All the way to Nordkap
07.10.2007 16 °C
Have you ever had a chance to go to Norway..? I hope you had. Why..? This country is a small miracle.
Me and my buddy has started this road trip in the UK where I was working at that time. If I asked englishmen what do they thought about Norway as a holiday destination, most of them would agree that it was expensive for them. No wonder, if the fuel price per liter was bigger than in the UK and whole EU :o), so it seemed to be tight on the budget traveling in front of us...
So as I said, we began the road trip the last week of May 2006, and because Scandinavia its not just Norway we drove through Denmark and Sweden to get there. After we crossed the Swedish - Norwegian border east of the capital Oslo, we realized that flat countryside is finally over and the beauty of the mountain passes covered with the snow was in front of us. And there was still a lot of snow at highlands south from Oslo, just have a look and this was the end of May.
If someone tells you that Norwegians are cold and do not like tourists, do not trust them. Every person we met up there had a time to talk to us, they gave us advices and helped us whenever we needed it and I can only say I wish most of the nations were like them.
I think that what hold these people together is the nature. Imagine, this is a country with very severe weather conditions, especially in winter. I live in Canada, BC where avalanches are not seldom, but Norway is number 1 in the world with the most avalanches during the year. I thought that road system in Germany or the UK was one of the best... but after we drove through Norway, I was more than surprised. The roads were in excellent conditions, the bridges appeared in front of us at the places I would not guess there might be a possibility to build one, and tunnel system... oh man, something amazing, when you realize you are driving under fjords and not just for a kilometer or two, but sometimes for more than 20 km...!
OK, so weather. The weather was not very good at the beginning of our trip, it was rainy in the south, so after we reached Stavanger, we realized that if I wanted to get decent views and shots on this rod trip we had to move away. And we did. And we were moving and moving, we passed Olympic Lillehammer, still rainy, ok we moved more, and we passed Trondheim, and the rain was there, so we said to each other, there was nothing to loose, lets move all the way to the northern point which we can reach an we will see from there where we start exploring the country through hikes.
And believe it or not, after we crossed the Arctic circle at 66"33' the days had changed. It was raining mostly during the nights, and during a day we had sunshine. Finally. I was so glad, because norther we got more sun we had. Even during the nights. How come..? Its very simple, because of the Midnight sun. That is what happen if you go during the summer time as far north as you can, basically you should cross the Arctic circle for the best results, and then you can experience sunny nights, because the sun does not set down :o). OK, I forgot to mention, you have to be on the North hemisphere so you go north. If you were at south hemisphere you would go as south as you can get, it means viva penguins :o) at Antarctic.
OK but we were in Norway, so the best place for us to go was NORDKAP.
It is the northern point in Europe, where you can get by car, and from there you can watch midnight sun every year lets say from May till July.
What is at Nordkap.? There is an INFO centre for tourists, build up on the cliff, from where you can see just horizon and huge cruises in the waves in the Norwegian see and of course Midnight sun. It is amazing feeling to stay under the huge globe, which is the landmark for this point, and watch beautiful colors in the sky.
We were lucky, and during those two days we stayed there, the visibility was excellent and you just have to get used to it that when you open your eyes in the middle of the night, instead of moon, there is the sun. I felt so good, I did not even want to sleep, but after driving 5000 km to get there, I enjoyed that midnight sun sleeping anyway.
The next morning we had a last look at the cruise passing the windy cliffs and because the pressure was rising we decided to move to Lofoten islands, which some travelers call the 8th miracle in the world.
So we got in the car, btw. we drove Honda Accord sedan, and I have to say the car was amazing for this road trip, comfortable plus sporty engine gave us many opportunities to enjoy steep hills and sharp turns :o). On the way to south we passed Hammerfest, the northern town in the world, with its huge polar bear sculpture, and after few hundred kilometers we reaches the Lofoten islands.
This part of Norway is so popular for tourists it does need so many words, so enjoy few images:
Tiny fisherman villages spread around the island and as you can see if you hit a sunny days in here, its so relaxing ...
We were the lucky guys. The only luxury we did not have was the time. A friend of mine had an air ticket booked and we had a week to get to London, so we had to move on. Our final destination was Lysefjord at south Norway.
On the way there we stopped for a day in Bergen. If I wanted to live in Norway, this would be my choice. I found almost everything in here with beautiful sea port, hills above the town squares, peaceful cafeterias and restaurants in the streets, people smiling and enjoying sunshine, excellent food ... it was hard to leave all that behind in the evening when we were driving away...
But, yeah, there we were, almost at the end of our road trip, but still there was that thin air cutting excitement around us. Lysefjord. It is probably one of the most popular fjords in Norway. You love hiking, you come here, if you are scared of hight you do not want to imagine some of these cliffs in your worst dreams, but if you are up to base jumping you better made this region your home :o). Is it enough.? OK, the most popular place for base jumping here is the Pulpit rock That is a cliff hanging almost 900 m above the Lysenfjord calm water, which for some people its a nightmare just to look at it, not even thinking to sit on the edge there. But if this place seems to be to busy for you and you would prefer more remote hikes, there is an option for you. You can take a boat trip on the Lysenfjord and get on the north side of the fjord, or you can drive around the mountains and get there like we did. To get to the fjord then, you have to go through the Kjerag valley, where the road are like this but on the way through this amazing landscape you climb to the altitudes where even our Honda was breathing hard, and the views like this are almost behind every corner of the road.
And this valley and the cliffs above the fjord was our final destination. Imagine a 1000 meters deep valley with a fjord at the bottom and the cliffs on the top so vertical that when you lie down on your stomach and your sight passe the edge, you get shivers down your spine :o). Sweet. Cool. Exciting. call it however you want, I just liked it. And because it was sunny I could really enjoy the view from the most popular place in this valley, and it could be nothing else but the famous Kjerag bolt, a rock in a shape of an egg stuck between two cliffs 1000 meters above the Lysefjord.