Saturday, 22 August 2015

August 20th 2015: Norway: Trollstigen

Monty the Motorhome is on a wild-camp by the side of a small lake, just north of the town of Geiranger. 

Today we tackled the mountain road known as Trollstigen, or Troll’s Ladder. The route starts up a valley at a fairly gentle incline, but in front you can see a mountain wall and it is difficult to imagine where the road goes. Then all of a sudden you see a crazy zig-zag in the mountainside - 11 hairpin bends and a gradient of 1:12 - taking the road up and out of sight.
As we arrived at the bottom of the climb the road was closed. Initially we thought it was roadworks, but then there was the sound of a high performance engine revving loudly and we saw some sort of sports car racing up the zig-zags, following a van with it’s tailgate up. This must have been some sort of filming - probably Norway’s version of ‘Top Gear’. 
After about 15 minutes we were all allowed to proceed. Slowly. There were a number of gasps and stifled shrieks from Ruth, but we made it quite easily in the end.
A large parking area at the top had a long walkway leading from it to viewpoints cantilevered out over the edge, giving a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the route we had just come up.

Looking back down the zigzags that we had just come up

We continued on, stopping for lunch at a little pull in by the side of a mountain stream. A large notice warned that the waters contained a parasite that attacked salmon, so anyone fishing in the water had to have all their equipment and clothing disinfected at a nominated cleaning station. We just can’t imagine anyone wanting to go through all that rigmarole, so the tourist salmon fishing in these parts must really be suffering.

Lunch stop view

Our route continued to the town of Valldal, which claims to have Europe’s northern most commercial orchards. We did see some fruit trees, but were astounded how many strawberries were growing - not big fields, but lots of them, with lots of people picking. Right now must be the peak season.

Our destination for today was going to be Geiranger, with the intention of a wild camp somewhere in the town. However as we approached and got to the first viewpoint overlooking the area there were signs prohibiting overnight camping, together with big notices advertising the many campsites available in the town. We had passed an lovely looking site just a few kms back, so turned around and went back.

The view from our overnight stop

Tomorrow we intend to be tourists in one of Norway’s most visited location - Geiranger. Hopefully it will be quiet as no cruise ships are expected. Today there were scheduled to be three - each one can potentially carry over a thousand passengers, and though I’ve described Geiranger as a town it is more of a village. So the influx of that many people is certainly going to affect a small place. 

Posted Saturday 22 August, due to lack of internet for the last two days

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