Flying into Norway, I was expecting a complete culture shock. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect, all I thought was that it would be completely different from anywhere I had ever seen before, so when we touched down in Bergen we were all a bit shocked. Norway looks like home. Not just a little bit, a LOT. If there werenâ€™t so many blonde people and Norwegian signs everywhere, I could have sworn that we had landed in British Columbia!
At this point in the trip we had all been away from home for quite a while, so this resemblance came as a very pleasant surprise. My Norwegian stereotypes of reindeer running through the streets, snow and ice everywhere, and people eating sheep heads (oh wait, that stereotype was accurate), from what I saw, were completely wrong!
As we drove from the west side of the country inland farmer style in our 3-seater cargo van, the breathtaking scenery made me lose sight of the stick shift digging into my kneecap and the claustrophobia I initially felt pinned in between Dylan and Cory.
Finally, we made it to Voss â€“ the site of Ekstremesportveko, an international extreme sports festival with more crazies competing in sports like base-jumping, skydiving, longboard skateboarding, and white water kayaking than I had ever seen. These people made us mountain bikers look tame!
One of the big things we learned right away about Norway is that when they do something, they put in %110 and they do it right. Thereâ€™s no half-assing in this country. The festival was no exception.
We were lucky enough to stay on the mountain next to the slopestyle course that had been beautifully built, but claimed a few over-eager Norwegian locals during training. We met up with Cam McCaul, Andrew Shandro, and Matt Hunter and we were all looking at each other in shock because the Norwegian kids seemed to have no sense of self-preservation whatsoever when they rode the course. Most had never done jumps half the size, yet were sending themselves down the hill on hardtails with only a back break! It was scary and the paramedics had their work cut out for them that day! Dylan rode the slopestyle and I rode the jump jam, and thankfully both of us made it out of there unscathed.
After a great Gimmie Gimmies concert and seeing how crazy Norwegians are off the bike (equally crazy as on), we headed to do some sight seeing on the way to Lillehammer. Thatâ€™s when we hit the fjords. Iâ€™m happy this website has pictures to go along with the blog, because words canâ€™t describe how beautiful the fjords are. Ok, Iâ€™ll leave it at that.