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Braving the Balkans

Cow admiring the view along the incredibly curvy SH22 mountain road in northern Albania.
We knew little about Albania and her neighbors. In particular, we were happily unaware of the utter lack of driving skills among the locals. So my wife and I naïvely rented a car in Tirana to visit the countries around Albania. Before you attempt something similar, I suggest reading the…

Enduring Tirana

Albania, Europe
Relaxing on Dürres Beach
Albania was never on my list of countries I particularly want to visit, but it has always intrigued me. For a long time, no other country could challenge it as the stereotypical backwards country, despite the fact that people in general actually knew and still know very little about it.…

Quickly Kyoto

Asia, Japan
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto, Japan.
Before, all I knew was that Kyoto is highly recommended because whatever. Also, I always thought it weird that Japan moved its capital to Tokyo from somewhere with the exact same letters in it. It’s as if Madmaster suddenly became the new capital of the Netherlands. Anyway, I went, and…

Hooked on Hokkaido

Asia, Japan
Sakura towards the end, in Maruyama Park, Sapporo, Japan
Running off to Hokkaido seemed like a suitable cure for mending my soul after a few busy days in Tokyo. This northernmost of the main islands has only 4 % of the population of the country, and they are spread out across more than a fifth of the combined land…

Tokyo Takeaways

Asia, Japan
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Tokyo traffic
I’m not sure how it happened, but I managed to visit almost a hundred other countries before I decided to treat myself to Japan. Last May, I went for two weeks, traveling with my wife. My expectations were few, but people told me it would be weird and fascinating. They…

Spontaneous Exhaustion

Europe, Norway
A typical lake along Rondanestien.
Spending the first half of May in Japan was interesting, but I was extremely tired when I returned home. Japan is a completely safe country to visit, yet I was unable to relax there. So many things needed to be explored and examined. I barely found time to sleep. Especially…

Narita By Night

Asia, Japan
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Pagoda and night sky.
We have a mid-morning flight to catch from Tokyo Narita Airport, going home after two weeks in Japan. To avoid the stress of navigating rush hour in the city, we decide to leave Tokyo the evening before and find a hotel near the airport for the night. The cheapest place…

An Arty Day in Oslo

Art, Europe, Norway
Crop of Bridal Party in Hardanger, a painting at the National Gallery in Oslo, Norway.
Oslo was my home for more than a decade, and I still live nearby. If you want advice on visiting the city, you could do worse than listening to me. Occasionally I’ll give you tips about Norway’s capital, and today I bring you a couple of art museums. If you’re…

Gifted Children

Students at the Kim Jong Suk Higher Middle School for Gifted Children.
Hey, just a quick note: I am fully aware of the ethical issues involved when going to North Korea. This article is not about those, but about a visit to a more or less normal school, which resulted in what I believe was a positive and relatively authentic experience for…

On Long Walks

Early morning on the Camino de Santiago.
Hi. My name is Bjørn, and I’m a walker. When I first began traveling, I would focus on well-known highlights. If I went to Paris, I basically saw the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Montmartre. Bangkok was the Grand Palace, a couple of other temples, and Khao San Road. Egypt? The…