Fimmvörðuháls Pass- Hiking between glaciers, volcanoes and craters

From Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn, Iceland 

From Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn, Iceland 

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – JRR Tolkien

I wonder if this sentence was in J.R.Tolkien´s mind while hiking through the Icelandic highlands. It is said that the picturesque Fimmvörðuháls Pass, more commonly known as Laugavegurinn Trail influenced the famous author in writing both The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings. After spending 4 days hiking this spectacular trail I can understand why. 

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Forget previous hikes you have done. The trail from Landmannalaugar to Skogar packs more scenic variety in 80 kilometers than most hikes offer in 500. Glaciers, volcanoes, craters, green peaks, river crossings, beautiful lakes and hot springs, to name a few. Voted by National Geographic as one of the world´s best hikes it is not for the faint hearted nor people out of shape. 

Mere days before I started my hike there had been an unusual amount of activity from one of the volcanoes in the area and people were warning me about going on the hike. Iceland's volcanic landscape looks and feels prehistoric - natural earth as raw as it gets. 

The main hike runs between Landmannalaugar in the north to Þórsmörk in the south. The route is typically completed over 2–4 days with potential stops at the mountain huts of Hrafntinnusker, Álftavatn, Hvanngil and Emstrur.

The first route between Landmannalaugar and Hrafntinnusker is about 12 kilometer long, You hike through lavafields with a spectrum of green, orange, yellow, red, beige and brown color. After an estimated walking time of about 4-5 hours with an elevation increase of 470 meters you will reach your first destination, Hrafntinnusker . Some people choose to stay at this hut, which can accommodate up to 36 people, but a few choose to continue hiking all the way to Álftavatn in one day. 

The route from Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn is about 12 km long and the
estimated walking time is about 4 - 5 hours. This route has an elevation decrease of 490 m. This part of the trail takes you through a valley with some small ravines and colourful rhyolite mountains, and continues on to dark palagonite mountains and glaciers.  The trail down the "Jökultungur" is rather steep but leads down to a friendly oasis on the banks of river "Grashagakvísl". From there on the trail to the two huts by the lake "Álftavatn" is on flat land. Whether you have hiked this part in two days or one day, this hut is definitely a good place to stay for the night. Located on the beautiful Álftavatn lake, between huge mountains this place is probably the most beautiful place in Iceland where you could open your eyes to a fresh morning. Not to mention, it´s a great place to see the northern lights away from pollution and city lights. 

Aurora Borealis at Álftavatn mountain hut

Aurora Borealis at Álftavatn mountain hut

After a good night´s sleep you start hiking towards Emstrur (Botnar). The distance from Álftavatn to Emstrur is about 15 km with an estimated walking time of 6-7 hrs. The elevation decrease is only 40 m. The trail takes you through ravines and you have to wade across both the river "Bratthálskvísl" and "Kaldaklofskvísl". The water level in these rivers vary from day to day, season to season. It is icy cold glacier water, so come prepared. Bring some sort of water shoes. Some people use neoprene booties. After a long day you will reach the nice mountain hut area located in Emstrur.

After staying a night in Emstrur the hike continues towards Þórsmörk. The distance between the huts is about 15 km with an estimated walking time of 6-7 hrs. The elevation decrease here is 300 m. You start by going around the canyon of "Syðri. The landscape and vegetation changes rapidly from desert to birchwood "forests" and all kinds of plants. After another long day of hiking you reach Þórsmörk valley. Here you will find mountain huts, a cafe and outdoor barbecue. Also you will find buses here that can take you back to Reykjavik if this much of the hike was enough for you. 

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If you are ready for a challenge the hike can be extended by continuing on to Skogar. On the hike to Skogar you will find yourself between two famous glaciers—one of which sits on top of Eyjafjallajökull volcano. This is the famous volcano that stopped flights in 2010 and basically put Iceland on the map. And on your way down you pass more than 20 waterfalls during the last 11 kilometers and end up at Skogafoss, one of Icelands most famous waterfalls. Not a bad way to end your hike. From here you can catch the bus back to Reykjavik.

Skogafoss

Skogafoss

When to Go

The huts open in late June and close early September.

How to get there

Landmannalaugar, Þórsmörk, and Skógar are all reachable by bus during the summer. A bus from Hella connects with Álftavatn once a day during the summer.

Before you head to the trail, whether from Reykjavik or other locations, pay close attention to the bus schedule as the buses only run once or twice a day to/from Skógar and Landmannalaugar.

