Hardanger Bridge – Norway

The Hardanger suspension bridge is the longest tunnel to bridge to tunnel in the world. It is the longest suspension bridge in Norway and one of the longest in the world.
There is a viewing area so you can see the bridge disappear into a tunnel. This bridge is longer than the Golden Gate Bridge. Impressive.
There is a pedestrian/bike tunnel as well to access going across the bridge.
Blue sky. A fun bridge to experience. These supports are both on land, not in the fjord.
Nicely designed cable supports. That is all that is holding up this roadway?
How lucky we were to see this beautiful rainbow cross the bridge as well.
This is the Hardanger Tunnel Roundabout. There is a roundabout in the tunnel. Really – there is a roundabout in the tunnel. This looks like a movie set out of Mission Impossible!
Heading towards Bergen we stopped in the town of Kinsarvik and saw this double rainbow.
Back at Saebo cabin we saw yet another rainbow, now over Eidfjordvatnet. A magical day.

Hardangervidda NP – Norway

Saebo Camping on Eidfjordvotnet is a perfect spot to watch the world go by!
Our Saebo Camping Cabin is the larger one in the center.
It is very close to Hardangervidda National Park.
The trail we took is well marked with red ‘T’. There were some cabins here – how fun that would be to hike to this spot for the night.
Getting us located on Locus Maps. This app has been so helpful in all our navigation. We loaded all of Norway for free.
Great views!
Great fall colors!
Detail of those wonderful colors and textures.
Amazing variety of lichens and moss.
Even a comfy rock for a picnic lunch!
And back to Saebo Camp to enjoy the fjord lake: Deep breath. Exhale. All is well.

Vøringsfossen – Norway

We have no idea what to expect as we head out to visit the Vøringsfossen waterfall along Norwegian Scenic Route Hardangervidda – a few miles from our Saebo cabin.
This is the Vøringsfossen!
This puts it in perspective to the huge size. And see the bridge over my shoulder?
That bridge  is this magnificent pedestrian crossing!
We are pretty much speechless to see such an engineering feat.
Imagine building this. Imagine designing this. A 47 meter span equals 154 feet, which is like a 14 story tall building – and is equally that tall of a waterfall into the canyon below.
The underside is equally interesting.
2 stairways on each side lead to a center portion.
A dizzingly viewpoint.
Getting up close to the spray from the upper part of the Vøringsfossen.
The Pretzel Tunnel, that the car climbed between the falls and eidfjord, replaced the old switchback road. Why not?

Aurlandsfjellet “Snow Road” – Norway

Happy Autumn Equinox! A kaleidoscope of changing colors invites us to explore.
Our first stop on the Aurlandsfjellet Snow Road is a waterfall which is being guarded by this sheep: Baaa baaa ra!
A powerful amount of water makes this an enjoyable wander.
Wow. The overlook called Vedahaugane is spectacular today.
Coming out of the “Bear’s Den” art exhibit, looking for a meal. Vedahaugane
Looking the other direction it is blanketed with red on the Aurlandsfjellet Snow Road
No snow today!
Several nice lakes as the clouds move in.
Is that a canyon? Or is there a fjord ahead?
The fjord view point Stegastein. What a fun way to end our travel across the Snow Road.
The view of the fjord and Aurland. Flam is around the bend where we enjoyed a picnic lunch.

Gaularfjellet Scenic Route – Norway

Sunshine! This Kvinnafossen waterfall was a delight on our way to the ferry.
We got the Sogneflorden Ferry from Hella to Balestrand.
Still some low clouds over the Gaularfjellet Scenic Route…
Interesting to watch them but we hope the views we are coming to see are not in the clouds.
Waiting for the sun to break through, we strolled along the fjord in Balestrand to the Viking Burial Mounds and found them guarded by this statue of King Bele.
Ooohhh Wow! Did you see that reflection? Stop the car!
Or how about this one? Surreal.
The highway engineer that designed this road in the 1930’s said that a good road is 10x better than a bad road, and a bad road is 100x better than no road!
We took these hairpin turns to climb up the valley on the Gaularfjellet Scenic Route.  We have a view!!!
The clouds are still playing around at the Utsikten Viewing Platform…. But that makes it a bit more mysterious.
Isn’t this spectacular! The Gaularfjellet Scenic Route basically follows the Gaula River – this looks like an oil painting.
The Likholefossen has this very cool pedestrian bridge so you can be right over the waterfall.
Like this. The sound is deafening – it is a bit of sensory overload with the sun and fall colors. Soooo much water!
And on the other side is a picture perfect wetlands. Really it looks like this – can you believe it?  We feel so lucky for a pleasant sunny day.
As we ferried back across the Sogneflorden we wondered: Is that the Loch Ness Monster in the water?

