Posts Tagged With: wolves

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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


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.

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.



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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The local experience in Scanno

While I’m having a shower (this time it’s warm!), Logan is trying to prepare the van. When I come back he tells me what just had happened: When he disposed the toilet contents into the drain, it splashed back onto his hands. Hahahaha!

At 11am we are being picked up by three Italians: Toni, Guido and his girlfriend, none of them speaking English. Since Logan was talking about a four-wheel drive adventure, we expected a 4WD but instead they arrive in a black Golf IV. They take us up to Scanno where we are supposed to leave our Globetrotter and then jump into the car with them. We have no idea where we are going; we can’t even ask them because they don’t understand us and I really don’t like this.

Toni drives into a little yard and there is the 4WD – an old Defender. We swap cars and with Toni and Guido in the front and Logan, Guido’s girlfriend and myself in the back. There are no seats, only two metal side benches and a spare tire in the middle.


Once we got onto the 4WD track I start to enjoy the crazy ride, while Guido’s girlfriend seems to get greener in her face. With the cliff dropping hundreds of meters next to us, we drive up a rocky gravel road for about half an hour. While we get higher and higher up the mountain, the views get better and better. Still not knowing where exactly we are going, we arrive at a mountain hut in a place called Jovanna. It is Toni’s home. The hut is built with natural rock and cement and has a big wooden door. Inside he’s got a dining table with chairs on a cold stone floor and a big fireplace above which is a bull’s skull with boots hung up on the horns. There’s also a wheel barrow inside filled with wood. In the corner I discover a large jug filled up to the top with cork from whine bottles. The same moment Guido pours us a glass of red whine, supposedly the best red whine in all of Italy. We sit down in front of the fire trying to warm up. Meanwhile Toni and Guido’s girlfriend disappear upstairs and prepare our spaghetti.

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Guido, Logan and I go to pick up some fresh cheese from the neighbour. He’s digging in the sand with a tractor when we arrive and jumps out with a big smile to greet us. Back at Toni’s house, we cut up some fresh bread and put the cheese on top. How very delicious!

For lunch we are going upstairs into Toni’s kitchen and are being served with some great pasta and real Italian tomato sauce. It is amazing how basic everything is. There is no electricity in the house at all. No computer, no TV, no telephone, no kitchen appliances. The pasta was cooked on a wood fired stove. Toni calls himself “lupus solitare”, the solitary wolf and Guido calls him “The mountain man”. I’m amazed about what a happy go lucky person he is. He keeps talking on in Italian and doesn’t care if we don’t understand.

After lunch, we head over to Toni’s only two neighbours: The farmer we just got the cheese from, and his father just up the hill. The old man has about 12 sheep dogs, two of them being puppies, goats, a little (big! And curious!!!) fawn, ducks and lambs. Again everything is very basic and somewhat impressive to Westerners like us. The old man shows us deer skulls hanging up on a tree which were killed by wolves when they were trapped in deep snow. Apparently deer find it hard to travel quickly in deep snow, whereas wolves are very quick and agile in snow.

We walk back down the hill to the son, who is about Logan’s age I’d say and are given some home made radish liquor. The ranger also drops by and we are all having a “chat”, with us guessing words and using hands and feet for communication. We find out that Toni is 39 and Guido 40 years old. I suppose I’m feeling more comfortable by now and enjoy learning some Italian. He tells us that his house is actually a restaurant and guesthouse for hikers, who are mostly German, Austrian and Swiss. But since it’s only April, the season hasn’t started yet. I think Logan loves it that much, he’d like to live here for a while and he asks if they got employees for the season. He responds that his mother does the cooking and his brother is the builder and helps out as a waiter. It is a lovely place and we keep seeing animals around, still hoping for a wolf or a bear to turn up.


Toni suggests we should go for a “real” four-wheel drive now! So we all hop back into the Defender and ride through the deepest mud a 4WD could possibly get through. I have no words for describing the next hour of driving but I don’t think it get’s any more “off-road” that this!!! Logan, who is experienced in 4WD-ing in sand, is astonished how we keep getting through mud, water, rocks, grass and dirt. Holding on with two hands, both feet and still filming this amazing ride, is hard work, but we manage to get some footage and will upload it onto YouTube as soon, as we get internet here in Italy!

With the Defender covered in mud to the top, we stop by a nice restaurant near Scanno. Again, we are out of season and no one is here. Since the locals know each other we all get a free beer and crackers while having an Italian gobbledygook chat. The owner shows us video footage of wolves he’s filmed right outside of the restaurant and Guido shows us a video on YouTube of bears roaming through the centre of Scanno.

Guido says: “We go back now to Toni’s house for more spaghetti.” I look at Logan, slightly surprised and think, well, even though I’ve enjoyed the day so far, I would like to go home soon. I don’t want to be rude, so we are going back with them for dinner. Back at Toni’s house, we come to realisation what it is like not to have electricity and lights. All we got is fire for light and warmth.


