Meet BBV Norway Ambassador Siti Azura Alias who lives with her husband and six-year-old daughter on the west coast of Norway. They had originally scheduled to visit her family in Malaysia and planned to explore islands off the northern peninsula and possibly Bali. With Covid-19, they had to suddenly shift gears. Luckily, they didn’t have to go far! They are making lemonade out of lemons and seizing this opportunity this summer to explore their homeland. Their plan? A family road trip through Norway; renowned the world over for its majestic scenery and magical fjords.
Please tell us about you and your family.
My name is Azura and originally from Malaysia. I’ve been in Norway for eight years now. I live with my Norwegian husband Gunnar Nærland, and six-year-old daughter in the village of Lyefjell on the west coast of Norway which is 35 km away from the famous oil capital Stavanger. The nearest airport is Sola. We are also 15 minutes away from Nærbø where Gunar is from and his family live. I work as a systems analyst for an IT company called TietoEvry and he’s a project engineer for National Oilwell Varco.
How has Norway dealt with Covid-19 and what restrictions are you currently facing?
The lockdown in Norway began on March 12th when the government closed down the schools and official offices. Companies were advised to let their employees work from home unless they were essential workers. Aside from grocery stores, most shops were closed and one-meter social distancing was introduced.
Norway has lately relaxed these restrictions. In fact, schools reopened three weeks ago. As of June 6, the one-meter social distancing rule has been discontinued at school and recreation parks have been reopened. Offices are scheduled to begin reopening on June 16.
What are your plans to make this summer special for your child?
Since the lockdown and schools reopened, we started going on RV trips on long weekends and it’s been amazing. Our last RV trip had been in 2016 when my daughter was three. This is the first time we’ve really had the opportunity of exploring Norway in the spring and summer because we generally always went abroad on vacation. Together with other RV camping families, we’ve recently been to Kinsarvik, a family-friendly destination boasting hiking trails, boating, fjord cruising, a waterpark, and camping, and Mineralparken in Evje, an adventure park featuring a spectacular collection of minerals and crystals and multiple attractions including a climbing forest and campgrounds.
This year, we’ll have a very special and different summer vacation. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country! I’m always amazed by the incredible natural scenery whenever we go on a road trip through Norway.
What are the advantages of traveling in an RV?
Traveling in an RV is definitely cheaper and easier in Norway at the moment. With Covid-19, hotels have become very expensive. When you travel in an RV, you’re staying in one place and it’s easier to maintain social distancing. It’s also great for organizing outdoor games which have been a huge hit with the kids. We absolutely love water fights!
In Norway, you can park your RV overnight pretty much in any open space and don’t have to stay at a campsite. However, RVs are not suited for cities as the roads are very narrow. Since everyone now is travelling in RVs here, you need to book a campsite beforehand. Campsites are located everywhere in Norway. These are some of the campsites that we have been to:
What itinerary do you have in mind this summer?
During our three-week vacation in July, we will be traveling to Telemark, one of my favorite places in Norway. We’re planning to rent a cabin in the region from my husband’s uncle and visit his dairy farm up in the mountains where he makes his own butter. We will explore the area around Dalen and the Telemark Canal, one of the most beautiful waterways in the world.
Covid-19 restrictions permitting, are there any sights and/or itineraries in Norway that you recommend to fellow BBV members who are allowed to travel there?
For the moment, no foreign non-residents are allowed in Norway except for those coming from Denmark as of June 15.
[BBB Editorial Note: Please check the latest Covid-19-relatd updates at: https://www.visitnorway.com/plan-your-trip/coronavirus-and-travelling-to-norway/]
For those able to travel in Norway, there’s so much to see here! Here are just a few highlights. Mikkelparken in Kinsarvik, a waterpark is reopening on June 6. There is the world-famous hike at Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen or Prekestolen) which is a steep cliff rising 604 meters above one of Norway’s most impressive fjord, Lysefjorden. They should also check out Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park located near Kristiansand which is open for the summer.
This is the fourth in a series of Bébé Voyage articles on Summer 2020 Plan B, also known “Making Lemonade out of Lemons.” The BBV team wants to hear from you about your summer plans–whether it’s a staycation, a summer house rental, a road trip, or even chartering your own boat. Have you been thinking of a multigenerational vacation? What about farming your kids out to your parents?
Let your plans be an inspiration for our community. Please contact email@example.com.
You may also like these articles from Bébé Voyage:
A Multigenerational RV Road Trip — Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons When A Pandemic Strikes
The Forgotten Travelers: How Coronavirus Created a Nationless Family