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Old 7th October 2019, 00:40   #1
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Default Camping & Hiking on a road-trip through Norway!

In 2016, we decided to take a road trip to Norway. Its well known that Norway, Iceland and the other developed Scandinavian countries are very expensive, especially when it comes to services like Hospitality and Food. But the best thing about these nordic countries is that they have campsites at almost every village and town, no matter how small or big. We had already tried this in Iceland and had an amazing experience on that trip. The camp sites are dirt cheap, are all neatly maintained, with separate buildings for showers and toilets. The added bonus of these campsites are that they are generally located in amazingly scenic locations like the beds of fjords or rivers or nestled in mountain valleys. With that sorted, we planned our trip meticulously. Norway extends from just a little above the British aisles in the South to meeting Russia at its Northeast border. Thats a coastline of thousands of kilometres. We had to plan our trip to the last detail if we were to make the best of our 10 day trip. I will give a brief summary of each day as we experienced it followed by the pics for the places we saw.

Day 1: We Landed in Oslo at 12.10pm, 20 mins earlier than scheduled. We had a 500+ kms drive on this day to complete after landing. Some people would call this crazy, but this is generally how we vacation. We planned to get to a campsite near Prekestolen so that we could do the hike to the eponymous mountain overlooking the fjords the next morning. The airport was so small and understaffed for a major European capital and the immigration took 2.5 hrs to complete. We got a Polo as our rental, which was disappointing but there wasn't much we could do about that. We got caught in the traffic as we finally left the airport at 4.30 PM. With each passing minute the 500 km drive started to feel impossible. After some GPS mishaps because of which we travelled in the opposite direction and almost entered Sweden, we were finally on the right route only around 7 PM. This was going to be an all nighter after a 12 hour flight. We finally did around 400 kms by 1 AM before we decided to stop for the night and take a snooze. The drive itself was pleasant but had no spectacular scenery as such. So, didn't get any pics this day.

Day 2: We rose and shone at 3.30am, and drove on toward the ferry station in Nesvik. We reached the place at 6am, after driving about 70 kms. As per our research the first ferry (the Nesvik-Hjelmeland ferry) was supposed to start at 5am. However, upon reaching, we found the station completely desolate, with not a soul in sight. There was a small paper put up though, with ferry timings, according to which, the first ferry was at 6.30am. Since we had half an hour to kill, we decided to freshen up in the washroom at the station. At 6.30, the first ferry arrived. We were parked in the parking lot, and the guy in the ferry asked us to go back to the lanes (they were marked out clearly to the right of the parking lot, but since it was our first time, we missed seeing them). We made a quick u-turn into the lane, and to our shock and dismay, the ferry left before we could get on it !! Imagine our anger, especially after the events of the previous evening. We had no choice but to waste another half hour waiting for the next ferry. It arrived at 7 am, and we got on to it. The whole procedure was actually seamless. You just drive into the station, stand in one of the 3 designated lanes, and drive on to the ferry’s ramp. It was exactly like how one would cross a bridge! It was the first time we had seen waterways being used as a means of regular transport, and it was extremely impressive. The ferry runs on a very tight schedule (not a moment sooner or later, as we had unfortunately already experienced). It was a very pleasant 15 minute ride to Hjelmeland. Upon reaching the destination, the ramp just opened again, and we drove down onto the road towards Preikestolen Camping site. The site was close to the station, around 15-20 minutes away. We reached the campsite, and found a sign indicating that Pulpit Rock was another 6kms away. We reached the parking lot of Pulpit Rock by around 8.30am, and started our climb. As per various online articles, the climb would take a minimum of 2 hours. After just about 10 minutes of steep climbing, it started raining. Not puring, not drizzling. Steady, constant, irritating rain. We were completely drenched within minutes. Finally we made it somewhere close to the top, and the fjord suddenly came into view! It was a beautiful sight !! Even more so, because of the contrast it presented to the rather boring scenery all along the path!! Long narrow fjord, flanked by table-top mountain ranges on either side with dark clouds hanging over. It was a picture painted straight out of Narnia!
We started our climb down by around 11am (shockingly, we had completed the climb up in 1hour 50 mins, faster than mentioned in any article online). We got back to the parking lot in 1 hour 35 mins, and sped away to the campsite. Upon reaching the campsite, we showered and ate and left by around 2-2.30. The only other spot on our itinerary for the day was the Latefossen waterfall which was pretty much on our way to Odda, our next campsite. Soon after we started driving to Latefossen, the weather improved and for the first time since we landed in Norway, the sun came out. Parts of the drive to Latefossen were pretty and other parts not so much. We got to Latefossen sometime after 7 PM. This was a waterfall right by the roadside. While it was nowhere near Iceland level it was impressive nonetheless. We spent a few minutes getting a few pics with the waterfall in the background and were on our way to the Odda campsite.

