Camping in Nordmarka, Norway. Day 1

JourneyZone 2017

The JourneyZone website doesn’t have much information on the trip, except “the most epic journey across the forests and lakes of Nordmarka ever!”

I didn’t know what it meant, but I’ll soon come to experience the most epic trip of my life.

The trip started on Friday after the conference ended.  I got up super early to pack and wash my hair, knowing that I will not be able to wash for the next two days.  At 7am, everyone gathered around and we all took the train from Oslo to Grua, around 40 km north of Oslo.

After we got off the train, we started hiking in the Norwegian woods. The beauty of Nordmarka cannot be described in words.  It was beauty beyond words.  The big tall Norwegian trees, the blue skies, the crisp clean air, the wet moss, slippery rocks and stones, I was just fumbling through this beautiful forest and fell on some delicious blueberry bushes.  Most of us were picking the blueberries and eating them throughout the hike.  They were delicious, organic and wild, the best blueberries I’ve ever tasted.

I saw some really cute mushrooms, they looked like the Super Mario Bros. mushrooms, so colorful and vibrant.  However, I was advised not to eat them.  Some are poisonous and some are magical.

We were a group of 30 people plus three local guides.  We hiked approximately from Skrikertangen to Svarttjern in the Norwegian woods.  At the end of this epic trip, we will come to hike about 60 km in 2.5 days.  It’s probably the most amount of exercise I’ve ever done.

Tonight the campsite was set up by Belgen Lake, which is part of the bigger Gjerdingen Lake.  The view and especially the sunset was stunningly beautiful.

Dinner was Norwegian wild game stew which consisted of moose meat, potatoes, carrots and lingonberry.  It was absolutely delicious and warmed our bodies in this cold night.

After dinner, people were drinking by the fire and some were chopping wood.  I went to sleep about 9pm.  I used the wet naps to clean myself.  I didn’t want to wash my face in the lake, because the water was cold and I was afraid of falling in.  There were about eight people per tent.  The sleeping bag was very comfortable and kept me warm throughout the night.

Tomorrow, we will hike for 4 hours and attempt to canoe across 3 lakes to get to our second campsite, which is deep into the woods.  There are no roads so cars cannot get there.  More adventure awaits.

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Linz, Austria

Linz, the UNESCO city of media arts. I really enjoyed my time there. Having local friends in the city really made the trip so much more special and enjoyable. I also got to experience the Ars Electronica Festival, which was amazing. Here is a roundup of things I love in Linz.

Best view of the city: Postlingberg. Take the tram up to the top of the hill, there is a church there. This is where you can get a panoramic view of the city.

Best bakery: Backerei Brandl, the master of handmade bread.

Best cake: Jindrak, famous for the Linzer Torte.

Main Square city farmers market, Tuesday and Friday mornings.

Linz Botanical Garden, a must go!It’s so beautiful with roses, old forest trees, and exotic plants from Southeast Asia and Africa.

Food:

Heart-Garden, vegan and homemade. Nice soup and salads.

KOWALSKI cafe&bistro, veggie and vegan cafe. No menu to choose from, just what the chefs decide to make for the day. I had the veggie spätzle and salad.

Tamu Sana, African cuisine. The vegan vegetable stew with yam called Matoke is good.

Die Donauwirtinnen, local, organic, and seasonal Austrian cuisine. Go early before the specials get sold out.

Gelbes Krokodil Speisekarte, salads, hummus, and vegan curry. Very good pumpkin soup. Located below Moviemento.

Nom Nom Bowls Smoothies, blended beetroot smoothies topped with avocados and chia seeds. A vegan bowl filled with quinoa, lentils, salads, tomatoes, avocados, pumpkin seeds, and hummus as dressing.

Niu, Asian fusion cuisine. Indian daal, and Thai curry.

Leberkas Pepi, the classic leberkase with roll is tasty, filling, fast and very affordable.

Overall, Linz is a very lovely city with nature, good food, and so many art museums and media arts. It’s a very creative and inspiring place.

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Botanical Garden, Linz, Austria

The Linz Botanical Garden has 5 green houses with exotic and wild plants from Asia and Africa. I saw the living stones called Lithops, native to Southern Africa. Cacti and orchids. A beautiful rose garden, and old Austrian forest trees. I even saw a naked snail, I’ve never seen one before. Personally I find snails to be quite cute, does it mean a naked snail is homeless?

I can easily spend all my days here. Thank you Kathrin for taking me here.

 

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Die Donauwirtinnen, Linz, Austria

Ecological, organic, farm to table, slow food.  This restaurant serves Austrian cuisine.  It was recommended by two local friends, it’s very authentic Austrian food.  There were almost all locals in the restaurant.  The specials of the day is written in only German, and the waitress translated for us.  However, it was sold out by 1pm when we went.  So go early because the specials of the day tend to get sold out.

Information:

Die Donauwirtinnen
Address:  Webergasse 2, Linz, Austria
http://www.diedonauwirtinnen.at

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Pöstlingberg, Linz, Austria

Pöstlingberg is where you can get a scenic view of Linz.  We took the historic tram up to the top of the mountain.  There is the pilgrimage basilica “Wallfahrtsbasilika” dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary.  It was built in 1748.  The church is popular for weddings.  There is a panorama viewpoint for pictures taking.  Half way up the mountain is the Linz Zoological Garden.  There’s also the Grottenbahn cave railway, and the famous Jindrak, where you can get the best Linzer Torte.

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