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Fjaerland Hiking Trip

Oslo Travel Blog

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Borgund stave church
Well, I'm back from my big hiking trip (and luckily have a day off to recover). It was to be a glorious event, full of Norwegian beauty (the fjords and mountains, people, not the men! I know what you're thinking...) But in reality...

It started off well on Friday morning with another gorgeous sunny morning in Oslo (as it has been for the last couple of weeks) as the 16 students met our leaders to borrow extra hiking gear and load up the cars. Of the 16, 12 were German-speakers (2 Austrians) - the minority were made up of myself, an American, a Brit and a Czech. But we all got on well and the Germans were very good and tried to speak in English for most of the time. Friday was spent mostly in the cars, although we stopped a couple of times (including to see an old Stave church from 1100 AD) and were also able to get out on the ferry trip across the Sognefjord.
Galdane old farm cottages
The scenery we drove through was just amazing - steep mountains, forest everywhere, and such clear water that the reflection was just as clear as the real thing! We arrived at Fjaerland at 6ish and then went to have a look at the glacier while it was still light. The Jostedal Glacier (Jostedalsbreen) is the largest in mainland Europe - 80km long and up to 600m thick. It was pretty amazing, although I still get disappointed when I see how dirty glaciers are in real life!

We were staying in cabins (note the grass on the roof in the photo) at a campsite just near the glacier. We were all ravenous by tea time, and gallantly accepted the challenge of masses of lasagne, salad and bread set before us! Gesa (my German friend) and I were very comfortable that night in our little loft in our cabin.
Sognefjord


On Saturday we started off at the Glacier Museum which was really cool (no pun intended) - they had interactive displays about how glaciers are formed, and also a new high-tech global warming exhibit (or "global heating" as all the Norwegians call it - so cute!) There was also a film showing the whole glacier from a helicopter, but it was a bit depressing coming out from seeing the glacier gleaming in the sunshine, with blue skies and white snow, to see it in real life shrouded with grey clouds and rain! After a quick look around the town we drove to the starting point of our hike up to Flatbreen (another part of the glacier) and the Flatbrehytten cabin. The hike was, to say the least, a little damp! It wasn't cold (actually very warm once we got moving) but it certainly was wet and not ideal conditions for stopping and admiring the scenery.
Me on the Sognefjord ferry
It wasn't very high (1000m) but pretty steep. Not unmanageable though, especially for those who had done hikes before. It actually required more concentration coming down - I was scared I was going to slip and fall on my arse because it was so wet! (Also not good with a full bladder and borrowed waterproof pants that kept coming undone!) We all felt tired and miserable by the time we got back (being soaked through does that a bit) and there was much rushing for the hot showers. The hot soup also went down well, and then we all hit the sack early.

Despite fervent prayers, it was raining even harder when we got up on Sunday morning! We had a longer drive that day to get to another part of the glacier (the Nigard Glacier). During the car trip we had some brief patches of sunshine (and a beautiful rainbow) but by the time we got to the glacier that had pretty much gone too! We had to walk for about half an hour (more rock scrambling than walking) to get to the foot of the glacier, then we had to gear up with harnesses and crampons (and in my case, ice picks!).
Gesa on the Sognefjord ferry
Walking on the glacier was heaps of fun (we had a special guide for this part) and not tricky at all - you just had to trust your crampons. It was like walking on a huge kaki-gori (crushed ice for those of you not familiar with these Japanese delicacies!) - unfortunately we ran out of time to try climbing though.

So that was our big trip. The rest of Sunday was spent driving back to Oslo - not good for our muscles to be suddenly sitting still for 6 hours after hiking all weekend! It was still fun although it was a real pity about the weather. But no one had any control over that, and it was a good experience nonetheless.
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Borgund stave church
Borgund stave church
Galdane old farm cottages
Galdane old farm cottages
Sognefjord
Sognefjord
Me on the Sognefjord ferry
Me on the Sognefjord ferry
Gesa on the Sognefjord ferry
Gesa on the Sognefjord ferry
Sogndal (town near Fjaerland)
Sogndal (town near Fjaerland)
Jostedal glacier
Jostedal glacier
The whole group
The whole group
With Gesa in our loft!
With Gesa in our loft!
Cabin number 3 (Vlasta, Candice, T…
Cabin number 3 (Vlasta, Candice, …
Hotel Mundal (1891), Fjaerland
Hotel Mundal (1891), Fjaerland
Fjaerland book town
Fjaerland book town
Gesa & I part way up the mountain
Gesa & I part way up the mountain
Flatbreen
Flatbreen
Flatbrehytta and our view
Flatbrehytta and our "view"
Rain does have its benefits!
Rain does have its benefits!
Nigard glacier
Nigard glacier
On the glacier (Gesa & Judith)
On the glacier (Gesa & Judith)
All of us on the glacier
All of us on the glacier
Oslo
photo by: sarahsan