Good morning! It’s a new day with new opportunities. We woke up early at our campsite. I was able to sleep quite well during the night, but Megumi struggled. So it was time to get some coffee into our bodies.
Yesterday had been a pretty rough start to the trip, with not a lot of exciting sights to keep our spirits up, but were determined to change that for the rest of the trip. We also made a conscious decision to film as much as we could so we could preserve the memories of the trip for later.
After we had packed up and driven a couple hundred metres to the ferry wharf, it started raining. I guess we should be thankful it didn’t start raining as we were packing up our camp.
The ferry would take us across Sognefjorden, the longest fjord in Norway, and the 3rd longest in the world at 205 km. It’s also the 2nd deepest fjord in the world at 1,308 metres.
This was the first time we had been on a ferry with multiple stops. Our destination was the 2nd stop for the ferry, so at the first stop, they directed the cars that were getting off there. Then after they directed us off the ferry for a U-turn to line up again with the traffic getting on there. Quite interesting I thought.
Our first sight of the day was supposed to be Hopperstad Stave Church, but when we drove past it was raining a bit too much for us to want to get out to explore. The church was built around 1130, and it located in a beautiful valley. It’s also a nice stave church to visit if you want to avoid the crowds that are often found at the more well known stave churches.
We crossed the border from Sogn og Fjordane county to Hordaland, and made our way towards Voss. As we had decided to skip the trip to Bergen this time, Voss would be where we get food for our dinner tonight. But on our way we came across an amazing waterfall…
We were planning on visiting a different waterfall near Voss, but this one came out of nowhere, and we knew we just had to stop to have a look. There were a lot of people around, so I’m not sure how we missed it during out planning.
There is a camp site and a souvenir shop here as well. And after we had a look we continued to Voss to get our ingredients for dinner.
Then we set our sights for Skjervsfossen. I had seen a lot of photos of this waterfall and it looked pretty spectacular. So I really wanted to see it. We managed to find a parking spot at the top of the waterfall. From there you can walk down along a trail that goes through a scree (I just learned this word; a collection of rock fragments collected over time from rock slides) .
The path is well maintained, but it’s fairly steep so we knew walking back up would be tiring. Not too far from the top there’s an old rudimentary WW2 bunker. Interesting to see these kind of things scattered around still.
Further down the trail we get to see the waterfall again, and we realise we could actually just have driven to the bottom to see it. However there is not much parking at the bottom, so keep that in mind if you’re wanting to see this waterfall.
As we got closer to the waterfall we could really start to feel the power of all that water coming down over the edge. It was blowing quite strongly, and we were starting to get a little wet. There was a sign near the start of the trail pointing towards the waterfall that read “dusjen”. That translates to “the shower”, and aptly so.
After we had managed to struggle our way back up to the top, we set off again. Our plan was to head to Flåm today, and possibly get past it to set up camp somewhere before Lærdalstunnelen.
But it was past lunchtime and we were getting hungry. So we stopped along the way at a rest stop by Oppheimsvatnet. It was a great little rest stop with 3 tables and benches. You can tell how much Norwegians like their privacy from how far apart picnic tables are at rest stops. It must have been a good 20 metres distance between the tables here.
After lunch we continued north towards Flåm. But as we came out of a long tunnel we suddenly saw a brown road sign saying there was a stave church 6 km away. Brown road signs in Norway always point towards some kind of tourism or special interest spot. We saw a couple other cars with foreign number plates turning that way, so we followed them.
The road let to a small village valley Undredal, which according to Wikipedia is home to around 100 people, and 500 goats. Goats cheese is the main product from this valley, and it’s still being made in the old traditional way.
Undredal is also home to the smallest stave church in all of Scandinavia.
The church measures 12 x 4 metres, and can surprisingly seat as many as 40 people. It was built around 1147 but has been moved around the valley a few times. In 1913 there were plans to dismantle the church and move it to a museum, but the plans were scrapped. The church underwent reconstruction and extensive maintenance work in 1984.
There are tours of the church every 30 minutes or so during the summer peak season at a cost of 50 NOK if I remember correctly. But we skipped that.
We reached Flåm a few minutes after leaving Undredal, and boy was it busy. Flåm is a popular destination for travellers in Norway. There are boat tours through one of the most iconic fjords in Norway, Nærøyfjord. It is the second fjord to have made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list along with Geirangerfjorden which we visited earlier.
Flåm also has the “Flåmsbana”, a 20 km railway line that goes up the valley to Myrdal, where it connects to the Bergen railway line. It’s very popular to catch the train to Myrdal with mountain bikes and then ride the scenic road back to Flåm.
We visited the railway museum in town and it was quite interesting to see how it had all developed over the year from when the line opened in 1941. Megumi visited a Sami souvenir shop and got some gifts for friends back home, and after that we bought dinner ingredients from the local grocery store.
Our campsite for the night would be Lunde Camping in Aurlandsvangen. We found a really good spot by the river, with a big flat rock to use as a table or foot rest. Honestly, this was probably one of the best campsites we had on the whole trip. Highly recommended.
After dinner we relaxed and just watched the water flow past. Birds were busy catching insects, and it was an idyllic atmosphere. This day left us feeling very positive and optimistic of the rest of the trip, the had behaved perfectly and we had almost forgot the troubles of the first day.
Tomorrow the plan is to get to Rondane, a large mountain area of Norway, and we’ll also go through the longest road tunnel in the world!