For more information about how to get there visit:  

http://www.nat.is/re/rek_hvolsvollur_fjallabak_sydra_hvanngil_rek.htm

http://www.nat.is/re/bus_pass_hiking_laugavegu%20-Fimmvorduhalsr.htm

Accomodation

You can book a bunk bed in the mountain huts at : fi@fi.is

Be sure to book bunks ahead of time though, because they fill up fast.

Prices for Álftavatn, Landmannalaugar, Emstrur, Hrafntinnusker and Þórsmörk mountain huts are : 8000 ISK per person.

You also have the option to tent camp outside the huts. Prices for camping at the same locations are: 1800 ISK per person.

Please do not camp outside of the mountain hut areas, as the vegetation in the area is very fragile and camping with a tent on or next to the trail is forbidden.

Safety

I feel like there is a lack of information about this hike and the dangers that you may or may not face while there, In Iceland tourism has been booming over the past decade. It is estimated that in 2016 more than 2 million people have visited the island. There has also been a significant change in the type of traveler that comes to Iceland. The Laugavegurinn trail has become a lot more popular during the past few years and the amount of people being rescued from the trail is increasing. When hiking you will pass by monuments remembering people that died on the trail. Because of exhaustion, getting lost in bad weather and freezing to death. These stories are awful, but also necessary for people to be aware of. The dangers you face on this trail are very real. From active volcanoes to sudden weather changes. Before you decide to do this hike be sure you understand what you are getting yourself into. It is long, tough and the weather can be brutal. You are in the wilderness and you are responsible for your own safety. Always let people know where you are, and in Iceland it is mandatory to register at the nearest departure point before hiking in the highlands. 

What to bring

I would recommend having a GPS with you, or map and compass. Enough food and water to last at least 4 days. Warm and waterproof clothes and good hiking shoes (that you have worn before). For more information about what to bring check out the link below.

http://www.nat.is/gonguleidireng/check_list_for%20hiking.htm

 

From Þórsmörk to Skogar

From Þórsmörk to Skogar

With that said, this is the most spectacular, breathtaking hike I have ever done and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to experience the last part of European wilderness.

Stay safe and have fun

Surfing in the Arctic

It is a cold February morning and I am in the "capitol" of Lofoten Islands, Svolvær. I just woke up to a blizzard and I am supposed to go sightseeing. Today is also the day I am supposed to go surfing in the arctic. Well my mother taught me there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. So I grab my sneakers ( I know, sneakers in northern Norway during winter, what an idiot ! ) and my very thin jacket and I go to pick up my rental car.

Driving in a blizzard is not something I would recommend doing, Especially if you find yourself in a place you have never been before. We are on our way to Unstad Beach. A tiny place famous for spectacular mountains and great waves. It is one of the best cold water surf spots in the world, at least that is what I have heard. There are two places in the world I know about that have gotten the nickname "cold Hawaii"and this is one of them.

After driving very slowly for a couple of hours we finally find our exit off the main road and luckily a snow-prep machine is parked at the crossing. We get out of the car and ask him if the road down to Unstad is safe to drive. He was just there and is giving us the thumbs up! From the crossing we drive about 9 kilometers before we arrive at the beach. Suddenly out of nowhere it stops snowing and I see blue skies. This is mother nature way of giving us the thumbs up as well I think.

After standing on deck in windy cold weather at the Hurtigruta ferry the night before I managed to catch a cold. I have a fever and I am definitely not up for surfing in cold water today, but my boyfriend is and I am excited to take some photos of him in this amazing scenery.

We drive down to the beach and the waves are pumping. My boyfriend turns around and starts walking to find a surf shop. Everything looks closed down. I know there is a Scandinavian surf contest in Stavanger this weekend so our chances of finding a surfer in Unstad this weekend are slim to none. After 30 minutes he finally finds a guy and rents a board. He starts walking through knee deep snow, reaches the beach and jumps into the freezing water. He paddles out, dodges and duck dives a few waves before he reaches the best place to sit. Usually when you are new to a surf spot you figure out the best place to sit by looking at the lineup, but there is no one in the water. The whole beach is empty and he has got the waves all to him self.

