It has been far too long since I’ve seen the deep blue, smelled the drying seaweed on shore and felt the cool wet on my hands. I didn’t grow up at the sea, but my heart is where the ocean is. Now, don’t get me wrong, Norway has plenty of the deep blue, but so far I just haven’t quite found the right place yet, the place that felt like ocean-home to me. I know, it’s a bit hard to explain, because you might think the ocean is the ocean, what difference does it make. But honestly, it makes a huge difference. To me, anyways.
Oslo is about 90 minutes away from the Norway-Sweden boarder. 90 minutes and I never bothered to even look the Swedish way once. I have lived in Norway for the past four years and crossing that border just never entered my mind. But this past Saturday I finally crossed the border, granted if it wouldn’t have been for my master’s class, I wouldn’t even have dreamed of it, but being a master student in Norway at the University of Life Sciences in Ås will make some crazy things possible for you.
By now, you might have realized already, given my countless ocean-related stories, that my number one destination, on what ever expedition I might choose to go, is the ocean. Even if it is just for a split second, and it means an hour’s long detour, somehow I always end up at the ocean. And could you blame me with this view?
I went with my master’s class on a daytrip to Tjärnö. We went to visit the Sven Lovén Marine Center early on a Saturday morning. The marine center is located on a little island, called Tjärnö where the Kosterhavet national park opens its ports all year long. And if camping is your thing and you love watching seabirds, occasional cetaceans and like to gather ocean-fresh oysters, this is where your next vacation should be! If, for what ever inexplicable reason to me, the outside ocean is not your thing, well there is a tiny little aquarium too.
You get to see about 200 species in the aquarium close to the shore and you get to see another 5980 species in the surrounding area. From algaes to lobsters and anything in between, you could possibly wish for, you will find in Sweden! Don’t believe me? Here is what I found on land, not far from a few oysters:
We hiked around the shore for about two hours before a group of 30 students, from about 20 different countries ended back up at the bus that would take us back to Norway. Hungry and tired and exhausted we all quietly settled into the bus. All the while I had a smile on my face, there is just nothing like the ocean… Within minutes the bus was quiet and the majority of the students sound asleep, but not for long, because the border offers one thing that you do not get in Norway: cheap sweets and cheap booze. I found myself mind-boggled among 7 aisles of this craziness:
Ultimately I ended up with a full backpack of Austrian chocolate (because they do not import what my heart desires to Norway…) and some special beers for A (because they do not import what his heart desires to Norway either). About 24 hours later and my once full chocolate-full backpack is halfway empty… But that’s a different story. One that requires lots of exercising and dieting.
So, if you are not a nature person, but enjoy the shopping, you should still go across the Norway-Sweden border and see the marine center and then reward yourself with some really good candy (and probably also with a check up at the dentist).
But if all you want is feel happy for a little while and get away from all the city stress and forget for a few hours forget everything that is important and not so important, you should reward yourself with this sight for sore eyes: