Na Iceland we prosecute the roadtrip through Southern Norway with our 4×4 camper. The ferry slowly enters the harbor of Kristiansand from Hirtshals in Denmark. It is very busy on the boat. Many families with children and cars with ski boxes. A mix between Danes and Norwegians. The boat has many amenities on board so that no one will be bored during the three-hour quiet crossing.
It soon appears that the tension is unnecessary, the people are remarkably friendly and speak fluent English. Traffic moves quietly through the streets and everything looks clean and modern.
First we visit a gas dealer to have our bottles filled. In Norway it is allowed - unlike many other European countries - to have your own bottles filled. The gas in Norway is not expensive. Later it turns out that this is about the only thing that is not expensive.
Table of contents
We start our roadtrip through Southern Norway in Kristiansand. Kristiansand is a nice place - the fourth largest city in Norway in terms of population - and of course connected to the sea. Trade and fishing play an important role. We take a look at the center and on the adjacent peninsula of Odderøya. We take a walk and see many relics from earlier times, cannons and trenches.
Panorama Route Flekkefjord-Egersund
We are prosecuting the roadtrip through Southern Norway via the Flekkefjord-Egersund panoramic route. On the way to the beginning of this panoramic road we see the construction of the new highway from Kristiansand to Stavanger. We witness huge bridges and tunnels under construction, on which many hundreds of people are working simultaneously. Via emergency roads we cross left and right between the cranes, bulldozers and equipment with which rocks are blown up. A spectacular sight.
From Flekkefjord begins a stunning stretch of road with breathtaking views. Waterfalls and jagged rocks in various shapes and sizes caress our eyes. There are no ripples on the water, so we see the high snow-capped mountains reflected in the idyllic lakes. About half way we arrive at the Jøssingfjord. Here the road zigzags around the fjord and we pass a titanium mine.
A beautiful attraction are the two historic houses that stand under a huge overhanging rock.
Hike to the Kobolten
Because we are completely impressed by the spectacular landscape, we check Wikiloc to see if there is still a nice walk. We are always well prepared for the conditions at this time of year. Especially snow and ice along the way on the hiking trails sometimes extends the walking time. But on this walk we stay well below the snow line. It turns out to be a beautiful walk that slowly rises and with that the views over the fjord become more and more beautiful. At the end we are rewarded with dessert… a stone that is clamped between two rock walls. The stone hangs many tens of meters above the abyss. Of course we can't resist standing on it and taking a picture.
After this unexpected adventure we drive on and look for a place for the night.
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)
We continue our roadtrip through Southern Norway towards Preikestolen. On our way to a Norwegian top attraction “Preikestolen” we pass the brand new “Ryfylketunelen† The sea tunnel, which opened in December 2019, is 14 kilometers long and has a dizzying depth of 292 meters below sea level.
From "Pulpit Rock” (Pulpit Rock) is an overhanging rock that offers a nice view over a fjord. A “must see”! The return walk takes about 4 hours. The paths are covered in snow, which does not make moving any easier. Fortunately, our “crampons” (snow and ice chains for under the shoes) help to make the journey up safely. Today it turns out that we are not always lucky. It is sealed on top of the rock. The maximum view is 5 meters…there goes our view over the fjord. We spread out our raincoats in the snow and enjoy our sandwich. Fortunately, the walk itself was well worth it.
On to Bergen
On the way to Bergen we pass a few more beautiful waterfalls. Every meter is a party here. While driving along a quiet fjord we see a tree in the middle of the water. Because there is no parking space along the road, we park in the yard near a house. We chat with the friendly resident and he tells us that the best way to take a picture of the tree is through his yard.
We continue our way towards Røldal. It is a bit higher and we see the amount of snow increasing rapidly, both in the area and on the road. When the sun comes through, the landscape is at its best.
In Røldal there is a so-called stave church, where we have to make some effort to get it on the picture because of the amount of snow.
We eat a sandwich and can even sit outside on the stairs of the camper. The village with its beautiful houses in the snow is beautiful to see.
Bergen is known for its frequent rainfall, it is said to be the wettest place in Norway. In terms of inhabitants, it is at least the second largest city in Norway. And with us it comes in the list of “5 most beautiful cities visited” which also includes Krakow and Talinn.
From a suburb we take the light rail to the center. Here we first take a look at the historic district of Bryggen, where old wooden houses in many colors line the harbor. The harbor occupies a prominent place. Large seagoing vessels are moored in the center of the city. We stroll through the streets and enjoy the beautiful wooden houses interspersed with more modern buildings. The beauty and the friendly people make us feel at home quickly.
Near the harbor there is a catering complex where fish predominates. Many types of fish, beautifully displayed in display cases, invite to be eaten. You can take a fish with you, or let yourself be pampered in one of the restaurants. We choose the latter!
Yes, we can recommend anyone visiting Norway not to forget Bergen.
