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I am officially in my first week as a full-time travel blogger and am currently sitting here knowing that I should start packing my suitcase. If you have been reading Fjords and Beaches for a while, you’ll know that packing is my absolute worst nightmare and that I will put it off for as long as I can.
So, you’ll find me packing this suitcase the night before I leave, for sure.
Instead of packing, I’ve spent some time today reminiscing about the beautiful village and country I leave behind to go travel for the next 5 months. My trip will take me to Indonesia, Australia, the UK, and who knows where else, and I won’t be back home until some time in July (my return flight isn’t even booked!).
Since I know many of you came about this blog in search of information about the fjords, and especially my village Aurland (and Flåm), I have a feeling you’ll enjoy this.
5 thinks I’ll miss about living by the fjords
Having grown up by the beautiful fjords of Norway, I have learned a thing or two about what to do by the fjords. If you are visiting Flåm or Aurland, don’t miss my favourite things to do here. Consider this your guide from a local!
1. Hiking in the summer
When the weather is nice and the sun never sets, you can hike at practically any time of day here. Hiking in Norway is popular amongst locals and visitors alike, and we’ve all seen those Facebook videos of famous hikes like Trolltunga and Preikestolen.
Here in Aurland, we have popular hikes like the Prest hike, the hike to Hovdunga, and others. If you are travelling to Flåm, the hike to the Brekke waterfall is very popular. All of these are hikes that I’m going to miss having at my doorstep.
2. Drinking wine in the Aabelheim garden
In the centre of Aurland there’s an old house, dating back to the 1700s. This house is called ‘Aabelheim’ and is named after the minister that lived there from the 1830s; Ole Aabel. ‘Heim’ means home.
The garden surrounding this old house is one of my favourite places in the entire village. I actually feel like I am letting you in on a secret now, because not many people know of this place, even if it is right in the centre of Aurland! The old buildings and the garden itself belongs to Vangsgaarden, which you already know is my favourite hotel in Aurland.
From time to time (in the summer it’s actually more like every night), friends and I will gather in the quiet gardens of Aabelheim to relax and chat. Since it doesn’t get dark in the summer, it’s easy to stay out all night without noticing the time passing. If you add a glass of wine from Duehuset Restaurant, which is based on the same property, you’re absolutely golden.
So, the next time you visit Aurland, make sure you stay at Vangsgaarden and ask to be shown around the gardens.
3. Heading out on the fjord when it’s sunny
Having grown up by the fjords doesn’t mean we take it for granted! Spending the day on the fjord is the perfect past-time, whether you go by private boat, a FjordSafari speedboat, or a fjord cruise. You have the entire world at your feet and are free to head to Gudvangen through the UNESCO Nærøyfjord, travel towards the coast (the Sognefjord is over 200km long!), or simply throw out a fishing rod, relax and enjoy the views of the beautiful villages along the fjord.
4. Lunch or dinner on the porch at Duehuset
When the sun hangs low over the fjords and you’re thinking your day couldn’t get any better, you get a text from a friend saying ‘meet me at Duen’. ‘Duen’ is the local’s name for the restaurant Duehuset, where they serve you up with great food and the best views of the fjords. It’s very rare that you’ll find me saying no to this.
At Duehuset they serve local food, and visitors and locals alike can enjoy local deer burgers, trout from the mountains of Aurland, and pizza made in a stoke bake oven. There’s something for every taste, and when you pair this with local beer and the sun setting over the fjord you know your day is complete.
Dinner here often turns into drinks and, as opposed to the Aabelheim garden, you’ll find the place alive with people until they close.
Read more: Love this hotel: Vangsgaarden, Aurland
5. Celebrating the 17th of May with my friends
I know this is something that only happens once a year, but it’s still something I’m going to miss about living by the fjords. Especially as I won’t be at home on the 17th of May this year. This day is the Norwegian National Day, and it is always celebrated properly.
Even though it’s a national holiday, we don’t sleep in. Everyone wakes up on the 17th of May and start their day with champagne and breakfast with friends (aptly named ‘champagne breakfast’). From then we drink, celebrate and spend a jolly good time with friends in our national costumes before we head out for dinner at around 5.
As is the tradition in my family, and many others, we head to Duehuset for steak and more wine. Personally, I am banned from drinking red wine in my national costume (thank you, mum), but I have a tendency to forget this once a tender steak and an empty glass is in front of me. After dinner and catching up with everyone you didn’t start the day with, people head their separate ways to continue the parties.
(The 18th of May should be a national holiday too, in my humble opinion. People need to sleep after the festivities.)
So, there you have some of my favourite things about living by the fjords, and also what I am going to miss most about Aurland and Flåm.
On your next trip to these fjord villages, I hope you’ll follow in my footsteps and spend a day on the fjord and enjoy your dinner at Duehuset, followed by a glass of wine in the Aabelheim garden.
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//This post was sponsored by my favourite hotel in Aurland; Vangsgaarden. As always, opinions are my own and this is a genuine list of the things I’ll miss from the fjords when I am out travelling.
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