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Post details: Stumbling Water Galore

Stumbling Water Galore

Thanks to its unique morphology, Norway is the waterfall capital of the world. Its high mountain plateaus are instrumental to this title in at least two ways. First, they hold the thawing snow long into summer, providing a rich supply of water, and second, they have nearly perpendicular slopes which don't give the water any other chance to get down but fall.

In most languages, the words for common things are short. Why waste the energy of a multisyllabic word on something that gets used day in and day out. It is therefore no surprise that Norwegian has an unusually short word for a waterfall - foss. Compare that to wasserfall (German), cascada (Spanish), vodopad (Czech), vizeses (Hungarian) or cachoeira (Portugese). Even Swedish, which is in the same language group, uses vattenfall. But Norwegians would go crazy if they had to pronounce three syllables any time they see a waterfall. So they just say foss.

A friend of mine is from Trondheim and before we went on our trip, we asked her where we could find waterfalls in Norway. She said everywhere. And that turned out to be a pretty accurate pointer. But there are places where you can increase your chances of seeing falling water considerably. For instance, you can take Flåsbana, a scenic railroad from a bottom of Sognefjord up to Myrdal, which actually makes a stop for one - in Kjosfossen. From Myrdal you can then bike back through a narrow valley that features waterfalls on both sides. Not to mention a wild river running alongside the trail, which could qualify as one long cascading waterfall in its own right.

If you are not a biking Viking, you can take a ferry through Norway's many fjords and watch waterfalls from the comfort of a ferry deck. You can also visit any of Norway's glaciers, whether it is Jostedalsbreen, Folgefonn or one of the minor ones, and then feast on cascading streams that adorn their sides like little ribbons. Or you can just follow rivers and streams to places where they stumble. And in Norway, waterways stumble a lot.

foss

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