Posts Tagged With: national park

Bergen to Jostedalsbreen National Park

After 2 days we are leaving Bergen but not without seeing the stave church (a wooden church built by the Vikings). There are 28 stave churches in the country but this one is going to be our first one. Unfortunately it is not original anymore but has been rebuilt.

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Driving along road 16, we pass the Tvinnefoss, a majestic and very impressive waterfall. It has been raining a lot last night so there is a vast amount of water coming down. At the tourist shop I then find a postcard of the waterfall in winter: completely frozen!!! Absolutely amazing.
We also buy some more lures to be able to go fishing in lakes as well. Before Gudvangen we spend the night at a lake but again Logan doesn’t catch any fish. This lake may actually be too far away from the fjords and only have smaller fish…?

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The next day we are driving through the world’s longest road tunnel. 24.5km of boring blackness? No, when you make it to quarter, half and three quarters of the tunnel, you will see a spectacularly lit up part of the tunnel, reminding me of an ice cave.

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After the tunnel we take a right turn to get to Borgund where one of Norway’s oldest and best preserved stave churches is located. On the way we drive past a former excavation site where Viking combs, jewelry, keys and other objects have been found when building a new road from Bergen to Oslo in 2009.

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Borgund Stave Church:

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Eventually we turn around, taking the historic route, and cross one of the many arms of the Sognefjord with the ferry, to get to Jostedalsbreen National Park, the place with the largest glacier on the European mainland.
One of the many glacier tongues is the Nigardsbreen glacier. The last part of the road is actually a toll road, we pay 30NOK and get there just in time before sunset. Unfortunately the sun is only still reaching the mountain peaks, not the glacier anymore but we still get to see the fascinating shades of blue in the ice. A raging current is coming out underneath the glacier, forming a lake.
The glacier was measured to move up to 1.5m downward per day, therefore it is not the safest place to be in. We take some footage and enjoy a few minutes of looking into the icy blue colours of the giant before we have to leave.

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Trolltunga, Norway

Another popular hike is the one to the Trolltunga or troll’s tongue north east of Odda.
As this hike is supposed to take 8-10 hours return and we have already done 3 walks together (one of them to Kjeragbolten took 5-6 hours and I was totally shattered after that one!) I decided to let Logan go to Trolltunga by himself. This way I wouldn’t hold him up and he could go his speed.
I meanwhile washed all the clothes again we had in the washing machine in town yesterday and didn’t get clean (oh what fun). So while I’m busy boiling up water, soaking clothes, washing, scrubbing, soaking, hanging out clothes and start all over again, Logan is racing up and down the mountains between Folgefonna and Hardangervidda National Park.

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About 4 hours later I hear a voice behind me: “Ah washing clothes, are you?!” LOGAN?!?!? I was surprised but I wasn’t. I thought he might take about 6 hours, with 4 he surprised even me a bit! So here you see why I can’t keep up with him!!!
He said the Germans who left before him, came his way half an hour after he reached the Trolltunga! So they were WAY behind.
There’s a free toilet and warm shower provided at the car park which we make use of before leaving and driving on to Eidfjord.
Actually going to Eidfjord wasn’t exactly the plan. We are planning on catching the ferry from a place called Brimnes, before Eidfjord but we didn’t have any cash on us and had no idea whether the ferry accepts credit cards. Just in case we keep on driving to get cash out in the next town which happens to be an absolutely beautiful little haven called Eidfjord! A large cruise ship, the AIDA, has docked here and after getting out some cash, we decide to stay the night here – right at the Hardangerfjord, in a no mobile home zone! Well seriously, the sign is so tiny that we see it much later when we had already hung out all the clothes in the sun to dry. We didn’t move anymore and fortunately no-one seemed to bother.

Guess what’s for dinner? Rissoles (in German: Klöpse – very important to know!) with vegetables and mushroom sauce.

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In the morning we couldn’t help ourselves but drive a little further in the “wrong” direction to have a look at this popular waterfall, the Voringfoss. On the way we discover a nature centre where we think we could possibly pick up some more info on the Hardangervidda, a mountain plateau which is now a protected national park. The whole plateau is above the tree line and due to it’s year-round alpine climate, arctic animals such as the polar fox or reindeer can be found here; further south than anywhere else in Europe.
Since it is very rare to see reindeer, bears, wolves or foxes, we choose to buy tickets to the centre which include a fabulous movie shown on a wide screen (actually 5 screens). Geography, flora and fauna are shown from the perspective of a helicopter flight and while watching, we sometimes get dizzy when the helicopter turns or flies through small gorges etc. The video alone is worth the entrance fee of 120 NOK (about 16€/$20). After the video we have a look at the very informative exhibition as well.

