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Norway Part II

July 8th, 2022

Today after showering (gotta take advantage when you can!) at the campground, we dumped and filled our water before leaving.  We drove to the ferry terminal to get to the hike to The Little Troll’s Tongue.

Enroute we passed through 19 tunnels! (From here on through Norway, we will have Daily Tunnel & Ferry tallies!)

Like in Sweden, because Norway has so much forest, many homes are made from wood.  All have the same peaked roofs as Denmark, Iceland and Sweden for snow reasons and many are painted the oxblood red of the Swedish homes but there are a good number of white ones as well.  The one unusual thing is that a good number have sod roofs as well to help insulate BUT it’s a good idea to have a goat when you have a sod roof to keep the grass from getting too tall!

The Troll’s Tongue is the iconic one you see photos of when people post photos from Norway. However, it’s quite a long hike and Fran feels it’s too much for her so this hike came across her news feed and we decided it to it.

You have to park at a small shopping centre (but they charge $14USD) but there is no other option; we’d thought we’d found one but it now has a “no parking” sign.  Anyway, we paid and walked the 750 metres to the trailhead.  Then the “fun” began; more than ¾ of the almost 3km / 2mi hike is uphill on a wide gravel path.  Fran found this rather challenging but she made it and it was worth it.  There were hardly any people  here (unlike yesterday at Pulpit Rock) and the weather was on our side because yesterday they said it would be raining by the afternoon today.  The sun peeked out a bit and we stayed dry (except for sweating!) and it was beautiful – it was actually like there were about five “tongues”, two of which were spectacular.

We could have overnighted at that parking lot but they wanted another $12 to stay that long so we went back along the highway 5km /3 mi and found a large rest area with a picnic table and parked there.

Today we passed through 20 tunnels in total.

It was still overcast with moving clouds, fog and the odd tiny sunny break with rain in varying degrees of intensity on and off.  Enroute, we stopped to take a few shots of the first glacier we’ve seen in Norway:

We went past a beautiful double water fall called Latefoss:

We arrived at the P1 parking lot (vehicles longer than 5.2 m are NOT supposed to try and get to P2 or P3), got parked, found the pay and display stand (parking cost $30 for ONE day and you’re not permitted to overnight!).  Doug got his backpack ready and off he went about 9:20 am.  Fran had already decided that this hike was too much for her knees, so Doug chose to make it a bigger challenge and to hike from the furthest parking lot (38km and 2000m of elevation instead of 20km and 800m of elevation). Some parts of the longer route are incredibly steep and even treacherous but he felt the scenic views made up for it, although the day was quite foggy/drizzly and there were also snowy patches along the way.

No other hikers were encountered until the route met up with the shorter routes and not too many, and they often let the faster hikers pass or the trail broadened often enough to not slow one down too much. The top of the mountains was quite cold and windy. Along the way there were numerous unprepared people without proper footwear, hydration, or even a coat! Fortunately he arrived just ahead of a large group so had a few minutes at the tongue to himself and then someone to take the obligatory pictures. The return trip was made more enjoyable by having completed the worst part, but hiking out of the dips and down the treacherous sections on the way back was a struggle as his legs were worn out. He ended up completing it in 9 hours instead of the advertised 15 from where we parked.

Doug texted Fran around 6 that he’d be back in about 45 minutes so she got dinner ready figuring he’d be hungry on his return.  We ate, washed up and left the parking area to move on down the road.  As mentioned above,  the signs here say ”no camping or sleeping” and we’d have to pay another $20 if we wanted to chance it – we saw others doing it but $20 for no services other than a toilet is pretty steep when we’d already paid $30 till midnight!

We found a rest area along the fjord about 20 km / 13 mi up and there was only one other camper there (by morning there were four of us) so we counted ourselves lucky as usually by 8pm spots are full here in Norway (that’s why we prefer to drive early in the day and get parked by midafternoon).  It continued to sprinkle for a bit but by morning the sky was pretty clear and the sun was shining – it was going to be a good day!

Today, Sunday, we made our way towards Bergen on the west coast via the Hardanger Scenic route stopping three times on route.


We are amazed how many tunnels there are here.  And get this: one had a roundabout IN the tunnel!

The service building at one of the rest stops (called (Tyrvefjoia”) is quite unique; it has “Fairytale toilets” – two separate toilets built from pine trunks and concrete, with the a big roof that appears to be floating above the landscape.