We got to the campsite sometime around 9 PM. It was an extremely pretty campsite by the banks of the Hardanger Fjord with partially snow capped mountains surrounding the fjord which is kind of the default scenery of Norway. The next day, we knew was going to be the most challenging day of our trip. We were going to do the famous Trolltunga trek. We needed to sleep off any fatigue from the last 2 days of travelling and driving to make sure we were in ship shape for the next day’s ordeal. Despite the cold, we spread out a sleeping bag and had a quick dinner near the shore of the fjord and soon went back into the car to sleep.

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The Prekestolen summit looking down into the Lysefjord

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Latefossen waterfall

DAY 3: We were up by 5.30 AM knowing this was going to be a very long day as we were going to attempt the Trolltunga trek this day. We got ready and drove down to the starting point of the trek which was about 3 kms from the Odda campsite. We started the trek around 6.45 AM. We were hoping to complete the whole trek in under 12 hrs. We even had a further 200 kms of sightseeing planned after the trek. How foolish the planning was we would only come to know later that evening.

The entire first kilometer of the trek consisted of very steep steps carved out of the rocks on the mountain side. Each step was about 2 feet high and was a stern test of our fitness. There was no gently easing us in the with trolltunga. It took me about half an hour to finish the first kilometre at which point the steps ended too. At the top of the steps I could see my wife as a dot huffing and puffing her way up the stairs, each of which came up to her knee. It was not without apprehension that I rested at the top waiting for her to make her way up. If the first kilometre was a sign of things to come, I had my doubts about her ability to complete this trek.

Finally at the end of the first hour, she reached the top, not unlike a steam engine running out of coals. She took a breather for a few minutes before we set off again. The terrain had changed considerably after the 1st kilometre. We were now in a valley between hills and there was hardly any gradient. Despite the easy terrain, we didn't quicken up too much keeping in mind the gruelling trek ahead. Another 25 mns and we covered another kilometre. It was at this time that we reached for the food in our bags and found out that we didn't stock up for the trek at all. All we had were a couple of khakra packets leftover from the previous day and a few biscuits. All the energy bars we bought specifically for this trek were lying in the parking lot inside the car. Cursing ourselves for being foolish, we began the 3rd kilometre. Slowly the gradient picked up, and our speed came down markedly. The weather had up to this point was cooperating and there was mild sunshine around.

As we went higher up, the snow patches around us became larger. At the end of the fourth kilometre, the entire path ahead of us was covered with snow. We basically had to hike through snow. The weather too started turning. It became quite overcast and there was an intermittent drizzle. Add to that the fact that we barely had any food inside of us and we were really up against it. But once past the 5th kilometre, the landscape was spectacular! The snow cover was thicker and patches of ice shone a bright blue. With the beautiful scenery egging us on, we trudged on at a glacial pace. Along the way we met a girl from hong kong who was also cribbing about how hard the trek was. We chatted her up and after a while, she went on ahead as we were too slow for her. At the 7th kilometre, we came across a bend in the mountain. As soon as we came around the bend, we were rendered speechless. The scenery made all the struggle so worth it. Overlooking the edge of the cliff was the most brilliant fjord we had ever seen, of a deep turquoise color. The fjord was surrounded by brilliant snow capped peaks making the entire scene seem surreal. After two days in norway, we came across a scene that could compete with Iceland for sheer raw beauty.

At this point we stopped for a few pics and some much needed rest. The rest and the scenery gave us the much needed push to push through the last 4 kms. Ploughing through the last 2-3 kilometres on sheer will power, we got to the top at around 1 pm. It took us a little over 6 hours to get there.

It was pure exhilaration that we felt now. We had made it at last to the rock hanging out from the edge of the cliff. The view and the feeling of being suspended over the edge of the mountain with barely a few feet of clearance around me was unbelievable. I went to the edge, peered down cautiously at the 1 km drop into the beautiful fjord, steadied myself for a few seconds at the edge and took in the scenery. My wife was too afraid to go alone to the edge of the rock and so I accompanied her to the edge. The few minutes on the rock bring on goosebumps even 3 years down the line and are probably some of the most exhilarating minutes I have ever experienced.

Finally, after a lunch overlooking the stunning Hardanger fjord, we were on our way down. It was no easier on the way down with the persistent rain making it very slippery. It took us 6 hrs to get back down to the car park. We were famished and were exhausted beyond anything we had experienced before. We stopped and rested countless times in the last 3 kms. We found our food and energy bars and scythed through them. We drove back to the camp site at Odda and at that time of the day, we found no one to even to make a payment. We just changed and fell into such deep slumber we had no awareness of where we were the next morning.