 

I am standing on the beach, with my runny nose, fourteen layers of clothing and my camera. Trying to stay warm and hopefully get some good shots. It is about 3 degrees Celsius in the water and the air temperature is about -2 degrees. The waves are pumping and the scenery is breathtaking. I am blown away by this place and I am taking more photographs than ever before. My fingers are cold, but there is no way I am going back to the car now. This experience is almost surreal and I want to capture this moment. Not just for my blog and Instagram, but for my friends, my future kids and grand-kids. I want to show them how amazingly beautiful Norway is when mother nature is at its finest and most unforgiving.

After about half an hour the snowstorm returns. My boyfriend is now surfing in a blizzard and I am not going to miss that. The photos look amazing. This surf session just turned into my most memorable one yet. And I am not even in the water.

While reading this you might be thinking, is she crazy, or is he crazy. Well yes we probably are, but to me this is what traveling is all about. Getting into the unknown, literally jumping into the unknown and having the craziest adventure that you will never forget.

After an hour of battling waves and snow he is back on the beach. Cold and happy. " I just surfed in a blizzard! I cant wait to tell my friends about this". We walk up to the car, he gets out of his wet-suit and into some dry clothes. I see him smiling as we drive away from Unstad. We both now what a crazy and surreal experience we just had. He is speechless, I am speechless, which never happens. I thought waking up to a blizzard our experience of Lofoten wold be less then I expected. Turned out it was even better than I ever could have hoped for.

 

Snow covered landscape, majestic mountains and ice cold water. Surfing during the winter in Norway is not for the fainthearted. But if this sounds like something you would like to experience keep reading:

 

How to get to there

By car

 The easiest way from Bodø is taking the ferry to Moskenes. Takes 3.5 hr. Drive from Moskenes on E10 towards Leknes. From Leknes continue approx. 15-20 min on E10. Turn left at the sign to Unstad before the LOFTR Viking museum. Keep going straight until you are there – 9 km.
ESTIMATED TIME: Trondheim – Unstad: 13 hr. Bodø – Unstad: 4,5 hr.


Follow the E10 from Lødingen, drive through Svolvær until you reach the LOFTR Viking museum, slow down and take a right at the sign to Unstad. 9 km and you are there!
ESTIMATED TIME: Tromsø – Unstad: 8 hr. Evenes – Unstad: 4 hr.

By plane

The nearest airport to Unstad is Leknes (LKN)
From Oslo (OSL) – Bodø (BOO), operated either by SAS or NORWEGIAN
From Bodø (BOO) – Leknes (LKN), operated by WIDERØE

An alternative airport is Evenes (EVE) but then you need a car from Evenes – Unstad (4 hr)

By boat

From Bodø, you can take a beautiful journey with the coastal steamer “Hurtigruten”.
This historical boat trip takes 4 hours from Bodø to Stamsund.
Departure Bodø at 15.00. Arrival Stamsund at 19.00.
From Stamsund to Unstad it is an approx. 35 min drive.

 

Where to stay

Unstad Arctic Surf has a lot of cabins you can rent at various prices. They also have a camping area where you can bring your tent, caravan or mobile home.

surf rental

Unstad Arctic Surf also rents out boards and wetsuits for both winter and summer. They also have packages for beginners and more advanced surfers with accommodation and equipment rental.

 

For more information check out there website:

http://www.unstadarcticsurf.com/

The Triple Crown of Hiking; Kjerag, Pulpit Rock and Trolltunga.

The west coast of Norway is home to three very different and spectacular rock formations; Kjerag, Pulpit Rock and Trolltunga. These stone formations are extraordinary in their own right, but what has made them so famous is the ability to stand on top of them. Making it the perfect place for breathtaking photographs.

About a year ago I posted a photo of my best friend and her husband standing on top of the Kjeragbolt kissing. The photo spread like wildfire and I have no idea how many times it has been re-posted on Instagram or how many people have seen it. What I do know is that places like Kjerag are attracting more and more locals and tourists every year.

Every time I post a photo from Kjerag, Preikestolen or Trolltunga I get tons of questions from my followers about how to get there, how tough the hike is and what time of year they should go. So this article is about just that. Useful information about three of Norway's most popular tourist destinations.

 

Pulpit Rock, Preikestolen

Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) is probably the most famous one out of all three. It is also the most crowded. Welcoming more than 200.000 hikers every year. Over the past decade it has become one of Norway's biggest tourist attractions.

The hike itself is relatively easy and it is located fairly close to Stavanger city. Making it accessible for cruise ship passengers as well as other travelers. I used to live in Stavanger and I have hiked up to Preikestolen many times. Both during summer and as you can see in the photo above sometimes even during winter.

