The capital of Norway was chosen by Alfred Nobel as the city that administers and awards the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel. And it is the only Nobel Prize not presented in Stockholm.
The Nobel Peace Prize is often described as "the world's prestigious prize" and as per Alfred Nobel's will, it is to be awarded in Oslo. Till now, nobody knows exactly why he chose Norway as the country to administer the Peace Prize. He was Swedish, after all.
Anyhow, I wouldn't give up the opportunity to visit the Nobel Institute. It took me more than 2 months to arrive at "Peace City". So I went.
This is the place where the recipient(s) of the Nobel Peace Prize is selected:
(Norwegian Nobel Institute)
Since 1990, the Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo City Hall on 10 December (Alfred Nobel's death anniversary) each year. So after visiting the place where the prize recipients are selected, I went to the place where the recipients receive their prize.
(Oslo City Hall)
(Inside Oslo City Hall - The Place where the Peace Prize is presented)
After feeling at peace, I left the Oslo City Hall and went to a cured meat specialty shop. I bought a whole lamb leg! And that set me back by SGD$500! It was really good. And it can be kept for a whole year!
Time was running fast. I had 2 more things to before I head back to Singapore. The first thing? Shopping! Shopping for gifts... I made a last minute dash to a nearby shopping centre and got mostly food stuff. I can't simply go home empty-handed after 2 months right? I couldn't buy much stuff while I was traveling as that would add to my already heavy load. And since this was the last stop, I could afford to carry gifts/souvenirs to the airport.
The second thing I wanted to do was to visit the site of the Oslo bombing. On 22 July 2011, Oslo was the site of one of two attacks; the bombing of Oslo government offices in the city, and a shooing at a youth camp in Utoya. Both hideous acts were carried out by the same crazy person. The Norway Attacks happened just less than 3 months before I arrived in Oslo and I wanted to pay tribute to the innocent people who lost their lives.
It was truly a sad sight to behold.
With that, I went back to my hostel with a heavy heart and packed my heavy bag.
I had so many things to pack and I had a train to catch to the airport! I finally managed to squeeze every thing into my HUGE haversack, which made it "HUGE-ER", and ran to the Oslo Train Station. I was just in time. It took me quite a while to catch my breath on the train. I was thinking, "What if I really missed the train?"
Got to the airport and checked my luggage in for the first time in my whole LAND TRIP TO EUROPE!!! I then realised how I got used to taking the train from place to place for 2 months. Airport seemed so foreign to me.
Well, some people asked me how I was coming back to Singapore. Was it going to be by Land too? I told them that I may be crazy, but not that crazy. It was crazy enough for me to travel to Europe all the way by Land, and I didn't have the luxury of money and time to do the same coming back. Yes, I did say that it was a Land Trip TO Europe, but I didn't say it was a Land Trip BACK to Singapore!
And if you are still wondering, let me just say that it is a whole lot cheaper to fly to Europe and back to Singapore than to travel to Europe by Land.
I arrived in Singapore the next day and was pleasantly surprised to see my Dad at the airport waiting for me. I had asked him to save the trouble and not to come pick me. But of course, being a wonderful Dad that he is, he was the first familiar face I saw after 2 months.
Well, there you have it! After 64 days, 35 cities, and 22 countries, I'm back in Singapore.
To be honest, I hesitated writing this final post for a long time. Because part of me didn't want it to end. It was so surreal, traveling for 2 months. Experiencing a different city almost every other day.
This once-in-a-lifetime experience would not be possible without the following wonderful people.
First, I would like to thank Ernest for allowing me to go for 2 months. Thank you Kate & Kelly to cover my work while I was away.
All thanks to Bert for the inspiration!
Thanks to Seng Yew for taking beautiful photos & video for the 2nd half of my journey.
I know I made my parents worry the most while I was away. Thank you Dad & Mom for trusting me and allowing me to take the risk.
Special thanks to my beloved girlfriend. Thank you for being with me throughout the whole journey even though you were not there physically. She was the one who made all the arrangements and co-ordinations along the way. It was tough on her as there were many hiccups and last minute changes during my trip but she managed to handle all the issues with ease.
A big thank you to all of you who were "traveling with me" during that 2 months. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement through my blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and email. Just to let you know, I read all comments!
Above all, I would like to thank the Good Lord for sending his angels to protect me, keeping me safe & healthy. And that I came back to Singapore in one piece! (Although 5kg lesser.)
When one chapter ends, a new chapter begins. The most important thing is to have no or little regrets. As I now embark on a new chapter of my life, I am even more excited because of what the future holds for me.
Talk is cheap. No point talking and not doing. This is my personal challenge to you: Go do the things you said you would do but never did. I challenge you to achieve the things you never thought possible. Go make your dreams a reality. I never said it was easy. But it is not impossible either.
You can be sure that this is not the end. As this is the beginning of a lifetime of travels for me! Yes, I'm already planning for my next trip! Anyone interested?
As I finish blogging about my LAND TRIP TO EUROPE, I will be editing and uploading my LAND TRIP TO EUROPE videos. I'm proud of myself for traveling alone, blogging, taking photos, taking videos, and editing the videos along my journey. But of course, the moment I reached Russia, I didn't have time to properly edit the videos. So my last video update was me still in China! So stay tuned to my blog or my YouTube Channel for video updates on my LAND TRIP TO EUROPE! (I'll be uploading the next video during the Trans-Siberian Train ride in the next few days.)
