Norway just opened up the largest underwater restaurant, Under.

The restaurant located at the southern cape of Norway, is submerged halfway into the water, looking like it has tipped over. It will have seats for 100 guests, making Under the largest underwater restaurant to date.

The structure
Under is set 5.50 meter below sea level and designed by Snøhetta, a renowned Norwegian architectural & design firm.“The harsh, rough conditions in Lindesnes, have made it necessary to pay additional attention to the structure itself and the materials used when building it. The structure must be able to withstand enormous natural forces from the sea, changing weather, and powerful winds”,explains Arne Marthinsen.

Under Norway
Source: Under

The Menu
Being located in the North Atlantic in Lindesnes, the restaurant offers locally fresh fish that highlights the wonders of the sea. besides fish and fresh seaweed, they will prepare and serve wild sheep and fresh ingredients that they will get from local farmers. Head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard says; “My team and I work in close co-operation with local farmers, fishermen, hunters and harvesters to provide the freshest ingredients. In this way, we create flavourful, innovative dishes that reflect our landscape.”

Under menu
Sneak peak of the menu at Under

The drinks menu is also an experience. UNDER’s Sommelier has created a pairing menu to complete the cuisine of chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard. There is a non-alcoholic pairing menu available.

Marine Biology
At Under, there is more than just the dining experience. You get the chance to learn about marine life to complete your experience.

Water view restaurant Under

How to get there
Under is situated between the two cities Kristiansand and Stavanger. Both cities have airports with national and international flights. From there you can travel by car or train, but there are also boat charters available.

Book your table via this link!

Under
Båly, Lindesnes Norway

Website / Instagram

Happy underwater dining,

Wander-Lust

*All photo’s are courtesy of Under

 

 

Skiing in Kvitfjell, Norway

Skiing in Kvitfjell, Norway

I have been on the slopes since I was nine years old, and I’ve seen many snowy mountains in Austria, Switzerland, the French Alpes, Germany and even inItaly. But I had never been skiing in Norway before. Why not I wondered. Norway is only a short flight from Amsterdam and has many ski and snowboard options. I flew to Kvitfjell to find out.

The Olympic Town
Kvitfjell was build for the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994. After that, an investor bought the place and he made sure it continued it’s main purpose as a ski resort. But Kvitfjell is not just famous for the winter Olympics, the town is turned upside down for the World Cup ski competition. Every year people from all over the world come to Kvitfjell at the beginning of March, to watch the brave athletes ski down the famous black piste at 130 km per hour. It’s broadcasted around the world. 


Winter Wonderland

I was about to experience the actual black piste with a crazy steep decline of 64% at some parts. But first it was time to explore the rest of the ski area. Kvitfjell decided to expand last year so I was exited to see the newly opened westside of the mountain. With 1039 meter above sea level, you will reach the highest part of the mountain. In total there are 34km of ski slopes that vary from easy to advanced. It’s a great ski area for families with children from three years old as there are many nice green and blue slopes to learn the basics. I must warn you though, what they call blue at Kvitfjell, kinda means red in other countries!


A traditional Norwegian farm in the middle of the piste

The hotel
It’s a small town so there are only 2 hotels. The biggest and best hotel is Gudbrandsgaard Hotel. Prices starting from NOK 1190 up to to NOK 2190 per double room per night/2 persons, and includes a buffet breakfast. The hotel holds up to 79 guests and has a spa that includes a large swimming pool and a gym. After an intensive day of skiing, your body can use a warm jacuzzi, let me tell you! The hotel has a charming and traditional Norwegian interior and four floors. The rooms are quite spacious and look out on the piste or forest. It had snowed so much when I arrived, that the snow fell into the room as I opened my window!

There are several food options in the hotel. There is an exclusive wine cellar where you will find some exclusive wines plus you can book the place for a special dinner. The hotel’s main restaurant is called Prepperiet and includes a cozy fireplace. The food, again, was amazing. Best pumpkin soon and ravioli I’ve ever had. And trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of soups in my life. The breakfast and lunch buffet area is located on the first floor and is simple, yet inviting. The breakfast is for champions and the veggies during lunchtime are crispy. Happy Elke. 

I can honestly say, it’s the best food i’ve had around a skiresort!

Gastronomy
One thing I MUST mention is the food in Kvitvjell. If you’ve been skiing before, you know that lunch on the slopes is usually greasy and fat. Fries, pasta, cakes and sausages are some of the dishes you will find at most ski resorts. In Kvitfjell it’s different. ients and I can honestly say, it’s the best food i’ve had around a skiresort! You have a few options; 

  • Fôr
    This restaurant is just 200 meters from the hotel and serves modern style Norwegian food. It’s run by a few cool dudes (if I may call them that, because they looked like die hard snowboarders). I was lucky to enjoy a five course dinner and although ordered vegetarian food, I didn’t end up with a simple pasta on my plate. From soup to the mushroom risotto, it was all beautifully set up and sooo tasty.

