Sunday, June 10, 2018

Kjerag


KJERAGBOLTEN



Success- one of the iconic places to see in Norway. The glaciers carved the granite over 11,000 years ago and when they retreated, they left a 'chockstone' wedged between 2 cliffs. 

It is a 2 hour hike with 500 meters of elevation gain over 3 rocky humps. About 5 kilometers over to Kjerag and then to the chockstone, the trail follows stone flags (with a red T) up and down on stone steps, some steeper areas using chains. If it were raining or snow, it would be quite slippery and dangerous, hence the recommendation to do it on a dry, sunny day!


The hike profile


Some scrambling

Some chains for steep or slippery sections


only 1000 meters of air down to Lysefjord!





Stone steps built by Sherpas from Nepal



Monday, May 28, 2018

Norway tour 2018

My 9th tour in Norway in the best weather ever! It usually rains at least 50% of the time. This is a hot one up to +29C many days. With 9 ferry crossings, we saw some new fjords and some familiar ones. Drove from Stavanger to Flåm, on to Ålesund on the west coast to see the Atlantic road for a future cycle tour, through the Romsdalen, past Trollveggen and on to Lom which has the best bakery in the world and skied in Sognefjellet, then on to Lillehammer for 2 nights to prep a ski tour for March 2019, and back over the Hardangervidda to Stavanger for a wee rest! Spent a day in town, caught up on laundry and headed to Kjerag....next post!



Skiing Sognefjellet

Ringnes Stave Church

Eidfjord

Hardangervidda
Lom Bakery - the best in the world!

Ålesund


The Atlantic Road - Eldhusøya

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Group cycle Tour in Norway 2017

A little rain to start the Ulvik loop
Another adventurous group joined me on an Iceland Air flight to Stavanger, Norway. We arrived on a Sunday, checked into our hostel and proceeded to put our bikes together for the next day's ride.

Sjernarøy Islands

Our first day was a tour of the Sjernarøy Island group in the Finnøy Kommune, a boat ride away from Judaberg. Six islands, all joined by bridges, held our attention for great views, green hills, many sheep farms and fun cycling for the day and the sun appeared and warmed us.


Our transport and trailer
The next day was a hike to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) one of the iconic sights in Norway, and a stay in a comfortable hostel. This is a 600 meter drop to the fjord below!


We made our way to Odda & Kinsarvik where we discovered the Pro Norwegian Tour des Fjords was arriving the next day! We could not stay and miss our bookings. Boassen Hagen won the tour!



We then rode the Ulvik loop in some wet conditions. One has to expect a mix of rain and sunny days due to the maritime climate in spring! Then on to Voss and Gudvangen where the group sailed the fjords to Flåm. As the boat sailed away, behind Gudvangen was an amazing waterfall with the wind blowing the mist down the valley. I drove the van and trailer through the tunnel to meet the group at the dock in Flåm.

Gudvangen
Boat from Gudvangen to Flåm

Hostelling is a great way to go in Norway. Clean, cozy rooms with showers, a well stocked kitchen and sitting lounges. Preparing our breakfasts, lunches and dinners at the hostel ensure healthy eating and time for happy hour each day after riding!

The ride from Flåm towards Myrdal. One needed a mountain bike to handle the mud!

Flåm Hostel

From Flåm we headed to Sogndal, hiked to Nigardsbreen glacier and

Nigardsbreen Glacier

On to Lom where the best bakery in Norway is located. After the morning ride and tour of the Stave church and tourist museum, it was a welcome stop for a latte, sandwich and cinnamon buns!

Excellent Lom Bakery
From Lom to Lillehammer and an apartment accommodation next to the area where the original Birkebeiner is held each year. From there to Olso and a visit to city hall, where the Nobel peace prize ceremony is held each year, then on to Bygdøy where the Viking ship museum is located.

Viking Ship Museum, Bygdøy (Oslo)

Borgund Stave Church

Suleskarvegen back to Sandnes

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fjords, glaciers, ferries, snow, Stave churches, waterfalls, delicious foods - the great group cycle tour 2015!

Last year I decided to organize and invite a few folks to join me on a tour of Norway. So 6 of us headed off  to meet May 24 in Stavanger, Norway via Iceland Air. We arrived on a rainy Sunday and picked up the rental van and trailer to head off to our first night in St. Svithun's hostel. It turned out to be part of a hospital and there were so many newborn babies with their Mom's and Dad's in the dining room. They were amazingly quiet! 