Another rest stop, Steinstoberget, was a lovely viewpoint of the fjord and a tiny piece of the nearby glacier.  It should be noted that the while the fjords here are lovely, they are harder to see and enjoy than the ones in Iceland due to the trees!

The third rest stop, was the powerfll waterfall Steinsdalsfossen:

Here you can walk up the right side of the falls to walk behind them:

We had about 75 km / 46 mi left to reach Bergen and we opted to take the toll route as it was a bit shorter and it seems road tolls are not as bad as bridge tolls.  It almost means not as much stopping and starting or going through small towns.

We arrived at a parking lot we’d found online but it was tiny and all the spots were taken nor could we see street parking when we came across a large lot.  There were two other motorhomes (both German – we saw mostly Germans here in Norway) and we parked.  Doug went over to read the giant sign but it was, of course, in Norwegian so he tired to use Google Translate.  Seems you need to download their app to pay the parking – well when you try in the Google Play Store, it says “not available in your country” to us – so now what?  We chatted with one of the Germans and he said he’s not sure if you have to pay or not cause it’s Sunday…..So we took a chance after leaving a note on the dash explaining why we didn’t pay.

We walked into the old town and saw the famous harbour front buildings which are quite lovely and the harbour views were gorgeous in the sunlight:

Next we wandered a little further up the harbour to see the Bergen Fortress which has a tower that dates back to 1270 AD!

We had one more possible place to check out depending on the cost:  it was the local funicular that takes you up to a viewpoint over the harbour.  We went saw the lineup down the block and checked online for the price:  $15 each!  So we passed.

Zoomed in view of the top with funicular headed down

We stopped at McDonald’s for a cold drink (two large sodas:  $6.60!) and then sat at the harbour to drink them.

Upon returning to Minou we had a ticket on the windshield; the guy was just leaving and Doug couldn’t grab his attention to talk with him.  It’s for about $66 USD!  We’ll deal with that later.

There are not good free places to spend the night here in Bergen so we drove 45 km / 27 mi out of town in the direction we want to head tomorrow and found a narrow side road below the highway with a small pullout and after some maneuvering Doug got us tucked in there.

A man was walking by whom he chatted with and did not advise we could not stay the night.  The sun was stilling shining and only a couple of cars came by us in the afternoon.   Other than the nearby commuter train that ended around bedtime and began before 5 am it was a quiet night.

Today we went through 33 tunnels to get to Bergen.  One of them was 8km / 5 mi long and began right after a bridge which ended into another tunnel (that bridge/toll section had a $35 toll on it). To get here to this point, we passed through another 19 tunnels (13 of them we’d gone through to get to Bergen as we drove out of the city the same way we came in and then did a stretch of the same highway before hitting new roads).

Monday dawned with full sun – yeah!  The forecast was for it to begin clouding over in the afternoon and then rain overnight and more Tuesday afternoon.  So sunshine means lovely views and we wanted to get a good deal of kilometres done to enjoy them.

We left by 7:30 and our first destination was the world’s longest tunnel – as you’ve probably gathered, Norway has a LOT of tunnels (it bears repeating)!  This one is 24.509 km long!

The theory behind the changing light colours is that it can keep drivers more alert…..

Then since we’d only done about 120 km we pushed one but this meant a long push because the next place we wanted to see was about 200km further around a few glaciers so not a straight line at all.  We had to take one ferry enroute but that saved two toll roads.


At the top of a set of switchbacks we stopped to see an old bridge built back in 1883,

then a wonderful waterfall which we hiked down a muddy path to view better of


Enroute to the town of Geiranger, we took a side road to Dalsnibba which has a lookout with a grated floor and glass walls overlooking the nearby fjord.  It’s up high at 1500 m and the views are spectacular all around.  On the drive up to it we passed a half frozen lake and there’s lots of snowy patches and snow covered peaks.

The view from the platform is the photo at the top of this post.

While driving up here we decided we better figure out which fjord in Norway is the best to take a boat cruise on as we’ll only take one.  Turns out the nearby Geiranger Fjord is the best and is a UNESCO World Heritage site so Fran got online to see if we were too late in the day to catch a cruise but we lucked out as there was a boat at 5pm and it had a few spots left.

It’s now coming close to 4 as we pulled into the village so we got parked at the ferry terminal here (where it’s free but nothing fancy – just a parking lot with a fjord view!), had a light early dinner/snack and at 4:30 we walked over to the Pier to catch the boat.