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Me looking into the Hardangerfjord, at around 7kms from the start

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Another one!

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A panorama of the view

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Probably the pic of a lifetime

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Our snowy trail!

Day 4: Our day was to start with Voringfossen, a beautiful waterfall around 90kms from Odda. We started the day at 7.00AM, and enroute decided to take a detour to see the less-well known Sotefossen. The route took us around 8-10kms on a very narrow gravel road. The road suddenly ended, and there was a barrier barring further vehicular movement, and the only way forward was a 3-4m walk (one-way). We decided against doing that. However, right by the side of the road was the water flowing from Sotefossen, icy cold, beautiful green-blue in color, and falling through rocks forming rapids and min-waterfalls. We decided this treat to the eyes alone more than justified the long detour we had taken. We spent around half an hour there, took pics, dared to touch the water once or twice, and then left. We reached Voringfossen by around 9AM. The route took us through tunnels and for the first time ever in all our travels, we saw roundabouts inside tunnels!! Upon reaching Voringfossen, we looked around for instructions on how to get to the base of the waterfall (as we had read about this online). We met an English tourist, who told us that there were about 2-3 viewpoints and that the stairs to the base were closed down. We found our way around a couple of marked trails and saw 3 viewpoints which gave us a view of both the falls and the ravine. We settled on one, which gave us a gorgeous angle of the second waterfall crashing down to our right and the first waterfall looming just ahead of us, with the area of the ravine between the two falls shrouded in mist and slight darkness. We spent around half an hour there.

Next stop on our list was Stegastein. The route took us back towards Odda but branched off northward toward Vossevangen. The drive was nice and had the standard Norwegian setting of mountain on one side and water on the other. After reaching Vossevangen we took a right towards Gudvangen, the place from where the Naeoryfjord cruise starts (one which we had originally planned to do, but decided against since we were taking a lot of ferries through scenic fjords anyway). Upon reaching Gudvangen, we explored the region a bit, and thought about going rowing on a kayak boat. We even enquired about prices, safety etc. however we decided against doing the same as we had to reach Jostedal campsite (our end point for the day) by 8PM. We moved on to Stegastein lookout, and after driving up an extremely narrow road for almost 6-7kms, we made it to the top. The lookout is an artificial structure constructed on the mountain side wherein the deck is supported by structures built into the side of the mountain, but extends well beyond the mountain face. The view was spectacular spanning mountains on either side for as far as the eye could see. The grey-blue and absolutely still waters of the Naeroyfjord, and the dark, misty clouds hanging over the mountain ranges, lent the whole place an ominous yet beautiful aura. One could almost believe that trolls had lived in these mountain ranges, shrouded in mist and mystery.

After gaping at the scenery for a while, we sat on the benches outside the viewing deck and stuffed our faces with Bhelpuri. We left Stegastein at around 4-4.30PM and went on towards Jostedal Campsite, our final destination for the day. We drove to Laerdalsoyri and took the Manheller-Fodnes ferry from there. It was a nice, short ride and we ended up seeing all that we would probably would have seen had we taken the long and expensive Naeoryfjord cruise. Convinced and happy with our decision, we drove on toward Jostedal. Weather and nature started dropping us hints of Jostedal glacier and the camp site, far before we reached it. The sun looked like it would set any moment, and the wind was picking up in intensity. Temperature was dropping as well, but the beautiful milky white water flowing down from the glacier made the last 30-40kms of the drive up to the camp absolutely stunning.

We reached the camp at around 7PM and immediately met Astrid, an old lady who owned and ran the camp and who we had interacted with over mails. She gave us a choice of three cabins and we chose the cosiest, most spacious one. The campsite in itself looked like a tourist spot. Extremely clean, extremely green with small, sloped-roof wooden cabins dotting acres of the campsite land; it looked straight out of a painting! We freshened up, filled water in the river flowing from the glacier, put all our clothes to wash and then set off to spot the glacier. We had decided that we would not do the trek that day since it was late, and we were still recovering from the after effects of Trolltunga.

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An amazing river we found in the wild

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The Voringfossen waterfall

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The Stegastein viewpoint

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Our campsite by the glacial melt of the Nigardsbreen glacier

Day 5: We woke up around 6 AM and having reconnoitered the previous evening, got to the parking lot from where the trek to the Nigardsbreen glacier started. The trek was of light to medium difficulty along the banks of the Glacial lake. As it was very early in the morning, there were absolutely no people in sight. The weather was pleasant with the sun coming out and a cool breeze blowing. We approached the glacier at a glacial pace with the after effects of Trolltunga still being felt.