 

The hike

From Preikestolen Fjellstue the hike is 2.6 miles each way, with a difference in altitude of 1,082 feet. The hike up to the plateau takes about two hours, this of course varies from person to person. When you reach the plateau it is a flat area of about 25*25 meters, with a free fall drop straight down to the ocean. The plateau is about 604 meters above sea level.
In recent years a team of Sherpa's from Nepal have been working on improving the path up to Pulpit Rock. Making the hike more accessible to everyone as well as protecting the path from further damage and tear.

 

When to go

 

In Norway the weather conditions changes quickly, making it almost impossible to predict when the season for hiking to certain places should begin. Usually the path should be safe to walk between April- October. There will be less people in April, Mai, September and October, but the weather will also vary more and be colder than the peak season which is June, July and august.

 

How to get there

By car
From Stavanger, drive to Sandnes and follow the E13 road east towards Lauvik, where you take the ferry across to Oanes. From there, follow E13 to Jøssang and turn right onto Rv529. Follow this road to Preikestolen Fjellstue, where you may park your car:
Using the parking facilities costs 100 NOK, payable on departure.
You may park overnight, but sleeping in vehicles is not permitted.
Parking is free for guests staying at Preikestolen Fjellstue or the other nearby cabins.
By ferry/bus
In the summer, you can take the ferry from Stavanger to Tau and a corresponding bus from there to Preikestolen. Ticket sales for both are available on board the ferry. Travel time from Stavanger is about an hour each way.
The return ticket is valid for two days, and is not for a specific time - you can choose the departure that suits you best.

 

 

 

Kjerag Bolt

The famous Kjeragbolt is a boulder located in the Kjerag mountain in Rogaland, Norway. The rock itself is a 5 m³ glacial deposit wedged in the mountain's crevasse. It is a popular tourist destination and is accessible without any climbing equipment. However, it is suspended above a 984-meter deep abyss. It looks scarier than it actually is. The rock is quite flat and the area you can stand on easily fits one or two people. Like you can see with my friends kissing in the first photo.

 

The hike

There is a marked trail from Øygardstøl to the top ; a 4-6 hours return trip, through physically demanding terrain. Remember to bring sturdy hiking boots, suitable clothes, water and food.

 

When to go

During winter (October - May) it is not possible to do the hike as the road is closed due to snow as well as the hike being too dangerous during winter. You probably realized that leaves us with three months, June, July and August. I went in July, it was a bit crowded but the weather was amazing and so worth it.

 

How to get there

By car
Take the tourist car ferry between Lauvvik and Lysebotn before driving up the famous hairpin bends to the parking area at Øygardstøl (parking fee 150 NOK). Øygardstøl is the starting point of the hike to Kjerag. You can alternatively drive from Stavanger towards Ålgård on the E39, then turn onwards to road Fv45 to Sirdal. From here it is signposted to Lysebotn (152 km).
By bus
Between mid June util the end of August there is a bus connection to Øygardstøl, where the hike starts. The bus leaves from both Stavanger and Sandnes. After the hike up Kjerag you can return by bus. 
Departure at 7:30 am from Byterminalen in Stavanger by coach. The bus proceeds to Sandnes, and then to Ålgård, Byrkjedal (with a 30 minutes stop included) and Sirdal up to Øygardstøl. Øygardstøl (Eagle's nest) is the starting point for the hike to Kjerag.
Return by coach to Stavanger at 4:45 pm, arriving back in Stavanger at 7:15 pm.
Total duration is around 13,5 hours.

 

Trolltunga

Trolltunga, directly translated to "trolls tongue" is a rock formation that looks like a tongue sticking out of the mountain. This hike has been popular among locals for many years. But over the last 5 years its popularity has grown and gone global. I was there this summer and I was surprised to see that many tourists hiking this pretty tough trail, in knee deep snow.

The problem with this place and other tougher hikes in Norway is the lack of information about it. I saw people walking up late in the evening in sneakers and I do not think they knew what they where getting them selves into.

Luckily the companies working with the trail and the local government made new signs last summer. Warning tourists and hikers about how tough the trail really is and what to bring and wear for the hike. Also some of the signs along the way tell you how much longer you will be walking and if you should turn around if you reach a certain point late in the afternoon.

