In certified happy Norway, a grumpy traveler finds some happiness (for a reason)


In certified happy Norway, a grumpy traveler finds some happiness (for a reason)

In August last year, a mountain of white goats on a mountain park looked at Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, where a crowded cable car had brought us to the top.

Ella, my husband, he and my college student, Steven, rushed out before the wild flowers and the towering spruce mountain road. In this world heritage city, I’ve always wanted to go on a lovely hike – in a 14th-century wooden building, on an amazing seaport – only to boost my mood. It’s not jet lag. This is a disappointing hotel room.

I would not admit that the best behavior in the world’s happiest country in 2017 is not the best. The United Nations sustainable development solutions online survey will be attributed to the fact that the social and economic factors, including gross domestic product per capita (oil is a major export), life expectancy, strong social support system and the corrupt government trust.

But, of course, happiness is relative, and the pattern applies not only to where we live, but also to the time and place we travel. What makes us happy? Thomas Jefferson declared that he was the happiest when traveling alone. The author, Bruce Chatwin, likes to walk less, always on foot.

“If walking is a virtue, traveling is a sin,” he wrote.

I don’t need a food restaurant like Steven’s, or a spa like ella’s. I need a balcony room, through the tree-lined city block, agricultural mountain town or fishing village, all have the real life sense with my own different. The public ferry is also a plus.

Steven and I, both of whom we control, have made every effort to plan this trip. Although I like the boat, but he doesn’t like to leave the Bergen, Bergen) and the expression of the typical cruise on a crowded, it is loose, the longest strait in the fjord Sognefjord) edge of the cliff channel (defined in western Norway). We made a drive for a week, not. This will allow us to use a wide range of national ferry systems to visit several villages in the strategic arc that ended in Oslo.

But no matter what we are wrong-headed planning, in the case of the rain we absolutely no way to do it, in the western end of the summer in Norway is enough, and eliminates the our sense of control, according to stumble “happiness,” the author Daniel Goleman (Daniel Goleman) satisfaction. Without control, we become anxious. On the other hand, pleasant travel always leaves some spontaneous space which, in my opinion, is a kind of swimming. That’s how we get a detour through Klosteret (a sweet bergen neighborhood garden, cobbled streets and a lovely cafe) to a large public swimming pool. The harbour was very crowded, heated, and looked at all kinds of boats.

“I hope it’s not my date,” said one woman, who was sitting next to her.

This sparked a conversation unsolicited, any a trip is very happy, the first is her disdain for Donald trump, followed by her in the upcoming elections in Norway for later was elected prime minister limit immigration conservative Mr. Solberg uncoordinated support. Leaving the conversation (remember the Norwegian exclusion of Norway in the Oslo massacre of 2011) made me feel better. The beautiful clerk returned to our hotel.

“We can find your other room,” he told me.

It was small, with no balcony, but the big window looked at the hillside.

“Are you happy now? Ella asked.

In the Viking era and up until the 14th century, bergen was home to the medieval kingdom of Norway. Since then, it has been the home of henrik Ibsen, Edward greig and the most recent writer, Carl ove knaussgaard. These days it’s called the university scene, the black metal music and Kode, the name of its art, design and history museum. On Monday night, a Kode building provided the catalyst for our happiness – Lysverket, a gourmet destination. According to a Norwegian food blog, Steven has consulted, but not sultry.

“I’m not happy for a couple of hours of 18 dishes,” he said.

However, the four dishes are certainly fresh and creative, with lots of local fish and seafood.

On Monday, in the Kode Edvard Munch exhibition after a satisfactory visit, when in the relentless rain sheet up and down, my heart sank, we drove to the northern Brekke, this is the first time that we spend the night in fjords adventure. Outside, we couldn’t see the sights that brought us to Norway. What would happen if the weather spoiled our idea for the whole week? Do I have to invoke the mindfulness of the dalai lama in the “art of happiness” to allay my disappointment?

That night, in an odd motel, there was a meadow on the roof, and I lay on my bed, unawares by the shower of rain. But at dawn I looked out and saw two slanted masses rising from the water. I once imagined a fjord. The weather has broken down and gives us a lofty view.

