Grass roofed houses, fjords,snow and legends
Oslo Travel Blog› entry 26 of 31 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.