If you were late to get into our car to enjoy the amazing cross country road trip around Norway, you need to start from reading the first post here. Have a quick read now to set your compass in the same direction as ours – so that you know from where we started and how we enjoyed the part I. This is the next edition of this “once in a lifetime” road trip so fasten your seat belt while we take sharp turns for the 2nd leg of our journey.
Some extra amount of gas was burnt to accelerate the arrival at our destination since we were driving on the eve of my birthday. So for some unknown reason Shehzaad didn’t want to end up crossing the frontier of one age to another inside a precipitating four wheeler in the middle of nowhere in remote rural Norway. We kept staring at the decreasing distance on the pink route map in the GPS while the road ahead kept twisting like the swirling dervishes of Istanbul. Finally when we did reach our resort at the sleepy Byrkjedal we were witnessed may be only by a few vigilant owls at work.
Top road-trip tips:
- Make a plan but be flexible in execution. Basically act as the time and situation needs you to.
- Keep an actual map handy.
- Don’t decide your stops beforehand, leave the door wide open for weird little discoveries… of the countrysides’ true gems.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and have sufficient balance to make any emergency calls if you need to. Carry a portable charger.
- Keeping dry food and fruits in the car is recommended but don’t forget to ask a local for a place to eat a fresh meal for dinner or lunch. Also, carry lots of drinking water.
- Get your tank filled up as soon as it reaches to half. No one would like to be stranded in the middle of nowhere due to lack of fuel.
- Take lots of pictures, road trips are prime fodder for beautiful wallpapers and important content for your blog (if you have one) once you get home.
The following day we set off for our planned hiking of the Kjerag mountains (you can read about our Kjerag mountain hike experience here). For this we had to arrive at Lysebotn, which is used as the base for starting the hike. The day light revealed the rural beauty of Norway in an emphatic way as if it was really sulking because of our precipitation last evening amidst its charcoal veins. Whether we looked right, left, ahead or above or even in the rear view mirrors, we could only see high mountains, green valleys, herds of sheep busy grazing and a flurry of waterfalls of various heights and sizes. To specify that the prairies were simply void, other than the elements of nature and some cattle every now and then, there was no human being around. Like a walk though around the most natural museum one can ever imagine, the waterfalls were bursting out through the hearts of the mountain rocks as if nature was finding it so hard to hold back within its solid surface so much beauty it had to unleash in front of the eyes of the wanderers who came to experience her. The roads that led to Lysebotn started to be escorted again by huge chunks of observing ice blocks. Either I was driving a real car inside a Need For Speed video game or those video games were made based on these roads. How we courageously pushed our boundaries to complete our hike of the Kjeragbolten and returned safely is described in a previous post we published a while ago.
The following day our destination was Bergen. We decided to take the route down south via Stavanger. Very naturally we realised that the closer we were driving near bigger cities or man-made habitations, the farther the Nature withdrew itself from showing her charisma. Makes you realise that man-made wonders may be worth the bling or a fling but the depth and attraction that is there in the love of nature is far beyond a fling but more at a platonic level of love, almost worship. Our trusted route all along the way was E39 which promised to take us to Bergen the same day after a drive of seven hours or so.
The highlight of this side of the road engineering was the countless tunnels one after another of different length. The way the Norwegians have connected disparate islands with underwater tunnels is a civil engineering feat in its own right. Unless you keep driving through these pieces of human excellence you will not feel how humans have decided to tunnel through the rocky heart of the mountains so see it inside out. Like travel bugs with a mission, we kept on entering and exiting tunnels. While on plain land, we were continuously entertained by flash rain, followed by complete half circle rainbows or just lush green.
The second highlight of driving around western Norway is its ferry network. Having no idea or experience on how it may be, it turned out to be as smooth as knife in butter. Seriously ordered queues, immaculately clean and on time ferries with facilities that will challenge some high street food chains – the level of service standard in Norway kept on brandishing very politely why this country is one of the most enveloped if not the best country in the entire world. You can take my word for it. The ferry rides to Bergen were short and comfortable and we had the choice to either disembark from our cars to get some food on board or just stay in to doze off the net twenty minutes or so. As the traffic got heavier and the queues started getting longer, we could sense that Bergen is not far away and that was the case. With all our driving manoeuvres and alertness we started to look for our hotel in the new city. If you want to take a pause from the roving roads and pause a bit to reflect on the beauty of Bergen, why not read the other post here we already published unravelling the beautiful experience of Bergen – both during day time and under an insomniac night sky.
So here we switch off the car engine to cool down for two nights. We replace the wheels with our own feet to roam around and recharge ourselves for the 3rd and final leg of our epic counter-clock journey around Norway. Stay tuned when we publish the final edition of the road trip where we leave Bergen and drive up north near Alesund to visit the much celebrated Atlantic Highway, the crown in the jewel of the Norwegian road network.