Dinner at Fôr, Kvitfjell
Dinner at Fôr

  • Tyrihanstunet
    This charming and traditional Norwegian place, is right on the piste and a great stopover to have a nutritious lunch. I ate the shrimp sandwich and it was huge! If you are a coffee addict, this is also the place because they serve the best coffee on the piste. 
  • Plaza Café
    Situated next to the skishop is the Plaza Café. Come here for quality burgers, spaghetti, salads and drinks. 
  • Koia
    For gluhwein, gourmet sausages and beer you come to this 300 (!) year old loghouse. 

Lunch at Kvitfjell
Lunch at Tyrihanstunet

Old log house in Kvitfjell
The 300 year old Koia house is perfect for a après ski

Ski Conditions (and my experience on the World Cup slope!)
Because of the heavy snow throughout the night, fresh powder was everywhere and made the ski conditions top notch! It was like sliding through soft clouds and even though the sun didn’t shine, it was such a great run to experience. There are a few options to go off piste but I recommend these to the more advanced skiërs. I had to try the infamous world cup piste of course, and although I was a little nervous, I managed to get down without falling. What a confident boost! The World Cup piste is 3,5 km in length, black and very popular with the skiers that I’d like to call; speedy conzales.

Stunning paths in Kvitfjell
Go a little off piste and find stunning paths like these!

Verdict:
I loved it! But skiing in Norway is a little different from what you might be used to in Austria for example. Après Ski is something they’ve definitely heard of, but it’s not the main objective here. People really come to Kvitfjell to enjoy the scenery, have a lovely family break or come over to improve their skills. People from Denmark, Sweden and Norway are amongst the biggest group of tourist that visit Kvitfjell but people from The Netherlands and Germany are also showing interest. In my opinion it’s the ideal place for families and couples because it’s perfect to combine with a weekend in Oslo, as it’s only a 3 hour train ride from the capital!

So if you’re looking for something a little different from what you are used to, enjoy a relaxed atmosfeer and great gastronomy, Kvitfjell is your town!

Love,

Elke

For more info about Kvitfjell and it’s surroundings, visit their website.

My amazing trip through North West Norway

This year has been great for crossing off my bucketlist destinations. First I finally visited the Philippines back in December and now I received a call from Visit Norway for a once in a lifetime trip to North West Norway. I was going to see the famous Fjords and amazing nature I had been waiting a long time to see. Norway is a country filled with mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords that have their villages and cities hidden in between. If you’ve never been to Norway I can imagine that it can be quite difficult to decide where you want to go. In this blogpost I will take you to the North Western part of Norway and let me tell you, it’s stunning!

Route through North West NorwayOur Route through North West Norway

Ålesund
When you fly into Ålesund you will see the dark Atlantic Ocean and the impressive mountains as you land. The airport is situated right on the edge of the island and in 1,5 hours you can drive down to the fjords. Ålesund is a beautiful fishers town that was totally destroyed back in 1904 because of a fire. After that they rebuild it, using architecture that would set every house apart from each other. It’s often referred to as a town from a fairy tale and you will really see this when you are on top of Mount Aksla (you walk up 418 steps) where you have a wonderful view over Ålesund and it’s harbour. Have a coffee or tea in the restaurant on top of the hill and enjoy the view!

Alesund Norway
418 steps up and you will be rewarded with this stunning view!

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The view from the bus..

Stranda
We continued our way towards a second town named Stranda. This place is well known by Norwegians but it’s yet to be discovered by many tourist. Which means it’s great for skiing and hiking without a large crowd. From here you can ski down or go for a hike during summer. More and more travelers are finding out about this place since Pipa Middleton (Kate’s hot sister) had her ski vacation around here but if you go soon you will find that you will enjoy most of the slopes empty enough to go crazy. During the winter and summer months you can go up with the gondel to the panoramic restaurant Strandafjellet where you have an amazing view over the Fjord if the clouds are not there. Unfortunately clouds won that day and I wasn’t treated to that amazing view but this is how it normally looks:

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Source: www.tripadvisor.com

Where to stay/What to do

I stayed in the Stranda Hotel which may look a bit like a concrete building from the outside but is cozy on the inside. The hotel manager has been working here for over 15 years and is a really down to earth and charming lady who has a great sense of humor. Norwegians kind of remind me of the Dutch. They are open minded people and are not afraid to speak their mind. Very Dutch indeed and I like it! If you’re there, be sure to visit the activity center to rent kayaks, ski’s, mountain bikes and book outdoor tours. The office is not always open because of guided tours but you can always call them for reservations. Once a year they host a mountain race called the Stranda Fjord Race. The race attracts people from all over the world but only few manage to finish it. It’s one of the hardest running races ever because it’s very steep and runs over the mountain. (This one is for the tough cookies) It takes around 6 hours to finish but the fastest man this year did it in just 4 hours! 

