Pushing the envelope got a new meaning after what we did for the next leg of our road trip from Bergen. Faced with the options of doing something extraordinary and something exceptional we ended up doing the latter. The northern attraction of the Atlantic Ocean Road was our next coveted destination but the problem was that not only was it another eight to nine hour drive up north but also we were under the condition that we had to return to Oslo the following early morning to catch our flight. We kept on checking the driving direction and duration on Google maps and my mind kept on telling me to drop the plan. However like most other occasions, the person who inspires to levitate to the next level appeared in full form despite mild illness. Tanusree seemed to have only one objective in life during that time and that was to drive along the Atlantic highway at any cost.
The challenge went uphill from the word ‘go’ since we passed a nuit blanche to make sure we could capture the beautiful reflection of the sleepy Bryggen on the waters in front. You can read about this experience in another post here. So instead of having a good night sleep before setting off for the epic final leg of the road trip we rolled out from our hotel like insomniac owls in the wee hours to capture some amazing nocturnal shots. Before the birds woke up and announced the arrival of the dawn, two of us defeated the early risers by hitting the road even earlier. After a frustrating first half of trying to find out how to get out of Bergen we finally found our trusted route E39 and got into the arms of the rural Norway lazily waking up to welcome us into yet another episode of its magic stories. In a repeat mode, we kept on driving through tunnels and blue sky. This route from Bergen to Atlantic Highway also had four ferries in between which did increase my anxiety to be able to complete the return to Oslo which was another eight hours away. Proving me wrong, the ferries of Norway turned out to be the most efficient that I have ever come across in my life. Orderly queues, spot on time, super clean ferries and service – more importantly the duration was not that long, the longest was for about 40 minutes.
While we were driving through the Geiranger region, we could see cruise ships anchoring and the jubilant tourists setting foot on the heaven on earth. The bright sunshine splashing across the honestly blue sky with white clouds hand painted by a Norwegian God and the neatly arranged human habitations along the mountain slopes – this is what posters are made of – but what our eyes could see from the moving car was thousand times surreal than what a camera lense could capture. When we finally reached our prime destination at Atlantic Highway, it seemed as if we nearly drove to North Pole since we kept driving and driving, patiently following the road signs that kept us promising that the destination was not far away. The sight of the bridge of Atlantic Ocean Road from a far distance was good enough to merit a scream of achievement from the two voyagers on the wheel. The smooth but extreme bump of the bridge appeared like a hump on a camel back. It was astonishing to witness this civil engineering feat. While you are allowed to take as many photos as you like keeping the bridge as the backdrop, you certainly cannot walk over it – the only option is to drive – back and forth, as many times you want. We kept patting our backs that against all odds, the menace of time and sleepless nights, we finally ended up in the really remote North-West shores of Norway to see yet another of its beautiful discoveries. Having spent some half an hour with our prized location, we decided to turn the wheel towards Oslo sometime around noon, since we had to catch our return flight the following early morning!
Driving from Atlantic Highway all the way down to Oslo Rygge Airport was an uphill task in its own right. That to catch a flight the following morning made it even more daunting. Our tired tyres decided to make the final roll in the super turbo mode. While returning we took another route deep through the Geiranger region. This is without doubt, the best region in entire Norway which was may be implanted from a different location unknown to humans – it is just too beautiful. Like before, there was hardly anyone to be seen on the roads. Some passing cars were the only acknowledgement of somebody else’s existence. One key thing you have to include in your plan for a roadtrip around Norway is that you will be compelled to pull over to contemplate what you are seeing with your own eyes – Google Maps will not calculate this for you. There are too many simply jaw dropping sights along the route which work like magnet to freeze your engine and arrest your tyres so that you can allow yourself to be bedazzled by the streams flowing down that river or the meditating giant rocks that prove their weights along the way.
By the time we approached the suburbs of Oslo, it had already become darker. But Norway being Norway during summer, it never gets pitch dark after sunset. We kept accelerating and whooshing through the motorway while our estimated time of arrival at the airport leapt on increasing bit by bit. A few times we had to stop along the hard shoulder to stretch ourselves and for some fresh air – as the non-stop driving had started to take its toll. There were worrying moments of complete blackouts which could have been fatal. I kept reminding myself that this should be last of its kind – I cannot fall asleep now when the final destination is just a few miles ahead. After that – I could sleep as much as I wanted in the plane. The crucial anti-climax happened at the last hour when my GPS failed me at an important flyover junction. There were road works going on and we could not take the route suggested by the GPS. I was frankly at a loss while I kept hovering along the same route for a few times. Tanusree was asleep. I was thinking about the timing of this last hurdle asking myself why it had to occur at the very last leg of the entire journey. Finally I seeked help from the workers on the road who guided me out of this maze.
When we finally reached the Oslo Rygge Airport, we could barely stand on our own feet or keep our eyes open. After returning our much vital car which made it possible this entire road trip – we checked in and boarded the plane. We kept on thinking what a brilliant feat we have just accomplished – having completed some 2200 kilometers of anti-clockwise cross country road trip of the Norwegian gorgeous landscape – that within 7 days of driving. Wanderlusters in us kept wondering while our eyes closed as the flight took off – there is no way, but Norway, there is no way but Norway.
From this experience, we claim that –
• It is possible to drive from Bergen to Atlantic Highway and return to Oslo on the early hours of following day. It is crazy – but possible.
• There were four ferries from Bergen to Atlantic Highway, need to consider time to be taken while planning.
• It is advisable that you buy sufficient food from the ferries, you can fuel your stomach as and when from the comfort of your car and the quality of food sold on ferries is really good.
• It is imperative that you do the road trip as a group so that you can shuffle the role behind the steering wheel.
Finally, ever played Need for Speed? The tracks in Norway are what NFS was made of we think. In case you have missed seeing our Vlog on Norway, we are posting the link down below. Have a look at the video of the cross-country road trip around Norway. Seeing is believing how beautiful this country actually is! We will continue travelling to new destinations and sharing our voyage stories with you all here. Stay tuned, stay stunned!