Reflections of Norway
and Travelogue by Boulder Artist, Richard F. Powell

Traveling in Norway

By Richard F. Powell

Our trip to Norway started with a nonstop flight from Denver to Oslo. After baggage claim and checking through customs, we were off to our hotel near the center of the city.

Oslo is a beautiful, clean and vibrant city. It is the capital of Norway and it is the country's largest city - with population of over 500,000 people. Situated at the end of the picturesque Oslo Fjord, the city has a beautiful harbor lined with shops, cafes and restaurants.

We spent two days in Oslo enjoying the sights and the food - especially the seafood. We admired the vitality of the people.

Then, we traveled by train to Bergen in West Norway. The scenic train trip started in the low, lush rolling hills west of Oslo and gradually ascended to the wind- blown mountain tops, then finally descended through narrow canyons to Bergen, which is the gateway to some of the most picturesque fjords in Norway. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of 225,000 people. It looks over the sea to the West and is beautifully situated around the Vagen harbor, which is the heart and soul of the city. It was once the center of the Hanseatic League, whose merchant buildings and warehouses still line the waterfront. These buildings have been kept as they were, but converted into boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants.

We stayed at a bed and breakfast located near the university and found the rates both in hotels/motels and B&B'S fairly steep, especially in the larger cities. We had a few days before our boat departure, so we rented a car to explore the surrounding areas and the fjords we had read about. The weather was chilly on this tour. Heavy overcast skies often gave way to drizzle and occasional heavy cold rain. Nevertheless, we did see some beautiful fjords and country which are enjoyable even when the weather is bad.

From Bergen we were off by mail boat to travel the West coast through the many fjords. The mail boats stop in most of the ports along the way to drop off and
pick up cargo and passengers. These are small ships which carry about 100 passengers. They are much more informal and personal than the tourist ships that carry a thousand or more passengers.

We stopped in many ports along the
way, sometimes for several hours. The major stops were Alesund,
Trondheim, Bodo, Svolvaer on the Lofoten Islands, Tromso, and Kirkenes, which is about 20 miles from the Russian border. We found this to be a good way to see much of Norway, especially if your time is limited, but this represented only half of our trip.

From Kirkenes we flew back to Oslo, rented a car and were off on a driving tour of Norway. From Oslo we traveled south along the East coast through Larvik, beautiful Kristiansand, through the artist community of Egersund, and
Stavanger, the north sea oil center.

We continued north bypassing Bergen and traveling inland through glacier parks, most notable the Jostedalsbreen glacier.

Our travels continued to Trondheim which we wanted to see again, then up the West coast through Bodo and finally to our most northern point, Tromso. This area is above the Artic Circle, the so called land of the midnight sun, and it is also where the sun never rises in December.

From Tromso we traveled south to the Lofoten Islands, which are an incredible treasure to an artist.
These are a group of islands stretching south from the mainland
and joined together by bridges. A magical combination of steep, wild mountains plunging straight into the sea, idyllic villages and panoramas made this my favorite location in Norway, a place I would love to return someday.

From the southern tip of the Lofotens we ferried across to Bodo, traveled inland to Lillehammer, the home of the 1994 Winter Olympics, and finally back to Oslo.

Norway is a fantastic country not much larger than the state of California and it offers tremendous visual variety and very friendly, helpful people.

Richard can be contacted at

Bergen Norway
North Lafoten
Richard Powell,
at 68 years old,
now devotes his time to his true passion, watercolors. He is retired from Westinghouse, where he was manager of an engineering consulting group during the construction, testing and operation of a nuclear generating plant. He has handled assignments in many parts of the world, including Switzerland, France, New Zealand and in the U.S.

Concerning his art career, Richard said, "I have always been interested in painting, especially with watercolor media, but I never really had the time, until I retired. After he retired, he decided he would become a full time artist. "I now travel to paint special locations and to do sketches and take reference photographs for paintings."

His travels have taken him to Corsica, France, Norway and most recently, Ireland. He plans to visit many other countries and many parts of the U.S.

"After retirement," he commented, " I decided I had enough of the
technical life and now I want use the other half of my brain."

Colorado Magazine Online will be following Richard's travels and portraying some of his brilliant watercolors.