Cabins & Kite flying

The cabin day was one of our most magical days in Norway. After an exhausting previous day we drove the road back, getting more strawberries, at a leisurely pace. We stopped at alpine lakes to read a bit, made some tea, took naps next to waterfalls laying on warm rocks, and really made it a priority to just feel present. We are good at adventure, we are good at backpacking something exhausting and then doing it again the next day. We are not as good at stopping along a road for a little walk. This day we embraced that slow, meandering pace instead. We took multiple ferries that day and drove through cute fjord coast towns stacked up hills.

We had such fantastic weather that when it started to drizzle we were able to rejoice in it a bit and enjoy the deeper saturation of color the landscape around us took on. Finally driving into Saebo in the early evening we decided maybe tent camping wasn't in the cards, and then we happened upon a spot that had mini cabins with roofs covered in grass and flowers. An old man greeted us and pretty much only spoke Norwegian, after a lot of hand signals, we had secured a cabin with a stove, fridge, porch, and a bed for only $40! We were absolutely giddy.

Went to the local grocery store and got lamb, veggies, and wine, made a slow dinner in our cabin with the windows open and sounds of the stream nearby coming in. After dinner the rain stopped, gave us a little rainbow and we went to the little pier nearby, I brought a kite that I randomly decide to pack. Sadly the kite was missing a brace, alas I inserted a stick and it flew anyway. Just one of those evenings that goes slow and feels a little magical.

We read books that night and Joshua popped out at 3am to snap the photos below which are from 3am, it really was pretty much never dark.

Woke up the next day and made a breakfast of crepes with yogurt and fruit with bacon and eggs. It was such a simple stop but it came at just the right time and filled us with just the right things. It was hard to get into the car and leave.


Fjord views

The Geiranger-Trollstigen Road also had a really great view down into the Geiranger Fjord. We could see the 7 sisters waterfall and of course the platform to view it on was also stunning. The waterfall was incorporated into the platform and gushed over a glass plate spilling back into the fjord.

There were also tons of strawberry fields bursting as we drove so we stopped, more than once, to get a basket of them. They were killer!

Since we didn't get to boat in the fjords Joshua wanted to do a fjord hike. After we made our way down the windy twisty road we had a beer and pastry in a town along the water and then drove to a trailhead. I said I was up for said hike, turns out I was not. It was hot and straight up, Norwegians have something against switchbacks. We finally made it out of the trees and I look up to see another mountain we have to climb and it's all rocks. While I enjoyed the rock hopping on Kykja at this particular moment I was not up for it. Apparently I said all I wanted to do was go swimming with such pain in my voice that days later Joshua was bringing up how it broke his heart. I rallied a bit though and up the mountain we went. As hiking is, once we started I was fine. We made it over the top and the whole area opened up to layers of fjords, and clouds, and islands. It was a really beautiful view and very worth the effort. Also we were up there alone again which is always magical.

The bonus was since I was such a trooper ;) we had burgers that night along the water and then we got soft is (soft serve ice cream) dipped in mini meringues. I would like to note mini meringues is the world's best ice cream topping ever.

That night, after sadly driving 20 miles in the incorrect direction, we found a campsite covered in creepy troll statues to set up camp and shower. After this day we decided to take our trip a bit slower :)

Geiranger-Trollstigen Road

We were supposed to rent a speedboat to run around the fjords but sadly it was too windy. I was definitely bummed but it got us out onto the Geiranger-Trollstein road earlier which turned out to be great as it gets really busy. There were tons of pit stops along this road. The architecture and landscape design elements on this road were such pleasant surprises.

The first one we came upon was Gudbrandsjuvet. The café wasn't open but that just made for better photos :) The building was beautifully detailed and just as we were getting really into it we saw the rusted metal and steel path snaking through the trees. The path looks as though it is floating among the landscape giving way to otherwise unattainable views. The water here has cut deeply into the rock, it bubbles rapidly creating unique shapes and gouges that this path highlights in the most beautiful way. The railing is designed so that you are meant to comfortably lean over it and stare down at the rushing water (I was geeking out a bit at this detail!) There are cuts in the bridge at just the right places to catch a stunning rock formation, it opens up to a wider path at the waterfall view and incorporates a remaining rock precipice where you can jump off the steel path and clambor up the remaining rock. The water look is so blue and crisp that we kept joking it looked like Kings Island water (an amusement park where they dye the water bluer)

The benches had holes punched in them to allow ferns to grow through and it was cut to follow the edge of the natural rock and trees not forced into hard edges. The railings were rusted except where your hands would touch them and then they were smooth and polished so it felt right tactically. As is obvious, we stayed here quite awhile!

The other main building we came upon was the Trollstigen stop. The building slopes up opening into views between peaks while floating on the water rushing under it. Moving around the building there is a path that takes you out to overlook the intense switchback road we were about to descend. The platforms jet out from the landscape with glass railings and angles in all the right places for the best views. There was also a dirt path of the main sculpted metal path which we deeply appreciated for the walk back. They thought of everything! After we wandered onto the rock for awhile we headed to the building to grab a coffee and vafffle (waffle!) topped with yogurt and berries. You can get onto the top of the sloped building where we found benches with integrated tables for our coffee.

The road was busy but we lingered and took our time which allowed us to wait for the crowds to ebb to our liking and not feel stressed. Day wasn't over yet though, fjord hike still to go.

P.S. we bough a waffle maker when we got home :)


Stave church & Bus troubles

Woke up next to the river the to some passing sheep with their bells tinkering. Packed up our stuff and finished out the Sognfjellet road which ended in a town called Lom. It dumped us out into civilization and quite a few tourists. Despite all the people the landscape through the town was beautiful. There was a huge river pulsing through with rapids and huge rocks. One of the oldest stave churches was there amidst large lush trees and grass. It was built in the second half of the 12th century and added on to as time went on. It is one of the few to still have some of it's original medieval details and carved dragonhead. Strolling around with a coffee we explored an admired a bit. Ate an apple turnover.

Then we hopped onto the Gamle Strynefjellsvegen road and headed down toward Geiranger. The road turned out to be quite an adventure. We were within a few miles of Geiranger when a bus in front of us ran it's backside into the road and got stuck on a turn. As with many of the twisty mountain roads they are too narrow for 2 lanes of traffic if the vehicles are wide. It took about an hour for them to wedge enough rocks and have people push the bus so that it was free. Which was great except now there were huge! lines of traffic in either direction and the next vehicle coming at the bus was...another bus. Lots of reversing, lots of maneuvering, and we finally made it down.
Geiranger is a very tiny down built up the mountain with a tiny waterfront. There isn't much flat land anywhere. Unfortunately this meant we had to pay to camp in a very tiny patch of grass with about 20 other tents smashed against each other. This did not seem like fun so we pitched our tent and walked along the road into the waterfront. We had pizza and then a glass of wine on a terrace, got a few groceries and stayed away from our tent until we were ready for bed. We weren't feeling optimistic but it actually turned into a lovely night in town.