Norway – fjords from Bergen to Ålesund
Summer is a perfect time for holidays, also for us. Since we love spending time actively, and clearly the North attracts us the most, after amazing Iceland (vol 1 i vol 2) we decided to go to the next country from our travel TO DO list, which was Norway. Our plan was the following. Take a flight from Gdańsk to Bergen (0dnośnik), put a backpack with a tent on our back, and hit the road, heading away by public transport about 450 km north to Ålesund, visiting remarkable fjords and mountains on the way, which are perfect for trekking.
After two days spent in beautiful Bergen (Bergen for the weekend), we got on a bus going in the direction of Ålesund. I can only speak for us, but we were really happy about selecting the public transport. After a few holidays where we travelled by car, it was a positive change for us. And travelling with the awareness that everything you have is on your back, getting to know local people and having the opportunity to observe the views from the bus window, including the person who usually drives a car – was truly unique.
After a few hour drive and one ferry, we stopped in Loen, near the largest glacier on continental Europe – Josteldalsbreen (487 km sq). Loen turned out to be a really small town with 1 shop, located in the Lodalen Valley, at the Lake Lovatnet. The first thing that amazed us after getting off the bus was the color of the lake, incredibly turquoise – blue, water so clear and clean, almost crystalline. After a few kilometer walk, we reached camping Sande located at the lake Lovatnet. It was definitely one of the best camp sites, we’ve slept in. We have not seen such great conditions with relatively small price anywhere else (80 NOK for a night and tent for two). The location of this camp was also unusual, having a view on one of the glacier tongues accompanied by mountains and a beautiful lake. View just like from a postcard.
Our trekking goal in this area was the Mountain Skåla (1848m). Remembering this great trail makes me want to buy a ticket and fly there again. Although being on the trail wasn’t that easy. It is quite a challenging mountain, nowhere else in Norway will you find a bigger difference in altitude from fjord to summit. The views along the route are spectacular, from green meadows, mountain streams and waterfalls, to thousands of steps of stone and steep approaches. The last 3-4 km lead through a rocky and windy area. At the summit there is a self-service cabin with most unique view on the glacier and mountains.
Unfortunately due to rainy weather, we needed to cancel our trip to the glacier. At least we have one more reason to come back to this region, because as for now it was our favorite one, when it comes to Norway.
Our next stop was Hellesylt, famous for Geiranger fjord, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Again a very small city with few houses, 2 shops, 2 camp sites but many more tourists. You can get to Geiranger fjord with a ferry (around 400 NOK) or by hiking one of the surrounding mountains. We have obviously chosen the second option. And this is where everything started to get messed up. Because of the rain, trails were wet, very slippery and dangerous. The mountain we’ve chosen turned out to be very steep and the trail instead of zigzags was almost straight up. In such moments, what you fight with the most are not the conditions, but yourself, crossing the breaking point. But I know one thing, despite the difficulty of the ascent and descent, the view from the top to the fjords was worth the sacrifice.
After a week of travelling we have finally reached Ålesund, where we had our return flight. A town called Art Nouveau, gem of Norway, which completely burned down in early twentieth century. One German guy who was totally in love in this city has sponsored the rebuild, attracting well-known architects. This is how the town rose with such consistent architecture. For us though it was a little disappointment. We had this impression that somehow this city is lifeless. Yes, there were tourists and some local people as well, but clearly it was lacking spirit, places to go, things to do. Fortunately, in the middle of the city there was a small hill Aksla (189m) with 400 steps, with a great view on the town and surrounding islands. This is where (and also in coffee shops) we spent most of the time. Summarizing Ålesund – yes, but only for a few hours, not two (extremely long) days as in our case.