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This is what we see when we exit the exhibition, do you see this too???

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YES! It’s a goat on top of a roof! In Norway there are many houses with natural grasses growing on top of roofs. This one is being utilized as a goat’s pasture at the same time!

Then we drive on to Vøringfoss from where we have an impressive view over the country side and a 182m deep gorge in which the waterfall drops into.

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There’s also a tourist shop nearby offering all these Norwegian things again, for example these postcards:

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More on the Hardangerfjord and Bergen in the next post!

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Buerbreen Glacier, Norway

We heard and read about Odda, the gateway to two national parks, Folgefonna and Hardangervidda, and to various hikes like Buerbreen Glacier or Trolltunga.
The national parks are home to the largest wild reindeer population in Europe, to a few brown bears, polar foxes, red foxes wolverines and wolves.

To get to Odda, we are driving along road 13, having to catch the ferry again to cross the fjord between Hjelmeland and Nesvik. This one is only about 12€ / $14 as it’s really just a 10min crossing.
We keep going all the way to Odda along the popular tourist road 13 with its beautiful lakes, mountains and waterfalls.

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A tourist shop has cleverly opened up next to the spectacular views of this waterfall and of course we have to have a look. Warm woolen socks, troll figures, Viking accessories, stickers, cups, books etc all showing either the Norwegian flag, trolls, elks or ..of course.. vikings. We’d love to buy a few things but $30 for a pair of socks or $25 for a little troll figure? Not really.. Maybe we find a cheaper tourist shop in Bergen or Oslo.

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Arriving in Odda, we park up at the fjord, next to a camper service area and even toilets. They are located in the bus waiting area, as well as electricity sockets – all for free.

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As its Sunday, no shops are open, so we just go for a walk through town before getting ready for bed.

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In the morning we collect some reading material from the tourist information and ask for a Telenor shop to see if I could finally get my sim card activated, but again no luck. Odda has no shopping centre, just 3 supermarkets.

Then we head off to the Buerbreen Glacier just a few km south west of Odda. The walk is supposed to take between 2.5 to 3 hours return.

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Again this is quite a challenging hike where we need to climb up bolders and rock faces by holding on to ropes or chains. Almost the entire hike leads along the rapid river coming from the glacier above. The higher we ascend, the better views we get.

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At the end of the hike the way is cut off by the river and unless you have climbing gear with you to hook yourself onto a wire cable, it’s impossible to cross the rapids and get to the glacier. We have also read many warnings about going into the glacier as it is very dangerous and should only be done with an experiencend guide and proper equipment.
We take a couple of photos at the end of the hike before descending quickly as the river brings down icy cyclone-like winds. On the way down we find a lovely spot near the river to have lunch, before returning to the car park. An absolute chaos of cars and campervans awaits us at the bottom. There are so many vehicles up here and the street is only wide enough for one car, that now no-one is moving anymore. Some want to leave, some want to get in and nothing’s happening. It takes about 20minutes until we finally get out and drive back to Odda. Here we get some mince for Spaghetti Bolognese tonight, do our washing and charge the video camera.
Unfortunately the washing machine st the tourist information didn’t wash out the mud of our clothes, nor the smoky smell of the camp fire the other night. Looks like I’ll have to hand-wash everything again tomorrow!

Here is a mix of photos of the rock piles along the river, the lovely long-haired cows/bulls and also of Logan’s undies hanging out of the van to dry and his freshly shaved face! He hasn’t shaved in over a year I think, he always only trims his facial hair, so I keep giggling every time I see him now.
He he he he

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Manfredonia and Gargano NP

 

We are getting our push bikes ready to discover Manfredonia today. First we are riding along the (polluted – for Australian standards) beach and then head into the city. The cliffs in the background look interesting to us and we are planning on driving up there after some sightseeing in Manfred.

 

Most of the city’s buildings are white and joint to each other with balconies. The streets are small but since it’s Sunday, everyone is out on the streets and walking into the cathedral.

 

We are riding back to our van and then make our way to the Gargano National Park (the home of Gargamel – I’m kidding!). To get there we have to drive very high up over the

cliff and mountains on which Monte Sant’ Angelo is situated. The views are impressive but we keep going further inland, into the National Park, where we find ourselves a beautiful little spot in the ancient forest, covered with a green canopy.

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