Jotunheimen National Park – Norway

Along the Sognefjord are some amazing waterfalls – some even have names like Asofossen.
At an overlook we see the village of Fortun and the massive Asofossen in the hill beyond, which names the river that flows through the valley. This is the beginning of 10 hairpin turns and as per Rick Steves “Treat Each Turn As If It Were Your Last!”
Wait! Stop the car! Luckily there was a pullover we could walk back across the bridge and take this photo of an unnamed waterfall with 3 snow covered mountain peaks in the background.
There you go…three peaks in Jotunheimen National Park.
The roads are all one lane with some passing pullovers so a bit stressful driving. Quoting Rick Steve again ” Tell your passenger to scream only when we hit something”. Ha! We climbed the valley of Jotunheimen NP on the scenic Sognefellet National Tourist Route.
The Nedre Oscarshaug viewing platform allows you to move the glass panels to line up with the mountain you are looking at to identify it. Very fun. The temperature has now dropped to chilly 3 degrees at around 1200 meters elevation. (37 degrees at 4,000′ above fjord/sea level)
A bit different day than when we toured part of the park on the east side from Lom. Our blog entry from first of September.
We hung out at a parking area to eat our lunch and watch the clouds.
We turned around at this lake area as the clouds were moving in.
We were glad we could have such beautiful tundra under our feet.
Really happy to be on top of the world here in Jotunheimen National Park.

Amla Bay and Urnes Stave Church – Norway

We are tucked into a cozy apartment on Amla Bay near Kaupanger (Sognejorden) for 5 nights.
We are the middle small green building, second floor. Nedre Amla are 6 attached homes that resemble the old fishing villages. Our owner has created an apartment above his garage for his visiting family and to share with travelers like us.
This is our view across the fjord towards Kaupanger from the dining/living room. Nice – more reflections!
Should we do the high dive?  Let’s just view the sunset for now…
…Great end to a rainy day.
Kaupanger has a nice Stave Church on a gorgeous site that was a pleasant 1.5 mile walk along Amla Bay from our apartment but there is a more famous one nearby.
We took a 15 minute ferry just a bit north across the fjord to Urnes or Orneset on a clear morning.
The Urnes Stave Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Only Norwegian Stave Churches (28 out of 1,300) have survived so they are a unique contribution to world cultural heritage.
We got a tour inside to see the original 1130 construction as well as some of the “drunken” modifications from 1662, which sawed off a main support stave (column) so these diagonals were placed to keep the building from collapsing. Medieval chandelier on left hangs from ceiling.
Original carvings at the column capitals. The  pulpit was added in 1690 by a wealthy benefactor.
The chancel extension and decoration from around 1601. At the foot of Christ on the cross is a skull and crossbones which represent that Adam is dead as Christ is resurrected as the son of god. Mary and St John as the grieving witnesses – the scene of Golgotha.
The wood siding and shingles are covered with a tar and coal mixture for waterproofing. It also gives the churches the characteristic black patina as well as makes them highly flammable – that’s why so few stave churches have survived through the ages.
Looking out the front door, across the graveyard, and the fjord beyond – all now vivid with moisture.

Jostedalsbreen National Park – Norway

On the road  we head south along Innik Fjord (Nordfjord) on a rainy sort of day. But we could still appreciate the grandeur.
At the top of the map – we left Stryn heading south to Fjaerland (in bold on map), then down and up to Gjerde to explore the east side. The Jostedalsbreen glacier, the largest glacier on the European mainland.
Fjaerland is at the end of another fjord (Sognefjorden) – and as we have now learned all these fjords are carved by glaciers. We have come here to see another branch- Boyabreen- which you can if you look closely through the high humidity.
If you have looked at any promotional brochures of Norway you will have seen this well placed sauna with a view in Fjaerland.
Meeting up with some ice explorers and scientists at the world class Norwegian Glacier Museum.
This is as close as we got today to the glacier – the Boyabreen Glacier branch.
Always relieved to find some conveniences especially in such scenic locations.
A lush green high humidity rainy sort of day was our best chance of exploring the east side of Jostedalsbreen NP.  There were more waterfalls and water on this route than we remember ever seeing anywhere – obviously abundant due to the rain quantity.
This unique visitor center – Breheimsenterret – seems to  extend right from the glacier itself (seen flowing down the valley at the right)
It reminded me of a Viking helmet from this direction. Museum is in lower level with a good movie with screen that goes up, curtains open for large window to view glacier – National Park worthy experience.
Really the best way to spend a rainy morning! A waffle with strawberry jam or a sweet local pastry with fresh brewed coffee. Universal…
Clouds seem to lift so we drive toll road to Nigardsbreen Glacier.
The glacier melt off has left this beautiful milky lake. The boat will cut 20 minutes off the 45 minute hike to touch the glacier but we thought hiking on wet rocks in the rain was not going to be worthwhile.
So we picniced in our car while watching the clouds play, tried to count all the waterfalls, and enjoyed the lush green from all the moisture.
The force of the waterfalls is breathtaking. We may not have experienced what we planned but we appreciated our explorations and the many moods of the landscape.