Ski Area Myrkdalen
East of Bergen is the Myrkdalen ski area. A newly developed area of the beginning of this century. The area is fantastic for families and winter sports enthusiasts who enjoy quiet slopes. No hustling people and steaming pubs here, but two cafes where you can quietly buy a drink at a table. The village also consists of a collection of apartments, houses and hotels without any charm.
But the slopes...they are wide, varied, quiet and perfectly prepared! The area is not big, you can basically try all the descents in one day.
We park and spend the night in the parking lot and are on the slopes at 9.30 am, have a great morning and drive on to our next destination in the afternoon.
From a parking lot on the outskirts of the city we take the metro to the center of the city. We walk through some shopping streets and see a city with many modern buildings interspersed with a number of historic buildings. Oslo looks clean and orderly, the people look neat. But it is clearly more “urban” than the more “village” Bergen, where we were a few days ago.
We stroll through the streets looking for it Munch Museum† We find this near the harbor at the head of the Oslofjord. The 13-storey building is a modern design and entirely dedicated to the artist. Upon entering, the popularity soon becomes apparent, it is very busy. The exhibition is divided into themes in the various rooms on various floors. We find some paintings very beautiful. On the top floor we have a nice overview of Oslo and we make a movie of the skyline.
After the visit to the museum we walk outside on the roof of another special building. The Opera House. This building, which was opened in 2008, reminds us somewhat of the Opera House in Sydney. Especially given its prominent location and striking design.
Oslo… a city that can call itself a metropolis.
Skating at Oslo… how cool is that?
Surrounding Oslo are beautiful lakes hidden in the forest. We go ice skating on one of those lakes. Lake Sognvann is used as a recreational lake in summer while a lane is swept in winter.
Seeing this it starts to itch. We grab our skates from the camper and take on the challenge.
There is no one in sight on the lake… thoughts of our childhood surface. When it had frozen a bit, we immediately went to see if it wanted to keep ice. On a ditch, ice or forest lake… we wanted to be the first. We regularly came home with a “talk leg” or worse.
Even now we were the first. The fact that a track had been swept was no guarantee whatsoever. It had been above freezing regularly for the past few days. Thaws and re-frozen…
But piece by piece we go further and gain more and more confidence in the ice and ourselves.
In the end we turn our laps with the greatest pleasure. We only miss a cookie and zopie tent.
Lillehammer, Olympic Games
Lillehammer and the surrounding area is known for hosting the 1994 winter games, so it is a place with history. In Hamar we drive past the enormous ice rink where, in addition to the Olympic Games, various championships have been held. In Lillehammer we find a place for the night at the bottom of the ski jump. We hope there will be training sessions the next day so we can see some jumps, but we are not that lucky.
We drive a little further to the Hafjell ski area, where the various ski competitions of the Olympic Games were held.
We then decide to tie the slats underneath in this area as well. We are not the only ones… the weather is beautiful and the Norwegians have a holiday week of their own.
The area is highly recommended, beautiful wide slopes and a modern system of lifts makes our day unforgettable.
Our unusual way of traveling gives us the opportunity to go wherever we want. There is plenty of room for spontaneous ideas. For example, near the Rondane National Park we see many people cross-country skiing, or cross-country skiing as they say here in English. We want to try that too, the weather is fantastic after all. At a cafe we ask about rental options and are referred to a hotel a little further away. Here we can rent materials and after a short instruction we are on the slats.
We start on top of a hill and let ourselves slide down and are immediately on our snouts. So it should not be! Later it goes much better and we eventually made a trip of 7 kilometers. We hand in the materials and conclude that we have learned something again. But next time we will go skiing again.
From a spot between high snow dunes, where we spend the night, we come into contact with Overlanders who had been here before via social media. They tell us about an experience with Muscus oxen. There would be an opportunity in the area to spot these special animals with a guide.
We are referred to a small pension where we meet the owners. They explain the situation. We are handed a pair of snowshoes and an address to meet the guide. Fifteen minutes later we are ready to take on the challenge together with the guide. After an hour and a half of brisk walking through the deep snow (even the wide snowshoes still fall away) we arrive at a place where the animals are hiding. Unfortunately we can't get closer than about 200 meters because the oxen are not allowed to be disturbed.
With the help of our binoculars we still get a good idea of the size of the animals. Below is a photo from the internet because it was difficult to take a good photo yourself at this distance:
Muscus oxen are beasts that initially resemble cattle. But they certainly aren't. They have much more goat and sheep characteristics than their appearance suggests. When fighting for a female, two males clap their heads together. They do this with a huge run-up so that the sound can be heard for miles.
They were reintroduced from Alaska in the early 200s. About XNUMX live in Dovrefjell National Park.
From here we continue north to Trondheim, Bodø, Lofoten, Senja, North Cape, Lapland
But more on that next time in Norway, the north.