Norway, the land of fjords

Icy winds, blustery showers, choppy waters. Exactly what had I let myself in for?

Getting out of the house for a jog on a cold autumnal day is hard enough, let alone travelling all the way to Norway on an outdoor adventure trip in what seemed like sub zero temperatures.

But I was here now, right in the middle of the Norwegian Fjords, in my dive suit, strapped in my kayak, rocking side to side thanks to the stormy weather, and there was no way out.

After flying into Bergen the night before and grabbing a few hours shut eye at Hotel Augustin, we headed to Rosendal via express boat to begin our first trip to the Folgefonna Glacier for some glacial kayaking.

This was as close as I was getting to nature I reminded myself but unfortunately the weather had other plans.

Like Britain, Norway’s weather can be unpredictable and after sitting in my kayak for about an hour completely drenched to the core, I realised today was not going to be the day I would enjoy the glacier.

Defeated, I returned with my group back to the hotel to warm our tootsies and prayed that the next day’s hike would not be hindered by the weather.

In Fjord Norway, I quickly realised that the mountains attract all the attention.

If you want to experience them at their very best, you have to put your boots on and get out there.

And that’s exactly what our guide Andreas had in mind for us.

Our task was to climb the Osken Mountain and our journey to discover the lush forested areas, began at the starting point in Tjoflot (corr)

Equipped with backpacks full of food and water for energy, we set off on the hike which began as a steady incline but soon became steep.

But that did nothing to thwart our efforts to discover the gorgeous views that awaited us at 1241 metres above sea.

Taking regular breaks to take in the beauty surrounding us, we ploughed on to the top.

Norway has been described as the world’s most iconic destination but I don’t think you realise what that actually means until you experience it firsthand.

For me the sheer satisfaction of having climbed such a high mountain was remarkable and the views were the icing on the cake.

Viewing the Oksen mountain (which means ox) was just as spectacular from my bedroom window that evening at Utne Hotel, one of Norway’s oldest hotels, dating back to 1722.

The feeling of knowing I had conquered that mountain was surreal and the aching muscles the following day confirmed it.

Next was the via ferrata.

To be honest, I really had no idea what this was until about 20 minutes before actually doing it.

It was explained to me as climbing a mountain with the help of ladders.

It sounded a lot easier than it was as I went on to realise.

But this was not  just a test of combating fears, the climb has got history attached to it.

We were in the town of Tyssedal which became big when a huge power plant was opened there in 1906.

Mountain water was dammed and waterfalls and water put in pipes.

Climbing here gives you the opportunity to feel how everyday life was for the navvy people who built water stations when they secured mountain constructions, founded the concrete fundament, hand carved bricks and established penstock.

So with this knowledge in hand and instructions and tips to soften the vertigo from my instructor, I was both mentally and physically prepared to climb the 200 meteres.

Harness on, helmet fastened and equipped with some rope and two carabiners, I began my climb to the top.

The first section was relatively easy which entailed climbing the ladder that runs along the pipes.

But it was after this section that things got a bit more frightening – we were to climb out on the metal bars which are cemented into the rock.

The instructor told us that we have to attach both carabiners onto the wire cable one at a time at each step.

This was to ensure that we are attached to the carribiner at all times by at least one of the carabiner.

At first, this seemed like lots to take in. What with fear creeping in and general apprehension of the task ahead, it seemed daunting.

But I soon realised that as I got used to clicking and unclicking, my confidence grew and before long I was walking along the metal bars as if I were on a pleasant Sunday stroll.

I even paused to take in the amazing views of Tyssedal and the Sorfjord. I realised I was loving it and it’s a real adrenalin kick.

Getting to the top was definitely the icing on the cake. I had almost talked myself out from doing the via ferrata but I’m glad I perservered.

So the buffet-style dinner that was laid out for us at the Hotel Ullensvang that evening was very much welcome.

After all that activity, it was time to really take in some breathtaking views while doing nothing other than taking a ride on the Flooibanen Fenicular.

It’s Scandinavia’s only cable railway and one of Norway’s most popular attractions.

Some 320 meters above sea level, I was able to take in some wonderful panoramic views of all of Bergen and the magnificent surrounding landscape rich in fjords and mountains.

And just when I thought it was over, Andreas had one more treat in store for us

Life is at its most intense when adrenalin is pumping through your veins.

So we took a stop at Voss Vind, northern Europe’s first and only vertical wind tunnel to experience a simulated free fall.

If you ever wanted to feel like superman – and in my case Supergirl – then this flying experience is a must.

It wasn’t quite like a skydive but it  was truly sensational and I’ve never felt light as a feather!

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