Wednesday, August 12, 2009


For once, we changed direction for our yearly holiday, from northwest to due north - so instead of Scotland it was Norway this year. Always wanted to do it, always wanted to check out whether these fjords were really so breathtaking.

What to say? Since we still have small kids our ideal vacation is one that involves choosing a hub to avoid the constant cumbersome packaging and looking for a new place for the night every, well, night. Once we have established a "foothold" the holiday is then divided into daily journeys to one or more places of interest. This worked very well in the Scottish Highlands, where I can't imagine a better hub than Fort William. Daily excursions to Mallaig, Ardnamurchan, Glen Coe, Loch Tay, Ben Nevis, Blair Atholl, Inverness, Skye, Loch Ness, Ullapool, Inveraray, Dunadd, the list is endless. I fell in love with the Highlands, and in the back of my mind I have a couple of neuron knots telling me to retire there sometime.

No such tactics apply for a family with kids in Norway. The distances are too great, and - I hope Norwegian readers won't hold this against me - Norwegian roads don't allow fast travel. Almost all are two lane roads with a 90 kilometer per hour speed limit. Which meant that from the "central" location we finally chose, Kaupanger near Sogndal on the Sognefjord, a trip to even Bergen was out of the question. Oh, you could do it, all right. But we prefer no stress on holidays, thank you. Especially when Outlaw Mike jr. needs to have his diapers changed every now and then, and OutlawDaughter gets bored big time from having to sit still for too many hours. There's also the fact that you almost inevitably have to take a ferry somewhere - Norway is the land of tunnels and ferries - and your GPS system doesn't take the time spent in anticipation of ferries, or on the ferries themselves, into account.

Be that as it may - not having seen Bergen, not having seen Stavanger, not having set a foot in Trondheim (damn! DAMN!) - we had a GREAT holiday, and I climbed my little mountain, the Skala (1840 or so meters, starting from sea level). There's a small tower on top, built there about a century ago on orders of some eccentric doctor who thought patients with respiratory diseases would do well to spend some time there. Alas, by the time the tower, which came to be known as the Skalatarnet, was finished, the good doctor was dead. The Skalatarnet is now property of the Norwegian Mountaineering Society and you can enter it any time, take a rest, take a nap, cook and eat some of the available food, even sleep there. When you check out this guy, Jack Brauer, he's got some tidbit about it. Recommended site.

As always, not enough time. Stupid, because so much to tell, so much to show. Let me conclude with a hypershort shot from Norway's most beautiful fjord, the Geirangerfjord. Excuse me for the bad quality - the "camera" was a brandless thingy I got somewhere for free.

Hey, nite all.


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