Country of Vikings & Fjords I (Oslo)

The miraculous phenomenon of Northern Lights or Arora Borealis was the only reason I chose to go to Norway but was certain to find more than what we expected out of this most expensive (cost) and rich (experience) travel I ever had. Even after planning and arranging everything on my own it costed us a lot.

Me and my girlfriend started our trip from New Delhi IGI airport and landed in Oslo on 11th Feb morning; As per plan spent 2 days here exploring the city. Capital of Norway & most populous city of Norway welcomed us with -3’C temperature. We explored the city by every means possible i.e. Bus, Metro, Trams, trains and local taxis. It’s beautiful country covered with Snow in February with a great history of Norwegian Vikings and mostly famous for it’s damn awesome natural fjords. There was a lot to cover in every step with countless museums, historical architecture, Viking history attractions and many other. Take a walk in front of Parliament of Norway, and don’t forget to visit Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Oslo central Station and it’s surroundings are most happening places in Oslo and also a place to start your little shopping of local stuff. City’s hop on/off buses are best way to cover most of these.

History of Vikings
History

What you shouldn’t miss in Oslo-

Viking Ship Museum – Located in Bygdoy, museum provides historic ships made by vikings in year of 850 and you can have a nice view from the balconies they have made for proper look.

The Vigeland Museum- Awesome art in form of painting, woodcuts and sculptures made by famous artist of Gustav Vigeland. I feel his whole life can be viewed from this museum and it’s more than 15000 artifacts.

Oslo Opera House – National Opera & Ballet House of Norway. We didn’t go inside of it but really admired the beautiful architecture from outside & had a long walk.

Royal Place- This huge monument reminded me of President house in India but of course the snow covered around building and that cold weather made it memorable.

City Hall and Parliament of Norway would definitely come in the list with Fram museum with that triangle architecture. Take a bicycle on rent or do a walking tour around Oslo central station – you will really enjoy doing and seeing things on your own then taking a guide. Though if you like more detailed info on everything then take a guide. There are many different packages once you visit Oslo tourist information center and yes in any city of Norway take a city pass, it saves a lot of money and comes very handy and all kind of visits and transportation ………

After Oslo, we took a train to Bergen —— follow for Bergen Rail and many other adventures in Country of Vikings & Fjords II (Bergen)

Mysterious North East India

North East- Just a direction I chose to travel after my soul craving for another solo backpack trip. Nothing planned, just 20 days in hand with one return ticket from Delhi to Guwahati. What I had in mind is to cover as many places as I could in seven states of North East. For a deep and detailed tour of North East, 20 days are just not enough so my plan was to get an idea about these places, transport, food, roads, languages and culture a little so I can come back again to feed my hunger of wandered soul. But I guess it fuelled the spark and now I badly want to go again to finish what I couldn’t.

One thing for sure is that we have actually neglected the ample opportunities of tourism based acknowledgement of these 7 states, specially Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. I backpacked the seven states, covered around 3500 Kms., 13-15 places and what I found is extraordinary. Variety of tribes, people who have uncorrupted brain, heart and souls; most wet and greenest mountains; running to frozen water bodies, Living root bridges, giant Rhinos, ancient temples and forts, rocks and scary caves, cleanest village of Asia, second largest Monastery in Asia, borders of neighbour countries, soothing tribal music, dance, costumes, culture, food and what not…. Amazed seeing a family of 140 people living under same roof, shocked seeing a woman of 95 years old not having water for ages because she doesn’t like the taste, women running family businesses, tribes fighting for their existence, where sports like Soccer comes before Cricket and above all where girls walk freely without moral policing unlike our metros. 😛

In my short visit I had to cover all 7 states and as first time visitor, I did leave many places because of time, transportation issues and political disturbances…. And my budget of course. Nagaland and Manipur were under curfew due to ongoing agitation so had to cut short my visit and left many places without visiting. Public transports give very limited options and others are expensive for a solo trip. Private taxis are expensive and no night service commute are available in most of the places which results into day wasting travelling, until you get lucky and find some JUGAAD.

My short trip started from Guwahati and travelled a full circle of North East- Guwahati, Umiam Lake, Shillong, Cherrapunjee, Mawlynnong, Dawki, Jowai, Silchar, Agartala, Aizawl, Lunglie, Imphal, Mao, Kohima, Dimapur, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Kaziranga, Tezpur, Dirang, Bomdila, Sela Pass, Tawang, Guwahati, Mawsynram and back to Delhi.

Tips:-

• National News channels do not cover news of most of places so be aware where and when you are going. Best way to find out is local newspapers and channels.

• If you are dependent on public transport, then don’t plan it. Just go with the flow. Until you have enough money or group to hire taxis.

• Nothing to be afraid of in North East but avoid sensitive places/arguments, also night travel to Nagaland and Manipur.

• Spend more time in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. Nothing much to see in Tripura. For me it was waste of money, time and energy because of short trip time.

• Budget hotels are from INR 500 to 1000. Explore more to get good deals. Don’t be dependent on internet for these places.

• Don’t forget to get Inner Land Permit before planning for Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. You can get Online and from state borders. Be aware of Holidays and Sunday.

• Mizoram and Meghalaya are most peaceful places. Just Loved it. Arunachal is Himalayas of North East.

Now you have read all this, believe me you don’t want to read about North East India……Just go and experience it…… Keep travelling.