Saturday, 7 November 2015

Norway in Motorhome: a Week in May

We have to admit it – Norway is an expensive country. After me and my husband realized that hotels were too costly and compared expenses for campings+car or a motorhome we decided to make my hubby's dream come true and take a motorhome. Now, when our trip is a history I can highlight that a motorhome is an optimal variant for Norway (especially for Norway). It was comfortable, there were many parkings with picnic tables and very often with a toilet, along the roads. 

Norway in Spring

Practically every parking allows you to empty the toilet and grey water tank and get fresh water. In addition, motorhome gives freedom! We slept in the most beautiful places. We were warm and cozy. A shower, a kitchen, a nice bed – even a TV set (we never used it though). We found two rental companies – McRent and Campervan Norway. The former could not offer anything for our dates (tip: book everything in advance), and Campervan Norway offered us a motorhome for 4 people. 

We were quite anxious about the weather, but May statistically is the driest and most fog-less season in Norway. It turned out to be the truth – we got minimum rains and a lot of blue skies! 

Day 1 

First things first. After getting our motorhome we went to IKEA to buy pillows and blankets – it was cheaper than buying from rentals. We also had a nice budget dinner there. After that, we bought a sim-card with Internet connection. Thanks to the forum recommendations, we bought MyCall who had an action that time – 1Gb per 100 krones. 

Finally our chores were done and we started our journey to the first destination point – Kjeragbolten. I believe that many newcomers wonder whether there is anything interesting or beautiful on the way to the first point, particularly on Road 134. I assure you, this road is unbelievably beautiful! We even stopped on the banks of a river next to Konsberg and started to take photos! 

Finally we decided to make dinner and sleep. We stopped for a night on the banks of a fantastic lake! 

Day 2 

We woke up at 5am, looked out of the windows and realized that it would be a crime to sleep further. Blue skies without a cloud, rippled surface of the lake and lavish coniferous forest reflected in the waters! We hurried with our breakfast and continued the trip. I wanted to see houses with grass-covered roofs, and my wish came true! First waterfalls were great! 

Norway, road along a fjord

After lunch, we moved to the Road 45. If Road 134 was stunningly beautiful, the 45th was unreal! Mountain road was going higher and higher, at the height above 700 m above the sea level the roadsides were covered with snow. We passed a frozen lake, and the road went down. About 7 km before the crossing with the 9th we saw a rapid stream Rygnestadani. It started to rain and rained all day long. Moreover, the GPS navigator led us to a Road 337 that turned out to be closed. We had to return to the Ninth. We were falling behind our schedule for about a day and were driving like mad. We allowed ourselves only one stop at Reiarsfossen waterfall. 

We stopped for a night in a very well-equipped parking before Algard, Stavanger. We made 360 km per day (a bit too much for Norway, but it allowed us to catch up a bit with the schedule). 

Day 3 

It was raining all night through, however morning was calm, with rare sun beams. We started our trip to Preikestolen! We took a ferry at Lauvvika to Oanes (about 200 krones). Then Road 13 that was slowly getting higher and higher on stones along picturesque marshes, streams and arabesque mosses.

Here we are – Preikestolen! 

Preikestolen, Norway

Because of hurricane winds, we had to put on sweaters and parkas. The panorama went far beyond our expectations, and the sense that "we did it" gave us forces to run around and take photos! We went above the rock about 50 m and admired a breathtaking view to Lysefjorden! While going down we lost the way, and spent another 15-20 minutes trying to find red T-letters. The whole way (including multiple stops) took us more than 7 hours. 

We returned after 10 pm, totally exhausted but happy with our small victory! We drank a cup of tea and went on to look for the parking. By midnight we reached Hjelmeland, where we found one. 

Day 4 

Ferry Hjelmeland-Nesvik carried us smoothly on the waters. Our aim was Hardangerfjord. The sky was hidden behind a thick layer of clouds. Nevertheless, Road 13 was very picturesque, with astonishing views to the fjords. Bright coloured cute houses with moss-covered roofs were everywhere. 

We had our toilet and tank full and desperately needed to empty them. At the crossroads of 13th and 46th, we found a station that served campers. Tip: take a pair of rubber gloves – for these and some other purposes. Having renewed our storage of water, we managed to prepare a sophisticated lunch, bath as well as to do the laundry. 

Again to the wheel. Our next destination – Hardanger. Another ferry Sand-Ropeid (again about 200 krones) and we followed the unbelievably beautiful Road 520. All along the Road, there are waterfalls of all sizes and colours. Svandalsfossen!!! 

Svandalsfossen

We were driving fast hoping to get to blooming Hardanger before dusk. We practically flew through beautiful Sauda but it was sooo beautiful! After Sauda Road 520 was magically adorable! A narrow ravine with roaring Storelva far beyond, and streams running from the slopes. However, a local told us that the road was closed, and we had to return to Sauda. Later we noticed that the sign on the crossroads with the name of a point located on 502nd had a striped tape on it. We paid no attention as it was not our destination spot – but it is a tip for future drivers to pay attention to tapes on signs. We returned to Ropeid and took Road 46 up to 134 – and from there to Road 13. 