 

The hike

The hike is a red line hike. In Norway this means it has a pretty steep incline, a relatively long and tough hike that requires good equipment and being in good shape. It takes about 7-10 hours, this of course varies from person to person.

When to go

I was there this June and I walked in 2 feet of snow the entire time. It was tough, cold and long. It is recommended to hike between June and September because of weather changes and the possibility of snow. However in these months the amount of people hiking the trail can be many. So your chance of getting to the mountain by your self is not very likely. I would recommend starting very early in the morning. It is not a very good place to be walking at night.

 

How to get there

By car
If you are traveling with a car you can drive to Tyssedal (6 km from Odda) on route 13. Follow signs to Skjeggedal and Trolltunga. After about 7 km you reach the parking place in Skjeggedal. Parking in Skjeggedal (200 NOK/day) or Tyssedal (100/day) (2016).
By bus/train
If you are traveling with local transportation there are several ways to get to Odda. From Bergen you can take Bus route 930 Bergen-Odda www.skyss.no (no booking, cash only)
From Oslo you can either choose to take the train from Oslo-Voss www.nsb.no. And from there take the Bus route 990 Voss-Odda www.skyss.no (no booking, cash only). Or you can take the Coach service "Haukeli ekspressen" Oslo-Odda www.nor-way.no (Book online)
From Stavanger or Preikestolen you can take the Coach service "The Trolltunga-Preikestolen express" (during high season) Stavanger-Preikestolen-Røldal-Odda-Tyssedal-Lofthus-Kinsarvik. www.tidereiser.com(Book online)
When you arrive in Odda you can take a Maxi taxi from Odda bus station to Skjeggedal. Which is the starting point for the hike. Daily route from June 15th to September 15th 2016 (30 min one way).

Safety

This is something that has to be addressed when I am promoting these locations. As I have written about in previous posts we have a very liberal statutory right in Norway called "allemannsretten" . We are responsible for our own mistakes, this might sound like stating the obvious, but is is very different from a lot of other countries policies. If you want to take the "crazy" photos that I have taken and many others before me be aware of the fact that people fall of. Last summer a young Australian girl fell off Trolltunga and died. Earlier that same year a Spanish tourist fell from Pulpit Rock and died. There are no safety nets or fences that keep you from walking to far out on the edge.
That being said, I love these hikes and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to experience Norway's natural lookouts.
Stay safe and have fun :)

Information from www.visitnorway.com

Via Ferrata Loen

Being a rock climber I am fairly used to climbing and hiking up and down mountains. I love the combination of doing something active whilst being outdoors.

Not everyone has experience with rock climbing nor do they have the strength, skills or desire to learn how to do it. That does not mean you can't ascend a mountain; You can try climbing a Via Ferrata.

A Via Ferrata is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations. A modern Via Ferrata is a steel cable which runs along a route and is periodically, every 3 to 10 metres fixed to the rock. Using a Via Ferrata kit, people can secure themselves to the cable, limiting any fall.

In Italy Via Ferrata has been a very popular activity for years. Recently this phenomenon has made its way to Norway. New routes are emerging every year. The feedback from the locals, the climbing community and the public vary, but for adventure tourism this has been (and I think it will continue to be) a great success.

 

This summer I went to Loen in Nordfjord to try this new and exciting way of climbing and I loved it!

The Ferrata route in Loen is fairly new. It opened in 2013 and has since then attracted thousands of visitors. On the way to the top there is a 120 meter long suspension bridge, 750 meters above sea level. That makes the ascend and the whole trip even more spectacular.

The Ferrata route is about 440 meters long. The guided trip will take you 1010 meters above sea level, giving you the most breathtaking views you can imagine. Being a Norwegian I would say I am fairly used to seeing spectacular views, but this one blew me away.

 

Suspension bridge

I was amazed by the people who climbed this route with me. A group of older women, a young man who had brought his grandfather and small kids, all went up to the top.

This is what makes this so special. It is hard, don't get me wrong. And if you are afraid of heights this might not be the best for you. But the route makes it possible for most people in relatively good shape to make their way to the top. Getting to see this view and get the feeling of accomplishing something out of the ordinary.

That is why I love adventure tourism. It gives you so much more than just a photograph. It gives you the feeling of exceeding your own expectations, your own limits and pushing yourself to try something new.

Ever since they started the route the small town of Loen has changed a lot. More visitors are coming every year and with neighboring town Olden being a cruise ship destination it bows well for the this place in the future.

Do you see the climbers?

