Steindalsfossen

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Fossen means waterfall in Norwegian. The attraction at Steindalsfossen is that one can walk under the waterfall, which was an amazing experience for me. I’m told this is one of the most visited tourist sites in Norway. The souvenir shop (above) was near the bottom of the waterfall, where the path started which led up to the waterfall.

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a troll welcomes us…

Located in the village of Stein, along Hardangerfjord, we visited when melting snow made Steindalsfossen extra full of rushing water. The waterfall is 151′ (46m) high. We were impressed!

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along the path we saw plenty of sheep and lambs…

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about halfway up, looking down…

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yours truly, trying to give some perspective…
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me again, under the waterfall…
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Dan & Fran…
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Fran – it was a great place for contemplation…
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looking back down…

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There was a platform at the top of the path, beyond the walk under the waterfall. From there the souvenir shop below and nearby village of Stein could be viewed.

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We felt pretty lucky on this trip. We kept arriving places when almost no one else was there, and then as we were leaving, a tour bus (or cruise ship as happened in Flåm) would show up with loads of tourists. As we went back down the path we encountered a big group of people from that tour bus you can see down there in the parking lot. We were grateful we had Steindalsfossen to ourselves as long as we did.

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Hardangerfjord

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On this day we woke up in Bergen, rented a car, and made our way out of the city to Hardangerfjord. We spent most of this day driving the length of the fjord (179 km or 111 miles) and enjoying the scenery, making a couple of stops. The first thing we spotted was this tiny island with a little building sitting on it. It was so picturesque we looked for a spot to pull over so we could take pictures of it. As we were waiting to cross the highway we heard shrieks of delight and turned to see two girls coming down the side road on a bicycle. I got this picture (above) as they were turning around and getting ready to head back up the hill. They were gone as quickly as they appeared!

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So then we walked across the highway and took lots of pictures of the little island, wishing we could somehow see the other side of it! It might be a boathouse?

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Dawn-awakening coves, hammer-blows
of light against the sky and out there
in the fjord mouth, birdsong, clamorous, crescendo
as from a works yard,
the strident assembly of a brand new day,
a sun will soon be ready for launching!
~ Stein Mehren
(Early)

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This pretty scene (below) was also to be appreciated – I love how the mountains were reflected in the fjord.

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Next stop: Steindalsfossen Waterfall

butterflies

“Girl & Butterflies” by Frances MacDonald

A child, her wayward pencil drew
On margins of her book
Garlands of flowers, dancing elves,
Bird, butterfly and brook.
Lessons undone, and play forgot
Seeking with hand and heart
The teacher whom she learned to love
Before she knew ‘t was Art.
~ Louisa May Alcott
(Louisa May Alcott: A Biography)

Aurlandsfjord & Sognefjord

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Late in the afternoon we left Flåm, boarding a high-speed ferry which transported us to Bergen in 5½ hours via Aurlandsfjord and Sognefjord. When we left the rain clouds seemed to be surrounding the mountains in misty ribbons. Enchanting…

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Again, I’m not sure exactly where we entered Sognefjord, but it is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. It was certainly very wide. We didn’t get many good pictures because of the rain and because the shores were so far away. Some of these pictures were taken from behind the ferry window and with the long lens.

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Rain always comes from the clouds,
clouds from mist
and mist from moisture in the ground.
~ Carl von Linné
(The Magic of Fjords)

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No matter where I turn my eyes,
great mountains over each other rise,
flank to shoulder on they soar;
to heaven’s rim and all between.
We wail to hear the tumultuous roar:
silence adds grandeur to the scene.
~ Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
(The Magic of Fjords)

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As we got closer to Bergen we saw more small houses tucked away on the banks of the fjord.

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…turf roofs provided insulation and protection against winds and frost…

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We arrived in Bergen very late, although it was still light out, and found our hotel, a short walk from the ferry. The next morning we picked up a rental car and began our exploration of Hardangerfjord. Having a car allowed us to park on the sides of the roads and hop out of the car to enjoy the scenery and hear the waterfalls!

Nærøyfjord & Aurlandsfjord III

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I’m pretty sure these pictures were along Aurlandsfjord, as I mentioned before, I’m not certain when we left Nærøyfjord and entered Aurlandsfjord…

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What I love about the picture above is that you can see a woman in a blue jacket peering into the window of the church. :)

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Our first glimpse of Flåm from the fjord. The Norwegian Star cruise ship was still there, dominating the landscape. Our hotel was the brown building to the right of the ship.

