Let me say that the Norwegian Fjords live up to the hype. And then some. The landscapes were magnificent, the people were friendly (and very good English-speakers, I might add) and I feel like my camera did not do it justice. Majestic is the word that best describes this area of Norway. I took 297 photos in 5 days and I have narrowed them down to just a few which I will cover in 2 different posts. As always, Jade and Kenzie will blog about the food and animals (about which there is plenty to tell). I’m trying a new thing in this post where I include links to major towns or attractions so that you can learn more if you want. Let me know if you like it.
We rented a car from Sixt and although it was a little smaller than expected (only 2 doors!), it turned out to be an advantage on the narrow roads and hairpins turns that dominate this area of Norway.
We started our trip in Ålesund and stayed overnight in Åndalsnes so that we could get an early start to avoid traffic on the Trollstigen road on the way to our first, and arguably the best, fjord – Geirangerfjord.
After taking it in from above, we decided to take the car ferry down the fjord from Geiranger to Hellesylt for a different view.
In case there is any confusion, that is not our ferry, it is a massive cruise ship docked in the town harbour. And it is STILL dwarfed by the fjord in its background.
Another of our favourite fjords was Aurlandsfjord which is best seen from the Stegastein viewpoint:
This stop is along the Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route, otherwise known as the “Snow Road” because 41 of its 48km’s are closed from October 15th to June 1st. In the year 2000, the world’s longest road tunnel – Laerdal Tunnel – was opened for year-round use in place of the Snow Road.
Inside the tunnel, they have created 3 caves that emit tones of blue and yellow lighting to help prevent driver fatigue.
In total, we ended up driving 3 out of the 4 National Tourist Routes in this area of Norway. All of them are considered Mountain roads, and for good reason. They go up (and of course later the inevitable down) one or several of them. At the top, it is vast and devoid of most life, except the occasional hut or sheep.
If you need gas, you need to plan ahead. Most inhabited areas consist of small villages with few amenities. Naturally, the towns that receive the cruise ships (Flam, Geiranger, etc.) are a bit more built up to support the traffic. Mostly, the driving landscape was farmland and fjords.
We decided to switch it up one day and go see a Glacier called Briksdalbreen.
It was a 45-minute hike one way to access it, but they also offered a golf-cart-like drive either or both ways. We took the ride up and walked down.
It was hard to capture the pure blueness of the water at the bottom. It was a lighter shade of Jade’s coat.
The natural landscape of glaciers, snow, fjords and lakes make for some pretty plentiful waterfalls in this region. You really can’t go more than a few kilometers without seeing one.
One thing I found especially difficult to capture with my camera was our train trip on the Flam-Myrdal Railway. It was 2 hours round-trip and gave everyone (especially my husband the driver) the chance to see the landscape in a relaxed way. We happened to have come into town when 3 big cruise ships were there, and all but the 7:30am train was fully booked, so it was an early morning, but well worth getting up for.
It is easy to be stunned by the Fjords and their beauty. Jade told me it was the first time she ever felt “awe” at something.
We saw many, many day hikers, bicyclists and backpackers and if you are into that sort of stuff, it would be paradise.
Both girls have already made plans to return one day with friends, so hopefully they are up for the adventure!