 

How to get there from Oslo and Bergen:

Travel by bus or boat:
From Bergen there is express-boat every day to Måløy. From there you can reach Loen by bus. You can also take Hurtigruten from Bergen along the coast of Western Norway. Hurtigruten also stops in Måløy.
Visit Fjord1 for timetables with bus, boat or ferry in Western Norway. 
Express-busses daily to Loen from Bergen, Trondheim and Oslo. See Nor-Way.no for timetables and fares.
Travel by car:
It takes about 7 hours to drive from Oslo - Loen and about 4,5 hours from Bergen - Loen.

Where to stay:

Hotel:
I would recommend staying at one of Norway's most famous hotels; Hotel Alexandra. This family-run hotel has been in the same family since 1884. It is located in the inner reaches of Nordfjord and is as famous for its dining options as its landscape surrounding it.
Camping: If you want cheaper accommodation than a hotel there are several campsites in and around the area.

How much does the climb cost:

Minimum 5 persons           NOK   960,- per person included guide and safety equipment
Less than 5 persons          NOK 4500,- included guide and safety equipment

What to bring?

I would recommend bringing food, a water bottle (two liters), gloves and warm clothes for unpredictable and cold weather.

For more information:

http://www.loenactive.no/en/activities/via-ferrata-loen

Norway in Panorama

I love photography and I love taking photos when I travel. My favorite thing to photograph is nature and beautiful scenery. This summer I went on a three week long road trip in Norway and I brought my new Sony A6000 camera. I love this camera for many reasons, but my favorite feature is the panorama option. Panorama shots do not work on Instagram so I wanted to share them with you here.

 

Our Via Ferrata climbing guide looking at the view in Loen, Nordfjord.

View over Loen and Olden from 1010 meters above sea level.

Campsite in Loen.

The view from Stegastein lookout.

The Telemarks Canal.

Hiking Trolltunga. Walking in 50 cm of snow.

The view from an old farm in Stryn.

Oslo Opera House

Geirangerfjord

Oslo Opera House

Rampestreken Lookout in Åndalsnes

Norwegian Explorers

Most countries are proud of their great ancestors and explorers and Norway is not the exception. This post is about our Norwegian explorers who traveled the world in extraordinary ways. They all went seeking for adventure in a way none of us do today. Without fear, without fame, without fortune.

Thor Heyerdal

picture from : pinterest.com/pin/39406565462928173/

picture from : pinterest.com/pin/39406565462928173/

One of our most famous explorers was Thor Heyerdahl. He drifted across the Pacific with his crew on a raft he made out of lightweight balsa wood. The raft, named Kon Tiki was made to show people it was possible to travel like the South American Indians had done for hundreds of years. Kon Tiki´s journey went from Peru to Polynesia in 1947.

Later in his life Thor Heyerdal went on more expeditions. In 1969 and in 1970 he made a boat out of papyrus that he called Ra. Wanting to show people how ancient vessels crossed the Atlantic to America.

His last big adventure was with the boat Tigris. He sailed with Tigris around the Arabian peninsula. The Tigris voyage lasted for 6,800 km and ended when the crew found themselves surrounded by war on all sides. In April 1978 they decided to burn and abandon the boat.

 

Fridtjof Nansen

Picture from Wikipedia

Picture from Wikipedia

Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, oceanographer, Nobel Peace Prize winner, a humanitarian and a diplomat. As a young man Fridtjof Nansen led many courageous expeditions to arctic climes. When he was 27 years old he crossed the inland ice of Greenland on skis. Becoming the first man to do so. A few years later in 1893 he became the first person to cross the Arctic Ocean with his wooden ship Fram. Bringing back with him valuable scientific material from regions of the earth never before visited by man.

 

Roald Amundsen

Picture from Wikipedia

Picture from Wikipedia

Roald Amundsen has always been an inspiration to other explorers following his path to both the North and South Poles. During his voyage in 1903 Amundsen discovered the Northwest Passage between Greenland and Northern Canada. A few years later he led his men to the South Pole using dogs and skis as well as Fridtjof Nansen's famous wooden ship Fram, Amundsen died on a rescue mission to the North Pole in 1928.

 

Visit the famous Kon-tiki and Fram in Oslo

In Oslo you can experience the famous fleet and ship used by the explorers you just read about. Both The Kon-Tiki Museum and The Fram Museum are located at beautiful Bygdøy. This place is worth a visit even if you are not planning on going to the museums.

