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[RD] Hiking through Norway

warpus

In pork I trust
Joined
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A couple of years ago I spent 5 weeks backpacking, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and white water rafting through Norway. The following is an attempt to document this journey in some way and share it with the rest of the community here.

I made this thread RD, so that any discussion stays on point, to make this thread easier to look through for those who have an expressed an interest in following it.

Here's an index I will update as I make future posts:

Day 2 - First Impressions of Oslo | 2
Day 3 - The Adventure Begins
Day 4 - Arrival in Jotunheimen National Park
Day 5 - Bukkelægeret | 2 | 3 | Video
Day 6 - Besseggen Ridge | 2 | Video
Day 7 - Otta
Day 8 - Teaser | Sjoa Whitewater Rafting Video | Highlights Video | Train ride to Åndalsnes
Day 9 - Romsdalseggen Ridge | 2 | 3 | 4 | Video
Days 10 and 11 - Just chillin
Day 12 - Bus ride to Geiranger | Trollstigen | 2 | 3 | Video | Troll | Eagle's Nest | Geiranger
Day 13 - Teaser | Geirangerfjord kayaking | Hike up to Skageflå | Skageflå | Geiranger kayaking cont. | Ferry to Hellesylt | Hellesylt | Kayaking Video
Day 14 - Good morning Hellesylt | Return to Geiranger | Flydalsjuvet | Djupvatnet | Dalsnibba | Back to Hellesylt | Video
Day 15 - Steimsnibba | 2 | Summit | More summit | Video
Day 16 - Hurtigruten | Arrival in Ålesund
Day 17 - A walk around Ålesund | 2 | 3 | Fjellstua | Ålesund Town Park
Day 18 - Bus to Bergen | 2 | 3 | Video | Bergen | Bryggen | Bryggen and Fløyen | Sunset | Fløibanen Video
Day 19 - To Flåm via the Sognefjord | Stegastein | Railway Museum
Day 20 - Stalheim | Bus to Gudvangen | Video | Gudvangen | Through the Nærøyfjord | 2
Day 21 - The Flåmsbana | 2 | Arrival in Finse | Rallarvegen | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Video
Day 22 - The Flåmsbana (again) | Bus ride to Odda | Video
Day 23 - Rest day in Odda
Day 24 - Trolltunga | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Video
Day 25 - Successful Arrival in Stavanger
Day 26 - Preikestolen | 2 | 3 | 4 | Some pictures of Stavanger | Pulpit Rock Video
Day 27 - Kjeragbolten | 2 | On the rock | On the rock video | Return hike | Kjeragbolten video
Day 28 - North of the arctic circle | To the Lofoten Islands | Arrival in Svolvær
Day 29 - Magic Ice | 2 | Lofoten War Memorial Museum | 2 | 3 | Wrap up of day
Day 30 - Bus to Reine | Video
Day 32 - Reinebringen | 2 | Video | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
Reinebringen Video - Episode 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Day 34 - Moskenes | Arctic Train to Trondheim | Video
Day 35 - Trondheim | 2 | Nidaros Cathedral | 2 | My last meal in Norway
Appendix - Accommodations | Transportation | Activities | Charts & Graphs
 
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Day 2 - First Impressions of Oslo

We start with day 2 and not day 1, because in all my notes day 1 is the flight. To avoid any confusion going forward, you are going to have to pretend that I told you the story of how I met a guy flying to Greenland to film a documentary on day 1. There isn't really much to it, and the post would just be full of complaints about the food, so there you go let's move on to day 2

My flight landed in Olso at 5:40am. I dropped off my stuff at the hotel, enjoyed my first Norwegian style buffet breakfast, and was soon ready to take my first stroll around town.

It was Sunday, July 12, 2015


Having booked this hotel (and most of the trip) well ahead of time, I was able to stay in a central location and get over the jetlag in comfort at a very reasonable price. The above is the first view you get as soon as you step out of the hotel front door and look to the left. The building you see straight ahead is the Grand Hotel. It is situated right on the Karl Johans gate (road).


Right around the corner was also this park area, which runs adjacent to Karl Johans gate all the way to the Royal Palace.


I had plans to visit the Royal Palace the next day, so instead I walked south and ran into Franklin D. Roosevelt


A couple minutes later I was treated with a nice view of Pipervika Port.


Very close nearby is also the Akershus Fortress, which I very much enjoyed walking through and exploring.


Some sort of Norwegian artistic expression can be seen above.

Day 2 will continue in my next post
 
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Day 2 - Further First Impressions of Oslo


Looking down Karl Johans Gate towards the Royal Palace.


