A short trip to paradise… well, to Norway
Nine days of traveling alone in one of the most beautiful places in the world
Last week I was traveling alone through Norway, a place I really wanted to visit after seeing many really beautiful and amazing pictures on the internet.
In the beginning, the “alone” part was not planned. The idea was to rent a car along with other four friends and go driving and camping to some of the places I’ll talk about later and many others. But in the end, it was not possible. Since I really wanted to visit Norway I decided to pack my backpack and go alone hitchhiking. I thought that would be a nice experience since I had never traveled alone for so many days before.
I packed the basic things to survive some days: a tent for one person, a thin camping mattress, a second season sleeping bag, 2 different jackets for different temperatures, 3 changes of clothes, a Swiss knife, soap, a bottle of two liters of water (which I planned to refill in on the way in any of the many rivers of pure crystalline water in Norway) and food (tuna cans, smashed beans, tortillas, vacuum packed salami and chorizo, Nutella and bread). Maybe I packed something else, I don’t remember exactly hehehe. With everything ready, the adventure began.
Note: all the pictures in this summary including the one in the cover were taken by me, so there’s no copyright infringement.
June 7th-8th, 2015 (Sunday-Monday)
I began the trip fifteen minutes before midnight on June 7th, after saying goodbye to many good friends with whom I had been living for the past year. It was a sad moment, because I don’t know when we’ll meet again and they are really awesome people.
I arrived to Oslo early in the morning and waited until the stores opened to buy a map and some other things I needed. After that I started walking through Oslo heading to the outskirts, to try to hitchhike to Stavanger. I went quite outside and started trying to hitchhike in a gas station for around five hours without success. About 10 people stopped and I asked for a ride directly to others, but nobody was going to Stavanger or at least somewhere on the way. Dissapointed, I headed back to the central station to take a train to Stavanger.
At least I could walk around Oslo, but I didn’t like it that much. From the four nordic capitals I’ve been to, (the others are Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki, only Reykjavik is left, one day…) is the one I liked the less… but well, I didn’t come to see Oslo, I came to visit the fjords and the nature. I didn’t have time to go the Viking ship museum, so I planned to go on the way back.
June 9th, 2015 (Tuesday)
When I arrived to Stavanger, I went directly to the tourist information office to get some maps of the area and ask about ferries to go to Lysebotn, since I wanted to go to Kjerag. The two girls in that tourist information office told me that there were no ferries until july, which later I discovered (with the great service from the Kolumbus information office in the bus station) was false information. Really bad service from the people in the tourist information in Stavanger: wrong information and a hurry to get rid of you (unlike the other offices I went to in other towns, where they were really nice and helpful). Because of that bad tourist information, I made a different plan and didn’t go to Kjerag, which in the end I didn’t regret, because I went to other amazing places.
I went to Preikestolen by ferry, for which I managed not to pay (in both ways ☺, not a proper nordic behavior, but well, I saved some money). The ferry went from Stavanger to Tau. From Tau I took a bus to the beginning of the trail to Preikestolen. I regret not hitchhiking there, I guess I was still depressed after the Oslo fail, but now I think that it would have been very easy.
This trail was not hard at all (about 4 km and an elevation of 600 m, but since the hike starts already a little bit up, it should be a height difference of 300 m more or less I think), but very slow because of the big amount of people that were doing it. Apparently there was a cruise, so it was full of spanish and german people. When we got to the pulpit rock, I waited a little bit until the people from the cruise left so that it was less crowded and better to enjoy the nice view. The weather was really good that day, no rain at all, completely clear and actually a little bit hot. I think I got my first sunburns this day.
After taking some pictures, having lunch and enjoying the beautiful view. I went to find a spot to sleep that night somewhere near Preikestolen, without going down to the end of the trail. I ended up finding quite a nice place.
June 10th, 2015 (Wednesday)
I woke up, had breakfast, picked up the tent and went back to Stavanger again by ferry. From Stavanger I took a bus to Gilja and from there hitchhiked to Frafjord with a norwegian woman. The place looked beautiful, but the visibility was not so good because of the rainy, cloudy and misty weather. I started looking for a place to put my tent and I found a random field that seemed private but abandoned (the next morning I discovered that only half of my assumptions were right).
The weather was not good at all this day, it was raining most of the time and the visibility was not good at all (that’s why the lack of pictures of the Frafjord… wait for the fourth day for them ☺). Regarding weather, I think this was the worst day of all.
June 11th, 2015 (Thursday)
This day was really good. The weather was great, sunny and clear.
After picking up my tent, I was putting it in my backpack, when suddenly a norwegian man appeared with his tractor and asked me if I had slept there that night. I answered that yes. He got quite angry because apparently he had been letting the grass grow so that he could cut it and I had flattened some part of it. I apologized and said that I thought it was abandoned, that next time I’d be more careful when choosing a place to sleep. He left quite angry. Later I met that man again and he was really nice, he apologized for getting angry and told me that I should have just asked them and they would have found me a spot to sleep. I told him that I was sorry for messing up a part of his field. So we ended up in peace.