We got to the base of the glacier in under an hour, took some pics and decided to turn back considering the vast amount of driving ahead of us over the next couple of days. We got back to the car park by a quarter to nine. We had already packed and checked out of the camping site on our way to the trek.

Our next stop for the day was the world famous and much hyped Geiranger cruise. The drive to Geiranger from Jostedalsbreen included the scenic route 55. Our aim was to make the 2 PM cruise from Geiranger to Hellesylt and we thought there was an outside chance we would make the 1 PM one. The drive was close to 250 kms and about 4 hrs according to google maps. But the exhaustion of the previous couple of days caught up with both of us. We started to get really sleepy and had to pull over on the shoulder at a deserted area to take a nap. This put paid to any hopes of making the 1 PM ferry. While the entire route was quite scenic as with any route in Norway, it was only in the last 50 kms that the scenery really picked up. By this time, the wind and rain picked up and added to the beauty of the snowy surroundings. The last 10 kms were covered at snail’s pace thanks to an influx of tourist buses to the Geiranger area. We just about made it to the 2 PM ferry and hoped that the cruise would live up to the hype.

We got the car in line and drove into the ferry with barely a minute to spare. Once the cruise started we naturally headed to the top deck in the cold and blustery conditions. The surroundings were actually a treat to the eyes but we were mightily under prepared for the biting wind and rain. We braved the weather and stood our ground on the top deck absorbing the beautiful surroundings made more so by the weather conditions. We saw a couple of sea gulls flying along the ferry at arm’s length. A few kids started feeding the sea gulls potato chips and from then on they wouldn't leave the ferry at all. We took the opportunity to click a few pics with the sea gulls. The highlight of the cruise though was the seven sisters waterfalls gushing down the sides of the mountains surrounding the fjord. We also saw a Hurtigruten ship sailing close to us. The cruise took about an hour and a half and we were happy that the hype was well worth it.

Our aim this day was to end at a campsite in Trondheim so that we could make the full day's drive to Bodo the next day. But with all the exhaustion of the previous few days we ended up at a campsite about 40 kms short of Trondheim.

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The Jostedalsbreen glacier

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The 7 sisters waterfalls from the Geiranger cruise

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The view from the cruise

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Some tourists on the ferry were feeding chips to the seagulls

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Another one of the 7 sisters.

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Another waterfall on the cruise

Day 6: Even by our crazy driving standards, we were pushing the craziness envelope a bit further. We aimed to get from southern Norway to northern Norway in under 11 hrs with close to 600 kms of driving. We were up by 5.30 AM and started by 6 AM. We reached Trondheim pretty quickly and passed the city before the morning office traffic started showing up. Soon after Trondheim, we hit some highways where my wife took over the driving.

The sun came out and accentuated the beauty of the surroundings. The lakes, the waterfalls and the snow capped mountains with the sun rays reflecting off them all made the drive extremely enjoyable. A couple of hours later we stopped at a gas station for fuel, both for the car and us. We bought bread and a couple of dips to go with some amazing cheese. We had a few sandwiches for lunch while we drove. The further North we went, the starker the surroundings got. Soon, we were pretty far away from towns and cities and would go without seeing vehicles for minutes at a time. Around late afternoon, we approached the arctic circle and saw signs for the arctic circle museum. Considering there were no cars on the road, we were surprised to see hundreds of cars parked in the parking lot of the museum. Apparently, you could get a certificate that you have crossed the arctic circle for 100 Kroner. It was amusing to us that somebody would pay for that. We kept driving and reached Bodo by 5 PM. Towards the end, we were a little fatigued and as is usual with these long drives, my wife dozed off for the last couple of hours. That is when I stepped on the gas and gained some time to give us some buffer to catch the 5.45 PM ferry. Around, 5 PM, we rolled into Bodo and were at the ferry terminal with a good half an hour to spare. The line of cars to the ferry was long and we finally took a small nap before getting on the ferry. We got on the Ferry and got to Lofoten by around 9 PM. The island was a spectacular sight.

There was plenty of light and the nap in the ferry had refreshed us. So, we decided we could explore a few of the beaches before calling it a night. So, we drove the 25 kms from Moskenes to Ramberg through the unbelievably beautiful Lofoten islands. The mountains surrounding the islands were nothing like we had ever seen anywhere else. They were so forbidding it felt like they were giant trolls just waiting to get up and start terrorizing people. It was around 11 PM when we got to the beaches and the sun had just started to set. We got some amazing views in the golden hues of the setting sun so low on the horizon. After the obligatory pics at Ramberg and Skagsanden, we got back to our camp site by midnight.

