Tag Archives: scandinavia

Road trip Scandinavia: Day 12 (Hiking the Knutshøe, and the Vågå stave church)

This morning our alarms got us out of bed already at 07:50, because we needed enough time to have breakfast and prepare our lunch packs for the day’s hike. The Bessheim mountain lodge was a bit more expensive than our average hotel, but their food selection was definitely very nice. After check out we only had to drive 6 kilometres to a nearby parking lot along the National Tourist Route, before putting our hiking boots on and heading into the Jotunheimen National Park.


Instead of the overly popular and always busy Besseggen hike, we decided to do a loop a bit more to the South (see details on Strava). The route first climbed the Knutshøe, then descended following the ridge towards the West, while on the way back it led us through the more-or-less flat river basin just to the South of it.


There were two difficult climbing sections on the way up, first getting onto the ridge (where there were even ropes that we could use as support), then just before the peak (where we had to climb through a series of quite narrow ledges). We started in warm and sunny weather, but as we got higher the sky became covered by a thick layer of high clouds, and a strong, cold wind started blowing from the West.




After we descended to the valley below the weather became better again, but we still had to keep an extra layer on, because this area was also popular among mosquitoes. We had a repellent spray with us, because I expected this part of the hike to be a bit problematic, but they were still annoying.



We arrived back to the parking almost 6 hours after we started, and I am not ashamed to admit that it is not only Clio who was tired. After a not so quick change of shoes we started our drive down into the valley where we came from the day before, then follow the road further to the East. We stopped in Vågå for the stave church and a burger, before continuing to the edge of the Rondane National Park.


We are staying in the Rondane Høyfjellshotell tonight, and we have one of the two rooms that have the best view towards the mountains :)


Odometer reading at the end of the day: 3014 km (of which 115 km was today).

Road trip Scandinavia: Day 11 (Views around Geiranger, and the Lom stave church)

Yesterday – due to the lack of internet connection – even I went to sleep early, so this morning the alarm at 08:30 was not at all so unbearably painful. I was a bit grumpy because the weather was still cloudy and rainy, but the satellite images looked promising.


As we started driving further on the National Tourist Route we still got a few drops of rain, but then the clouds started to dissolve, and we could already see some blue sky upon our arrival to the first proper viewpoint (Ørnesvingen) above Geiranger. The view towards the bend of the fjord below was definitely special.


From here we descended into the village through a series of hairpin curves, where I unlocked the ‘climb back up in reverse through a 180 degree curve’ achievement while letting an ascending bus pass. Geiranger was at the time pretty much overflown by the tourist groups from the two cruise ships that rose high above the narrow harbour. We had a small lunch break here, before starting our drive out of the valley. Our next panorama point was at the Flydalsjuvet. Again, very pretty, with even more blue sky.


But the road went on even higher, and soon the trees were replaced by rock and snow. We took the toll road up to the Dalsnibba Mountain Plateau, from where you could look down into the green valley of the fjord to the North, and over the snow covered peaks to the South. It was only 5°C up here, so we made good use of all the layers we had.





As we reached the end of the National Tourist Route and turned East, the scenery changed drastically: we left the narrow valleys and rugged mountains behind, and entered a more open, wide river basin. The meltwater had different shades of deep blue and green, first surrounded by pine forests, then agricultural areas as we drove further down.


A good hour later we arrived to the stave church of Lom. What can I say, this was another pretty wooden church, and we were OK with that :)


Soon afterwards we turned South towards the Jotunheimen National Park, taking another National Tourist Route into the mountains. This is a very different area compared to the ones we have seen to the West, with less vegetation, and much more open space.


Tonight we are staying in the Bessheim Fjellstue, and the buffet dinner was delicious (and we both ate way too much of it). Before going to sleep, we still drove to the starting point of tomorrow’s hike to see the scenery under the evening lights too.


Odometer reading at the end of the day: 2899 km (of which 220 km was today).

Road trip Scandinavia: Day 10 (View from the Rampestreken, and the Trollstigen)

This morning we hit the road around 10:00, and drove to Åndalsnes (via the scenic Tresfjord, instead of taking the shortcut over the new bridge). On the way there we passed the Northernmost point of our road trip!


