There was much deliberation about where to go next; straight to Norway, a week in Sweden, a week on a Greek island – seriously, we even looked for a cheap package deal!
Reminding ourselves once again, this is “quality not quantity” travel; we stocked up on groceries (pasta, cereal, coffee, etc) and headed to Norway.
Our destination is north to the region known as Møre Og Romsdal. From here we will make our way back down to Oslo where we are meeting Mark and Irena in 10 days time.
After an 8 hour drive from Copenhagen we overnight in Lillehammer at Vandrerhjem Stasjonen Hostel, built on top of the train station.
The next day we spy our first Norwegian fjord; the Geiranger, also considered one of the most spectacular Fjords in Norway. Though, from our experience it’s pretty hard to claim one is more spectacular than the another.
Lunch is a picnic at the Ørnevegen lookout, with panoramic views over the Geiranger.
Eagle Road is the name given to the steep stretch of road which takes you up the mountain side from Geiranger towards Eidsdal, otherwise know as riksveg 63.
As we head further north the drive is one dramatic scene after another; rugged cliffs and tumbling waterfalls plunging into the depths of the fjord. Mountain meadows scattered with farms, painted rustic-red, add a striking contrast.
It is a photographer’s dream – even our amateur skills capture some great shots and it’s amazing what you can do with photo editors these days.
Snapseed is my favourite for a quick edit, PhotoEditor for a larger range of options.
Ferry crossings are a way of life, there are more than 100 car ferry connections inside Norway, often making it quicker to traverse waterways than take the roads.
We ferry hop across from Eidsdal to Linge, drive a short distance to take another hop across from Liabygda to Stranda, where we are staying for a few nights.
Our AirBnB hosts are Elisabeth and Stig, they have recently moved back from way up in the North of Norway to take up residence on Elisabeth’s family farm.
It is a stunning location set up on the hillside with sweeping views down to the fjord.
We spend three nights here and found it a great spot to use as a base and explore the region; visiting Ålesund, the Atlantic Road and the Trollstigen og Stigfossen (the Troll Ladder).
Our generous hosts invited us to join the family for a sumptuous dinner of roast turkey, cooked in the fire pit outside.
Stig also warmed up the outdoor wood-fired hot tub, a true Scandinavian experience, in a beautiful setting overlooking the fjord and snow-capped mountains.
Our journey back towards Oslo begins with visiting the island of Rund; a small remote island in the community of Herøy, situated on the west coast of Sunnmøre.
Runde has a regular population of 100 human inhabitants and during the nesting season over 500,000 birds migrate to the island.
A ‘birders’ paradise with over 80, or so, different bird species gathering each year to nest along the rugged cliffs. However, it’s the Puffin which gets the most attention.
Unfortunately, we are too late in the season to see any Puffins, aside from squawking seagulls there isn’t much bird life at all.
In Goksoyr, probably the remotest village on the island with just a few summer homes, we find Arne sitting outside enjoying the sun.
He is a passionate Norwegian whose family have owned the home for several generations, his grandparents turning it into a guest house in the early 1960’s.
Arne is very excited to have guests to chat with and he delights in sharing with us local tales and family history.
His hospitality is endless; serving us coffee and cake, later encouraging us to enjoy the view from the balcony with our bottle of wine; candles and flowers appear along with nuts and grapes to nibble.
Breakfast is laid out for us and Arne insists on loading us up with fresh fruit for our travels – he truly goes overboard in hospitality!
After a day of driving we find ourselves in the town of Eplet/Solvorn where we luck-out with finding accommodation at a cute hostel Eplet Bed & Apple farm.
It was so comfortable we stayed two nights and took a break from driving.
It was lovely to spend a day out of the car, reading, catching up on the blog (as you can see, I am always behind) and relaxing in the sunshine.
We had expected Norway to be very expensive and we made a conservative effort to cook most of the time. Often we didn’t have much choice; restaurants and cafes seem to be very scarce.
Supermarket prices for most things benchmark with Australia – which on a world scale still puts them at the expensive end. Somethings were pricey, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, like AUS$6 for one lemon.
The CPI (coffee price index) was rarely used, as we carried our trusty plunger with us and used it daily. On the odd occasion coffee was about AUS$7
Making our way from Solvorn along the northern side of the Sognefjord, the second largest fjord in the world, we take Route 55 to Lom.
There’s more dramatic scenery as we traverse through the highest mountain pass in Northern Europe (1,434 meters above sea level). The alpine landscape takes us through the Jotunheimen National Park, home to Jostedalsbreen Glacier.
Passing a herd of sheep gathered on the side of the road, we notice one is lying on its back, legs in the air! It seems to be stuck between the gutter and road barrier.
This is a little peculiar, as sheep don’t lay on their backs and supposedly can die from doing so.
Don undertakes his good deed of the day and after some effort, rites the animal back on all fours. We leave her a little stunned, but hopefully OK.
Heading back closer to Oslo we thought we would just stay in Lillehammer again, but the hostel was full. A few towns along, we luck out and find a gorgeous farm called Stokke Nedre to spend the night.
Tomorrow we meet Irena and Mark in Oslo.