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Most of the drive looked like this!

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The midnight sun setting in Lofoten at Ramberg beach!

Day 7: The Lofoten islands are home to some of the most amazing and isolated beaches in the world. Of the three beaches that could be accessed only by trekking to them, we decided to do Bunes and Kvalvika. It was to be Bunes this day. The issue with these beaches was that though the treks themselves were very manageable, the starting points of the treks were accessible only by ferries with very limited trips. The onward trip to Bunes was at 10 AM with the return ferry at 4 PM. If the ferry made more frequent trips, we could have probably done both Kvalvika and Bunes on the same day.

We started the day off in a relaxed manner since there was nothing much we could do till 10 AM. We drove to Reine at 9 AM and confirmed the starting point of the ferry. Since we had time to kill, we did some shopping at the local store, ate an ice cream and slowly got back to the ferry dock. By this time, there were a few more tourists gathered around the ferry. The weather was taking a turn for the worse with dark clouds gathered around and constantly howling wind. The ferry took us to Bunes through some of the most forbidding and gorgeous scenery we had ever seen. The sea was a stunning blue-green in color and was surrounded by mountains with patches of snow on them.

We got off the ferry in about half an hour. The trek was from the ferry to the beach was about 2.5 kms. There were only a few buildings on the island but there was no sign of anybody actually living there. The surroundings were all moss covered and provided a beautiful backdrop to the trek. The trek itself was mostly straightforward with the occasional up-hill stretch. We negotiated the path quite easily till we got within a couple of hundred meters of the beach. The beach itself was in a valley which we had to climb down to. It was spectacular sight with both ends of the beach surrounded by aggressive looking mountains. The dark clouds and the ever present wind gave the place an ethereal feel. We walked down to the beach slowly and roamed around the beach for an hour stopping to take pics from time to time. There were only about 12-15 people over all on the beach. After a while, the rain started slowly and we decided to head back to dock and wait for the ferry, having seen yet another wonderful sight in Norway. On the way back, the rain got heavier and after a point it was just pouring down. There was a Swedish couple with their 3 year old son who trekked along with us. We were quite amazed to see the kid trek all the way without complaining about the walk or the weather even once. We got back to the dock at about 1.30 PM totally drenched. Most of our fellow tourists on the morning’s ferry were back with probably a group of 3-4 who were camping there for the night. We dared not imagine what camping there in such adverse weather would be like.

Finally the ferry arrived and we went back to our campsite for that night. That night, we probably faced the worst weather of all our holiday in Norway. The rains lashed the car and the car shook whenever the wind howled. Thankfully, the car did protect us from the cold and we managed to catch a few hours of the sleep we badly needed.

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The forbidding mountains of Lofoten

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The hike to Bunes beach

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Bunes beach!

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A random spot where we had supper!

Day 8: This was the day of driving beaches for us. Our aim was to cover as many beaches as possible. We started with Haukland beach and went via Yittersand, Vittersand, Vik, Utakleiv, Unstad, Eggum and Gimsoy. The beaches were all not too far away from each other and each of them had fantastic views with the surrounding mountains.

The improved weather that morning and the beauty of the beaches did a lot to improve our spirits. One particular sight that stuck us was the sight of a surfer at the Unstad beach carrying his board on a bicycle in the cold and jumping into the sea. It was a thrilling experience just watching him surf as he went up and down the waves. The original plan that day was to cover all the beaches and then see if we could do the Kvalvika trek later that evening. We also wanted to see the Trollfjord which was one of the sights to see in Lofoten. We googled how to do that and came across Lofoten Explorer which offered rib boat safaris to the Trollfjord. This got us really excited and we called them to inquire when their next safari was. It was at 1 PM, and we were about 50 kms away, giving us about an hour and a half to get there. Perfect timing it was. We skipped a couple of the beaches we had planned to see and drove on to Svolvaer, where Lofoten Explorer was located. We got there with about half an hour to spare. We booked our tickets for the rib boat and roamed around the place hunting for some souvenirs. We ended up not buying anything and came back to Lofoten Explorer and suited up for the safari in hideous florescent suits. There were about 15 of us in 2 rib boats. Most of the others belonged to a group of loud American tourists. The captain started off with a little bit about his background and took us through all the safety procedures and made us all feel comfortable on the boat. Soon, we started moving away from the harbor at a gentle speed. In about 5 minutes, once we were out of all the boat traffic around the harbor, the captain pressed on the gas and accelerated at break neck speed. We were all holding on to the vertical metal bars for dear life while the rib boat bounced up and down the Arctic. It was thrilling and terrifying at the same time. The boat wound its way through some remote islands in the ocean towards the Trollfjord. The entrance to the Trollfjord was a narrow path between two snow capped peaks. The captain told us some history about the place. Apparently, in the late 1800s a massive battle took place here between a rich Norwegian family and the common fishermen for fishing rights to the Trollfjord. It was fascinating to imagine how they waged a battle here in the biting cold more than a century ago with their relatively primitive equipment. He also mentioned that the Hurtigruten ship came here every day in the Summer and made a U-turn inside the Trollfjord, which at its widest was barely 80 meters. Unfortunately we were a bit too early to see the ship. It would have been quite a sight. We went to the end of the fjord, spent some time there taking pics, and turned around. Next up was the bald eagle watching. The captain took the boat near some remote islands and had a bag of fish to bait the eagles into coming down so we could see them. For a while, all we could see were the sea gulls. After a while, the captain spotted an eagle and managed to tempt it with the fish in his hand. The eagle swooped down at awe inspiring speeds and caught the fish the captain threw at it. After managing to see some more eagles, we made our way back to the Svolvaer harbor. While the Trollfjord and the eagle watching was great, the most amazing part of the safari was the ride on the rib boat itself, all the more thrilling because it was a spur of the moment decision that led us to doing the safari.

