One of thing that I love the most about traveling through Norway is that there aren’t any destinations: Norway is the destination itself. There are highlights, yes, but in the end a Norway vacation doesn’t just consist out of Bergen, Oslo and the Geirangerfjord – it’s traveling from town to town that is the appeal. And it’s because of that that I am convinced that traveling the country by car is the best way to go, at least if you’re only there for a limited amount of time.
After our amazing hike in Jotunheimen, we headed up north towards Trondheim and passed some great scenery on the way. Our first stop was at Ridderspranget (translates to Knight’s Jump), a gorge located at the R 51 near of Randsverk. According to legend, there was a quarrel between two local knights that resulted in one ‘stealing’ the other knight’s bride. On their flight, they had to pass the river Sjoa, so the knight took the woman and jumped with her over to the other side of the gorge, which his opponent didn’t dare to do.
I was expecting the gorge to be much wider (and make the story seem much less probable), so I was surprised to notice that jumping over to the other side actually seemed like a realistic endeavor. Not that I would try or ever recommend that someone else should try it, but if I was trying to escape from an angry knight that wants my head on a platter, I’d probably do it, too.
Lom Stave Church
Our next stop was at the Lom Stave Church. Lom is one of the gateway towns to Jotunheimen in the North of the National Park, but it’s not just mountain scenery that makes this town worth a stop. Lom is also home to one of Norway’s preserved Stave Churches.
Stave Churches can be found all over Norway and are built in a particular architectural style that combines traditional Christian elements with remnants of the Nordic heritage of this country. How often have you seen dragon gracing the outside of a church? They are also built from wood, which is typical for Norwegian architecture and adds another level of interest.
I dare say I have been to plenty of old churches in my life already – so many in fact, that it takes a lot to impress me. I feel that a lot of churches in Central Europe just kind of look the same. Thus, it was so refreshing to be introduced to a new type of church and to start wondering what worship must be like in this atmosphere. I don’t know a whole lot about Christianity in Norway, but I do wonder how this country with its rough surroundings has shaped the faith of its people. (Apparently, there’s a reason why Nordic mythology is so much tougher than Greek mythology)
I don’t think this place has a name, but this just goes to show what I mentioned in the beginning of this post: Even the places that aren’t in Guide Books are full of natural beauty. This was close to our accommodation for the night and just a reminder that nature is full with our earth’s little wonders.
Where would you like to go on a road trip?