EuropeNorwayOslo

Grass roofed houses, fjords,snow and legends

Oslo Travel Blog

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Viking burial ship

By now our European wanderings have covered just over 5,000 miles ( approx 8,000kms) and we are about to see some of the biggest contrasts yet in this stunning land.  As fast as I add a new word to my vocabulary from a new language, we leave that country.....  toalett ( toilet) and motet (exit) and Fyll upen tanken ( that one is easy!).

It rains overnight and we get more showers on the way to Oslo.  Over more bridges of incredible engineering feats and lakes start to feature in the landscape.  Motorways are not busy, the speed limit is 110 kms on divided motorways or just 90 kms on two way roads.  The port of Oslo is very picturesque and modern cruise and ferry ships are mixed in with 4 and 3 mast ships of older vintages.

View from above
  Make our way to the Folke Museet at around mid-day.  Here there is a small village recreated from buildings that have been dismantled and re-errected from many places in Norway and of vintages that begin in the twelfth century.  Those oldest ones are not the originals of course as wood was the material used and it needed to be copied.  Some of the older designs are still in use today in the country areas as we were to see later on.  Log cabin type built on stilts, turf roofed, an entry area for wet clothes and storage area for logs for the fire.  We saw a folk dancing group here perform some of their tradional dances and spent a few hours looking through this very interesting place.  Drove down to another spot on the penninsular to the Vikingskipshusene where burial ships had been recovered from clay pits which had preserved them better than if they had sunk at sea.
the Kontiki
 

The earliest ship dates from 900C AD and were graves of wealthy men or women.  The gold and precious items were robbed from the tombs  in ancient times.  Poor people from that era were buried below an outline of rocks the shape of the ships.  A little further on this penninsular the Kontikimuseat that houses the boats made of papayrus that Thor Heyerdahl, the adventurer, envisioned sailing across major seas to prove that the ancients could have done so.  We headed back to where we had seen camping signs as we came into the city.  There were many vans and tents there but no one on reception, it was all locked up.  Drove through the grounds and asked.  It appeared that it was not due to open for another couple of weeks and there was no water, shower or toilet facilities open.

Folk dancing
.  The campers appeared to have power leads out to a source and we looked a little more closely and felt that they were new age travellers and I wasn't prepared to stay there for the safety of our van and wanted a toilet and water at the very least.

We find the Bogstad camp that one of the campers, a redheaded Irishman told us about,  on the other side of the town paying the road toll twice more as I missed a turning and found myself headed back in the opposite direction!  Way up in the distance, the ski jump tower used in the Lillehammer winter Olympics loomed above us.  Massive, meadowed and treed area at this camp with a large section of "permanents" in a cluster and looking decidedly down on their luck.  The dearest camp yet and showers had to be paid for and were creditied to the swipe card each person was issued with.

Did someone say vicious?
  Met a Scottish couple who lend us some pamphlets on ferry information and away we go to bed.  Light is still bright at midnight.  In the brief time of dusk, a group of birds decide to have a bush dance on our tent.

In the morning we return the pamphlet to the couple and catch the no 32 bus outside the caravan park and get out at the Theatre stop.  Have a coffee waterside, watch boats, meet a troll, walk through a shopping mall, visit the town hall to see the wooden carved and painted pictures of myths and Gods.  Lunch.  Dash off to the palace to watch their changing of the guards ceremony.  The hats of the guards is a bowler shape with a plume of horse hair.  Take a long walk to a famous park where a sculptor made hundreds of sculptures of people in all stages of life to death.

At the Folke Museet village
Catch a tram to a the no 32 bus to the camp.  Dinner and rest.  Found the following words on our bread wrapper.....  Den Gode Smaken.........  I just make up the meanings when I don't know!

In the morning we fuel up and climb the steep mountains out of Oslo at about 9.30 am.  A country of few people, lots of lakes and mountains.  Frequent sightings of snow now.  We plan to travel 300kms to Laedal to arrive by 3 pm.  A breeze for Australians.  More and more climbing and soon we were in ski-ing country.  No four  lane expressways here.  If you got stuck behind a truck here you were stuck for a long time as it is too difficult for them to pull over and let you through as they lose all their momentum.

The sculpture park
  See lots of small wooden homes in the country, many with turfed roofs.  Several frozen lakes.  At 2.25pm we had 37 kms to get to Laedalsoyri and I knew that it was not looking good on the single lane road with many trucks coming from the opposite direction.  Just before 3pm we were in sight of the town and guessed the way the port in the fjord.  Stopping at the slipway we were faced with a stunning fjord and a ferry chugging towards us.  No ticket office anywhere and just a smiling old man leaning up against a wall.  The stern of the ferry lifted up and they docked neatly.  I ran up the ramp and asked the young uniformed man if we could take the ferry with our van, he said, "come aboard"!  I signalled to Andrew who drove the van on.
A sudden shower or temper tantrum?
  There was one other car on board tucked away, the officer opened up a steel door by our car and the inside of the door had 'tickets' painted on it.  Paid the 640 kroner ($AU150) and went up the decks to enjoy our 3 hour cruise/journey on the fjord to Flam.  Couldn't see any other passengers so we toasted our good fortune for our private charter with a smoked salmon baguette and beer!  Thirty minutes later at our next stop, we saw to our horror a coach with about 30 passengers standing beside it.  We told the passengers who boarded that we were not pleased to see them as they had destroyed our illusion of a private cruise but they were an OK crowd and we spoke to a couple of them who were from Canada.
Changing of the guards Norweigen style
 

The Sognefjord and Norway is considered to be National Geographic's top pick of unspoiled travel destinations in the world.  Parts of this fjod like Beilelen where an arm forks into the Naerofjord, is a world heritage area.  Stigen Farm (means ladder) is a place where the inhabitants have to climb ladders from the fjord to get home.  No roads into this farm!  Pass through the section that is the narrowest fjord in the world at just 250 meters wide while the rock face on either side are 1800 metres high.  Numerous high waterfalls cascade into the waters below, pass the oldest stave church in the world at Kaupanger.  It is so peaceful and beautiful.  This trip was at the suggestion of Bob & Kate, the Scottish couple and we give them our thanks, though we only just caught it!  On driving off the ferry we turn left and almost immediately we are in a 11.

A country supermarket and cafe
4 km tunnel with a brief gap then a 5 km one taking us through some huge mountains.  Popping out of the second tunnel we are suddenly in Flam, a beautiful village on the side of another fjord.

 

 

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Viking burial ship
Viking burial ship
View from above
View from above
the Kontiki
the Kontiki
Folk dancing
Folk dancing
Did someone say vicious?
Did someone say vicious?
At the Folke Museet village
At the Folke Museet village
The sculpture park
The sculpture park
A sudden shower or temper tantrum?
A sudden shower or temper tantrum?
Changing of the guards Norweigen s…
Changing of the guards Norweigen …
A country supermarket and cafe
A country supermarket and cafe
A harbourside troll
A harbourside troll
Oslo
photo by: sarahsan