From the parking in Åndalsnes we did a short but very steep hike up to the Rampestreken viewpoint (details on Strava). The panorama from the skybridge was beautiful, but I am getting a bit fed up with the cloudy weather. Is this still the payback for Bergen?!?


From here we drove onto our next National Tourist Route to climb over the Trollstigen. Clio was happy that we did not encounter much traffic (or trolls) along the narrow hairpins during the ascent. From the top we could enjoy the view towards the winding road and numerous waterfalls below in the increasingly heavy rain.




After a short coffee, hot chocolate, and cake stop we drove further into the clouds. On the way down we stopped at the Gudbrandsjuvet gorge, before taking the ferry over the fjord to Eidsdal. By then the rain stopped, and blue patches opened up between the clouds. Tonight we are staying in another small wooden cabin in the Eidsdal Camping og Feriehus, and I am already at the last megabytes of my data plan. Please send donations for the following chapters…

Odometer reading at the end of the day: 2679 km (of which 189 km was today).

Road trip Scandinavia: Day 9 (Ålesund)

It rained pretty hard almost all night long, but that was not enough for mother nature, so we left the hotel after a good breakfast in still something more significant than a drizzle. Given the weather conditions, we drove straight to the far side of Ålesund to the The Atlantic Sea Park. Clio loves aquariums, and here we could learn about fish that live in the local waters. It was definitely worth a visit.


Afterwards we drove over a series of subsea tunnels and a steep bridge to the island of Godøy, where we walked around the lighthouse of Alnes (an old fishing village), and had a short stroll on the local beach. Partly due to some serious luck, and partly me checking the weather radar every five minutes on my phone and trying to schedule our day accordingly, we stayed almost completely dry here. Unluckily this situation was clearly not going to last much longer, so we could not do the small hike that I had planned to the top of the island.



As a next step we drove back towards the city, following a steep and narrow road up to the Aksla Viewpoint, where we could enjoy the last minutes of dry weather before another downpour engulfed the mountain from the Northwest. The panorama of the city below was still beautiful, no matter the weather. By the time we were done here we could go and check in at our hotel (Quality Hotel Waterfront).



Following a short nap (while waiting for the rain to pass), we walked around in the centrum, which was fully rebuilt after the fire of 1904 in Art Nouveau style, resulting in an unusually consistent architecture throughout the city. After dinner we still enjoyed the fresh air for a short while (and even saw the blue of the sky for the first time today), before heading back to the hotel.


Odometer reading at the end of the day: 2490 km (of which 78 km was today).

Road trip Scandinavia: Day 8 (Glaciers and fjords around the Jostedalsbreen NP)

This morning we left the camping in Lærdalsøyri around 9:30, and started driving towards Ålesund. After a few kilometres we took our first small ferry across the Sognefjorden, where we enjoyed the last patches of blue sky before the clouds closed up above us.



Our first stop coincided with a drier period, so we could actually get out of the car and enjoy the view towards the Bøyabreen branch of the Jostedalsbreen glacier, which by the way is the largest glacier in continental Europe. (Clio was extremely patient while I spent hours trying to take the perfect picture – but it is very difficult when a Chinese woman in flashy colours is standing in the middle of the scenery, taking crappy photos for ages.)



The next stop was in Loen, where we took the brand new Skylift up to 1011 metres above sea level. Up there we had a few dry minutes to enjoy the view of the fjords, lakes, and valleys from the terrace (which was definitely the best we have seen in Norway so far, I just wish I had a wider angle lens with me…), then we took shelter in the panorama restaurant a floor below. The seating was great, the burgers not so amazing.


We drove through beautiful valleys during the day, for example the stretch of E39 between Klakegg and Byrkjelo, or the whole area around the Eastern end of the Innvikfjorden near Loen were exceptionally scenic. Supposedly the last stretches of the E39 leading up to the ferry that took us almost literally to the reception of the Sunde Fjord Hotel in Solavågen were also similar, but by then it was too rainy and foggy to see most of it. We hope that tomorrow there will be some dry periods too, otherwise we will spend the day in the Aquarium.

Odometer reading at the end of the day: 2412 km (of which 274 km was today).