it was a seafood restaurant, I wish I remembered the name because It was amazing. Mr Sylvester Stallone was also dining in the same restaurant as we were that evening in another section which was pretty awesome too.
But what made the experience was my little sister trying to eat an entire plate of king prawns. She’s small but mighty that girl.
I’ll be writing about my experience at Robben Island on a second post as I feel its something that I can really touch on, I want to emphasise the importance of such a place and believe for that it deserves its own post.
Another quick point for you guys is that I’ve made a new Instagram just especially for this blog, so if you’d like to give it a follow then the @ is;
So once our week at the Kruger National Park had come to an end it was time for us to make the next leg of our journey, and that was back to Johannesburg!
The drive was going to take us a least 5 hours, which isn’t too bad as I did 27 hours on a coach to Italy before, NEVER again. This was also where we parted ways with one of the families we’d been with all week, but we’d see them when we were back in the UK so it was all smiles and farewells once the time came.
looking back at the safari it was probably one of the most magical and incredible experiences of my life, I never thought I would be lucky enough to stay in a villa that overlooked the safari park. Or get within 5 feet of a wild cheetah, for it to just look at us all and ignore us, and the fact I was lucky enough to see 4 our of The Big 5!!
Im going to go back in the future so that I may experience those wonders again and hopefully get to see all of The Big 5!!
So the drive to Joburg was long, but I spent most of it reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I finished it in one sitting, seriously if you get the chance to read it, do! Driving from the Kruger to Joburg was actually pretty awesome, some of the things we saw were cool, south african service stations aren’t all that different either. What was pretty funky was the ostrich I saw running along side the road, apparently like a Hippo they can also run at like, 45 mph. So this ostrich was gunning it for sure!
We also drove past a Favela that had so many problems with people trying to dangerously cross the road (there is a main road aright through the middle of it), they’ve had to build a wall separating the two roads in each direction and put a footpath bridge above it to stop people from running into the road to cross!
Once we arrived at where we were staying it was pretty much just about us chilling there for 3 days before heading to Cape Town. These people had 6 dogs, a horse, and a pig called Bacon! He was my fave because we can relate on so many levels.
We didn’t see much of Johannesburg, but we did go to some huge indoor casino and I want to say shopping centre? I’m almost certain its just a casino with some restaurants but it was impressive none the less! It was huge and all the restaurants inside looked like houses, there were random fountains just placed inside and out and it all looked really pretty! It was super busy so we went for some food and then headed on back to where we were staying.
I wish we could’ve looked around Johannesburg more, although we’d been told it was pretty dangerous, it wouldn’t stop me form going back and exploring the right places that little bit more!
Now night safari was something that I found amazing, but also slightly terrifying at the same time. Not because it is terrifying but because I am just a wimp who’s afraid of the dark and the things in it. So of course going on safari, at night, when its dark, most probably surrounded by scary animals, is me living the dream…
But apart from that the experience was wonderful. Going out at night is much different to going out in the morning. Its harder to see the animals but you also get to experience a different side to the lodge. We went out on our night safari’s too drive past lions that were asleep beside the road or were looking for food or to fight. We saw the alligators lit up but the moonlight in the waterhole, but I think the scariest thing was the Hippo.
As we had finished up our Night Safari we were driving back to the lodge when this Hippo starts to run behind our truck. No obviously its pitch black and I’m terrified. It then veered off to the left on the truck and ran along side us and then into the bushes. Now when I learnt it was a Hippo I was in shock due too how fast it was going. Then Learnt that Hippo’s on land can actually run up to 45 mph, a lot faster than you thought right? me too! So the thought of one charging past our truck was enough for me to be incredibly pleased night safari was over!
Another wonderfully beautiful part about night safari is the sunset over the park. I don’t have any words nice enough to describe it and my photographs don’t do it justice but I’ll post them anyway. Night safari was lovely because whilst we were watching the sunset we stopped beside a lake and set up camp where we had some drinks and snacks by the water whilst the sun went down. It was something like out of a movie or a dream and I never thought I’d have been lucky enough to experience such a beautiful evening, that was for sure. Below are the photos of the sunset while we enjoyed our snacks and drinks!
What I found really cool and interesting about this place was the fact that we ate what we saw. Whilst we were out on safari we would see these gazelle like animals called Kudu. They were your basic oversized deer with some hella big horns, and actually really beautiful creatures. NOW one night we were all about to sit down and eat with our wonderful chef who had cooked us up a meal, of KUDU.
And I have to admit to you all, it was bloody lovely. Not much different to chicken if I’m honest, but also slightly different at the same time. I wish I could remember exactly what it tasted like so I could describe it to you properly. So if you ever find yourself in South Africa, make sure you try the Kudu!!