We are being served spaghetti with olive oil and garlic and a few more wines. Time passes by and soon it’s 10pm. I really feel like going home and I also wonder how much Toni has been drinking. Surely, he’d be sober still?!
Logan says: “Maybe we are staying the night?!” I hope he is joking…!!!

Finally we are heading back. I think. But when getting to Scanno, we suddenly stop at a pub. I give Logan signs in all possible ways, without being rude, but he doesn’t get it and we are going inside, all of the boys having another drink. Logan wants to show them how much we appreciate their hospitality, by shouting them a Jagermeister shot. I thought it was nice of him but on the other hand I’m getting concerned about Toni’s driving skills.
Finally we are back in the car with Toni and Guido. First we drop off Guido somewhere near the lake and then drive back to Scanno. Toni then tells us, that he hasn’t got a driver’s license, nor is his car registered. When a police car appears in front of us, he throws up both his arms in the air, shouting: Polizia!!!

Great, I’m thinking. A few minutes later, we arrive back at the yard to swap cars. Back in the Golf IV, we are driving backwards.. against a big rock! Logan and I look at each other shocked. Toni instead says: Tranquilo, Tranquilo! (stay calm) He gives it another try, this time past the rock and with quite some momentum against the concrete wall! He just demolished his car! Toni keeps saying: Tranquilo, tranquilo! I’m hoping we make it back to our Campervan without any more incidents. Suddenly we stop: at the pub again. Logan doesn’t want to be rude but I’ve had enough. “Toni, Campervan! NOW!” He says: “Ora?” I assume it means “now” and say “yes!”. Then Guido walks up to the car and we say good bye to each other and thank you for the lovely day and hospitability. Finally Toni takes us back to the Campervan and I’m just relieved we are back safe and sound.

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Lago di Scanno

It has been raining all night and I’m so glad we were able to heat the van. There is a new layer of snow only a couple of hundred meters above us.

We quickly unplug electricity and re-connect the hot dog van. Then we make our way up the 25km road to Campo Imperatore, a hotel in which Mussolini was held captive and then freed by Hitler’s SS in 1943.

After only a few minutes we get to a closed boom gate.


Now the only way to Corno Grande is by foot up the steep snow-covered mountain. Logan seriously considers this option but I remind him that it’s probably quite nasty up there, not to mention the danger involved (which he doesn’t want to hear about). A bit disappointed we leave Fonte Cerretto and head towards another lake: Lago di Scanno. A scenic drive through the mountains and a clearing sky lift up the mood quickly.

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I found a campsite on the lake called “Camping i Lupi” or “wolves camp” supposed to be open year-round. Upon arrival we can’t find anyone, no receptionist nor any guests. Of course! So I call the number provided and hope for the person to speak English and surprisingly, she does! I’m being told that the “guard” is in Scanno with his family and will be at the campsite within 15 minutes, so we just wait.

I read 8Euros for campervan per night and when we’re being told it’s 21 Euros, we are quite shocked. 21?? So he explains (in Italian) that it’s 8 Euros for the Campervan and 6,50 Euros per person per night. Aha! Oh well, we need a place to stay and I was already looking forward to a warm shower and heating. We pick a place right on the edge of the plateau with a nice view over the lake and over to a hilltop village.


I then grab my towel and toiletry bag and run up to the showers. I can hardly wait to jump under the warm water, as pretty much all my showers so far have been ice cold. I turn on the tap and wait for the water to get warmer. And I wait. And wait… and wait… ! It doesn’t get warm. It’s not ice cold but it’s also nowhere near warm!!! Did we just pay 21 Euros for this? I’m so angry. I hurry to get clean quickly and jump out, looking forward to blow-drying my hair, as my head is cold now. Electricity in the bathrooms doesn’t work either. You just got to be kidding!!! I run down to the van and blow dry myself warm for ages.

Logan wants to go for a bike ride around the lake but since I just had my shower and I know he likes to ride really fast, I think it’s best to let him ride by himself.


While he’s out, I hand-wash all the laundry in the bathroom. It’s taking me a long time and I’m hoping for Logan to come back soon to help me out. A couple of hours later, I’m still washing clothes, he walks into the women’s bathrooms (no worries, no one else is here anyway) and I smell alcohol and cigarette smoke. “What have you been up to?” His tongue heavy, he says: “I have a plan for us tomorrow!” and it dawns on me. “You and I are invited for Spaghetti tomorrow somewhere! I met some Italians and they are going to take us four wheel driving!”

Hang on?! I have been going on about Italians and their insane driving and now Logan wants me to jump into a car with strangers to go 4WD-ing? No no no no! I’m feeling very uncomfortable with this but Logan says, they are coming to pick us up tomorrow at 11am. Logan has little understanding for my worries and celebrates his accomplishment outside by himself.

Not really knowing who these people are and where we are going tomorrow, I have trouble sleeping…


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