Well, after some other long weeks without writing, finally I am going to explain how the trip to Norway was. This time I am writing from my house back in Tarragona, and I have to say that thinking about the fresh weather we experienced in Norway helps me deal with the warm and shiny sun we have here, by the Mediterranean Sea. So, after this brief introduction, let’s start!
On the 8th of June, at 5 in the morning, 8 friends and I took a huge van direction to Norway. From the very beginning, we had the feeling that it was going to be an awesome trip, not only because of the company, but because of the amazing place we were about to see with our own eyes. I have to say that the pictures I couldn’t avoid seeing before, on Google Images, had nothing to do with what we really saw in there. Whatever, we headed to Norway early in the morning, as we had a really long journey of about 14 hours with some stops for basic things such as eating. After the compulsory stop in the border between Sweden and Norway, our direction was clear: VOSS (Thanks past Esther for writing down that awesome diary, so now you, Present Esther can remember every single place you visited). Once in Norway we could experience the coldness of this country, but it was compensated by the Fairy Tale views it has. All along the road there could be seen many waterfalls; and on the top of those mountains, there was mostly, snow. In those 14 hours of driving we had every different kind of experiences: we saw a moose, a little bird killed itself against one of our windows, I drove for some kilometers after basically 10 months without driving (and this time I drove a huge 9 places van!), one of the tires seemed to be a bit flat, my belly ached for a while and I even thought it could be appendicitis (but it wasn’t) and, of course, we got a 2900NOK fine for driving 11km/h faster than allowed (71km/h instead of 60km/h). As the same police officer said: -“Driving fast in Norway is expensive”.
Police officer while putting us the fine: -“This is Norway, not Mexico”.
Well, after these adventures we made it to our Camping (and it was just the beginning of the trip!). It was a wonderful place, with a huge waterfall inside the same facility. It can seem awesome at first sight, but after a while, the loud noise of it can be… let’s say, Interesting! Anyways, it was a really nice place, at the foot of a mountain, so there was quite fresh air thanks to the waterfall, but also quite humid because of the same reason.
On the 9th of June we headed to Bergen. We were supposed to spend some hours in the city and afterwards go back to Voss and have some rest, but in the end it took us ages to get to Bergen, so we couldn’t visit much of it. On the way there we had the first problem: it was plenty of workers fixing the roads, and most of the time we had to wait for hours until they would let us keep driving. Finally, once in Bergen we had the second problem: we wouldn’t find a parking, as the van was taller than any subterranean parking allows. After a while driving around, asking pedestrians and getting a bit upset, we could find a place to park right in front of the University, but, of course, we had the third problem: we could only park for 2 hours, and some locals told us that the police usually check the tickets and if you stay longer than that, they put fines (We didn’t need nor want another fine. Thanks Norway…). So afterwards we just went to find something to eat, as it was late and we were starving. It took me ages to find a place to grab some food: in the first place they only accepted Norwegian credit cards, in the second one they wouldn’t have any vegetarian options more than cheese with bread, so finally I ended up in a fast food restaurant, eating a mini-hamburger (and it was the fish one >.<). Finally all the group met again, and we sight seen a bit, but we only had around 1 hour left, and, of course, the car was around half an hour away. After visiting the harbor in Bergen, some people still wanted to see the Funicular, so we split: some people went to the funicular thing, and others went to rescue our van so we wouldn’t get a fine. We could make it without the fine, but when we were leaving our parking place, we faced the last problem of the day: right behind the van there was parked a small sky-blue Vespa. The driver, obviously, couldn’t see it, so we hit the motorbike and it fell right against the floor. We have to say that the van was already full of scratches but well, we contributed on it too. After this busy day, we drove back to our camping (with an awesome waterfall) in Voss.
10th of June, third day in Norway: THE REAL TRIP BEGINS. At 4 in the morning, the 9 of us were having breakfast and getting ready for the biggest challenge of the trip. At 7:30 in the morning we were already in the parking of TROLLTUNGA. After some last minute preparations, pictures with the signs that mark the kilometers and some encouraging speeches, at 8 we started the hiking. The first hour and a half was really hard: the path was really steep and full of huge stones.
