Sunday: Aug 16, 2008

(cesta z letiste Gardenmoen do Preikestolen - v oblasti Stavangeru)

Our goal for Sunday was to make it from Gardermoen Airport to Preikestolen (not far from Stavanger), where we had booked our first night in the Norwegian interior. We left the airport via road E6 and in Oslo merged onto E18, which we followed all the way to Kristiansand and on towards Stavanger. In Ålgård we turned right onto road 45 and then 508 to Lauvvik, where we took a ferry to Oanes and then continued on road 13 to Preikestolen.

In the morning, we picked up our Distance Eater at the Airport Hertz...


..and soon we were on our way. Since we saw Oslo the previous day and the weather wasn't all that great, we didn't waste any time stopping and were pushing ahead towards Kristiansand and then Stavanger through a heavily wooded countryside.


We took only a short stop at a little lake before Kristiansand, and after we passed through the city the weather finally began to cooperate.


We were driving through a pleasant countryside, dotted with little farms...


...some of which were quite difficult to spot as they were well hidden in the vegetation. By the way, nowhere else in the world have I seen such rich and saturated green as in Norway. No Photoshop here.


As we were approaching the Stavanger area, the countryside became more rugged...


...and although we'd still see a farm here and there, there were always mountains and rocks looming over the pastures.


The only domesticated animals that were willing to tough it out here were sheep...


...and they seemed quite happy about it.


Soon we felt like we were driving through a blown up copy of the Yosemite Park.


Here we also learned that the weather - which we were quite concerned about - can be pretty finicky around here. Several times, we saw herds of grizzly clouds make a threatening approach,...


...only to yield to a picture perfect sunshine just a few miles down the road. And while we were driving through samples of meteorological forecasts, the car window showed the quintessential elements of the Norwegian roadside: a lake and a mountain. In Western Norway, you will be amazed in how many ways you can arrange a lake and a mountain together and never run out of natural beauty.


No matter where we were, there were hiking opportunities left and right, and we only wished we could take them with us back to the Washington, DC area.


Soon we came to our first ferry - the place where the road laconically disappears into the fjord only to reappear few miles later on the other side. Norwegian Ferries are pretty efficient, and here is how they work.


The ferry port - into which the ferry conveniently plugs - is usually a concrete structure padded with old tires...


...then the boat approaches... come out... go in - and off to the other side you go. Rinse and repeat. Most of the ferries go back and forth - a roundtrip of 15 to 30 minutes - all day long till midnight, depending on the local traffic density. After that you have to pray that your car is amphibian.


Sometimes, when the strait is narrow enough there may be a bridge, but we haven't seen many of those over fjords.


After we took the Luavvik-Oanes ferry, it was just a few more miles to our destination, the Preikestolen area, where we planned a hike to a rock overhanging over the Lysefjord. They are now building a large hotel down there, but we stayed at a hostel with a traditional turf roof (a peculiarity of the traditional Norwegian architecture - see the Turf Roof section). It is the leftmost building, standing next to a meadow over a lake which didn't quite make it into this picture, but we'll see it first thing in the morning.


In order to save some time, we decided to try and take the hike immediately. We quickly checked in, left our things in rather tight and stern quarters, and hit the uphill trail.


We hiked for about an hour, but the trail was pretty rocky and since the sun started to set over Preikestolen, it became painfully obvious that we would have to hike back in the darkness, so we aborted the mission and postponed the hike till the morning .

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