The cruise goes the length of the Geiranger fjord where it meets another fjord and turns around – takes about 90 minutes and the weather held the entire way – actually was a clearer sky on the return trip.  There are lots and lots of waterfalls along the fjord and the audio guide told stories of the town and life in the fjord (farmers, believe it or not) who lived along and above it.


We got back to Minou, heard the cruise ship whistle as it left and then is was pretty quiet here at the ferry terminal.

Today’s tunnel count: 50! With the 25th one being 11km long and the 28th one was 24.5 km long – the longest in the world! As we continue northward due to the all fjors we’ll be catching more ferries.  Today we did only one.

We drove almost 400km today – a long driving day but we have SO much ground to cover in this country, we want to keep moving.

We were up early Tuesday to get on the road to get to the Trollstigen (Troll’s ladder).  This is the iconic Norwegian windy road you see in the photos.  We had to take a ferry to get to Highway 63 and the parking lot with the overlook is at the top of the road where there are also a number of waterfalls around it.

Road out of Geiranger

The weather today was cloudy but bright and it was not supposed to rain until the afternoon.

We arrived at the parking area for the Trollstigen and walked to check out the viewpoints:

We next drove down it with not too much traffic and to be honest, although the overlook was cool, the Lysebotn road that we did a few days ago, had more switchbacks and was steeper but it had no overlook to see the road.

Next it was on to drive the Atlantic Way Road from Bud to Kristiansund.  It began to sprinkle just arrived in Bud.  Doug was “disappointed” (?) we didn’t go to the Bud Museum!  ha ha ha While the route was nice, the weather put a damper on it and there were a few spots we skipped for that reason.

Like yesterday, we wanted to get a lot of miles done so we managed 429km.   We did some island hopping on bridges and then did the long haul drive to Trondheim where we went grocery shopping as we will be getting more remote as we move northward.

Todays counts:  Tunnels 20; Ferries 3 Zero moose

Here in Trondheim, we are at 63.4º N – further north than we’ve been on this trip but not quite as far north as we went in Iceland last year but we’ll get there!  One thing we’ve noticed and have tried to do a lot, is buy diesel in out of the way places, not in cities.  We’ve gotten it as low as 23.09 NOK whereas in cities we’ve seen as high at 26.99!

The temps these days range in the high teens C which is 60’s F and dip down into the low teens C at night.

So Wednesday, we expected to wake up to rainy and clouds but it was not bad at all.  The sun never came out all morning but the rain was to hold off till the afternoon.  The cloud ceiling was high and there were a few “sucker” holes of blue sky and it was quite bright – we’ll take it!

Today was a driving day to make it to the “Coastal Road” (aka FV17 or RV17) deemed the most beautiful drive in Europe.  This first couple of hundred kilometres was not so ragingly beautiful but when we get to the ocean, we expect that to change.  We drove inland quite a bit to get to the coast which seemed strange after all the fjords and lakes we’ve gone around but that won’t last.

From the BBC’s Travel site: Norway’s coastal road from the town of Stiklestad to the Arctic city of Bodø is a 670km journey between two very different worlds. It’s also one of the most beautiful road trips on the planet.

At one end is the quiet sophistication of central Norway, with its perfectly manicured meadows and oxblood-red wooden cabins. At the other is the spare, serene beauty of the north: a world of glaciers, ice-bound mountains and empty, far horizons. Connecting the two, the Kystriksveien – a route also known as the Coastal Way or Fv17 – charts a sinuous path along the coast, bucking and weaving along rugged contours all the way to the Arctic.

The Scandinavian nation is blessed with one of the most beautiful yet difficult stretches of coast in Europe. Seeming to wrap itself around the country like a protective shield from the freezing Arctic, Norway’s coastline appears to have shattered under the strain, riven as it is with islands and fjords cutting deep fissures inland. Along such a coast, it seems impossible that a road should exist here at all. In short, it seems like a miracle.As the country turned wilder and signs of human presence receded, it quickly became clear that to build any roads along this fractured coastline was surely a triumph of human ingenuity and perseverance.

“In Norway, if there is an obstacle, like a mountain or a body of water, we build a road over it or around it, a bridge across it or a tunnel under it.  We have the longest road tunnels in the world. We build roads in places that others think are impossible. And where we can’t build a tunnel, we send a ferry.”

