Wednesday, 23 December 2015

July Heat in Norway

DAY 1. 

We landed at Gardermoen and went to the exchange. However, several hundreds of kronas would be enough as we could pay with a card everywhere. 

Trip review, Norway

At 14.30, we started our journey. The roads were great, signs visible, tunnels very modern. However, we were puzzled by the “discipline” of the local drivers: we did not exceed the speed, and were not outrun only by other tourists on rented cars! 

We planned to stop at Lillehammer, but Road Е6 was under construction from Minnesund to Hamar, so we saw the famous Olympic ski-jump only through the car window. 

Lysgardsbakkene Ski-jump

By 19.00, we got to our hotel – Sjoa Gjestehus & Vandrerhjem. It is situated in a cozy valley next to the rivers Sjoa and Gudbrandsdalslagen, popular among rafters. There you can even rent a raft and dry it afterwards next to the hotel. 

In the first day, we covered 243 km. 

DAY 2. 

Next morning was sunny. We had breakfast and started our journey at nine. We planned to take Е6 to Dombas, then Е136 and 63 to Stordal, and, if we had time (and we did) to visit Alessund. The road was beautiful. Somewhere at Hargheim we met our first waterfall! 

Stigfossen, Norway

Our next stop – Stigfossen. We got out of the car to touch these stones, that water – and to build our small pyramid! 

Next was the serpentine road. Well, it was quite ok, the only difficulty was to pass the buses at turns – all other was quite ordinary. 

Trollstigen, Stigfossen Bridge

We stopped at night at Stordal Camping. In the evening, we walked along Storfjorden, and even swam in the bay. The water was refreshing. We refreshed so much that decided to go to Alessund. We reached the town around 6 pm, walked along the quay and around the town. 

DAY 3 

We had to wake up at 5.30. That day we planned to take a 15-minutes ride by a ferry to Stranda as well as a tourist ferry to Geiranger. I booked the tickets in advance at Fjord1

We got to Geiranger, parked, walked along the quay, bought famous chocolate and some souvenirs, and ate ice cream. We also visited both viewpoints. Beautiful! 

Landscape, Norway

We took Road 63 and moved forward. The weather was fantastic – +32! At the height of 1000 meters, we found ourselves in a magical valley surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Now each time when I hear the word “Norway” I remember these streams and moss-covered stones with white hats of flowers. 

We decided to skip Dalsnibba because too many tourist buses were heading there. Instead, we swam in a nearby lake. The water was freezing! Little kids were splashing and having fun, and we, two adults, tried to get out of the water with dignity but as soon as possible! 

Our next point was Кjenndalsbreen Glacier. The road led along the lakes, through the tunnels and serpentines. It was not at all boring! 

Kjenndalsbreen, Norway

We stopped at the town of Fosnes where got a free of charge map of the Stryn Kommune at the tourist center. The road along Lovatnet Lake was impressive and extreme – one way, with many “blind” turns and “pockets” to pass by. The road turned into the gravel at the end of which there was a parking. 

We went to the glacier. Tennis boots (at least) and a parka were a must because of the wind. We admired two waterfalls and a blue (it was really blue, even without the sun) glacier! After that, we went to Viksdalen, to Hov Hittegrend camping. 

For the previous two days, we made 667 km. 

DAY 4 

In the morning, I was woken up by a thunderstorm. But rains in Norway is a norm. After breakfast, despite the rain we went to the nearby waterfall Likholefossen. I think I would have spent there more time – if we had time. 

That day we planned to reach Lærdal, than the Snow Road to Flåm and Gudvangen Camping

In order to get to Lærdal we went down Road 13 to Dragsvik, took a ferry to Hella, and another ferry to Fodnes. 

Stegastein Viewpoint, Norway

Due to a “traffic jam” – a queue to the ferry to Fodnes, we reached the Snow Road only at 17.00, and had no time to stop at Flåm and Gudvangen. Certainly, we stopped at Stegastein viewpoint anyway. Scary but breathtakingly beautiful! Finally, we reached the camping.

