The Greatest Adventure of all - Norway.
A country I've wanted to visit for years - ever since I saw a photo on Instagram of Trolltunga that instantly grabbed my attention. At that moment I knew I had to go, well before Kyle and I even started on our long journey on the road. I now have a some incredible memories & photos from our experience that I am dying to share with you all.
Whenever we would tell people of our plans to travel through Norway their response was almost predictable every time - "oh it's expensive in Norway". Little did they know we had plans to travel around on as little as €50 a day combined. It was simple really. Free camping was our savior! One of the best things about Norway is the 'right of public access for every man and woman', allowing you park your van almost anywhere you like. Except for on peoples properties. Most nights we camped beside a fjord, or next to a waterfall, or under a mountain & even by the sea. All for free!
Over the next 3 weeks we travelled to some AMAZING places incl. Preikestolen, trolltunga, Geirangerfjord, the famous Norway fjord swing, sognefjord & places less well known but just as memorable. Along the way we had Kyles sister Erin, my very close friend Michele, & at one point an Aussie couple who we picked up hitchhiking all travelling in the van 😄🤘🏼. An amazing crew to put together an unforgettable few weeks.
Upon arrival to kristiansund by ferry we were immediately en route Preikestolen, with one nights stop over beside a lake in which we randomly passed along the way. It was perfect! We awoke to the sun shining & a view of the surrounding mountains that were perfectly reflected off the lake 👌🏼.
After hearing & reading that the rock can have up to 600 people visiting per day during the summer period, we decided hiking for sunset & pitching a tent at the top for the night was the most desirable option. With that in mind Kyle, Michele, Erin & I started the climb around 3pm knowing it would take about 2 hours to reach the rock - giving us plenty of time to set up camp before the sunset.
The hike alone is rather challenging, with majority of it being steep incline. Luckily it's not too far; so it's manageable for most people. About 200m before you actually reach Preikestolen is when you get your first glimpse of the beautiful Turqioise Lysefjord plunging 600 meters below you. It is my favourite fjord of all. Such an intense colour with the surrounding mountain ranges towering above it.
My first glimpse of the rock was breathtaking. Literally. It is so shockingly high I was immediately intimidated. Thankfully when we arrived there was only a select few people still on the rock along with others also setting up camp & walking around taking photos. After eating some snacks we headed up to some flat grassy ground above the rock to set up camp. We found little nook that was protected by the wind & out of site. Here we met an Australian couple named Jian & Kayla, who were camping out overnight. After chatting for a while, we discovered that they had been hitch hiking their way through Europe with a daily budget up 10 euros each. Read up on their epic journey on their blog The Limitless Ones!
At around 10pm, & with our bellies full with tuna salad sandwiches, we headed back down to the rock to capture the sunset light! What happened next was unbelievable. The sun lit up the mountains in the foreground, illuminating them with an extraordinary mixture of orange, red and yellow tones. Then the clouds turned from grey to soft pink as we dangled our legs off the side and watched as the sun set around midnight. Nothing could wipe the smile off my face or ruin how perfect that moment was. It was pure magic.
After an extremely cold and uncomfortable sleep we awoke to catch the sunrise, which was once again perfect & to our luck no rain! At around 8am we started to make our descent back to the van which we had parked overnight at the bottom in a paid carpark. This time round we had 2 extra people on board - Jian & Kayla! There was no questions asked in offering them a lift, which eventually turned into a 2 week ride with us all the way up north :).
The rest of the day we drove in the direction of Trolltunga in search for the perfect spot to free camp for the night. Lets just say we are a fussy bunch; only settling for a place right on a lake or fjord. After 2 relentless hours we came across a lake that was surrounded by mountains with snow tips and glacier peaks, where we all decided to set up camp for the night. Kyle & I fell asleep with our back doors opened to the calming view of the lake & foggy mountains. The next morning before making our way to Trolltunga, we all sat around enjoying the sun shine & good company, taking breathtakingly cold dips in the lake to freshen ourselves up. This particular morning was one to remember with a strange turn of events that you should read on The Limitless Ones blog post for the whole story.
Trolltunga has been on my bucket list ever since a saw this one photo on Instagram about 4 years back. The image really blew my mind & I desperately longed to be that person in the photo, dangling their legs over that tongue like rock, jutting out 700 metres over the fjord. So when it came to that moment it had to be perfect. And it had to be at sunset!
The hike itself is a 22km round trip with a lot of up hill climbing, rocky terrain & unforeseeable weather conditions. The hardest hike I've achieved yet! The first 1km is practically vertical and extremely gruelling, making it the most challenging part of the hike. The rest of the hike was still challenging with many uphill downhill climbs, where we drastically experienced bitterly cold winds, snow, & lots of mud. In saying this, every bit of the hike is worth the experience from the top. Once we reached Trolltunga it was around 8pm & most of the day hikers had disappeared, only leaving about 20 of other hikers who had also chosen to camp overnight.
Catching sight of Trolltunga for the first time was such a surreal moment. The clouds had parted in perfect rendition, allowing the sun to shine a golden ray of light down across the fjord directly in front of the rock. I was in total awe. For the next hour we took turns capturing what was an unforgettable moment brought together by the suns light and almost clear skies. Once sunset hit around 11.30, we were once again over blessed with striking colours as the clouds sprawled across the sky in soft tones of pink, purple, yellow & orange. My heart felt like it was going to implode with excitement as a longed for that moment to never pass.
Over the next few days we headed north stopping in at some more iconic locations along the way..
It is said to be the most beautiful & famous fjord of Norway - & you can instantly see why as the dramatic mountain peaks twist around the deep blue water, surrounded by lush waterfalls and an abundance of green vegetation. With photography images always in mind, that one spot where you can be seen hanging high above the fjord on a small cliff edge is what ultimately attracted me to this amazing fjord. If you are afraid of heights I strongly encourage you not to attempt to take this image. I am usually fairly confident around heights but this cliff edge had me in vertigo. It is seriously high and so sketchy! We stayed for one night, deciding to camp at a campsite so we could take a shower after 4 days of wild camping.
The story behind the next two photos is an experience throughout my travels that I will never forget. A memory that is so dear to me that I have chosen not to share over the internet, and to only tell those close to me. If you ever have the opportunity to travel to this swing I strongly encourage you to go! It will be an adventure you will never forget.
Driving to Hoddevika Beach was a last minute decision after sadly dropping Jian & Kayla in a small town nearby to continue on their hitchhiking journey upwards towards Lofoten. We had 5 days to kill before we had to make our way to Oslo, in which we decided to see what kind of beach life Norway had to offer. The next few days we spent at Hoddevika we experienced the best weather yet, with temperatures reaching up to 27 degrees. Local Norwegians flocked to camp out next to the beach for what was apparently weather conditions they only experience 4-5 days a year. Can you believe our luck! For the next 2 days we bathed in the sun and heat, swimming (yes was the water temperature was warm enough to swim in bikinis), sun baking, hiking, reading & relaxing. The colour of the water was out of this world! Those couple of days were some of the best - a memory I think back on so fondly.
After our amazing 3 week adventure through Norway we sadly hugged goodbye our last van passenger, Michele, and made our way back down South towards Copenhagen.
Watch this space for more!