Day Trip to Hardanger Fjord, Norway
August 11. 2017 | The known view of Norway is from the top looking down to the endless rock walls and deep blue of the fjords. A drive alongside a fjord, however, is more likely to take you past quiet churches, tall waterfalls in the middle of nowhere, and breathtaking driving situations when the road narrows to one lane along rocky outcrops and hair-pin curves. If you're driving, you may only drink in the view of blues occasionally because the car (a Volvo of course) is screaming at you about rocks on one side and a box truck on the other. But you clear those by a few spare inches and all is well.
In between, when you pull off the road the peace sinks into your soul.
I don't think I've ever seen colors so intense as in Norway. Sometimes it's awfully grey and moody in the city, but in the countryside the hues are incredible. Just look at the hues of blues!
The photos below are largely untouched by edits.
Taking a short detour from R. 13 in Granvin, you come to a rest stop called Skjervet poised above the waterfall, Skjervfossen. If you choose to park it’s possible to walk to the head of the falls to watch the water thunder by before crashing to an epic destination below. The air is cool, and stings slightly where the mists hit. Taking the road to where it curves just beyond that last mountain will take you back to the main route, but the memory of breathless roads and views will stay with you for always.
Natasha playing where the mists were strongest.
Skjervfossen was my favorite waterfall, though we did get to walk behind another one later on down the road. For the actual drive itself, I didn't get to see very much because it was necessary to concentrate on driving the roads. For some reason, down by the base of Hardanger (still somewhat elevated) the road would often narrow to narrow lanes just as one would go around a steep curve so I didn't dare look at the view. Even so, there was a few times I wondered how we didn't hit either the rock wall on one side or the cars on the other. There was very little room and a decent amount of speed involved but the car was so much fun I didn't find it overly stressful, or maybe Guatemala broke me in properly for international driving.
BUCKET LIST ITEM - WALK BEHIND A WATERFALL
We stopped in a small town on the route with a pretty waterfall, neither of which I can remember names, and walked around for awhile. There was a typical tourist store or two, with the usual keychains, mugs, and for Norway especially, heavy sweaters and furs. I liked it because I got to walk behind a waterfall for the first time, a dream of mine since I was little and heard how my parents got to go behind Niagara.
This wasn't the wild and slippery experience I'd envisioned, but there was plenty of wetness involved.
Seriously, just fancy living here!
My first impression of Norway was of water and rock. There is water everywhere: the ground, the rivers, the waterfalls, the fjords, and even in the mists one can find almost everywhere. There are places to farm and other topographical features, but the water will still always base my memories of this place.
Though I've always imagined the weather in Rivendell to be quite different, the surprising number of waterfalls endeared me to my imagination of that region of Middle Earth.
Norway is the perfect place for a road trip. The views are lovely, it is a good driving experience for those who like a slight challenge, and you will see more of the real Norway where people eat, sleep, work, and drive their 4 x 4s or Volvos.
For the beauty-seeker, there is always something to make you catch your breath and make you extra thankful to be alive. My tip? Take a picnic lunch and sit on a quay overlooking the fjords.
Let the quietness of Norway embrace you.