I started walking the way to Månafossen and hitchhiked two times. The first one not for a long distance with a local norwegian man. The second one, for the last 2km more or less with an american family. Those americans told me that they were going later to Lysebotn in case it would be useful for me. There was a great opportunity for going to Kjerag, which I decided not to take because I would have had to do the hike to Kjerag on Friday and come back on Staturday… but there were no ferries on the weekend to go back to Stavanger and I needed to go there to take a bus to Odda, since one of my priorities was to go to Trolltunga. The hike up to the waterfall was really fast. Since the trail continued up to Mån, I continued and arrived to the beautiful scenery that is the cover picture of this summary. On the way back, I was really lucky and had the chance to see a small rainbow next to the waterfall.
After this I started walking back and trying to hitchhike to Frafjord to take some pictures now that the weather was really good (unlike the day before). I hitchhiked there with a norwegian family, with three kids. Two of the kids started crying when I sat next to them, I guess I’m scary.
Then I started to go to Dirdal, thinking about sleeping somewhere around there. I hitchhiked first to Gilja with a norwegian woman and then to Dirdal with a norwegian guy, who said that he was also a backpacker. This guy gave me complete thumbs up about going to Trolltunga and the area of Hardangerfjorden.
Dirdal had nice views, but I didn’t see any nice place where I could put my tent without getting in kind of trouble like the previous night. I looked in the map to see where to go to sleep and saw that near Olteadal there was a lake, I diceded to go there since around the lake for sure it was easy to find some spot to camp. I hitchhiked there with a norwegian man who was coming from Oslo.
I arrived to Oltedal and to my surprise the lake was not at the Oltedal level, it was up on a mountain, so I walked up there and yes, there I found an amazing place to put the tent and spend the night. This night I discovered that my beans were a little bit acid, needless to say, not good anymore, so I had to trash them. Luckily only only about 1/4 of them was left.
June 12th, 2015 (Friday)
This morning I woke up early since I wanted to be in Odda by 16:00, so I had to catch the bus not later than at 11:00. I hitchhiked with a really nice romanian-norwegian man who was working near the Stavanger airport in Sola. He was super kind and gave me a ride to the bus station in Stavanger, which was not at all on the way to Sola.
I took a bus that went to Aksdal first. There I had to wait two hours. I was looking a little bit around and then I sat down in the bus stop where I met a norwegian student who was going to Stavanger (or Bergen, I’m not sure now) to take the TOEFL because he was going to Scotland for his bachelor degree the upcoming semester. We talked for a while. I think norwegians are more open than swedes when it comes to meet strangers without the influence of alcohol.
From Aksdal I went to Odda. The road from Aksdal to Odda was beautiful, especially the part from Skare to Odda. It was full of waterfalls, awesome mountains and beautiful landscapes.
In Odda I went to the tourist information office, which had just closed. But the woman there was really nice and even if they were closed, she gave me a booklet with activities to do around the Hardangerfjord, maps and information about hikes. I decided to go to Tyssedal and then to Skjeggedal where the hike to Trolltunga starts, camp somewhere there and go up the next morning.
I hitchhiked with a norwegian guy to Tyssedal and from there I started walking up the road to Skjeggedal. After walking on the road for a while (and passing a board which said that Trolltunga was that way) I found a trail, which I thought was the start of the Trolltunga hike. I went in there and found a place to camp which seemed good, but during the night I discovered that it was really uncomfortable.
June 13th, 2015 (Saturday)
I started what I thought was the Trolltunga hike. After walking for a while, some parts in a quite dangerous cliff, I arrived to a point where there was no path anymore. I started wondering if that one was for real the hike to Trolltunga. I took a look at the map and saw that the Trolltunga hike began near a lake and next to a river. I didn’t see any of those two. So, I went back and saw that it was not the trail to Trolltunga, but to Lilletop, an old water plant, which I passed.
I started walking on the road again on the way to Skjeggedal. On the way, a scotish man with his son stopped and gave me a ride to the beginning of the trail.
The hike started walking up. After one kilometer, the snow started to appear, and after a few more meters, everything was covered by it. Beautiful. The total length of the hike was of 11 km with a height difference of about 900 meters. During the hike I met some people, some germans and three canadian girls (one of them who was in exchange in Sweden, in Göteborg) who gave me some chocolate. Most of the marks were hidden by the snow, but the footsteps of other hikers were clearly visible, therefore it was easy to follow the path.
On the way to Trolltunga, one guy who was coming back and who had camped there the previous night told me that a little bit north from the tongue there was a good place for camping, apparently made for it. When I arrived to Trolltunga, I was too lazy to go to find that place, so I camped a little bit to the right of the tongue on a place with an awesome view of the lake Ringedalsvatnet. During the night, it was quite windy, it rained and it even snowed! Anyway, I slept really good there.
