Norway - Summer '15

After failing to make it during our last big European adventure in 2012, Norway was a main 'goal' of the year. And yes... wow!

Truth be told, we spent a little too long 'messing about' (having fun in the sun!) in France and Germany in June but in the end don't think that really mattered. We had seven weeks in total in Norway but by the end became difficult as it seems most places shut down in September as none of the tourists are silly enough to stay this late in the year. Luckily in our last week we had one day of spectacular weather for a final hike, squeezed in between a couple of weeks of rain. Yes - cue to leave the country indeed!

The route was basically a blast Northward (close to Åndalsnes) that took just a couple of days from Denmark before meandering back South via the fjords and coast. The first week set the scene with a single, superb sunny day as we arrived followed by a week of cloud and rain which had to be waited out in order to hit one of the famous hikes in the area. Well worth the wait, it has to be said! This pattern was set to repeat, but there was time to get out cycling or hiking between the rain, or just a few times where one had to toughen up and brave it for fear of getting cabin fever!

If I tried to describe the entire visit would soon run out of superlatives. This appears a county of extremes: Beautiful always, and even more so when the sun shines, but even in summer the weather was a challenge. So much brutal cycling on roads out of fjords and spectacular hiking above them I'm sure we could easily do the whole thing again.

Best to leave it at that and let you flick through the pictures, as words simply cannot do the place justice.

We made it to Norway! First impressions: Views from the road so far & this random coastal spot would say it seems OK!

20:25

Today was mostly spent driving in rain. Sun did shine once for us though, so we could see what we've been missing! smile

12:11

Random sights as we enter the Rauma Valley, then further in where the walls are steep and covered with waterfalls.

12:33

This is Slettafossen: a slot in the rocks the raging Rauma River is squeezed through. Not really a waterfall though.

13:32

Random little church we passed on the drive today. Bit of restoration going on so we couldn't go in though.

14:25

Parked up just over the river from the Troll Wall. Already seen couple of avalanches as last of the snow melts. Epic!

17:03

Not quite what I had in mind for the middle of summer cry A chance to try my new shell jacket & trousers? #Positives

17:13

Just another brief stop by the water for snacks smile This is literally round the corner from Langfjorden.

18:27

Just found this spot by Langfjorden for the night (or longer...?). Someone seems happy with the location! smile

18:44

New decoration for the lounge. So... we're here for a couple of months... what's the plan? grin

09:55

Beautiful Norwegian fjords wink We are literally 3m from water's edge but can't see a thing except rain & cloud. Doh!

20:56

... later that day. Worth putting up with the rain, huh? BTW, this is Langfjorden from Mittet at almost 9pm.

07:42

... the next morning. Ahhhh...ha! So yes, our spot next to the beautiful Langfjorden in sunshine! grin

10:45

Short(ish) hike up the hill (Milthaugen I think) behind campsite. Bit misty and wet at the top! Still fun though smile

15:27

Told you I'd get a chance to try the new gear. Just back from few hours walking in the rain. Dry as a bone. Love it!

14:57

Post ride refreshments: Fresh baguette, couple of cheeses & Leffe. Le Tour will be on the TV momentarily. #Perfect

11:51

Views from the campsite we're at. This is still Langfjorden from Mittet. Haven't found a good reason to move yet wink

08:31

Romsdalsfjord looking spectacular this morning! Will hike Romsdalseggen ridge (in centre) today. Hope weather holds!

09:46

First part of the Romsdalseggen hike: climbing up to the ridge. Lots of snow at the top but still arrived sweaty!

12:22

Arriving on the ridge, we were greeted with mist rolling up from the valley. So much for that view I thought... sad

12:36

On the Romsdalseggen ridge. All smiles now the mist has cleared smile

12:38

Looking along Romsdalseggen ridge. Dots of other hikers maybe just visible on the edge. This is where we're heading.

12:57

After that initial disappointment earlier, mist cleared to reveal the Rauma Valley below. Just wow!

13:15

Hiking along rather slim ridge with the aid of chains. I enjoyed this but someone else said it was scary. Pfft wink tongue

13:46

Ridge was maybe 1m wide here. So mid-stride look straight down through fisheye lens. Just sharing the experience! grin

13:52

This is the view North-east-ish from Romsdalseggen ridge. Pretty, but nothing compared to the Rauma valley side.

13:53

Approaching one of the peaks on Romsdalseggen ridge. Forgot to take a shot of the sign & don't recall which one. Doh!

13:56

Another look to the Rauma Valley side. We had to put up with variations on this view practically all day. Tough! wink

14:09

A look back at where we came from... and on to where we're going. Still a lot of hiking left in the day!