Dmitri Hogenkamp: -“There is no elevator to success”
Afterwards, it got kind of better, but it was a party every time we saw that we had a kilometer less to reach the top (Don’t forget that it is 11 km up). Once we were higher we started to find snow on the path, what made us go slower as it was slippery, but the shiny and warm sun made it better. At around 12:40h we were at the top, we reached the Trolltunga stone. It was a really long journey, full of obstacles, but thanks to the work in team we could make it. Without each other’s support it would have been way more difficult and boring, of course. The views up there and also on the way were marvelous. I have never seen something like that before, as magic, pure and fresh as the mountains in Norway. I have to say that, for me, the Trolltunga stone itself was not as impressive as I thought. You really have to find the right angle to find its impressive view. We wanted to take pictures on the stone, and as it was quite full of tourists (more than what I expected due to the difficulty of the journey), we had to wait a bit. Sitting on the edge of the stone and looking down was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen and/or done. Down there it feels so empty, big and wild. After our pictures and while we were having lunch, it was so entertaining to see all those people taking pictures on the stone. Some people did risky things on the stone such as handstanding or jumping near the edge. I have to say that I was scared for their lives at some point.
The way down was as tiring as the way up. On the way there are plenty of small waterfalls and rivers that cross the way, so waterproof shoes are the key. A good point is that the way is really well marked (by stones with a red T on them), so it is quite difficult to get lost. The part I was most scared of was when we had to walk along a wall with mood on the floor that made it really slippery. A single mistake and I would have fallen down a deep hill, full of stones of the same mountain. Once we got around an hour and a half left we were at the most difficult part again (the same one that was hard to go up). The big stones, the fact that it was quite steep and this time was downhill, and the tiredness of the whole journey made it even more difficult to go down than to go up. My knee hurt so bad, what made it even more difficult and slow, but finally, we all made it!
We took it really easy, but others didn’t; a man told us that he did the way up running in only 2 hours (That’s insane!!!!). Afterwards we gave ourselves a yummy award: Watermelon for everyone! And once we felt a bit rested, we took the van again and we headed to Odda. We would spend the night in a nice house in Røldal. We had a really cozy dinner all together. As always, the girls cooked and the boys took care of the cleaning and tiding up afterwards. The house reminded us of when we were kids and we used to go on trips with the school. It was the best place compared to the days before.
Our 4th day was a “van day”; we spent the whole day driving in order to get closer to PREIKESTOLEN (our next hiking trip). What we had clear was that we would sleep in tents and in the van, so our mission was to find a nice spot to camp. It started to be late and we wouldn’t success to find a nice place, so we started to get a bit anxious. Finally we found a little harbor with a spot of grass, by the North Sea. Some nice neighbors let us camp there, so we set up our tents and we went to explore the surroundings. We ended up on a side of the harbor gazing at the sea and the nature around us. Finally it was dinner time, so we enjoyed a less cozy dinner than the last day, but with way better views. Finally we could see the sun setting in front of us, in the horizon, with the noise of the sea and the small insects and animals hidden in the nature. The night was a bit of a mess. 2 friends and I were sleeping in the van, and the other 6 were split in 2 tents. One of the guys in the van started feeling bad in the middle of the night, and he spent the whole night and the following day sick. (8 survivors + 1 fallen person).
5th day in Norway; 12th of June. We woke up at around 7 and we started getting ready to drive to Preikestolen. To reach the top is only 4km so, as it was not as hard as the last hiking, it only took us around 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach the top even if we were not so fast, and as it was not exhausting neither except for some points, we could enjoy the landscape and the surroundings. Once there we found many people standing on the big rock. We took our group pictures and all the videos we wanted, we had lunch, and we went down. (I want to add that 2 German siblings reached the top faster than us in Trolltunga and in Preikestolen, but the race was not finished yet; it just started!!!)
