I literally fell in love with Norway on the ship as we sailed into the Harbour at Langesund.
There are a few different routes from Denmark to Norway and we chose to go from Hirtshals in Denmark to Langesund in Norway purely because of the cost. As it was considerably cheaper this way, Doug was concerned we would be sailing on an old tub.
Turned out he was wrong as the ship was magnificent and the 4 hours flew by.
Before long we were entering the Harbour to the melody of an old Norwegian folk song. It was one of those truly magical times as we past the white and red houses dotted along the coastline. I was in love.
After a coffee and a bite to eat on the wharf of the little town we set off on our journey west towards Stavanger some 600 kms away. We had a “wee” discussion with the chap at The Turist Centre which route to take, but after a very pleasant chat, he informed us he had been to NZ on a cruise ship to the island of “Rarotonga”, we chose our original route over the mountains.
For our first drive – I think we drove about 150 kms and settled on a lakeside camping spot about 14kms out of Notodden, which I located by way of our Park4night App. The original spot was mind blowingly special, however fully occupied by two backpacker vans making the most of the location by spreading themselves wide. Not to be deterred we drove on to a more rugged forestry part that opened up onto the lake, who cared at that stage if our motorhome was stuck there for life.
I have made a meal planner for our time in Norway as groceries are apparently horrendously priced here. Funny thing was, today I passed through a Supermarket on the way to the public loo and the prices were on par with NZ. Just goes to show the price of NZ’S groceries are quite high these days. Anyway for our first night we were spoilt with Roast Chicken and Apple Pie for dessert.
It’s amazing how much time you can waste just sitting watching water sometimes. It’s quite mesmerizing. The sun, which we haven’t seen for days, shone until nearly 8pm so it was just perfect really.
Alas for us we woke to drizzle and mist, the Information Centre man had predicted so, but we still sat in our dressing gowns in our deckchairs eating banana crepes for breakfast. As the Norwegians say, “No day is a bad weather day, just bad clothing choices”.
I also braved the lake and went for my first swim. After watching hoards of people lining the jetty’s in Denmark to take their morning dip before hastily wrapping themselves in their dressing gowns, I had decided it must be good for your health. I actually only half braved it because I just couldn’t bring myself to put my top half under. Let’s just say the water was fairly brisk.
The drive today has been nothing short of spectacular.
Our first stop was in Notodden at The Heddal Stavkirke Church which is the largest remaining one out of the 38 left in Norway. It certainly is beautiful with its wooden shingled exterior and three towers. The inside is just as beautiful with paintings decorating the walls and roof.
The Open Air Museum further up the road provided an insight into how Norwegians lived as far back as the 17th century and many of the little farm cottages are still in existence today dotted all around Norway.
It was the drive this afternoon however that was the total highlight of the day, possibly even the trip. I can admit to getting a little lost. So I have downloaded off line maps because service here is a little scratchy. Well somewhere after Notodden we must have lost service and my offline map went a little haywire and we ended up way further North than intended. Truth be told we were both so dazzled with the scenery and the houses, every moment is an “OMG look at that” moment that we didn’t notice for awhile. Anyway if for some reason you end up in Norway, and I thoroughly recommend it, and you end up lost, pray that you find yourselves on Route 9.
Route 9 takes you truly into the mountains with the ski huts and the ski lodges. It’s how I would envisage Japan to be in the winter, rocky ornamental gardens with bonsai trees and gently flowing water except you’re in the mountains of Norway.
Like I said it was truly spectacular and we are still here, camped beside a waterfall in the forest, with little rock pools everywhere.
I cannot describe how lucky we both feel right now. This is the view from my bedroom window.
Tomorrow we are heading for Preikestolen, it’s a 4km hike to the rock that most of you will have seen in The Mission Impossible Movie, I’m feeling it may just be Mission Impossible for me too.