You can get to the Museums with local transportation from the city center.

  • Buss no. 30 from bus stop Jernbanetorget, Rådhuset (City Hall) and Solli Plass every 10 min.
  • Ferry from City Hall dock regularly from April until October every 20 min. Stop no. 2 Bygdøynes.

For more information on opening hours and ticket prices visit their websites:

http://www.frammuseum.no/Home.aspx

http://www.kon-tiki.no/en/

 

 

Planning my Norwegian Adventure

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G.K Chesterton wrote:

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot  on one’s own country as a foreign land.”

It is presisely this I have been doing over the last few years. I have focused so much on traveling to other countries that I havent noticed what's right outside my own doorstep. Now that the Norwegian currency is relatively low compared to what is has been, and traveling abroad is more expensive, it is the perfect time for Norwegians to make their own country their next holiday destination. For the next two months I will explore what Norway has to offer. I have spent the last two weeks researching where to go, what sort of transportation I should use and what kind of activities I would like to try. I love extreeme sports and challenging activities. So the main focus for this first trip is mountain hiking, kajaking, rock climbing, snowboarding and trying out Europe's longest suspension bridge.

When I was reading about what kind of activities the different regions in Norway has to offer, I was pleasantly surprised. There has been a tremendous improvement in tourism management in Norway and it is definetely showing. Norway is to many foreign visitors a dream destination and I feel incredibly lucky and privileged that I can spend two months exploring my own country this summer.
For transportation I will be using my own car and for accommodation I will be camping with a tent. I have purchased an outdoor cooker and some easy to cook camping meals. After this trip I hope I will be able to show both Norwegian and foreign tourists that anyone can travel around in Norway on a budget.

My plan for the first three weeks are:

Romsdalseggen

Romsdalseggen is a mountain ridge that lies between Venjesdale, Åndalsnes and Romsdal. The hike up the mountains is approximately 10 kilometers long and the highest peak is at about 1300 m.

Trollstigen

Trollstigen is one of the 18 national tourist routes and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Historic Trollstigen has 11 turns and runs between deep fjords and valleys. The 106 kilometer long trip starts off at Sogge Bridge in Romsdalen and ends up at Langvatnet on Strynefjellet.

Geirangerfjord

This 15 km long fjord is located in Sunnmøre, Møre and Romsdal. The fjord is also a world heritage site and in 2006 it was voted the best-preserved World Heritage site by National Geographic. The fjord is one of Norway's most visited tourist destinations with more than 700,000 tourists each year.

Via Ferrata Loen

In Loen there is a newly built climbing route that takes you 1010 meter above sea level. This route takes you to a wonderful viewpoint, but also the longest suspension bridge in Europe. Opened in 2013, this 160 meters long spectacular bridge provides views of Lodalen, Oldedalen, Skåla and mountains towards Jostedalsbreen.

Stryn summer ski

Skiing in shorts and a t-shirt? In Norway, this is possible. 45 km east of Stryn you will find Tystigbreen glacier situated more than 1000 meters above sea level. The ski resort offers varoius terrain, tour and freeride opportunities.

Voss ekstremsportveko

Voss has long been the center for extreme sports in Norway. Every year, since 1998, the city arranges an extreme sport festival in late June. It has become one of the world's largest and most successful sporting events.

Flåmsbanen

Flam Railway is one of the worlds most spectacular train journeys. The 20-kilometer long train ride runs between Flåm deep in Aurlandsfjord to the mountain station Myrdal 866 meters above sea level. Along the ride you will see rivers that cut through deep ravines, waterfalls cascading down steep mountain sides, and small farms clinging to steep slopes. Travel giant Lonely Planet set Flåmsbana in first place on their list "The World's most incredible train journeys in 2014".

Folgefonna ski center

Folgefonna is Norway's third largest glacier. It is located on the Folgefonn peninsula in Hardanger and covers areas in Jondal, Ullensvang, Odda, Etne and Kvinnherad.  Like Stryn it is the perfect destination for skiing and snowboarding in the summertime.

Trolltunga

Spectacular Trolltunga has gotten everyone attention. This huge piece of rock "hanging" about 700 meters above Ringedalsvannet in Skjeggedal is both breathtaking and scary at the same time. The view from Trolltunga is mildly spectacular and is the perfect place to take pictures. The hike up takes about 8-10 hours and is regarded as a relatively challlenging route.