14:40

End of 'tricky' stuff? Was a trail register to sign off here, but plenty of scope to fall off cliffs still ahead! wink

14:57

Almost at Andalsnes? Erm, not yet! The hike is longer than you'd think! Run out of superlatives to describe the view!

15:30

Pratiwi negotiating part of the, "It's not dangerous, honest!" section. To be fair, it's not as bad as it looks wink

16:58

This is Viewpoint Rampestreken. Rather spectacular... to anyone not spoilt by hiking here over Romsdalseggen ridge wink

17:25

Not really best way to finish an all day hike: slippery roots galore on a very steep slope! Still an epic day though!

14:56

Today's ride: Trollstigen. Riding a HC climb the day after hiking 8 hours on 'challenging' terrain: Ouch! wink grin tongue

10:55

Time to leave Andalsnes area & head South. Which means a drive up Trollstigen. Not as much fun as riding it though wink

12:04

Is a short walk to lookout above Trollstigen. Even on a grey day absolutely worth it. Bonus rainbow feature today wink

13:02

Random pictures from the Norwegian road. This is the '63' heading South from Trollstigen. Lovely.

13:35

This is Gudbrandsjuvet. One of many tiny 'gorges' at the roadside. Not that spectacular, but good excuse for a stop.

14:19

Strawberry season in Norway. I'm not usually a fan but we bought some on the side of the road & wow! Soooooo good! tongue

15:42

Waiting for the Linge-Eidsdal ferry. Sydney folk will notice it's just like up at Wisemans wink

09:12

Recall my DSLR died? New one shipping here so must wait by this fjord all week & make do with phone camera. Sigh! wink

11:13

Today's bruch: Norwegian bread, German cheese, French jam, Norwegian view. Just enjoying the simple things in life smile

13:56

Geiranger from the fjord. When the tide is out you can walk down there smile We're parked on the shore centre frame.

22:28

Sunset over Geirangerfjord. Well... it's still only dusk really. At 10:30pm!

14:11

Rode from fjord 1,500m up to Dalsnibba, where on a clear day should be able to see the start. Not today, too misty sad

11:48

Short walk up the 'waterfall steps' & to the little church in Geiranger. Nice view, but it's better from higher up smile

10:08

When I said before that we were parked on the shore. I mean... right on the edge. Perfect location!

16:09

Cruising the fjords. Impossibly beautiful & absolutely brutal gradients - especially when you do repeats! wink Love it!

21:56

This happens when the tide goes waaaaay out: our fjord view becomes a (kind of rough) beach view wink Cheers Norway! grin

09:23

Tide was out when we got up this morning so here's the 'beach' again wink Taken from directly in front of our van smile

11:32

Start of short hike up to Vesterasfjellet. We had to go by the 'waterfall steps' again. Much better with sunshine smile

11:41

Rest of the hike up to Vesterasfjellet lookout. Nice easy walk & well worth it. Someone enjoyed walking with goats wink

12:24

New camera, hurrah! grin Test of when 180° isn't wide enough: stitch of 2 fisheye shots at our spot by Geirangerfjord.

14:55

Norway is full of extremes & vehicle-wise doesn't get much more so than this Unicat TerraCross that just rocked up!

09:32

Today we aim to hike from the bottom of an almost sheer cliff up & over it home. Only way to the start is by boat! smile

09:44

This being Geirangerfjord, boat ride is a little (slight understatement) scenic, & being Norway is a little overcast!

10:45

Dropped of by the little sightseeing/ferry boat it's time to start climbing. We're heading for Skagefla farm.

11:08

... still climbing... although it's worth stopping once in a while to admire the views of Geirangerfjord below.

11:34

Tiny area of clear land hundreds of metres up a cliff above a fjord. Good place for a farm, ja? That's Skagefla farm!

11:51

After a little break at the farm... more climbing! Tricky 'cliff edge' parts gave way to a cool, lush forest walk.

12:04

I told Pratiwi it would make for a better pose if she let go of the cable, but for some reason she wasn't keen! wink

12:37

Think the climbing is over... yay! Time to look for a slightly wider part of the track where we can sit & have lunch!

12:45

Lunch stop overlooking famous '7 Sisters' waterfall. On the zoom a tiny farm like that we passed is visible. Crazy!

13:16

Plenty of interesting stuff along the way. Traditional roof construction is pretty cool! Called 'sod roof' I think.

14:35

The view to Geiranger, so we're almost home? wink Have to say the pollution that single ship caused was horrific! sad

16:33

No idea why we have this picture of Pratiwi by a fjord with a pan of bacon, but... it's bacon so I'm posting it! wink

08:51

Oystercatchers in Geiranger. Squawk like a squeaky toy when running at each other trying to impress their ladies! wink

09:16

Time to leave Geiranger. Such a beautiful place, but maybe just as well because look, the riff-raff just showed up wink

11:22

I knew this crate of beer would come in useful some day! wink Cleaning the awning by Geirangerfjord.