We caught the 6.30 PM ferry that evening and reached Bodo by 10 PM. At Bodo, we found a campsite that was very close to the ferry dock and drove in.

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Our general scenery on this day!

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Rib boat safari views

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The narrow Trollfjord!

Day 9 & 10: We started the drive back towards Oslo (direction-ally) by around 6-6.15 AM. Our destination was Innerdalen valley, where exactly in it, even we didn’t know yet! The drive was beautiful, weaving through national parks and snow, however we hardly stopped anywhere and just kept going. We reached the Innerdalen area by around 4-4.30 PM, after a couple of leisurely breaks to stuff our faces. Closer to the area, we decided to finally google for potential campsites.

We found one, called Myren, just around 5kms from the spot where we stopped to google. We got to the campsite by around 7PM. The place was the definition of pristine. A small clearing, nestled amongst mountains, with five small cabins in it and a stream flowing right by, it was straight out of a book! We were delighted that our last night in Norway would be spent in a gorgeous place like this. However, to our surprise, there was not a single soul in the whole establishment! The only occupants were in a tent which was hooked to a caravan. But there were no signs of movement from within, so we were very reluctant to disturb them. We went back to the reception and called a couple of numbers mentioned on a paper stuck to the window. A lady did answer, however, we could not understand anything as she didn’t speak a word of English. Wondering what to do, and wanting to stay at that campsite at any cost, we started peeking around the cabins. We went from cabin to cabin, and to our further surprise, they were all (but one) unlocked ! Each room also had a price tag hanging outside it citing the price for a night. We were absolutely ecstatic at this marvellous stroke of luck ! We quickly did another round of the cabins and chose the one that looked the roomiest and the best. And guess what, it cost a grand total of 200 NKR, which is ~INR 1500! We just could not believe our good luck. We unpacked, made maggi, stuffed out faces and read away to glory. The evening could have not been more idyllic. We ended the day with a long, blissful sleep.

The next morning, we walked into the Innerdalen valley and took in the pristine surroundings. It was a nice, sunny day and the mountain air really invigorated us. We had nothing else planned that day and by around lunch time, we decided to make our way back to Oslo to catch our flight the next morning, bringing to an end an amazing trip for us.

Camping & Hiking on a road-trip through Norway!-wp_20160623_20_49_22_pro.jpg
Our campsite at Innerdalen valley

Camping & Hiking on a road-trip through Norway!-wp_20160624_09_40_55_pro.jpg
This dreamy cottage in the Innerdalen valley!


Camping & Hiking on a road-trip through Norway!-img_0615.jpg

Last edited by aah78 : 9th October 2019 at 00:24. Reason: Picture inserted in-line.
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Old 7th October 2019, 08:40   #2
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Lovely pics! I've been to Tromso for the Northern Lights in Dec; the sights of Norway (Oslo - Tromso flight) present a terrific picture.

While the Nordic countries have a different charm in winter, with the fjords all decked up with snow, I've been itching to visit them in the summer months to drive around. Hopefully soon!

PS: a summary post with the logistics planning (hotels, car rentals etc.) would be really helpful.
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Old 8th October 2019, 14:27   #3
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Lovely travelogue and equally outstanding photos ! I have stayed in Norway for about 2 years, and can relate to all the places you have mentioned. Brings back a lot of memories with the pics you have posted. I rate Norway as the most beautiful locations among those I have visited (haven't been to many places though ).

