Exploring Norway

We planned to stay for two weeks. That turned into six. Norway was mesmerizing, addictively wild and never ceased to amaze us. Here are the collected travel logs of our wildest summer:

HAMAR
We entered Norway on the border with Sweden. Here, we made a short stop for internet facilities. When on an internet diet, one needs to find alternative ways to upload blogs and what not – a great excuse to mix business with pleasure at the big yellow M! Hamar didn’t disappoint as our first Norwegian stop with a dazzling sunset and free tap water to fill up our supplies.

Sunset

OYSTRE SLIDRE
You probably know by now we’re not really city-people, so leaving Hamar we made a stretch to our first piece of rugged Norwegian nature. A mountain plateau that’s best described as an ‘alien environment’. Being this high up in the mountains, but with no landmarks (like a view down into the valley) to show for it, it somewhat feels like an entirely different planet. Still higher mountaintops surrounding us – and lakes the size of a sea – only added to the fantastical feeling while driving through this place.
We stayed for a couple of days, hiked where the trail ended and enjoyed crystal clear and icecold drinking water seeping down from the glacier.

RANDSVERK
Making our way to Norway’s fjords we had a brief struggle finding a place to camp. Lots of suitable campgrounds with stunning views but scattered with ‘no camping’ signs scared us away. After driving up and down the same road checking multiple alleys, we finally found one that led to a beautiful private camp site next to a small stream. The cats loved it here, exploring the forest and chasing pinecones.

BJORKE
We finally made it to the coast and parked Brutus at a quiet place along the road with the most amazing view over the Hjorund fjord. We spent a good 5 days here eating fresh caught minnow and mackerel, hiking into the mountains to collect all sorts of berries and herbs and showering under a rushing a waterfall. Definitely one of our favorite places so far!

ORSTA
We’re out of cat food so it’s shopping time. Walking through the doors of a shopping centre for the first time in seven weeks felt… strange. Making the best of our shopping trip we explored some hiking options at the tourist bureau and the next day we set out to climb the Vaudehornet. We discovered a paradise-like stream cascading down the mountain with smooth worn out pools, filled with crystal clear water. Who could ever resist stripping down and plunging in, in such a wonderful environment?! Needless to say, we never did reach that mountain top but we had an awesome wild and free time.

INNVIK
Traveling south to revisit Sundal – where we celebrated our honeymoon 2 years ago but really never saw any sun – we’re making a stop in Innvik. The cutest little town perched up on a mountain slope overlooking the (very originally named) Innvikfjord. Temperatures are rising again so we’re taking it easy, especially after we’ve been sent up and down a steep hill following a bike route leading to absolutely nowhere. Why, Norway, why?! On the bright side, we made a very cute furry friend along the way.
Spending a couple lazy days in and around the RV led to a sudden baking urge, so Brutus has been filled with smells of pizzabread, red berry pie and fluffy pancakes. Omnomnom.
Also, we had another chance to bathe in sparkling clear glacier water overlooking a gorgeous waterfall!

ASTRUPTUNET
Spending two rainy days here, followed by a drive to the Grovabreen glacier where we hiked for 4,5 hours to reach the icecap and took a little over 2,5 hours to get all the way back down. At roughly 1100m above sea level this isn’t by far the highest we’ve climbed but we did get some of the most spectacular views! With the trail basically just disappearing halfway the mountain this one definitely made it to our list of most wild hikes.

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On top of the world

SKJOLDEN
We’re well on our way to Odda now, where we will have some fellow-RV-traveling-family-time again. So we’re on the road a little more and parked a little less, but still get to travel through the most beautiful landscapes following Norway’s fjords and go to sleep with an amazing view over sea and mountains each night.

LAERDALSYORI
Spending time near fjords and not so much near rivers and lakes also means running out of fresh water a lot sooner. But by building an ingenious system of tubes and sticks we were able to collect plenty of rainwater from a mossy slope to do our laundry in. Thank you nature!
We also FINALLY finished ridding Brutus of his original stickering here (this is a long and dreadful story that we’ll probably tell some other time), so we had a pretty productive time!

ODDA
Making the last stretch to the Hardanger area takes us through approximately 60km of tunnels. Short tunnels, long tunnels (25km in length holds the record!), tunnels with roundabouts, tunnels without lighting… we’ve seen it all.
As we arrive at the place where we spent our honeymoon 2 years ago, the weather mirrors the state it was in that time around; grey, cold and wet. As much as we like Norway covered in fog and with dark windy fjords, some sunshine would sure be welcomed again by now!

YTSTEHOLMEN
With all this rain our fear of causing a forest fire has drastically declined so after a good day of hiking it’s finally campfire time again! Wet wood makes for an extra challenge though….

ROSENDAL
Passing Sundal, where we camped during a very cold and wet honeymoon two years ago, we drive alongside the Hardangerfjord to Rosendal. Admittedly, going here may have been influenced by the name of our Dutch hometown Roosendaal, but it’s also just a lovely drive along the fjord passing some pretty cool waterfalls. The accumulated rain pouring down from the Folgefonna glacier and highlands above left us in awe when we drove back after a couple rainy days, with waterfalls literally around each and every bend in the road. Not to mention the brute power of the Furebergfossen that quadrupled in size over our three day stay!

ODDA
Ok, so we’ve hiked up to Fossasetevatnet two times now. One time during our first time in Norway in 2016, and a second time a couple of days ago, together with Koen & Eline (the fellow-RV-traveling-family members). However, we still have an urge to climb higher and explore a bit more. After all, we have declared this little piece of nature our favorite place on earth, so who wouldn’t want to go back when still in the area?! It’s hard to describe the feeling that makes this place so special to us. Maybe it’s the views over an emerald colored fjord, or the twin waterfalls that roar down the mountains directly opposite of each other. It could be the isolated mountain village situated at a serene lake in between waterfalls, only reachable by foot or tiny cablecar. Or perhaps it’s just the combination of rugged wild nature and calming views that does it for us.
We ran out of time after reaching the second lake along the trail up to the glacier. Hugged in by steep cliffs with a white waterfall continuously refreshing the turquoise waters and nearly untouched by the hand of men, this place felt like a true piece of paradise.
There are three more lakes up the trail, so there’s still more to explore next time around! We will be back for sure.

KINSARVIK
The trail from Kinsarvik through Husedalen valley promises to be one of Norway’s most beautiful hikes. So (while we feel all the places in Norway are “the most beautiful” – there’s just no competing here!), we cannot miss out. Even though we anticipate hordes of tourists being lured in by a hike called ‘four beautiful waterfalls’, described with words as breathtaking and amazing scenery, we decide to suck it up and get in line.
Okay, we might be exaggerating just a little here 😉 It really wasn’t that bad at all but we just like our nature desolate and wild! After leaving the path and following a barely noticeable trail through the woods we got much closer to our idea of a perfect hike. And we have to admit; the waterfalls are absolutely breathtaking.

Husedalen waterfalls

Breathtaking waterfalls in Kinsarvik, the last stop on our Norwegian adventure.

 

Those six weeks felt like a lifetime but still too short for the experience. We will surely return to Norway someday! Read all about why (if you haven’t come to your own conclusions already) in our Norway Bucketlist.


 

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