Day 9: Geiranger
Hey, it’s still raining! After another tasty Norwegian breakfast, we checked out of the Fossheim Turisthotell and crossed the street to the Lom Stave Church for some quick pics. The church was open, and surrounded by tour buses. Even in the rain, getting a look at the old architecture was worth it.
We continued to drive out of Lom and head north towards Geiranger. Route 15 is not technically one of Norway’s Scenic Routes, but the view still seemed pretty scenic to these Midwesterners. The rain even cleared up for a bit.
Once we arrived in the town of Geiranger, things got more scenic, but also more crowded. A small town of 240 residents, with a fjord and amazing views, Geiranger is a main stop for cruise ships. Today there were (only!) two ships in port, raising the amount of people in town to about 6,000. We made our way through the throngs to find the meeting spot for our RIB Boat tour. Zipped up in warm waterproof suits, we were ready to speed through the fjords.
Unlike your typical fjord tour boats (like the one we took in Flam), an RIB boat holds 10-15 people, goes very fast, and gets you so close to the cliffs you can touch them. It was super fun.
Finishing the boat ride and our pit stop in Geiranger, we continued north into the mountains the only other way you can drive in or out of Geiranger — via the ÃƒËœrnesvingen-Eagle road. We stopped at the viewing platform at the top for a last look.
After another ferry ride from Eidsdal to Linge, we emerged in strawberry country. This, of course, required a stop at one of the roadside stands for a delicious carton.
The stops along the scenic route got less crowded as we travelled away from Geiranger, including Gudbrandsjuvet Gorge. It’s a pretty standard gorge by traditional gorge standards (rushing water carving out rock and such), but the Norwegians do love installing avant-garde architecture to spice things up.
By the time we got to Trollstigen, it was raining pretty hard again. Any views were totally blocked. Only 30 minutes from the hotel, and still only 5pm, we decided to hang in the visitor center/cafe to see if the rain would let up. Trollstigen (Trolls Footpath) is a stretch of road with 11 hairpin bends and a 10-percent grade. It is a popular and scenic road when it is not covered in clouds.
By 7pm, the rain had stopped, but the clouds still lingered. The visitor center was closing, so we packed up and made do with what we could see — which wasn’t too much.
We took the switchbacks down (which, by the way, are not scary anymore… we have been driving in Norway long enough) and got a couple decent views once we were below cloud level. There was a road-widening project here a few years ago, so this road was probably in better shape than 90 percent of the rest of the roads we’ve driven in Norway.
Finding the hotel in Andalesnes, we were ready to take it easy for the night. Tomorrow we hope to drive all the way up to Trondheim and say goodbye to our trusty car.