After a few days in paradise I do not want to move. I want to collect some stones, chop some trees and get Craig to build me a house. Just here, I love this place but Mr Itchy Feet wants to head off. Me and Mac sulk but no one takes a blind bit of notice, so we drag our heals until Vin roars his engine and toots his horn.
We stop in Olden for some groceries and to return some tins and plastics. In Norway, recycle products come with a recycle tax, which is refunded upon return. The problem is we can never remember which store we got the products from! As we walked around the store I spotted some peppered mackerel at a whopping £12 for 2 small pieces and then £14 for a small salad bar box. Some things are just silly prices but in the main most things are OK, if you look properly. For example we got 2 fresh salmon pieces for £2.50
We hugged the waters edge, driving through the pretty village of Stryn and Leon with tiny cafes and the odd nordic restaurant. An hour after take off we were climbing out of the lush valley and up in to the bare rock face into the snow capped mountains. We climbed the hairpin road with Vin slowly working his way down through the gears and the road got steeper and steeper. At the top we quickly glanced back before lunging through a series of dark, dismal tunnels. I bet each tunnel was about 4-5km in length and not the sort of place you would want to get stuck. Once out the tunnel system, I breathed a sigh of relief and so did the dudes…I don’t think they like the dark too.
Mac & Tosh wanted to water some weeds, so we pulled over for 5 minutes. Tosh did a big boy wee and cocked his leg like he was reaching for the stars. Mac, well, he had a go at cocking his leg and failed miserably. After a cock followed by a 3 legged hop and a wet belly, he went back to 4 legs and a baby squat. He is useless but I just love him to bits.
Back in Vin and we were ready…drum roll please…brrrrrrrrrr. Off we set along route 63 to Geiranger. The dark grey rock wall looked dull and boring but as we turned the first corner the scene changed. The vertical mountain face dotted with snow stood overpowering a cracked frozen lake. It didn’t look real and more like a black and white photo. We followed the lake until the walls of the mountain opened up to reveal a distant, beautiful valley.
We commenced our descent down a 1,000 meter high zig zag road that was certainly tight and narrow. With the odd passing tour bus and motorhome, I sure was twitching at times. About half way down and the ‘no stopping’ hazard signs were out in the road. The ice cracks the rock and the snow melt sends the rubble hurtling down the slopes on to the road. As we pass the slopes the boulders and rubble balance precariously and we glide on by.
We arrived at the head of Geirangerfjord, the most famous fjord in Norway. This is the narrow wiggly fjord with glorious waterfalls that all the cruise ships love to sail down. Today, was no except as a cruise ship full of American’s was in dock. Geirangerfjord was swarming with tourist! We parked up on the Fjord Centre car park and went for a toot around on Eor. Geiranger is pretty but not really for us, it feels a bit too spoilt with tourist shops and hotdog stands. Also, right in the centre of the bay a huge sprawling campsite on what looks like a barron wasteland. It must hold several hundred caravans and motorhomes and not tastefully maintained at all. It really spoils the welcome to Geiranger and the drains absolutely stink. Ignoring the commercial element the approach and area around Geiranger is very captivating.
We took Eor back up Strynefjellsveien mountain road and headed to the summit of Dalsnibba at 4,920 ft. All the way white snow and views of glacier tongues, it was great but as we neared the summit, it got well cold. We chittered and chattered as the icy wind cut straight through us. At the top of Dalsnibba just two other vehicles. Opened in 1889, this dramatic road claims to be the highest road in the world with a view of a fjord. There are many panoramic lookout points along the way with lots of information points and pictures of the team who built the road. At the top, a message to say this is the lookout point where Satan took Jesus to tempt him with the beauty of the world. We looked down the Geirangfjord, a dot in the distance along with slow but sure rain clouds.
With that we hopped back on and dashed home, well as dashing as you can along a mountain track with 38 hairpin bends including an aptly named Eagles bend and a quick stop at Flydalsjuvet. A overhanging rock, which is the most photographed in Norway, but personally we could not see the appeal.
In the evening, we got a message to say Jane and Stuart had set off on their trip. A lovely couple from NZ who we’ve been in contact with for a while as they planned their trip. They are touring Europe but starting in UK after a visit with Stuarts mum. Right now, they are enjoying Wales. Here is to follow Kiwi Freewheelers
Our sleep spot tonight..the National Trust Fjord Centre. A lovely spot as long as you don’t look at all the tour buses and Renault 2 seaters lined up ready for tomorrows run.
GPS position N062.095541 and E007.212298
Route: Birksdal Glacier to Geiranger
Weather: Low 10 and high 25…sunshine with a few light showers in the early evening.