Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Norway in May 2015


After two and a half hours, we landed in Oslo. It was 7 degrees above zero, sunny, but with some clouds. We took our rental car – instead of an old Volkswagen we booked, we got practically new Suzuki SX-4! My girlfriend, who was the driver, was excited. 
Norway in May 2015

We set off to Road E6, the mood was high. The road was quite empty, as it was still a low season. Many motels and campings stood half-empty. We arrived on Saturday, and the villages we were passing by seemed a bit post-apocalyptic – neat houses, shops, lawns – and not a soul. 

Closer to big towns, traffic became heavier. We never exceeded 80 km, however it obviously irritated local drivers who tried to pass us by at any option. 

When the sun set it became considerably colder. We stopped at a camping not far from Dombas. At that time in Norway, it was getting dark late, and we used to walk in the evening if the weather allowed. 


Next morning we woke up early. Crystal-clear sky, bright sun, vapor and crusty ice on puddles. We had breakfast and headed to Kristiansund. We admired mountains in snow hats. The landscape was gradually changing: scarce greenery disappeared, trees turned to dwarves, and the snow-cover from peaks crawled to the road. We felt the breath of winter. I saw frozen waterfalls for the first time in my life. But when the road went down, it became warm again. During the whole trip we never put on our winter coats!

Norway, frozen waterfall

In Norway, you can often see a road sign with a conifer tree – it means that there you can stop, sit at the table, go to the toilet, read information about the place and just look around. 

Our first major sight was Åmotan waterfall. Actually, there were three waterfalls (Svøufallet, Reppfallet and Linndalsfallet), and we could see two first ones simultaneously.

Our next target was Eikesdalen. We were supposed to see Mardalsfossen there, but at that time there was only another snow hat. However, the valley was truly beautiful. We made a short stop at Eikesdalsvatnet Lake and continued our way to Kristiansund by Road 666. 

Kristiansund is a seaport town on the Atlantic coast of Norway with population of just 22.5 thousand. We crossed an impressive bridge to one of the islands where we stopped in a pretty costly hotel. 

DAY 3 

The next morning was nice, Kristiansund – picturesque, and breakfast – substantial. That day we planned to cover “just” 200 km along the Atlantic Road. We paid for the entrance to the Atlantic tunnel NOK 130 per car with a passenger. 

Kristiansund, Norway

We were astonished by the view on the other side of the tunnel: stones covered with moss, waves of the ocean, deep-blue sky with ornaments of clouds, and snow hats far on the horizon. 

Bridges along the road were fantastic – we drove them past several times to see everything from different angles. The view really worth it! When we got tired to admire any more, we moved to Bud, and got to our first ferry at Molde. 

Alesund Norway

Then we went to Ålesund. It was unbelievably beautiful with all its islands and Art Nouveau architecture. Our hotel was picturesquely situated on the quay. We decided to go up to the Aksla viewpoint. The main stairs there were closed, but we found a side-path. Although we did not reach the viewpoint itself, we saw plenty of panoramic views. It started to rain heavily, so we ran down to the hotel. 

DAY 4 

Initially we planned to spend two days in Ålesund, but in Kristiansund we decided to go to Geiranger instead. In this time of year, there were two ways to get there: by a ferry that was expensive and by Road 63 from the North (as it was still closed in the South). 

We left Ålesund the afternoon and soon got by the Eagle Road up to the Ørnesvingenview point. The Geirangerfjord was fantastic, and we were the only travelers there! 

NorwayNorway in May 2015

We stopped in a farmer’s house next to Flydalsjuvet. Afterwards, we decided to walk around and found the Queen's Chair. When the rain started we turned back home, checked the schedule of a ferry to Hellesylt (at 8 and 11 am) and spent the evening in the kitchen, drinking tea and looking to the fjord through the windows. 

DAY 5 

The weather was great next day. We left Geiranger by the Eagle Road and repeated our yesterday’s route back to the ferry. Then we took Road 63 and headed through Valldal for closed Trollstigen. It was green down, and we could not believe that somewhere near the road was closed because of the snow. 

On the way, we found Gudbrandsjuvet. We missed the spot when were planning the trip – and it was great that we got there. It was a system of whirlpools with a 20-meter waterfall. We saw a rainbow in the spray of drops. 

