When I was growing up, my family spent much of every summer visiting my grandfather in Sweden, and every other year, we would take a two-week trip to Norway, where he was born and raised. Although he had grown up in Drammen, a port city near Oslo, it was the nature of his homeland that my grandfather loved best, so we spent most of our time outside the cities, reveling in the beauty and wildness of the Hardangervidda Plateau, the Jotunheimen Mountains, thundering waterfalls like Låtefossen and Vøringfossen, the green valleys such as Hallingdal, and, of course, the famous fjords.
In recent years, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit some of these landscapes of my childhood while leading tours in Scandinavia. Almost exactly one year apart, I took these two photos of the same boat anchored by the village of Vik on the Sognefjord. In both cases, it was just before 8 a.m. in late July, and the clouds were just clearing to reveal the mountains sloping down to the water. There was almost nobody out and about; the only business open that early was the gas station along the waterfront road. Vik was quiet, peaceful, and a world away from the bustle of the bigger tourist destinations along the fjord.
For an article about a fascinating Vik tradition, check out “The Cheese of the Vikings: A long tradition lives on at a single dairy in Norway” on my Real Scandinavia blog.