Wednesday, October 5, 2016

From Fjords to Trolls

 Summer 2016 has come to an end and we cherish great tours with lovely guests from all over the world. We look back on a very successful season and of course we aim for a continuation in Spring/Summer 2017! Over the next few months we will look back on some of our best days in 2016. Here is one of those unforgettable days, a 100% true story!


When people hear “Norway” they often think of snow, moose, mountains and cold temperatures (even in summer). Yes, there are moose and mountains in Norway, but Norway is not always covered in snow. Especially here on the west coast! We benefit from the gulf stream, meaning that our summers can be warm and our winters are not as cold compared to the rest of Norway. For example, in June and July we got to enjoy warm temperatures as high as 33 degrees Celsius! On many of our tours which we did around that time, the guests were actually shocked by these temperatures. One day really exceeded our own expectations with a temperature of 34,2 degrees Celsius, and on that tour we ran our beloved tour “from Fjords to Trolls”.


The day started at 8:15 AM. We welcomed our guests and immediately began our adventure. The tour takes max. 8 hours, which may sound as an extremely long tour. Yes, technically it is a quite long drive from Ålesund to the infamous Troll Road, but our lovely guide certainly knew how to entertain us all by sharing many interesting stories about Ålesund and its surroundings. In the meantime, we also got to enjoy the beautiful nature of the Norwegian west coast.

Fjords and Gorges

Our first stop was at Storfjorden. Storfjorden literally means "The Big Fjord". The fjord got is name because of the fact that it is the largest fjord in the province of Møre og Romsdal with a length of +/- 110 km! The views are simply stunning! Our guide told us that even porpoise whales are in love with the fjord, as they are known to sometimes pass by and say hello. Unfortunately, we did not see one on this particular day, but that did not ruin our moods at all. The fjord itself is already an amazing sight.


Storfjorden

We continued our adventure and our next stop was at Gudbrandsjuvet. The name exists out of two parts: Gudbrand is a boy's name, juvet is Norwegian for gorge. The gorge is located just outside Valldal in the Norddal municipality. Valldal is a small village, known for its delicious strawberries and numerous fruit trees. We saw many of them when we drove through the village. When we arrived at the gorge, we immediately got out of the bus and walked towards it. There is a bridge constructed over the gorge, which allows us to walk from one side to the other while taking in the beautiful views. The water drops 20-25 meters and you can really hear the noise. It made us all very much aware of how small we actually are as human beings and how Mother Nature is so much stronger, When the sun appeared out from behind the clouds, we could even see a rainbow over the gorge!



Waterfall



Rainbow in the gorge






Strawberries and Platforms 

Our adventure continued and our next stop was at the Trollstigen platform. However, we had a small stop at a random strawberry stand where our guide bought us some strawberries from Valldal. Since we were already told that those strawberries are a must-try, we were very curious to taste them. Indeed, these strawberries were not just ordinary strawberries. The land in the Valldal area is extremely fertile and therefore a great place for fruit to grow. Especially when you think of the amount of hours of daylight we have in the summer, no less than 20 hours. This all combined causes a higher production of sugar within the fruit. The Valldal strawberries are very red and full of flavor. We all agreed that they taste much better than the commercially grown strawberries.


Cute little strawberry stand


While we enjoyed our strawberries and our guide entertained us with her fun facts and interesting stories, we approached the Trollstigen platform and it soon was time to get off the bus again. There is a cafe and a souvenir shop and we even spotted a few sheep. From the parking lot it is an approximately 5-minute walk to the first platform. We found ourselves surrounded by impressive mountains and a stream which runs next the first part of the path to the first platform. It is actually possible to touch the water, but I have to warn you, it is colder than you might think. The water is fresh water which comes from the mountains and this was already clearly visible while we drove to the top. As we started our walk to the first platform, the views got better and better. Once we got to the first platform, the view was in one word astonishing and it got even better at the second platform. Luckily for us, it was not clouded and we had a clear view on the zig-zagging Troll Road, the valley and the mountains! From the platform, the road did look kind of tricky and challenging to drive because of its sharp turns. Nevertheless, our driver was extremely experienced and managed to drive us safely through each turn. I have to admit that, as we drove down the road, I could feel how sharp the turns were (which was very normal and also very exciting!).


"Have you ever eaten a troll before?"

This was the question our guide asked before she asked us what we would like for lunch. We were on our way to Gjestegård, a restaurant nearby Trollstigen, where they serve a dish called "Trollburger". No, don't worry, the burger is not made of a real troll. Trolls still only exist in fairy tales and not in real life! The burger is made of......... The restaurant is surrounded by the beautiful, typically Norwegian nature: Mountains. Everywhere you look, you see mountains with narrow waterfalls. However, the mountains are not the first thing you notice when arriving at Gjestegård. A huge troll, right next to the entrance, welcomed us. They say that when you rub a troll’s nose, it brings luck, so rubbing the trolls nose is exactly what we did the moment we arrived. Next up, the delicious trollburger!


Flying people

What happened at our last stop, Trollveggen, Europe’s tallest vertical rock face, was something none of us will ever forget. "Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just fly.... Heights are so frightening, I don't think it's safe", these were just some of the thoughts we shared when we were looking at  Trollveggen. And at that very moment we spotted parachutists who jumped from a plane! Trollveggen, it literally means "the Troll Wall" and it is known among skydivers, parachutists and base jumpers for its height. Ever since 1986, it has been illegal to base jump from Trollveggen. Nevertheless, there have been some dare devil who jumped anyways and ended up losing their lives (the most recent one was in 2012). It is in a way understandable why it can be irresistible for base jumpers to jump from Trollveggen; it is a beautiful sight and the surroundings are majestic and spectacular. In addition, Trollveggen is after all the tallest vertical rock face in Europe, with a height of approx. 1200 meters. Of course jumping out of a plane is not forbidden and a great solution for the extreme sports fanatics. While the parachutists enjoyed the view from the sky, we enjoyed it just as much, or even more, on the safe and solid ground. After this last stop, it was time to head back to Ålesund. This was without a doubt, an amazing day!