Late in the evening, we passed Langefossa and Lаtefossen. Ten minutes on Road 13 to Odda – and another one magnificent waterfall – Vidfoss. It was late, so we got through a picturesque Odda to Lake Bondhusvatnet. A thirteen km tunnel under Folgefonna was left behind. We stopped motorhome on a parking next to a small village. Rain softly pattered against our home on wheels the whole night. 

Day 5 

Lake Bondhusvatnet was in 2-2,5 km from our place, and we got there on foot. We also saw our first glacier! When we returned to the parking, we noticed small houses where you could hide from bad weather. 

The weather was outstanding, about 20 degrees. We returned through Odda – and go to Hardangerfjord. Hardangerfjord is unbelievably beautiful in May. Snow-covered peaks and gardens in blossom! I have never seen so many apple gardens in one place! White and delicate-pink petals with snow-white mountains on the background! 

Hardangerfjord, Norway

We were driving to Kjeåsen farm. The road goes through a narrow tunnel, where two cars cannot pass, that is why the traffic is orginized hourly – half an hour there, and half an hour – back. In Kjeåsen, you may find outstanding views on Simadalsfjord. I can call Kjeåsen a must-see spot. 

Another farm in our list was Otternes Bygdetun, and we got there by Roads 7 and 13 through a bridge over Hardangerfjord. Lake Granvinsvatnet lured with its unreal beauty! 

By the evening, we reached Tvindefossen. Cold cloud of water spray made us return to our motorhome and put sweaters on our T-shirts. Just under the waterfall, there was a camping with a small but quite expensive souvenir shop. 

We passed by a nice town of Oppheim, picturesquely situated on the bank of a gorgeous Lake Oppheimsvatnet. We passed by Flam with its countless waterfalls and finally reached Otternes Bygdetun, right above Aurlandsfjorden. 

Aurlandsfjorden

There was a road to the farm ending with a vast parking. The farm was very imposing, old buildings standing next to new ones, and offered fantastic views over Aurlandsfjorden. 

Catching up the schedule, we went to the observation point Stegastein, 650 m above the Aurlandsfjorden. Serpentine road there was really serious, and we had to stop every several meters. It was dusk below and a blazing dawn above! Pastoral lambs were happily hopping in the green. 

Time to sleep. My husband decided to ignore the Stegastein parking and go down to Aurland where we refueled. We stopped for a night in a nice spot in front of Lunde Camping. 

Day 6 

Our next point was the Nigardsbreen glacier. We took a snowy Road 243 that turned out to be closed. We returned via Stegastein. A ferry took us from Mannheller to Fodnes. I decided to try an ice-cream we bought the day before…. and it had rice in it! I check the pack and read "RiceСream"! Arghh… Blueberry ice-cream Dream was much better! 

We took roads 604 and 334, and the fairy-tale river Jostedola accompanied us the whole way. We saw Nigardsbreen! It suddenly appeared first like a small blue dot and then like a big ice paw. We left our motorhome at the parking and went there. Luckily, we took sweaters and parkas with us! The wind from the glacier was freezing. The stones were slippery, and we really appreciated our trekking boots. At first, we thought that it would take 15-20 minutes to get to the glacier. In reality, it was too big to evaluate the distances properly. Stones that seemed small turned out to be giant boulders! The path was quite good, with footbridges and stairs. The whole way took us about an hour. 

Nigardsbreen

The emotions were high! It was incredible that we were there, could see the glacier with our own eyes, even touch it! It is blue for real, and it is like shining from the inside. 

Our new point was the glacial lake Styggevatnet situated in 24,5 km from Nigardsbreen, but another road turned out to be closed and we had to return. We were moving slowly, taking photos. Soon we parked, my husband went to sleep and I started to cook dinner. The day was full of emotions, and we both were very-very contented. 

Day 7 

Our last day in Norway. Yes, we have to return our motorhome tomorrow, but it will be just a fast drive to Oslo. We were driving looking at yaks (I think, they were yaks), picturesque houses and reached Road 55. It was a tundra with scarce plants… but it was very beautiful! The higher we got, the more beautiful it was becoming. The water in melting lakes was azure. We saw a turquoise river carrying small blocks of ice. 

Road 63 to Geiranger was very special. Such a contrast to snow-white peaks. So many colours! There were two observation points in the area. As tourists occupied the higher one, we chose the lower and enjoyed the view. I do not know how to describe the beauty of the landscape! When the tourists went away, we climbed to the higher point. It was fantastic!!! 

Geirangerfjord with a cruise liner

Our next spot – the Eagle Road and its observation point. The road was serpentine-style, but quite easy even for a camper. The view was completely different from the observation point. From Flydalsjuvet the fjord seemed small and cozy, but from there it was majestic and grand. It was the last destination in our schedule – and it was quite sad. However, our way back laid through most beautiful roads! 

This day we failed to find a nice parking, and at 1 am we simply turned to the first village and stopped there. 

Maybe our trip was quite rushed, but we had just one week and wanted to see as much as possible! We wish to return in Norway once or (even better) more times! 

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