Gudbrandsjuvet viewing platform

We continued our way up to the mountains. First, the snow crawled to the road, then got thicker, knee-deep, and by the moment we reached the barrier it was already up to the waist. We took some photos, turned back and set off to the South. 

Closer to the evening we reached our next destination – Bøyabreen. It is a beautiful glacier with snowbanks higher than my height and constant micro-snow-slides from the nearby rocks. 

Bøyabreen glacier, Norway

In a couple of hours, we reached a cute white family hotel Fjærland Fjordstue on the fjord bank. We left out things there and went for a walk. We found a tourist route leading up through the forest. Quite soon it was hidden by the brushwood. I tried to pass it by through the snow, but the path disappeared, and we decided to go back, especially because the climb was sometimes hard, and going down is usually even more difficult. 

In the evening, I tried local beer Fjærlands01. It was really good, even better than in Germany! I was sitting in a 80s-style armchair, looking through the window at another Norway fjord in the dusk – and realized that it was happiness. 

DAY 6 

It was a rainy morning. We were the only ones who had breakfast in our hotel. We did not want to leave it, but Preikestolen waited! We decided to go through Flåm. It was still raining, and we did not even visit the Glacier Museum although passed it by twice. 

That day we went through a record number of tunnels, including the famous Lærdalstunnelen – the longest tunnel in the world which length is 24.5 km. 

Norway in May 2015

We nearly missed Flåm. I realized it only by the next tunnel when my girlfriend asked how far was it to the town. We had to turn and drive back. We took a short walk along the quay, and then we drove to a small farm Otternes. It had about twenty cozy houses, sheep in enclosure and a great view to Flåm. Local people were very friendly, actually as usual in Norway. 

After that we went further to the South, dived through another tunnel and took Road Е16. We saw multiple waterfalls, but specially stopped at the waterfalls at Stalheim. The point offered fantastic views to the valleys. The serpentine road down went along one of the waterfalls, so we could observe it from different angles. 

Afterwards there was a long way by Е16. We stopped at Latefoss. It was raining quite heavily from the side of the waterfall, but the place was awesome. We were impressed by the gloomy weather, rain and the roar of water. 

Latefoss, Norway

It was around 9 pm and we stopped at a hotel next to the furcation of Roads 134 and 13. 

DAY 7 

That day we planned to get to Preikestolen. In the morning, we observed true mountain weather: during breakfast it was snow, sun and rain. On the way back, we missed the furcation of Roads 134 and 13 twice. Finally, we got to the road and started our way down. The snow was falling beautifully in almost still air. Soon we reached another waterfall – Fosefall. 

We decided to take “small and picturesque” Road Fv632 and soon got to the ferry Nesvik – Hjelmeland. We parked a car (NOK 100) and started the climb. Preikestolen, or Preacher's Pulpit, is a rock 604 meters high above the Lysefjord with a flat square top ~25х25 meters. The view from it is outstanding. The actual length with all ups/downs is around 5 km. 

Pulpit Rock, Norway

When we arrived, it was cloudy, but with the sun. The route (we chose the major one) was not that difficult, and is feasible without special physical preparation. Well, I love mountains and I got many positive emotions. The path was safe. People (I counted around 30 at the top) were friendly and helpful. It was possible to climb above the Pulpit, but our running shoes were not good enough for the snow. The entire event (go up and down plus sightseeing at the top) took us around four hours. 

Our time in Norway was running out. Our next destination was Oslo. We took Road 13, turned to Е39, stopped for a night at a motel next to the Tregde village. 

DAY 8 

Our last day in Norway was as intense as the first one. In 5.5 hours and one gas station, we were in Oslo. We got in the city from the side of Vigelands Park and decided to walk there a bit. 

Vigeland park Norway

After that, we checked in the hotel. It was raining, and the mood was low. I went to the nearby shop to buy some snacks for the next day. The evening was quiet. 

DAY 9 

At 9 am, we started our way to the airport. It was quite hard to navigate in Oslo, and the GPS- was really helpful. However, we had plenty of time, and driving around the city was fun. We returned the car and proceeded to the airport. Our wonderful holiday in Norway finished! 

Norwegian flag

Some expenses

Fuel: NOK 1730 per ~2300 km
Roads: Toll roads – NOK 624; Ferries and roads paid “on site” – NOK 900; Parkings – NOK 100. Hotels – NOK 7600. 

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