June 14th, 2015 (Sunday)
I spent the morning going down from Trolltunga, all the time alone, I only met some people going to the tongue, but not many because the weather that day was not great. It was snowing for 8 to 9 kilometers out of the 11 total kilometers (for about 2 km it was snowing a lot and it was very windy). In the beginning the snow was basically ice. There was one part where I slipped and went down sliding on the ice, luckily it was not a cliff nor very steep. I think that many people slipped there also because there was some kind of path on the snow. I left my backpack down and climbed back to get my water bottle, which I almos lose. It was a fun climbing, it was all ice basically.
After arriving to Skjeggedal, I hitchhiked down to Tyssedal with a swedish girl. I met two germans who were hitchhiking to Voss and had also slept in Trolltunga that night.
From Tyssedal, I hitchhiked with a norwegian guy (he used to be a pro skiier and told me that many ski stations were still open) to the Hardanger Bridge. From there I walked up to Bu and hitchhiked to Eidfjord with a norwegian who was a ski instructor. He was coming from a ski station that opens all the year, except on winter, because on winter there’s way too much snow (apparently this year, there were more than 16 meters of snow).
In Eidfjord I went to the tourist information office and got a map of the area and a guide of hikes in the Hardangervidda and Eidfjord. I started trying to find a place to spend the night. I couldn’t find any place near Eidfjord, that was public and without a “Camping not allowed” sign. Therefore, I decided to go to Øvre Eidfjord that is on the way to the Hardangervidda, the place where I wanted to go the next day. It was really hard to hitchhike in Eidfjord, so I started walking to Øvre Eidfjord until finally a norwegian woman stopped and took me to there. I looked for some place to camp around there also, but I couldn’t find anything. I ended up going to a camping place, which costed me 120 NOK (between 13€ and 14€).
Eighth and ninth day
June 15th-16th, 2015 (Monday-Tuesday)
When I woke up I started trying to hitchhike without success with the idea of going to Vøringfossen. After a long time trying, I went to the Hardangervidda Natursenter to ask for buses that went there. The guy told me the buses, but he also told me that the hike I wanted to do (the one that takes to this amazing view I think, at least he told me “to the best and most famous view”) was not possible to do because it was quite dangerous even without snow and right now it was completely full of snow. It was only possible to go to the bottom of the waterfall. Since I was not interested in going to the bottom, I changed my plan.
I decided to do the hike to Kjeåsen, since I had been told that it had really nice views of the Eidfjord. I hitchhiked with a swedish man back to Eidfjord and started walking to Simadal trying to hitchhike. I hitchhiked with a french guy who was doing a master exchange in Bergen, in the Norwegian School of Economics. He was also going to that hike, so we did it together.
The trail to Kjeåsen was really fun. It was very steep and at some points it was needed to climb a little bit with the help of some ropes that were around there. The views were really nice. The way down was a little bit hard and we slipped and fell some times.
Since I didn’t know where else to go because to go to many places (like some glaciers) a guide was needed (I didn’t want to spend more money) and others were closed because of the amount of snow, I decided to finish my trip one day before and go back to Odda to take the night bus to Oslo. The french guy was going back to Bergen, so he took me to Bu (near the Hardanger Bridge, where I was on the way to Eidfjord). From there I hitchhiked to Odda in a car with one basque girl, one german girl, one italian guy and one slovakian guy. Two of them were studying in Norway (I think in Bergen) and the other two were working (one in Bergen and the other in Trondheim I think). They were going to Preikestolen the next morning. We had a nice talk on the way to Odda. The slovakian guy was from a town near the Tatra mountains and he was happy to know that I had been there in March and drank the amazing Tatratea. The italian was from a town near Florence and he was also happy to know that I was going there next week. The basque girl was from Orio, in Gipuzkoa, and the german girl from some town near Dortmund or Düsseldorf, I don’t remember.
I arrived to Oslo at around 7 am with the idea of going to the Viking Ship museum before going back to Västerås. Sadly, the museum opened until 10 and there were only one bus at 9 am, one at 12 and another one until midnight. I didn’t have enough time to go there if I wanted to take the bus at 12 (I didn’t know what to do in Oslo until midnight) because the museum is quite far from the central station (one hour walking, 40 minutes by bus or metro). Therefore, I decided to take the bus to Västerås at 9 and finish this wonderful trip.
Hopefully one day…
There are many places in Norway that I couldn’t visit and I would love to go: Hardangervidda National Park, Jotunheimen National Park, Sognefjorden, Geirangerfjorden, the Atlantic Road, Vøringfossen, Trondheim, Folgefonna National Park, Nærøyfjord, more places in the Hardangerfjord, Bergen, Lofoten and many more. I hope one day I can go there, even to Svalbard! Every time I watch the video below, I realize how much I would love to spend many months in Norway just traveling, hiking and discovering amazing places.
Something that I should have taken with me was something to warm up things (not to light a fire, something like the one in this picture), this would have been useful to dry my clothes, cook warm food and to make instant coffees and teas.
The rest I think that was covered. A torch for example was not needed, because there was basically one hour of darkness, and it wasn’t even complete darkness.
It was an amazing trip and I hope I can do something similar one day either in Norway (which for sure I have to visit again) or in some other place.