The way up it was not so full of tourists, but the way down was HORRIBLE. We couldn’t go as fast as we wanted because there was this long queue of people going down and even a longer one of people going up. It was basically full of Spanish people, dogs, parents with babies on their backs, and kids running around. All those people were doing the hike in the afternoon, so we were glad we decided to do it in the morning. The way down was faster (overtaking people) and so fun because we had to follow the path made of stones (Heike H. told us that some Sherpas built them). On the way up and down was so warm! It was only on the top that it was cold and windy. Once back in the parking we took our van, once again, and we drove some miles in order to get closer to our last hiking spot. On the way we were supposed to find another nice spot to camp, and so did we. We camped by a small lake, what we thought was the perfect spot. We had some barbecue for dinner; some vegetables (for the vegan/vegetarian ones) and some hamburgers and sausages (for the meat eaters). We set up out tents again, and we went to sleep, as the following day was going to be hard again.
6:00am; 13th of June; somewhere near a lake. I had a terrible night: I was freezing and had no more clothes to put, inside the van it was as being on a fridge, so I couldn’t imagine how the people in the tents were feeling. Someone nocked at the glass by my head, and I heard some chatting. As soon as I could recover I realized: all the things we left outside were FROZEN including bags, towels, the same tents… With the cold deep in our bones, we decide to pack our stuff back in the van and leave to KJERAG even if it is only 6 in the morning. Once there we realize we are the first people to arrive. We meet the keeper of the place, who is a really nice guy and invites us for Coffee. Once we feel full of energy thanks to the coffee and ready to go, we start walking. As we read before starting the hike, to reach the Kjerag Bolten we have to face 3 steep mountains, each one harder than the last one. We left at 8 in the morning and at 9:50h we were already in the Bolten. I have to say that we didn’t stop many times, as we were feeling cool. Once on the top it is quite cold and windy, but the views make it worth it. One of the scariest things of this trip was to stand in that stone. It is so small and it seems that if you make a false step you will fell down. Anyways, it is completely worth it and after the steep journey up there, it is a MUST to stand in that stone and take a nice picture. This was one of the places I liked the most, followed by Trolltunga. We had lunch up there, and rested a bit to face the difficult part of this hike: the way down. If going up was difficult, going down was even worse, as it felt that we were going to fell rolling down the mountain. When we had only 1 mountain left, one of us realized that we just visited the Kjerag Bolten, and not the Kjerag itself, and it made us feel disappointed. Even if we were not as tired as expected, we decided not to go up hill again and skip that part of the trip. On the way down we met our German friends and we celebrated that, for once, we beaten them! (It was a personal achievement; we felt so proud). It was in that way down that we realized that many people already knew us, as we were a bit noisy and always in a good mood, despite the difficulties of the way. Once again in the parking lot, our friend the keeper prepared coffee for us, one more time. We spent some time there, just chilling and talking about our trip in general, and then we decided to go find a place to sleep. After some research we found a really nice and cheap hotel in Hovden. It seems that in winter it is addressed to people that go skiing around the area. When we got there we couldn’t believe what we were seeing: 4 double rooms + a sofa; 2 living rooms with TV and one even with a PS4, 3 bathrooms (2 with shower and one of those with a sauna and a dryer), a full equipped kitchen, 2 balconies… For a moment we thought that the prize was per person, and not as a group, but after asking we could stay relaxed, as the prize was for the whole group! That night 2 more people felt sick (6 survivors + 3 fallen people). To their good luck, they slept in a nice comfy bed, so the following morning they were in perfect shape.
The last day of our trip in the morning, the 14th of June, another person was feeling sick in the morning (5 survivors + 4 fallen people); and for his bad luck, we were going to spend the whole day in the van driving back to Falun. We took it easy, as we were not in a rush because we didn’t have a time fixed to be back home. We also headed back home because one of the tires was still losing air and we were a bit concerned that it could provoke an accident or something like that.
Finally we made it home, all safe and with the pockets full of memories. This was the most awesome trip I have ever done, with friends from Austria, Italy, China, Poland, the Netherlands, France and Sweden. We had our up and downs, as 7 days with a group of friends can be really challenging, but it also made us feel closer to each other and be more patient. We are all different; different backgrounds with different habits and thoughts, but in this trip we had the same target, so we helped each other to achieve it successfully.
This will be a trip to remember, and thanks to Mardu Z. we have a video to show the world and support the little stories we tell about the trip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDR5Rtxo-N4
I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did remembering this awesome trip.