Similar to the Latefossen waterfall, there is another waterfall called Kjosfossen, which is on the Flam train route to Sognefjord near the Myrdal station. The train stops here to allow the tourists to see the fall. In summer, a lady dressed as a 'Hulder' (seductive forest creature found in Scandinavian folklore) comes out from behind the boulders near the fall and starts dancing ! It's quite creepy for the kids.
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Old 8th October 2019, 16:04   #4
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Default Re: Camping & Hiking on a road-trip through Norway!

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post

PS: a summary post with the logistics planning (hotels, car rentals etc.) would be really helpful.
Fantastic and a very detailed travelogue!!
Like mentioned above, would like to know more about car rentals and hotel bookings as I plan to visit Norway soon.

Currently in Sweden, and´any inputs you have on the route from Stockholm would be great.
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Old 8th October 2019, 17:56   #5
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Quote:
a summary post with the logistics planning (hotels, car rentals etc.) would be really helpful.
Hotels: We camped everyday of our trip. For campsites, we didn't need any prior booking. We just looked up the campsites close to the places we were going to see that day. For all the campsites, you just drive in, find a place that gives other campers enough privacy and pitch your tent by your car. Most campsites cost around 500 to 1000 INR per head which is damn cheap even by Indian standards.

I will anyhow give the list of the campsites that are either really impressive just by themselves or are a great place to base your sightseeing to some of the very popular places.
  1. Prekestolen camping, Preikestolvegen, 4100 Jorpeland – Norway. This is almost right at the start of the hike to Prekestolen. This is a nice huge camp ground but is generally pretty crowded given how popular Prekestolen is with tourists.
  2. Odda camping. This is a great camping spot since this is on the banks of a fjord. Its also a great base to start the trek to Trolltunga which takes a whole day.
  3. Jostedal Camping. This is close to the very famous Nigardsbreen glacier. A woman named Astrid runs the campsite and has a few log cabins right by the glacial melt that runs off the glacier. Its one of the best camping spots that I have ever been to. This one requires prior booking though. You have to email post@jostedalcamping.no for a prior booking which she will confirm over email.
  4. Moskenes camping site - E10 250, 8392 Sørvågen, Norway. This one is in Lofoten and is a great spot to base your Lofoten exploration.
  5. Myren camping, Sunndalsvegen 61, 6600 Sunndalsøra, Norway. This is in the Innerdalen valley which is one of the most beautiful locales in Norway. The camp is right by a stream nestled between some imposing mountains and waterfalls.

Car Rental: We booked this on the Europcar site, which is an aggregator and got an Avis rental at the Oslo airport. This was really seamless and the service was great, though we only got a Polo for our 10 day trip. Its a good idea to get an international driver's permit done before you go though most car rentals don't require it. This one in Norway only asked for our Indian driver's license and passport. It cost 35k INR for the entire rental. Its a good idea to book a more powerful vehicle since Norway is very mountainous and an underpowered Polo was a little bit of a downer on our trip. I would generally advice people to just use Google Maps through all of Europe and save on the GPS rental. In fact, our GPS malfunctioned and delayed us by a couple of hours on our first day after which we stopped using it. The Avis rental was so nice as to refund our entire GPS rental.

Edit: Added driver's ID requirements

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Old 8th October 2019, 21:41   #6
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Default Re: Camping & Hiking on a road-trip through Norway!

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Originally Posted by Maddy3008 View Post
Similar to the Latefossen waterfall, there is another waterfall called Kjosfossen, which is on the Flam train route to Sognefjord near the Myrdal station. The train stops here to allow the tourists to see the fall. In summer, a lady dressed as a 'Hulder' (seductive forest creature found in Scandinavian folklore) comes out from behind the boulders near the fall and starts dancing ! It's quite creepy for the kids.
I did read about that before my trip. Though the Flam-Myrdal route is quite stunning, its generally overrun by tourists. One of our main aims when we go on vacation is to avoid the touristy places as much as possible. There is a national scenic route in Norway numbered 42(IIRC) which has similar scenery but you hardly see any tourist traffic on that route. We did that drive instead.
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Old 8th October 2019, 22:33   #7
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Default Re: Camping & Hiking on a road-trip through Norway!

Lovely travelogue! Since you have been to both Iceland and Norway, I would like to know which country you liked the most and why?

Just recently, I also did a road trip across Iceland for 2 weeks and loved the natural beauty of the country. I have been to Norway as well, but haven't travelled up till the north yet.

Spike
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Old 9th October 2019, 10:12   #8
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Lovely travelogue! Since you have been to both Iceland and Norway, I would like to know which country you liked the most and why?