The Oslo Opera House and ominous clouds


This is right about the time when it started raining


This guy hangs out in front of the central train station


This is where Karl Johans Gate starts. The train station is right behind me. If you keep walking straight eventually you'll get to the Royal Palace (and pass the hotel where I was staying along the way)

I had a long first day in Oslo, and overall my first impressions of the city were positive. The rain and stomach problems, and the breaking of my mouth guard in half (at some point during the flight) dampened the mood somewhat, but overall I was excited about the days to follow
 
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That's a cool (brass?) tiger, but why is there a (concrete?) statue of FDR in Oslo, of all places?

That gate name sounds familiar - presumably named after the Napoleonic marshal who somewhat improbably got elected to take the Swedish throne and who became King of Norway as well.
 
I know day 1 is early in your 5 week trip, but how was it living out of a "suit case" for that length of time? I guess the long summer days worked to your advantage.
 
Thank you for starting this thread, warpus! :)
 
Isn’t Norway insanely expensive? About the laundry, I have washed underwear and socks just in the sink while on vacation.
 
That's a cool (brass?) tiger, but why is there a (concrete?) statue of FDR in Oslo, of all places?

It might have something to do with this

That gate name sounds familiar - presumably named after the Napoleonic marshal who somewhat improbably got elected to take the Swedish throne and who became King of Norway as well.

That's the guy! The "Gate" is referring to a street, so there is no actual gate there (I don't think)

I know day 1 is early in your 5 week trip, but how was it living out of a "suit case" for that length of time? I guess the long summer days worked to your advantage.

It worked well overall! Everything fit in my 74L backpack, including a smaller backpack I had with me for day trips and day hikes. I only had to drag the large backpack with me for the first hike, and of course on all the flights, boat rides, bus rides, etc. Overall it worked out very well, the backpack wasn't even 100% full. (maybe 85%?) Almost all the clothing I brought is made from fabrics that tend to not smell when sweaty, dry fast, insulate well, etc. I can't remember if I did any laundry or not, but if I did, it will come up in my notes.

Isn’t Norway insanely expensive? About the laundry, I have washed underwear and socks just in the sink while on vacation.

Yeah, it's one of the most expensive places on the planet, which is why I booked almost everything months in advance, and ate my first dinner at Burger King (which didn't even turn out to be a great option for cheap food). I ate quite a number of 7-11 hot dogs wrapped in bacon during my 5 weeks in Norway. Those were really cheap and quite filling, and considering the price tasted very good. Another key was to, when staying at a hotel, to really fill up on the breakfast buffet, and just forget about lunch on those days.

Looking through itineraries professional travel companies put together (which I used to inspire me when I was doing my planning), this trip could have easily been 4-6 times more expensive. I managed to do it "on the cheap", but it still wasn't really that cheap. The key was booking everything ahead of time, and staying at hostels where possible.. and not insisting on all the fancy things travel companies usually throw in. My costs were quite reasonable, for example all the trains I took were super cheap, I paid $35 USD for a 10 hour train ride from north of the arctic circle back south to Norway proper.. Got the hotels I stayed at at reasonable costs too, and managed to eat out occasionally enough and keep everything in my original budget. I took the bus almost everywhere, aside from the couple trains I took, and I found the buses cheap overall. Ferries were a bit more pricy, and boats too, but I booked in advance and it wasn't so bad. The one internal flight I did (from Trondheim to Oslo) was quite cheap. The SIM card I bought and data I used were both quite cheap as well. I found food prices in the country overall expensive, but in a lot of cases on par with what we pay in Canada. Usually it was the beer that was a lot more expensive, but even so a $12 beer here and there makes you just feel like you're always on a cruise, so what the hell. I found cheese very cheap in Norway, even on a remote island north of the arctic circle a roll of Brie cheese was 30% cheaper than what I pay here in Canada.
 
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That's the guy! The "Gate" is referring to a street, so there is no actual gate there (I don't think)

"gate" means street
gate is "port"
port is "havn"

sorry for shuch banal posts in your thread, warpus
I think you've seen more of the country than I have
 
Well, that explains both why the English word "haven" exists and part of the etymology of København (Copenhagen).
 
Maybe next time you do Sweden, especially Gothenburg, second of Stockholm? Stockholm is a big concrete block, while Gothenburg still have some nice views and a few secret places. IF you ask nicely, we are Vikings after all, haha. :)
 
This. I've done very little travelling in Norway.

I'm still furious you didn't come fishing with me warpus. :mad:

I've mentioned my itinerary route to Norwegians during planning, and some people said my trip is what a trip would look like if the Norwegian Tourist Board planned one and went way overboard. Which is fine by me, as unfortunately I will probably never return, as it's so pricy, so I wanted to see all the best things. My day to day itinerary didn't seem hectic at all either, so I think I did a good job planning everything

You live in Tromso! I almost made it that far north. If you had lived on the Lofoten islands we'd have all sorts of fishing stories. I loved Norway though, if I ever strike it rich in some way I will most definitely return. Hook me up with a Norwegian pension and I'll be there tomorrow

Maybe next time you do Sweden, especially Gothenburg, second of Stockholm? Stockholm is a big concrete block, while Gothenburg still have some nice views and a few secret places. IF you ask nicely, we are Vikings after all, haha. :)

Stockholm is definitely on my list!
 
