The underground network suddenly became an overground train with stunning scenic views of the Oslo fiorjd while dodging the rocky hills splattered with little wooden houses and rocketing uphill into the woodlands.
I had wanted to see the Scandinavian woodlands ever since I was a kid. A clear idea of endless tall pine trees and small creeks was set in my mind ever since I can remember, a land far away, a cold winter and mild summer, wooden houses and the home of Santa Klaus, even though now I know he has his 'headquarters' in Lapland, Finland.
I was not disappointed when we finally reached Frogseteren metro station, the last stop on the line and the start point of our hike. A German guy who was a bit lost decided to tag along as soon as we looked at a very odd map in Norwegian and designed an imaginary path on our minds.
For then next hours, a 12 kilometers hike took place in between tall pine trees, small creeks, improvised wooden bridges and some fellow hikers and joggers just making good use of Oslo's main playground.
Up and down the hills for a couple of hours while looking at the landscape, getting some fresh air and tracking down some interesting footprints from the local wildlife, we hit our first stop, the remote lodge of Ullevalsetter with their comforting warm meals, wooden furniture and chilled atmosphere. An excellent place for winding down with a nice pint of local beer, some Norwegian smoked cheese and cold meats while bikers and hikers took over the place to refuel their bodies after a very demanding journey.
A short walk down the trails led us to Skjersjoen, one of Oslo's main reservoires of fresh drinking water and a perfect frame for some amazing photos featuring a perfect combination of lakes, hills and woodlands which brought me back some 9 years ago to the same kind of landscape I had seen in the Argentine Patagonia in 2003.
We decided to follow the river down the valley while having a nice talk about university, sports and traveling until we reached the massive lake of Maridalsvannet with its clear water (forbidden for bathing , even though we tried to find a nice bay to do so and beat the heat) and up the hills again towards the train crossing and the Oslo suburban area again.
The walk did not disappoint me at all. Norwegian woodlands were everything I had expected it to be and probably more, even though I wasn't able to see a proper fiorjd of the Aurora Borealis on this visit. I am pretty sure I will in any future trip to this beautiful country.
Back in the blue tram, traveling down the hills from Kjelsas into town ,while crowds of locals were finishing their day at work (meaning good looking girls everywhere) and to say good-bye to our friend for the day and chill out after a long hectic walk.
A quick walk into town finished the day,saying our good-byes to a beautiful pristine city while it was still bright. A good night sleep followed and an early morning departure from the bus terminal led us into Rygge Airport, in the middle of nowhere, and finally flying back to Dublin under shiny skies and a crowded flight.
Dublin received us with an unusual warm sunny day. Pint of beer to commemorate another successful short holiday and back to work.
Days have been gone since then, a trip to Germany to meet with a friend I haven't seen in a long time is coming and the big end-of-summer adventure to Africa in September has just been booked in, just days before moving to England for some months to do complete my Masters degree. Things are moving fast again and I am surely going to keep you all informed about it.
Until then, have a good summer (or winter).