Just recently, I also did a road trip across Iceland for 2 weeks and loved the natural beauty of the country. I have been to Norway as well, but haven't travelled up till the north yet.

Spike
Oh Iceland hands down! Iceland is 10/10 on natural beauty. Every trip we have done after Iceland, we compare it with Iceland. Norway comes the closest with a 8 on 10. Iceland is just wilder, has more varied scenery, from the brilliant green in the Golden circle area to the black/red/maroon Mars like scenery of the volcanic areas in the North. Just another level altogether.
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Old 9th October 2019, 12:00   #9
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Default Re: Camping & Hiking on a road-trip through Norway!

Awesome! Am sure not many can manage to keep up with the hectic schedule that you charted.



A few follow up questions:
  1. Could you share the time of the year when you visited?
  2. How family friendly was your trip? In particular, did you come across any children at the camp sites?
  3. You mentioned that you came across a 3 year old. Any other child that you came across while trekking?
  4. An overview of the camping process - where to procure tents, safety instructions, how did you manage to stay warm etc?
  5. An indication of overall budget will be helpful too.
Thanks.
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Old 9th October 2019, 12:15   #10
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Oh Iceland hands down! Iceland is 10/10 on natural beauty. Every trip we have done after Iceland, we compare it with Iceland. Norway comes the closest with a 8 on 10. Iceland is just wilder, has more varied scenery, from the brilliant green in the Golden circle area to the black/red/maroon Mars like scenery of the volcanic areas in the North. Just another level altogether.
Is an Iceland travelogue in the pipeline too?
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Old 9th October 2019, 12:47   #11
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Originally Posted by swami View Post
Awesome! Am sure not many can manage to keep up with the hectic schedule that you charted.

A few follow up questions:
  1. Could you share the time of the year when you visited?
  2. How family friendly was your trip? In particular, did you come across any children at the camp sites?
  3. You mentioned that you came across a 3 year old. Any other child that you came across while trekking?
  4. An overview of the camping process - where to procure tents, safety instructions, how did you manage to stay warm etc?
  5. An indication of overall budget will be helpful too.
Thanks.
Ya, I agree that its difficult to keep up with the kind of hectic schedule my wife and I generally plan. We are able to do it because my wife does at least a 3rd of the driving and I generally need only 5-6 hrs of sleep to recharge.

1. We did this trip from 15th to 25th June, 2016 to be precise. Its generally a good idea to keep your trips to June or later if you are planning treks as the snow doesn't fully melt on the mountains before that. On our Trolltunga trek, we still found quite a bit of snow.
2. There were quite a few families with kids at all our campsites, though all of them were either European or American. Western parents tend to take kids along on outdoor trips right from when they are infants and kids get used to it very quickly.
3. For Summers in Norway, as long as you don't plan to do wild camping (which is totally allowed in all of Scandinavia) on mountains, a 0-5 degree tent that you get at Decathlon should do. Get a sleeping bag of the specification and you are golden. If you don't want to carry the stuff from over here, you can rent it out in Oslo too though I took it from here. Apart from this, we just had one waterproof jacket each with an attached cap which we used mainly against the rain since daytime temperatures are a pretty manageable 10-20 degrees C.
4. Budget in INR: Our tickets cost about a lakh to and fro for 2 of us put together. 35k for the car rental and 8k for the tolls which they charge post your trip according to which roads you have used. 40k for fuel. Another 15 - 20k for campsite and log cabin accommodations. 20k for food, but we mostly stuck to Indian food that we carried or bread, cheese, veggies and snacks which we procured from supermarkets. We were limited by the fact that we are vegetarian. If you want to explore the local cuisine or eat out more, its very expensive and you should add another 50k to your budget for 10 days.

Overall, we did our trip for well under 2.5 lakhs. But if you want to stay at hotels or airbnbs and be more generous with food spend, add another lakh and you can do a trip in much greater comfort.
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Old 9th October 2019, 12:51   #12
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Is an Iceland travelogue in the pipeline too?
Yes, planning to do that this weekend.
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Old 13th October 2019, 01:34   #13
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Default Re: Camping & Hiking on a road-trip through Norway!

Thanks for the awesome travelogue.

You have well written the difficulty of the trek to Trolltunga.
Also you did a lot of driving in Norway, that's really commendable.
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Old 13th October 2019, 11:51   #14
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You have well written the difficulty of the trek to Trolltunga.
Also you did a lot of driving in Norway, that's really commendable.
Trolltunga would have been difficult without our faux pas of forgetting to pack our food, but given the conditions it felt like the crowning achievement of our lives.
All our vacations involve lots of driving. I think the least amount of driving we have done is probably is 3500 kms.
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