Driving the Mountains of Norway

Having finally found our car in a Bergen parking garage, right we put it, we got on the road at 11 a.m.  It was still raining.  This is one of over thirty mountain tunnels we drove through, some over a mile long.

There are no shoulders on the mountain roads and I was always on the dropoff side.

Around noon or so we stopped at a little convenience store, picked up some meat and chips, and had ourselves a little picnic.  The scenery was amazing.  The weather was perfect.

Shrubs were arranged to create booths of picnic tables for others who need a food break in the mountains.

We spied some goats in the mountain hills.  Can you see them?  They’re white.

And then we saw our first farm in a clearing near the ferry.

It was 2 p.m. when we got to the ferry run by Oppedal Services.  See the sign?  American spelling is Opdahl.

I’m intrigued by one mode of transportation needing another mode of transportation in order to be transported.

There is a food service along one side of this ferry, behind the white walls and doors of the orange shirt.  When we stepped inside, I smelled bacon.  They were selling bacon-wrapped hotdogs.  We didn’t eat one.

The whole floor filled up.  It was about a 30-minute ferry ride to the other side of the fjord.

After a day in the rocky terrain of Iceland, then two days in a Big City, and several hours of mountain driving, these farms seemed to warrant a photo.  These driving pictures continue to be taken through the windows and windshield.

If we stopped every time I wanted to take a picture, we’d never get anywhere.

We were really driving in the mountains, through tunnels, and around lakes, some of them fjords.

Trickling mountain streams are actually rushing rivers when you get close to them.

We saw this sign posted a few times and we never did figure out the message.  See that “trickling” waterfall in the background?  As you can see, it wasn’t a sunny.  Rain followed us much of the way.

This waterfall (mountain stream) was one of hundreds that we were to see throughout our Nordic journey.

This time the goats weren’t so far away from us.

I’m still taking pictures of mountain waterfalls and groups of farms in a clearing.

At times we were driving so high in the mountains that we were on the same level as the snow.

We drove — on very narrow roads —  through a light rain most of the day but the scenery was still spectacular and, as I indicated before, I was always the one closest to falling off the edge of the mountain.

Around every corner was another beautiful painting, unlike the paintings in Minnesota.  Said Allan, “It is certainly worth the drive.”

The next morning we hit the road refreshed.

Red is the most popular color in the countryside of Norway.  Maybe it’s the only paint on the shelf.

Tractor eggs (hay bales wrapped in white plastic) were dropped in fields like Easter eggs.

This area of Norway is more rural, probably because there are more flat tillable spaces.  See the sod roof on that house?  Lots of farms have more than one home on the place.

In a little town called Hellesylt, we responded to the ringing of church bells and found them on a steep incline, tucked up high on a hillside.

And next to the church was a huge rushing waterfall and a little bridge full of people taking pictures.

So I took another picture, too.

Sunday Services were scheduled to start at 11 a.m.  Musicians were practicing in a corner near the front.  But it was only 10:15 a.m. so we kept going.  We noticed how the pews were enclosed booths, some with heating vents near the floor.

It was a pretty, colorful little church with no obvious sign of its denomination.

It most likely was not Catholic since there was no sign of the Eucharist or Tabernacle.

On our way out of Hellesylt, when we were up against mountains and not farmland, we had to stop completely because visibility was zero in the heavy fog.  It was scary because the roads are so narrow and we were always meeting campers and buses.

Then a mountain tunnel provided escape from the dense fog and when we got through it, to the other side of the mountain, we could see again.  I didn’t take pictures in the fog because we couldn’t see anything.

At the city of Stranda, which was larger than a hamlet, we caught a ferry in our travel northward.  That’s the ferry returning from the other side of the fjord.

It was just after 12 noon when we boarded the ferry.  This ride was so smooth and short and quiet that I hadn’t even known we departed and yet we were arriving on the other side.

The line was very long on the other side, waiting to get to Stranda.

We stopped to take a picture of this beautiful church in Stordahl because we knew it was one of the three churches served by Lutheran Per Inge Vik.  It is Per Inge and his wife Karin that we were going to visit, and we were getting close!

At Orskog we looked for our Fjellstova cabin — one of the few places we knew in advance where we were staying — and after a couple circles stopped at a gas station to ask for directions.  When Allan came back to the car, he said, “Guess who I found at the gas station.  Per Inge and Karin are here!”

We were getting tired, so when we drove through the City of Stryn at 6 p.m., we stopped at a large hotel on another rushing mountain river.

The scenery was outstanding.  The buffet dinner of chicken and ham at the Stryn Hotel was excellent.

This building was sitting in the parking lot of the Stryn Hotel and it begged for a picture.

It seemed as though its hair was standing on end.