That day we covered 192 km. 

DAY 5 

Trolltunga. The climb was hard, but the mood was high. I did not thing about how difficult it was for me or that I was panting like a train. I thought that my husband and I still wanted to do this at our age. Holidays at a spa or on the beach would not be that exciting! 

We left the camping at 6.15 and stopped at Tvindefossen – not a soul at 7 am! 

Due to roadworks, we arrived at the parking at 9.30, and started only at 10. The climbing was hard, however the second part of the way (after the optimistic sign “only 10 km left”) was much easier. But the third part was again difficult, and we made a 20-minute stop and ate some snacks that we took with us. 

Trolltunga, Norway

Another effort – and we see a queue of tourists who wanted to take photos at the Tongue. We were so tired that decided to rest a bit and eat. When we felt full and life became bright again, the queue vanished and we went to the Tongue. How beautiful it was! After about 40 minutes, we started our way back. Soon the rain started, it was windy, so we rushed down. The road was difficult because of the slosh, slippery stones and streams of water. I started to freeze. 

The way down took us about an hour and a half. We went to Trolltunga Hotel at Odda, and reached it only at 1 am. 

That day we drove 137 km and walked 25 km. 

DAY 6 

The day of relaxation. We woke up later than usual, had breakfast and drove to Wathne Camping – closer to the Preacher’s Pulpit. We took Road 13 – the road of waterfalls, including, of course, grandiose Latefossen. 

Norway, Lofthus, Sorfjorden

We had nothing to do and started to count the tunnels we were passing through. Thirty one tunnel per 194 km! 

We arrived at camping around 15.00. We were thinking where to go after dinner, but a thunderstorm started. So, we had a wonderful evening inside. 

DAY 7 

The day of Preacher’s Pulpit. We left the camping at 10.00. It was a nightmare to find a place at the parking – thankfully, the volunteers helped us. We started our climb at 11 am. I thought that Trolltunga attracted many people, but there the stream was larger, including babies and even small dogs! 

Preikestolen, crowd

After Trolltunga Preikestolen is considered a child’s play, but I disagree! The road is better and more convenient, however there are really sharp parts, constant ups and downs. Closer to the Pulpit the path splits in two parts – to the right, up to the mountain and then down to the Pulpit. And to the left – along the rupture. We chose the second one – and it was scary! Six hundred meters high without any protection enclosure and crowds of people! Even the euphoria did not help. 

At 16.30, we returned to the parking and started our way to Mandal. 

That day we covered 194 km. 

DAY 8 

Mandal is the southernmost point of Norway, and (after fjords and waterfalls) is not that interesting. Its population approximates to 15 000 people, and it offers sandy beaches and pines. 

Sellies Mandal in Norway

We stopped at Hald Pensjonat that we would not recommend. The weather was cloudy and rainy, so instead of going to the beach we decided to drive directly to Oslo. We started with Е18, but it was not at all interesting, so we told GPS to “avoid toll roads” and were driving smaller but much more picturesque ones. 

Around 15.00 we reached Oslo and stopped at Anker Apartment. It took around 40 minutes on foot from the hostel to the city center. The Cathedral impressed us. As well as the Opera. 

DAY 9 

Our last day in Norway. We visited the Museum Island – Frammuseet and the Kon-Tiki Museum. We liked both pretty much. 

Vigeland installation, Oslo

We went to Frogner Park with the world famous Vigeland installation. The park itself was very luxurious with all these rose gardens, lawns, flowerbeds and fountains! 

After a small picnic, we went to the Royal Palace, walked around the city center up to the Parliament. 

We returned through the Park and started our way back to the airport. 

Oslo airport

Note: We booked all campings in advance at Booking.com, bought ferry tickets Hellesylt-Geiranger and rented a car. We made about 2100 km in total and spent approximately 100 liters of fuel. Our car had an Autopass system – it was very convenient that we could drive the toll roads without thinking where to pay. 


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