After leaving our private paddling fjord in Osa the scenery just kept on coming. Fjords, glaciers, mountains, lakes and more! Norway is simply stunning and we can‘t get enough of it, despite the challenging weather.
Rather than bore you with details – eg. we went there, then there, then over there. This post will be more of a quick summary of the highlights, with some other random observations for fun.
Of course, we have visited many of the “highlights” of Norway in the fjords like Geirangerfjord, Eidfjord, Sognefjord and others. But it was the following things that really blew us away:
- Driving to the Austerdalsbreen glacier down a crazy narrow mountain road, then camping in a huge field surrounded by mountains and glaciers
- Hiking to the Molden at the crack of dawn before the crowds and peering down at the insane Sognefjord below
- Finally getting some more sun and stand up paddling on lake Olden with glaciers hanging above our heads
- Every drive, even the boring ones are amazing. There are so many different corners in Norway, each more spectacular than the next – one such highlight was the recent drive on the Helgeland coastal route including a hike to a vertical cliff on Rødøy island with a view of “Caribbean islands” below
- Scrambling up the somewhat dangerous path to the isolated farm of Kjeåsen, then hitchhiking back down with lovely 70-year-old Norwegian hiking veterans
- Yes, there are probably more hikes, views, and mountains to talk about….but that is it for now!
And yes, it‘s always about hiking and mountains, but that‘s who we are and what we do. We are rarely in civilisation or surrounded by people. We are usually on our own somewhere in nature. As Ash was saying the other day: “other people go to the beach and keep on taking pictures of different beaches. In the end it‘s also just another beach, maybe with pebbles instead of sand, but still a beach“.
Important note: The pictures below are 99% in the sun. However, we are only about 33% in the sun or in sun with clouds and maybe some rain. The rest is rain, clouds and fog, cold, storms, crazy winds and more. Norway is exciting when it comes to weather!
You can now scroll down and see the pictures below, or read on about our impressions of Norway and the locals…
Speaking Of Norway & The Locals
We are still trying to figure out the locals. They certainly are very friendly when you get to know them, but sometimes we are very surprised by certain things.
The 4m rule
In Dalen, we got told that the Norwegian standard for mobile home camping is 4m apart and that we were way too close to our neighbour. We actually parked close so more people could use the space. This person was very upset, but we soon fixed the problem by moving a bit further away.
Then, rather ironically a few days ago, we parked in the middle of a Norwegian arts and crafts festival parking for mobile homes (which was funny anyway), but this time we were “too far apart”. One of the locals came to tell us that we needed to move “4 meters” apart and no more. I asked him if he could tell me exactly where that was, just so I would not get in more trouble. He made a handy line in the sand with his foot :>
After this fun experience, we met an 80+ year old Norwegian who was also camping there. His English was rather limited, so we communicated in Norwegian which was really a lot of fun. It is amazing what you can understand using all the languages you know. We recognize a lot of written words from Dutch and German. Spoken … we understand almost nothing! Still, we chatted for about 40 mins and learned for example that he had many children and grandchildren, loved dancing, especially tango and lived somewhere up north, traveled a lot, had a grandfather in the army somewhere etc. And some things he said seemed Chinese to us, or in this case, Norwegian!
Norwegians like sleeping in
Or so it seems. If you have been to the south of Europe, you know Spaniards and Italians, and maybe even French and Greeks, don’t get up early. Shops don’t open early and sometimes close over lunch.
Well, in Norway, most shops (aside from some supermarkets) don’t open before 9, or 10am. It seems there is no rush to open anything. And having that extra hour in bed is more important.
Norwegians also don’t get up early to hike either (unlike at home in Switzerland where we are always late). We think that‘s because in summer they have so much daylight, they really don‘t need to get up and probably are also in bed really late. In the height of summer, you can start your walk at 10pm, hike for a full “day“ and then go to bed.
No one in their gardens
Norwegians are hardcore and will hike, run, walk or kayak in any kind of weather (or storm). We have seen them putting their tents up when it is absolutely pelting down with rain and/or blowing a gale and then getting their cooker out, to make some dinner. That is another level. However, we rarely see them out in their garden. Or on the lakes. There are so many beautiful lakes with little boats moored, but never anyone to be seen. We are not used to that (imagine the Zürisee without people on it in summer?). We also never see anyone sitting in their (beautiful) gardens.
The lights are on at home. Cars are parked in the drive. But we rarely see people. Are they inside? What are they doing inside when the sun is finally shining?
We have to admit that the houses in Norway are extremely cozy. All the windows are lit up with lights or candles even during the day and everything is beautifully decorated. Ann has totally fallen in love with the style of houses here and keeps on taking pictures, hoping that one day, she will be able to build her own (Belgians are born with a brick in their stomach or in this case, instead of brick it would be wood)
What time is the supermarket open?
We have traveled a lot, and I cannot say I have ever seen a supermarket (or hardware store) with its opening times displayed so clearly. Not only are they on the big sign on the door of the building, but they appear next to or below the name of the shop in the same size font. BIG FONT!
It is absolutely clear that the supermarket opens from 8-21, and then (9-20) on Saturday.
This is very very helpful of course, so I am not complaining. I am just wondering where this idea came from, and when other countries will adopt it.
Yes, this requires a short paragraph because we do use a lot of different toilets in a lot of different locations. The toilets in Norway are very clean. But, they are usually heated. Even if they are located in the middle of nowhere, they are usually nice and warm.
They are also very big. Mostly because they also define them as toilets for people with disabilities. So, this is a big plus too.
Unfortunately, they are often not very accessible for people in wheelchairs (there are stairs, the doors too narrow, etc.), so we don’t really understand why they are so big then?
On top of this, all Norwegians (or almost all), men and women, always close both lids on the toilet. Very well trained!
Anyway, that is enough toilet details ….
We now should run outside because the Isbilen (or ice cream car) is passing! So cool! It‘s 11 degrees, the sun is out, so why not get an ice cream? This is as good as it gets!
More on our travels reaching the Nordkapp in our next blog update!