Our first cycle day was out to the Sjernerøy Island group. Parking on the dock in Judaberg on Finnøy island, we caught the boat to Helgøy and started cycling in the rain. A stop for coffee perked us up and the sun came out for a while. The 6 islands are joined by bridges and makes a nice afternoon ride through to Nesvik. Caught the boat back to Judaberg and over to my friend, Benjamin's to shower and enjoy a dinner of reindeer cooked by his Mom. Delicious. 






The next day we headed to the ferry from Stavanger to Tau, and drove up to Preikestolen hostel. Packed a lunch and did the 2 hour hike to the famous pulpit rock in a bit of drizzle. The sun actually made a brief appearance. What a view - Lysefjord was 600 meters down from the top. We took photos of the cracks and scampered over the rock after lunch. Donna and Bruce brought along their mascot - Gnome!

The next day driving to Odda in pouring rain, through numerous tunnels and on to Kinsarvik after enjoying our first weiner pølser hot dog. A bit of rain on and off, the group rode up the Ulvik loop and found a few nice hills. Arriving in Voss, we had a bit of rain, and heading up the Evanger loop found snow and some incredible hairpin turns over a high pass. The afternoon was driving back down on very narrow roads and tunnels back to the highway and on to Dale where Dales of Norway sweaters are sold. 

On the next day to visit the historic Stalheim Hotel and down to Gudvangen. The group took the boat for a 2 hour fjord cruise to Flåm while I drove the van and trailer through the tunnel. We had 2 nights at the HI hostel and it was excellent in spite of the rain. The ride up towards Myrdal was blocked by snow in the high pass however we rode about 18 km up and turned and rode down through a beautiful valley for a delicious dinner.







Then the drive through the longest tunnel in the world - 24.5 km long! We had to stop halfway to take photos! It was raining on so we drove up to Borgund to see the Stave Church there. Most of that day was rain as we caught the ferry and over to Kaupanger, and another stave church. Found our cabins at Sogndal, went into town for lunch and bought some groceries. Ate a traditional Lapskaus dinner with flat bread.



Our next day was a rainy drive to Nigardsbreen and a hike to the toe of the glacier. We also discovered our planned drive over the Sognefjellet pass to Lom was blocked by snow, so the next day we had to do a long detour to Skei, through Stryn and on to Lom adding about 200kms to our tour. We arrived in Lom, ordered some pizza and downed it with beer! The next day threatened rain and sure enough, while we were cycling about an hour and a half into the ride, the skies opened up.


Lom has one of the best bakeries in Norway. We had the best coffee, bought delicious buns and breads and then rode to Skjøk where we found a small stave church. Riding back was in the sun! We toured the Lom Stave church and made another delicious dinner. Off the next day to Lillehamer as the planned route to Fagernes was closed - due to snow in the high pass! Lillehamer was sunny and we rode to town, checked out the bike stores and the Olympic stadium. 


We got an early start the next day in sunshine and on to Oslo where we parked the van, took the tram to downtown and walked the waterfront, Akershus, into the Oslo City Hall (where the Nobel Peace prizes are given out each year), then took the ferry to Bygdøy where the Viking ship museum is located. Slowed by Friday night's massive traffic exit from the city, we made our way to the Kongsberg hostel and Bruce made an incredible soup served with bread (from Lom) for dinner!


Our next day was driving to Notodden where we found sun and a traveling European cheese festival. We cycled to Heddal (another Stave church) and beyond, crossing the valley and back to Notodden for lunch, then drove on to Morgedal, where Sondre Norheim developed telemark skiing in the 1800's. Then on to Hauggrend where we had reserved an apartment. It turned out very nice and Cory and Leanne made a traditional meatball dinner! Excellent dinners with beer most nights, or wine, it was good that we could burn off a few of the calories cycling! The next day was sunny for the ride to Dalen, however the hills and switchbacks were a challenge. 


Our final day was driving out to Sandnes which we discovered was a huge cycling town with great bike shops, bike displays and even bike art in the town square! The hostel was part of the Hotel Sverre, clean and comfortable with one of the best breakfasts which included waffles with jam and whipped cream, pickled herring, breads, cheeses, sliced meats, vegetables, fruit, muelsi, yogurt, and coffee! We packed up the van and drove to the airport in beautiful sunshine, I was wishing we could stay another week! Dropped off the rentals and waited to check in to Iceland Air for our return flights. The locals all said it was the coldest spring in 37 years, so no wonder snow was lingering in the high passes. Another awesome trip with a great group! Hope to do it again!




 Snow leftover from winter on the Suleskarvegen - 4 meters high!