It was an unforgettable trip. A trip that taught me a lot about myself. A trip that taught me a lot about the world. A trip that made MY LIFE, NEVER, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE....................................EEEEEEE............................EEVER,
THE SAME, AGAIN!!!
Woke up early in the morning in the most expensive city in the World! Yes, it was not one of the most expensive city in the world but THE MOST expensive city in the world!
Norway is known for its fjords and islands. So I bought Oslo 24-hour public transport ticket to explore the nearby islands by boat. The cool thing about this 24-hr ticket is that it can be used for unlimited rides for all their public transport. That includes their buses, trams, trains, metro, and boats! Yes, even boats!
Ran to the pier because I was quite late. To make things worse, there were different piers and habours around the same place. I actually ran past the pier I was supposed to go and had to run back after asking for directions! Almost missed the boat! (Literally)
Got to the first island and took lots of photos!
The island is really small as it took me less than 30mins to walk from one end to the other. And that includes photo-taking!
(A soccer field?)
The lifestyle here is vastly different from the city. Duh! It is peaceful and quiet and very few people live here. This is definitely a stress-free place to live!
(Look at the colour of the leaves!)
(The autumn leaves were actually falling when I was there!)
After taking the boat back to Oslo, I was exploring the city and hunting for food. Someone recommended a good place for Norwegian Cuisine and I walked for about 45minsto find that restaurant!
(My Norwegian Salmon lunch!)
Where else to eat Norwegian Salmon than in Norway itself! Fresh and delicious!
After a fulfilling lunch, I went to explore more of the capital of Norway.
Had a long day. After dinner, I still went for supper in the cold and wet night.
Tomorrow is a brand new day, and the last of my LAND TRIP TO EUROPE!
After experiencing the beautiful little islands around Oslo, MY LIFE WAS NEVER
THE SAME, AGAIN!!!
Still smiling as the images of the Northern Lights lingered in my mind.
Went out in the morning to have a last round of Photoshoot.
(With the Ladies from America- Melanie & Danielle)
Was sad to leave the small village of Porjus after 3 days and 2 nights. After bidding goodbye to the 2 ladies, I went to catch a bus that brought me to a train station. Took an overnight train back to Stockholm.
1 Oct 2011 (Day 62)
Hah, October already!
Arrived at Stockholm Central Station at about 11am. Went to MacDonalds and guess who I saw? Melanie and Danielle!! What a coincidence! They stayed over in Porjus for 1 more night and left Porjus this morning. The only difference was that they flew back to Stockholm and I took the train. And we met at the train station. How small can the world be?
I had no money to eat a meal so I ordered fries.
Talked for quite a bit and off I went to catch the next train to Oslo, Norway!
Arrived in Oslo at 9pm. Quickly went to find the hostel, which is just 5mins walk away from the train station. Check-in, planned for the next day and slept.
After meeting new friends in Pojus, MY LIFE WAS NEVER
THE SAME, AGAIN!!!
OMG! I've been traveling for 60 days already! Unbelievable!
Had the luxury of walking up later because I was still staying in the quaint village of Porjus.
After breakfast, I decided to explore the village a little bit more. More photos opportunities!
(Top of the hill!)
(I thought I could do a MV for "Earth Song" here.)
I went back to the house after one afternoon of taking photos. Just to give you an idea how I spent time during my 2nd day here, I had more than 1,200 pictures taken! Compared to the 500 pictures taken the day before.
I met 2 beautiful young ladies from the USA in the house as they booked the other bedroom. They are 2 fun-loving people with the same purpose of catching the Northern Lights in Porjus. It was nice talking to them and they told me that they had just graduated and will be traveling for the next 6 months! Cool..
We played card games to kill time as we waited till past midnight. The gals taught me to play 2 games that are apparently quite popular in the States. No gambling of course!
And finally, after hours of waiting and monitoring my laptop, we saw the Northern Lights!!! Suddenly, everyone jumped out of their seats and rushed to the window with our cameras and started snapping away. Then we braced the cold and went out of the house to get a wider view of the phenomenon.
Let me just tell you that it is definitely not enough looking at the following pictures, you have to go there to experience it! Enjoy:
Amazing!!! Don't you think? Many people have asked me what is the nicest thing that I've seen in my whole Europe Trip and I would always say, that of all the beautiful man-made monuments and structures, nothing compares to God's Creation.
I thank God for being able to witness the Northern Lights with my own eyes. And it wasn't even winter yet. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be in winter.
Of course, Porjus is not the only place in the world that you can see the Northern Lights. Next time, I will go to a different place to see it! Simply can't get enough of it! Anybody wanna join?
Like I mentioned above, seeing the pictures is definitely not good enough, you have to go and experience it, at least once in your life. Seeing the lights dancing/moving in the night sky was something indescribable. I was really happy and blessed to have seen it after traveling for 2 months.
Slept super well that night, with a smile on my face....
I'll be checking out the next day in the afternoon, and I'll be heading to Oslo, Norway!!!
That will be a more than 24-hour journey.
After experiencing the NORTHERN LIGHTS, MY LIFE WAS NEVER EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE....................................EEEEEEE............................EEVER, THE SAME, AGAIN!!!