When it rained, we brought the ferry and dilapidated roads to Fjaerland, where the handsome, long-haired boss of Fjaerland Fordstue Hotel had a thoughtful conversation with a dozen guests. He told us how he had been happy by moving from Oslo to get closer to nature. Then he introduced us to Jostedalsbreen, and we could see the glacier between the northern clouds. “In summer, when the ice melts, it moistens the land,” he said. Later, the drizzle dissipated and I walked and found Fjaerland, also known as Mundal, the ideal of my Platonic Norwegian village, with some shops and cafes. Snow mountain to Fjaerlandfjorden’s water – by satisfying all my desires, I feel totally happy.

There are also books. They are everywhere – in shops, in abandoned chicken coops, on pier shelves, on emerald meadows. In 1996, sleepy Mundal became the first official “book city” in Scandinavia to attract more passengers.

One woman in charge of the book’s tourism office told me, “but like anything else, it takes a lot of effort.” Yes, I think that effort can bring happiness. But that’s not everything.

After we have been to the village, Balestrand (in the apple cider house we have a very good super local lunch) and Solvorn (is famous for its charm and beauty) did not make me as happy as Fjaerland. These two places feel too upscale and updated.

Ella raised her eyebrows in my self-destructive sensibility. “Compare and despair,” he said.

In our historic, family-run and expensive sol Vaughan hotel, a lovely manager, varachel, listened to my complaints about our ignoring the room. She couldn’t help it. From our ferry, local land ur in church board (UNESCO world cultural heritage in the 12th century) in Scandinavia (Sandinavia) anywhere is so dramatic, let me in a bad mood. Looking back, we saw the black dolphin whale jumping out of the water and laughing bravely. Then, as if in a hint, a faint rainbow appeared. After a while, I was told that we could move to a balcony room, which made my spirit soar like a hot-air balloon.

Of course, I was ashamed of my own happiness. Then why don’t I feel happy? I think there is a gap between my idea and my fantasy and the reality of Norway. Samuel Johnson wrote that travel can help us stop thinking about the possibilities of things, rather than see what they are. As it turns out, the Norwegian mainland has been too luxurious for decades to offer much of the old world charm. Most fisheries are kept on farms away from towns, so fishing boats are not around to provide a rustic atmosphere for the countryside. Because of the rocks, agriculture is invisible around every bend. Recent attractions are more suited to weekends and holidaymakers than weekend locals. North of the rest of Europe, we didn’t expect a moderate attitude. However, I still hope that our journey has a peak experience.

“We climb up the glacier,” Steven said the next morning.

I told him it was not my job to climb the mountain because I hated going downhill, and I was afraid I would slip. “Oh, come on,” said ella. “When can we climb up the glacier again?”

That afternoon, in the wilderness area around a glacier called Nigardsbreen, I was worried about a delightful guide to the metal crampons that had been nailed to my boots. A group of senior women from Singapore, they reel complaining, digging up my pole into a supernatural blue ice, and landed on the continent’s largest glacier. Later, when we went down the mountain, I was too scared to enjoy the views of the turquoise lakes and valleys below. My heart was pounding, like a cross between a toddler and a c old man, desperate not to slip.

“The ice claw won’t make you fall,” Steven said.

“But you really have to give up some control,” says ella.

I don’t know why, but that’s what I need to hear, not just hiking, but the rest of the trip. Is it as simple as giving up expectations and finding good enough? When our glorious boat came back from the glacier, our ruddy ferryman was ecstatic. I asked why. He told me that in a place that never needed air conditioning, it was hard not to be unhappy in summer.

“In winter? I asked.

“That was when I went to Thailand,” he said.

Then we drive south of days, there are two small villages, there is another, Undredal, it is said that goats than there are many, so rough and cute, I want to thank Steven a detour to go looking for it. He has been driving and navigating the entire journey without complaint. I am glad that although I can travel, our friendship for thirty years is as good as my ten years of marriage. Maybe Norway is not what I imagined. But it’s enough to give three dear friends some lovely days and gentle adventures.

“I really enjoy the few tourists here,” says ella.

At the airport in Oslo, I asked young ticket agents if they knew about Norway’s happiest country. Like most people I’ve asked on my travels, he wondered whether complacency and happiness were the same thing. He admitted doing well and the bed was warm.

“But,” he added, “I’ll be happier in Australia.”

A Norwegian, my own dark and difficult heart.


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