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Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Summer Road Trip Through Norway Part II

We spend the second week of our road trip through Norway last summer in the area that this country is probably most famous for: The west coast with its stunning fjords. Traveling to Norway and not seeing the fjords is like visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower: They are simply a quintessential – though not the only – part of this country and one of the most impressive creations of nature. There are too many fjords to count, but what stood out to me on our travels was how different they all were. Each fjord seems to have its own characteristics and unique beauty and that’s what makes driving along the west coast so interesting and fun!

Day 7: Trondheim

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Trondheim was the northernmost point of our journey, but funnily enough also the one where we had the best weather. We visited the Scandinavia’s largest cathedral, saw the Norwegian Crown Jewels and climbed up to the Kriastiansten Festning and just all around had a beautiful day.

Day 8: Towards the Fjords

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From Trondheim, we headed towards the south again. Seeing the Norwegian coast for the first time was magical. We hadn’t reached the fjords yet, but you could see the landscape slowly change in front of your eyes. Where the coast was relatively flat at first, hills and later mountains started to rise up after a while creating an absolutely beautiful image in connection with the sea. We spend most of the day driving and I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I would have wanted, but all the images of that day are still vividly on my mind.

Day 9: Trollstigen & Geirangerfjord

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The next day was another highlight of our trip. We drove up the famous Trollstigen, a national tourist route that is famous for its many narrow hairpin curves and the amazing scenic views over the surrounding area. It’s not a paradise for people who are terrified of heights, but one of the most famous roads in Norway.

We drove on to the Geirangerfjord, a small, but mighty fjord that is one of the prime tourist attractions of Norway. Its natural beauty is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and multiple cruise ships make the trek from the sea each day, but its magic is most apparent once the ships and the masses of people they carry have left the fjord and the town of Geiranger becomes a quaint and quiet village again.

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Day 10: Driving Further South

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After the excitement on the Trollstigen and in Geiranger, we had a quieter day driving further towards the south. The weather turned again, revealing a more gloomy side of Norway. I tend to prefer the look of photographs shot on a sunny day, but then ended up taking one of my favorite pictures of the entire trip at a random road side stop at an unknown fjord.

Day 11: Sogne- and Nærøyfjord

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We reached Norway’s longest fjord, the Sognefjord, the next day bathed in the most beautiful sunshine. We took the car ferry along the Sognefjord for a bit and then all through the Nærøyfjord, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the narrowest fjords in Norway.

Day 11: Hardangerfjord

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We were almost at our final destination, Bergen, already and spent the last proper day of our road trip driving along the Hardangerfjord, one of the largest fjords in Norway. We walked from Norheimsund to the Steindalsfossen, a waterfall behind which you can walk and it started to occur to me that I was going to live in this country for the next year. An admittedly scary, but also very exciting thought.

Day 12: Arrival in Bergen

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After twelve days of driving through Norway we finally arrived in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city after Oslo. I saw the famous Bryggen area for the first time in my life, had some great seafood at the Fisketorget (how I decided to become a vegetarian after having had King Crab is beyond me) and reluctantly admitted to myself that this was a place where one could live. One journey came to an end, but a whole new one started right then and there.

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