Try Volda on for size
Travel in small-town Norway
So, you want to get the small-town-Norway experience but also crave an adventure? Volda is the perfect place for you [insert loud car salesman voice here]. Even if you spent your whole adolescence wanting to get out of your small town, this is one you want to visit. Trust me. No matter the time of year, you will experience true Norwegian beauty.
I have spent the past two Christmas holidays in Volda and the view of “God Jul” written in the mountains that can be seen from the plane gives a very warm feeling. There are not Christmas lights everywhere like in the United States, but there is something magical about seeing a Christmas tree decorated on top of a mountain. The summer is great for kayaking, kiteboarding, and swimming. Sure, it is not Miami weather, but that is not what you came to Norway for, is it?
If you are flying in to Ørsta-Volda lufthamn, Hovden, I should warn you, you are in for an adrenaline rush from the beginning. But never fear! It is all a part of the experience (kidding…kind of). Flying through the mountains in this location makes landing quite the bumpy ride. The small Widerøe jets might just make you wish you’d drank a glass of Chardonnay when you had the chance. However, do not worry, the pilots have some serious skills. In fact, I started a slow clap when I landed in Volda for the first time. Of course, I was the only one clapping, because every local was used to it. Oh well!
Once you have walked off that initial excitement from the conclusion of the flight, get settled into a nice and cozy Airbnb and enjoy the view! You will notice that there seems to be an endless supply of mountains and water. And yes, you are right, you have indeed reached paradise. Whether you walk, jog, a somewhere-in-between-wog, or run, the journey around Rotevatnet is the greatest free therapy there is. If it is winter, try skiing around!
Or if you dare, which I absolutely do dare you to, go to Reset and give snowboarding or skiing a try. There are different routes for your level. And if you are like me, who had never been on a snowboard a day in my life, still go! The staff will help you out. Even if you give up, it is still a win, because you can go over by the bonfire and build a Norwegian snowman. What is awesome about Reset is that they do not have bench lifts, they have T-bar lifts. I cannot tell you how many times I fell after only going 10 feet… It is frustrating, but the view is so beautiful that it keeps you going.
If you can make it to the top, you will absolutely not regret it. It is one of those things where you get what you put into it. The lift is difficult, and you will laugh at yourself a lot, but that view from the top was unlike any I have ever seen before. Keep your phone warm so you can get a solid panoramic photo!
Once you have worked up a good appetite, check out the Sunkost store in the center of Volda. I have been to many Sunkost stores, but the Sunkost in Volda is the best! The employees are very kind and willing to help you find what you need. While offering a large variety of cruelty-free and vegan products, being a conscious consumer—even while on vacation—is easier than ever.
Wind down with a movie at the theater in Ørsta that is equipped with the newest sound system.
Do not forget to take some local gifts home with you. The coolest pottery can be found at Mekko Ingeborg R Lejon.
Kristen Walter, originally from Troy, Ohio, moved to Flekkefjord, Norway, in October 2016. She is currently studying in Ås, Norway. Aside from academia, she’s a vegan activist, artist, and self-proclaimed chef in her own kitchen.
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 26, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.