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We were back in Flåm now but our day was not over. We picked up our bags at the hotel and boarded another ferry, this time a high-speed ferry which would take us to Bergen via Aurlandsfjord and Sognefjord in five and a half hours!

Nærøyfjord & Aurlandsfjord II

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More pictures from our ferry ride on Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord…

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…our traveling companions, Tim’s brother, Dan, and his wife, Fran…
…yes, it was COLD!…

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…sheep, I think…

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That tiny little house (above) captured my imagination. I wonder what it would be like to live there, especially in the winter. The ferry does run, although less frequently, in the winter.

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Those colorful dots (above) near the waterfall are kayakers! In the picture below is the same waterfall, the barely visible kayakers dwarfed by the mountain!

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Still more pictures coming!

Nærøyfjord & Aurlandsfjord I

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After we took our bus through the mountains we emerged in the tiny village of Gudvangen, located at the end of Nærøyfjord, which is an arm of Aurlandsfjord, which in turn, is an arm of Sognefjord. Getting off of our bus we immediately boarded our ferry for an eleven mile ride on Nærøyfjord.

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Nærøyfjord is named after Njord, a Norse god associated with wind, seafarers, coasts, and inland waters. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and if I had to choose, this may have been my favorite part of our whole trip. The scenery was spectacular, and even though it was raining for most of our ferry ride we were spellbound.

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I wasn’t quite sure at what point we left Nærøyfjord and entered Aurlandsfjord so I’m posting these pictures together, and, I’m splitting them into three posts so this post won’t be unbearably long. However, they are in the order they were taken. It was difficult deciding which pictures to use, but I think I managed to cull the cream of the crop for my readers!

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I couldn’t get over how tiny the houses seemed sitting at the base of the mountains. The mist and clouds offered a heightened sense of drama. And as we were learning about Norway, there was always another waterfall to be seen as we sailed on. On the shores we also saw small villages, farms, sheep and goats.

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It is steep and deep, shallow and wide, wild and gentle. Nærøyfjord is a 18 km long branch of the worlds second longest fjord Sognefjord (204 km). It is only 250 metres at the narrowest, and more than one kilometres at the widest. The depth varies between 10 and 500 metres. The surrounding mountains are up to more than 1400 metres high.
~ www.naeroyfjord.com

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More pictures coming!

Flåm

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Morning light in Flåm, Norway, looking off the balcony of our hotel room. (above) Morning is my favorite time of day and this particular morning we did not have to rush off to catch a train or a ferry or a bus so we could enjoy a a few leisurely hours in the village before our next adventure.

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…good morning!, friendly little curious bird…

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…later on we would cross this bridge on a bus to get to a long tunnel to Gudvangen…

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…didn’t take me long to find a few gulls…

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…entrance to Ægir Brewery & Pub, where we had dinner the night before…

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…wood carvings in a dead tree near our hotel…

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…so many lovely birch trees…

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…Ægir Brewery & Pub – it’s only open for dinner…

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…Flåmsbrygga Hotel, the warmth of knotty pine floors and doors…

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…Ægir Brewery, sign above entrance…

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…Tim on a little stone seat sticking out of the wall of the Flåmstova Restaurant…

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…wall in the Flåmstova Restaurant, where we had breakfast…

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…ceiling in the Flåmstova Restaurant…

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While we were eating breakfast by a picture window, enjoying the view of garden, fjord and mountain, a cruise ship very slowly pulled into port! Then we could barely see the mountain over the top of it! Cruise ships are amazingly large – Flåm was such a tiny port I am sure it couldn’t possibly accommodate more than one of them at a time.

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…I still can’t get over how it was spring on the fjord and winter in the mountains…

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…there was a hiking path up through the farms hugging the side of the mountain…

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…wish we had time to hike up there, but the zoom lens came in handy to capture this scene…

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We boarded a small bus to take us through the mountains to Gudvangen. This is the entrance to Flenja Tunnel (above) which is 5,053m long. (16,578′). We came out of it for only 500m (1,640′) before entering Gudvanga Tunnel, which is 11,428m (7.1 mi) long, Norway’s second longest road tunnel.

Next stop: Ferry ride on Nærøyfjord from Gudvangen back to Flåm.