Day 3 - The Adventure Begins

I woke up with blood on my bed sheets. There was some initial panic, but turns out that I cut a finger on a pointy part of the broken mouth guard. Not a bad cut, but somehow a decent amount of blood.

I didn't really have much time to panic though, and eventually some of the pain went away and I was able to run some errands.

First I picked up my DNT membership


DNT is the Norwegian Trekking Association. They help maintain the trails and environment, lead tours, and run mountain cabins throughout the country. While there I also bought hiking maps and a waterproof map holder that you can attach to your backpack.

While running errands I also bought some superglue that was safe to put in your mouth. It was not easy to find such superglue in Oslo, and people gave me weird looks when I tried to explain what I was looking for, but in the end my mission was a success. I would fix my mouthguard later and avoid future incidents involving blood


This was my last day in the city, so I put together a reasonable walking tour that would take me through several places I was interested in, such as the Royal Palace.


Royal Guard on duty


Slottsparken, The Royal Park

I continued north on foot and about a half an hour later found myself at Vingeland Park, the world's largest sculpture park created by a single artist.






I found this particular piece to be the most striking







After getting back to my hotel I was able to actually fix my mouthguard with the superglue! I also went to a pharmacy and figured out that I need to take 3 imodium tablets. That ended up fixing my stomach problems 100%, which was good because the next day I was taking an early bus to Jotunheimen Park, one of the country's premier hiking destinations.
 
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Day 4 - Arrival in Jotunheimen National Park

After a bit of a sleepless night I woke up just before 7am and wolfed down a big breakfast. At 8:35 I was on the bus that was going to take me to Jotunheimen National Park.


Here you can see the route of the 5 hour long bus ride, as well as the location of the 3 DNT huts I visited on my first hike.

The further north we went the more concerned I became. Eventually things started looking pretty damn ridiculous


This is not what you want to see when you're heading out for a hike in mid July

After my bus dropped me off at Gjendeshejm I had about an hour to make a decision. At 2:25pm the last boat of the day was departing to take me where I had initially planned - 2 days away on foot. The hiking conditions didn't look great though, and for all I knew they were going to get worse. I also had 15kg or so to carry around with me, and I didn't want to be climbing slippery ridges in bad conditions and visibility.. There were alternatives, such as cutting the planned hike in 2, or not doing it at all..

I stepped into the Gjendesheim DNT tourist lodge and talked to one of the rangers about my plan. He told me the weather has been very unpredictable, but that I should be okay. He said it could rain or snow, but if I only have this opportunity to do the route I selected, I will regret not doing it, so I should.

"Alright, let's do this!" I thought to myself and went to wait for the boat



There were big maps nearby of the trails I was about to hike


The boat drops me off on the left in Gjendebu. I sleep there, wake up early, and hike to Memurubu, on the right side of the map.


The next morning I hike up the Besseggen Ridge and eventually find myself back in Gjendesheim


The boat ride takes about 2 hours


Made it to Gjendebu!

I had about 2 hours until dinner, so I spent some time unpacking, changing, and taking in my new surroundings.








This is not where I slept

According to my notes this is also when I started reading the book Hyperion by Dan Simmons

In other good news my stomach pains were now completely gone. I also had some new friends! All sorts of Norwegians, some of them named Lars, David, and Espen. For dinner we had goulash with mashed potatoes, which was delicious

I repacked my bags and got everything ready for tomorrow, and drifted off to sleep thinking about fjords and Norwegian landscapes
 
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Day 5 - Bukkelægeret

According to my notes I slept very well that night and woke up at 7am. By 10:30am I was ready to go


The trail follows the lake at first, but 20 minutes in and you're faced with a rather strenuous climb to the top


Looking back towards my starting piont, Gjendebu

I had all the stuff I brought with me for 5 weeks on my back, which made the climb a bit more demanding. I took many breaks and slowly made my way to the top, every once in a while having to put up with a bit of a drizzle of rain.

Just before noon I noticed that 2 hikers were also making the climb with me, and they were catching up to me.



Turns out it was a mother and father taking their 2 children for a walk


Here you can see the father with one of the children. They easily passed me, somehow being able to maintain a rather impressive pace

I made it to the top just before 1pm

 
Day 5 - Bukkelægeret (continued)

There were several trails running on this plateau, the markers were few and far between, visibility was poor, it was slippery, the climb up here depleted a lot of my energy reserves, and for long periods of the hike there was nobody else around. My survival instincts perked up.. I wouldn't want to get lost here!


I had a map and compass with me, but these markers were key. Unfortunately sometimes the next one was quite far away






I did sort of feel like I was walking on another planet





 
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