 Back in the mid-20th Century, I was told, road-building projects were about building character as much as they were about building a nation. In 1939, unemployed youth were put to work constructing the 108km Sognefjellet road across the roof of Norway and through what is now Jotunheimen National Park. A few years later, in the 1940s, nearly 150,000 prisoners and the unemployed were given the no-less-challenging task of taming the coastline with the FV17.

 We arrived at the coast and the sky was even brighter with thinner clouds and larger “sucker” holes.  Although  the sun never quite made it out fully the rain in the forecast, kept getting pushed back later and later.

At one point on the drive we passed a side road and we both caught a glimpse of a dog sled team pulling a wheeled cart!  Must be summer training.  It went by so fast we couldn’t get a photo but here an idea of what that looks like:

The mountains are getting barer and the rock is turning brownish.  The one stop we did make was at Torghatten Mountain – “the mountain with the hole in it”.   Torghatten, rises from an island shore. It resembles a hunched troll, frozen in stone and watching over the town. When the clouds rolled in, it looms in and out of view, as if playing hide and seek.

According to the legend of the Helgeland mountains, Torghatten was formed when the troll Hestmannen, disappointed in love, shot an arrow after the young girl Lekamøya who ran away from him. The Troll-King in Mount Sømnafjellet saw this and threw his hat between them; the arrow went straight through the hat and formed the hole. The sun rose, and everyone was turned into stone.

photo courtesy of Google

Here we drove through Bronnoysund to get to the sound end of the next island to check.  You cannot see the hole from the road or the parking area.  You have to walk about 20 minutes slowing uphill but not really steep, just a lot of broken rocks and rock stairs to get there.  Suddenly, you’re there: a hole/tunnel through the mountain

After returning to Minou had less than 25 minutes to make it to catch and next ferry and we just made!  Then looking at the timetable, for the following ferry (there’s nothing to see on the island in between except barren mountain tops)

And we had 20 minutes to make that one if we wanted the direct route rather than the local route which makes two stops.  We made it just in time and it wasn’t even full.

This ferry took 70 minutes – the longest today.  We found a place to park not too far after disembarking and had a quiet night before continuing on the RV17.  This place had outhouses and rubbish bins and a 4G signal.  We don’t need much more than that.

Today’s tally:  16 tunnels and 3 ferries (which we timed perfectly!) and 463 km.  No moose.

It rained some overnight and the cloud ceiling was much lower this morning but we carried on.  We passed the mountain range known as the 7 sisters is located but most of the tops were covered in cloud.  The peaks, which range from 910m to 1,072m, are said to be female trolls suffering eternal punishment

We crossed the long Hegleland bridge before catching another ferry.  This bridge which makes it possible in five minutes to do what would otherwise involve an hour-long detour.

We stopped at a rest area with steps down the sea for picturesque views.

We then took a longer ferry  – about an hour – during which ride we crossed the Arctic Circle – finally, we’ve been close a few times but this is it!  Furtherest NORTH we’ve ever been – if you have followed us long, you know that in 2018 we crossed the Antarctic Circle on our Polar Expedition cruise.

Unfortunately, Fran did not have our big camera with her upstairs on the ferry so we only have this phone photo:

Yes this one is thanks to Google

The weather got worse after we got off the ferry and we decided to call it a day in the middle of the afternoon by getting a campsite with Wi-Fi and laundry!  The price seemed high – about $40 – but it included free laundry (wash and dry) so we thought it was no so bad.   You have to register on line, get a site and then you are all good.  There are showers and all the usual facilities with paved pitched and artificial grass patios.

We met some French, Belgian and Estonians here – all also wanting to get laundry done too!  Free machines make people do extra laundry – us included.

Today’s tally:  NO moose, 13 Tunnels, 3 ferries of which we only had to wait for one for 20 minutes – our worst wet day in Norway which will probably be beat tomorrow!

It rained ALL night and it was still raining come Friday morning – with no end in sight.  We hung at the campground doing chores and internet related stuff on the free fast Wi-Fi.  It’s really socked in.

We got two loads of laundry done and Fran got tons done on the campground’s fast internet.  We are awaiting the completion of our website’s update and she has so much “on hold” so we’ll need another day like this down the road.

the view around the campsite


As we are falling behind in posts, there will be two posts next week and the week after so that YOU are not so far behind in our travels!