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The view I had was eh..a bit different! 

Valldal
From Stranda on to the next! The tour bus took us to Valldal, a small town in between a valley where they harvest strawberries, raspberries, plums and other fruits. It’s their main source of income as it stays warm between the mountains, making it the perfect climate to grow these kinds of fruit. I tasted some and let me tell you, it’s a lot better than you will ever find in your local supermarket! Yummie.

Where to stay/What to do
I stayed in a newly opened hotel focused on health tourism called the Fjordhotel. They have comfortable rooms with stunning views over the Fjord and mountains. Dinner and breakfast are great and healthy. From here you can book several outdoor activities and one of the most fun things to do is kayaking. Mind you, this is different from a canoe and takes a bit more balance. You can book a guided kayak tour with Valldal Naturopplevingar. They will take you across to a fjord called Tafjord which is on the Unesco world heritage list but hardly anybody knows about it. Meaning, you might have the whole fjord to yourself! Talking about a true hidden gem.

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Kayaking in between the Fjords

North West Norway

Other fun things to do is to spend a day in the Activity Park just 15 minutes away. Here you can climb and enjoy thrilling zip-lines across trees and a rivers. If you’re more the relaxing type you can stop at Meretes Garden where you can follow a yoga or mindfulness lesson. I had a look and although it rained, I managed to shoot a picture of her Japanese inspired garden and tipi tents where you can stay for around 40 euro’s per person.

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The beautiful Japanese Garden at Meretes Garden

Trollstigen Road
Now it was time to head down to North West Norway’s most famous road, the Trollstigen Road. To get there you must head east along the Fjords. If you take this route, you will come across the most amazing viewpoints that are worth stopping for. Waterfalls, rivers, green hills and mountain tunnels are all part of this region. If you want to see the view over the Trollstigen Road, you should definitely stop at the Trollstigen Cafe which is a modern building run by a man named Edmond and owns a large part of the land here. It was so rainy on the day I was there that I only managed to take a few pictures when the fog disappeared for a few seconds. Mind you, I was still so impressed by the view over bridge which is build right over the road and waterfalls. After a tasty lunch we made our way down over the zigzag road which takes some good driving skills. You will make Mr. Edmond very happy if you stop by his large giftshop which you can recognize by the large Troll standing in front of it.

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The famous Trollstigen road

After driving over the famous Trollstigen road, We briefly stopped at the Phillipshaugen Lodge, run by a young couple. The sun finally showed her face that day so if was the perfect timing for cake, coffee and a few photo’s. To book your stay, check here.

North Western Norway
You can sleep here and their best season is in winter for the famous ski tours through the mountains.

Innerdalen
After a lot of traveling, I was going to stay in Innerdalen for 2 nights which I was looking forward to. My group and I were going to stay in the Innerdalen Turisthytte. A typical Norwegian lodge run by family business that has been in operation since 1889. The area is extremely popular with hikers who come here to climb the Innerdalstârnet mountain. The mountain is 1472  meters high and can be difficult to climb. We only managed to climb up half way because the stones were too slippery because of the rain that day. The lodge is only open from June until November and has around 27 beds. All rooms have bunk-beds so sharing is caring!Next door you will find a lodge named Renndolsetra. You can also sleep here or pop in for dinner. They have 25 beds available and are looking to extend the dinning area. I had one of my weirdest but traditional Norwegian dishes here; Rømmegrøt. It’s a mixture of flour, milk and sour cream which they heat before serving. It kind of reminded me of bechamel sauce before you put in into a lasagna but I believe you should always try the local dish to a new destination.

Dinner in Norway
A traditional Norwegian dinner table at Renndolsetra


Like a fairytale

Kristiansund
Our last stop in North West Norway was at a place called Kristiansund where we had lunch at fish restaurant Smia. The restaurant used to be a metal smith back in 1787. They kept the old historic features and added a touch of modern interior, making this place a popular place to eat next to the harbour. Everything is homemade and local. One of their specialties is klipfish which is a traditional Norwegian salty fish dish. With the delicious Norwegian flavors still in my mouth, it was time to head back to the airport and wave goodbye to this stunning country.

Flying home from North West Norway

Yes, Norway really deserved that spot on my bucketlist and I firmly believe you should add it too.

Love,

Elke

*For more info and tours check www.visitnorway.nl