One of the applicants for tourist visa was Mohammed Al Fawaz (28) who got his visa then days after he handed in his application. “My interest for Norway actually started when I watched a documentary about Norway as a youth”, Mohammed says. In August 2015, Mohammed travelled with his cousin to Norway to drive across the country from East to West and then further up North by car. They first landed in Oslo. “Oslo is a lovely city with good opportunities for shopping, relaxing and going to good restaurants”, he says. The first destination after Oslo was Stavanger and then the famous Prekestolen (Pulpit Rock). Prekestolen is a cliff 604 meters above sea level, but Mohammed explains that the hiking only took two hours and is a trip everyone can do. “The view from the top was spectacular”, he says.
From Stavanger they drove further North to Bergen. Muhammed explains that the two Western cities look very close on the map, but due to all the fjords and ferries on the way, they spent eight hours on the road. I call Bergen “The beautiful city”, Mohammed states. From Bergen they visited several of the UNESCO listed fjords.
The traffic was not hard to manage from a Saudi perspective, but Mohammed thought driving in the mountains was a challenge. “You always have to focus when driving in the Norwegian mountains. Suddenly a reindeer can jump into the road. You need a sense of adventures to enjoy it”, he says. Because of the challenging geography of Norway, Mohammed and his cousin often had to ask the locals about the road and how the ferry system was working. “I had heard that Norwegians were friendly, but after this experience, I think they are the friendliest people of the whole world. However, they are maybe not that social”, smiles Muhammed.
Mohammed and his cousin enjoy extreme sports. They therefore took the opportunity to try climbing mountains, walking Europe’s highest suspension bridge, kayaking, mountain biking and rafting. Regardless of all the nature excitement, Mohammeds fascination still fall upon the many tunnels he had to drive through to get from one city to the next in Norway. Especially the Lærdalstunnell, world’s longest tunnel by 24, 509 meters, was memorable for him.
Lately there has been a rise in “tourist guides” from GCC in Norway that advertise their trips through social media. Mohammed thinks the new growth for Norway as a tourist destination is due to Instagram accounts. One of the most famous accounts is called Elr7al and has approximately 221, 000 followers. “The trip to Norway was the most beautiful journey I ever had and I highly recommend it for everyone who wish to see something new”, Mohammed ends.