12:27

Geirangerfjord from Flydalsjuvet. Road with all the hairpins at far end is Ornesvingen where I was riding repeats grin

13:10

The drive from Geiranger up to the crystal clear waters of Djupvatnet 1,000m higher. Wasn't like this when I rode up!

14:54

Spotted by Djupvatnet: 70's porn star in a Saab Toppola! Sadly didn't know of this option when choosing our van! wink

15:12

More scenes from the roads of Norway. This is Route 15 & just a fraction of the many, many rapids that run alongside.

17:02

Passing through Lom so quick look at the stave church. Origins in 12th century, but rebuilt in the 17th apparently.

10:44

Highest paved road in Northern Europe: 13.1km @ 10%. Middle 4km @ 12%. Many sections at 20% plus! In the rain. #Rule5

13:00

Pretty bleak day to travel! 2 huge waterfalls flow through bridges under the RV55 at one point. Standard stuff here!

13:42

Crossing the highest mountain pass in Norway. Snow & iceberg strew lakes abound. And this is the middle of summer!

13:43

At least Pratiwi dressed for the conditions! Nice shoes! tongue wink

15:19

Mountain roads in Norway: breath in everyone! We had a forced lunch stop earlier to let brakes cool down too. Steep!

16:34

After crossing mountains it's completely different down here in Luster. Another great camp spot right on the fjord smile

15:06

Brunost (Norwegian brown cheese). Milk, cream & whey heated so sugars turn into rich caramel. Sounds healthy, huh? wink

15:10

This valley has 200m waterfalls & stunning water, but not even on the tourist map. Norway is overflowing with beauty!

15:43

Road tunnels along fjord not great for cyclists, but this seems a typical bypass. Drop on right into water though! grin

10:42

Appears there aren't many stone churches in Norway, but is one here in Luster. Very quirky! Dates from around 1200AD.

12:12

Solvorn-Ornes ferry on foot. Bit nippy & breezy on fjord (Lustrafjorden that is). Typical Norwegian experience! wink

12:38

Looking back to Solvorn across Lustrafjorden. From outside Ornes stave church. Can see why they picked this location!

12:42

Urnes stave church, on the inside this time. Tiny place really. Dates from 1150AD. Amazing age for a wooden building!

13:21

Lots of local fresh fruit around in the Norwegian summer. Got some cherries while waiting for the return ferry. Yum!

13:42

Approaching Solvorn on the return ferry & few pics from around the houses here. Pretty little place.

14:37

Random roadside lunch stop by Hafslovatnet. Shame about the grey day, but you can't fault the scenery around here.

18:57

Evening view across Sognefjord from Balestrand.

20:04

LOL! Erm... No! Turns out this spot is only 38km away, but thanks for the suggestion, Google! wink #RidePlanning

15:54

Another view across Sognefjord from Balestrand. At least the changeable weather makes for an ever changing view smile

14:50

Oh Norway!!! Could be enduring the shitfight that is Southern Europe in August. Or here. Enjoying this. #NoBrainer grin

10:57

Hiking above Balestrand & Sognefjord. Beautiful day for it & great views from the top!

14:25

Lunch after hiking in Balestrand. Currywurst plus fish & chips. Giant stack of condiments on the counter was awesome!

14:52

The hotel in Balestrand. Lovely old place right on the water. No, we didn't stay here, due to our palace on wheels wink

08:44

Crazy light over the fjord this morning. And not just for a few minutes. Was like this for hours. Love it!

11:43

Norwegian tourist road 13. Couple days back rode this on the bike in sunshine. Much more fun. Look at those hairpins!

12:13

Short walk by Likholefossen waterfall. Beautiful as we have come to expect in Norway even if it is a bit grey today.

13:23

Random lunch stop. We can always find somewhere with a view to enjoy smile This little lake is Viksdalsvatnet.

15:37

Lavik to Oppedal ferry. Sadly nothing much to see here. Bit too grey today sad

18:29

Saw this in a Norwegian supermarket & knew we had to try it. Guessed it was bacon & cheese in a tube & it is! Yum! tongue

09:04

In Voss for few days & parked close to lake: Vangsvatnet. Great day today. Got to make the most of those blue skies!

15:02

Today's ride: Vossevangen, along Hamlagrøvatnet (turns out this is largest lake in the area) & back. Very peaceful!

15:44

Might have got a bit sweaty on today's ride wink Only drank 2.5 bottles in 3.5 hours though as it's not very hot here!

