There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is rapture in the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not Man the less, but Nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the universe, and feel What I can ne’er express, yet can not all conceal. ~ George Gordon Byron (The Complete Works of Lord Byron)
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!
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?
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)
This pretty scene (below) was also to be appreciated – I love how the mountains were reflected in the fjord.
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…
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.
Rain always comes from the clouds, clouds from mist and mist from moisture in the ground. ~ Carl von Linné (The Magic of Fjords)
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)
As we got closer to Bergen we saw more small houses tucked away on the banks of the fjord.
…turf roofs provided insulation and protection against winds and frost…
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!
I’m pretty sure these pictures were along Aurlandsfjord, as I mentioned before, I’m not certain when we left Nærøyfjord and entered Aurlandsfjord…
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. 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
It is that dream we carry that something miraculous will happen that it must happen – that time will open that the heart will open that doors will open and that the rock face will open that springs will gush forth – that the dream will open and that one morning we’ll glide in to a harbour we didn’t know was there. ~ Olav H. Hauge (The Dream We Carry: Selected & Last Poems of Olav H. Hauge)
The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself like a once-blind man unbound. The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fiords splitting the cliffs of mystery. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock–more than a maple–universe. ~ Annie Dillard (The Little Zen Companion)