12:06

Skjervsfossen in the sunshine. Nice rainbows! Beautiful place & absolutely no-one else here which is also a bonus smile

12:38

Our drive today is tourist route 13. This is Granvinsvatnet, a small lake. Norway is so perfect when the sun shines!

12:55

Down to the side of Hardangerfjord. The fjord is huge, but this kindof branch we first came across is so picturesque.

14:05

Table for 2, sir? Great food by an international chef, great view & very reasonable bill! wink Lunch by Hardangerfjord.

16:26

You may think, "Not another waterfall!" but Steinsdalsfossen is different: you can walk behind it which is very cool!

17:34

Torvikbygd to Jodal Ferry. In the sun! Yay!

18:09

Tiny Norwegian settlement by Hardangerfjord. Driving along fjords you pass this stuff all the time. Ahhh....

18:22

Great area of rock that goes right down to fjord. Few pics then wait for 'golden hour' which lasts ages so far north!

23:22

Despite lack of man-made light pollution it's pointless trying to take star pictures in summer this far north. Doh!

08:28

More fjord (Hardangerfjord) pictures in the morning light. As usual... it's quite nice here!

12:31

Tourist route 550, along South side of Hardangerfjord. Loads of fruit growers here so we bought cherries too smile

15:08

Utne-Kinsarvik Ferry. Lovely day to cruise Hardangerfjord smile Cost for 'fat' motorhome (>6m) next to us 3x the price!

16:06

Eastern end of Hardangerfjord. The little village the ship (same one we saw in Geiranger) is moored at is Eidfjord.

17:01

Voringfossen. At *only* 182m, allegedly 83rd highest fall in Norway. Amazing! Nice walk to the (very wet) base! grin

18:11

Voringfossen from the top. Path & bridge at bottom we walked just visible. Note huge hotel on cliff above for scale!

13:09

Couple days later, another view of Voringfossen. This is by the hotel seen in other pics. Shame about overcast day sad

14:33

Plenty of road tunnels in Norway, most long, boring & dark. Not this one! Complete with circle & funky blue lighting!

12:06

Latefossen few km into today's ride. Tourists & water all over the road. Bit of wind & everyone has an early shower!

13:19

Rest of today's ride (Hildal to Hara): Stunning mountain pass left traffic free as main road now runs in a tunnel! grin

14:56

Passing Latefossen again few kays from home. Pretty spectacular in the afternoon sunshine & with a little less mist!

10:27

Few weeks ago we were in a cafe, TV in corner had one of these 'slow' shows on. WTF, I thought, but all is explained! http://www.ted.com/talks/thomas_...

11:58

Passed Latefossen in sunshine yesterday but so cloudy now sad Proves great light more important than the right camera!

12:51

Tourist road 520 from Røldalsvatnet (lake way below the hairpins) to Sauda. Almost got blown over taking last shots!

10:37

Awesome morning mist over the sea (yes - this is not a fjord) near Sauda.

12:58

Long day on the road (Sauda to Jørpeland). Changeable weather all the way, & some different views further South too.

09:21

The hike up to Preikestolen is pretty nice in it's own right. But as they say, you ain't seen nothing yet!!!...

10:36

This cliff is hidden from view on the hike up. The "Holy crap!" feeling of stepping round the corner here is awesome!

10:37

This is just the path on the way to Preikestolen. You don't want to stumble to the left here! wink

10:42

That dot is Pratiwi close as she dare go - so not that close wink - to edge of Preikestolen. 604m drop to fjord below!

10:46

Here we are on the edge of Preikestolen. Major goal of the trip & didn't disappoint! Simply breathtaking. Literally!

10:54

Logic says it's fine to sit on the edge, but primal self preservation was making me uncomfortable just snapping this!

11:06

We hung out here for 20-30 minutes I think. Just gawking at the spectacle. Then time to climb up for a higher view...

11:11

Preikestolen from above. Almost beyond belief how lucky we got with the weather & light. So, so, so, sooooo lucky! smile

11:21

Won't say the hike back was bad. Views to the coast after all! Just think it will take time to get over Preikestolen!

14:10

Views of Lysefjord as we head for the ferry at Oanes. Today is our last day in fjord county & will miss these scenes!

12:13

Cruising down the coast towards Kristiansand on our final days in Norway. Summer is definitely a fading memory here!

14:00

81NOK for a 330ml Stella in this bar. That's around $14 Aussie! No wonder everyone is drinking water... not joking!

18:52

On the ferry from Norway to Denmark. Looking back North. Yes, we're sad to leave but think it's for the best! wink

22:21

Dear Norway, been an amazing 7 weeks, but passing ferry terminal in more rain too much of a sign! Thus we find ourselves in Denmark tonight.