Monday, 1 June 2009

Having the folks over: a photo essay

We've recently said goodbye to M's brother, sister and their respective partners (hereafter referred to as 'The Folks'. They came over for a long weekend (or short week, whatever way you want to look at it) and as well as showing them around our home city of Bergen we also took them out to see 'the nature'. Thankfully Norway provided lots of different weather for them to experience including the first 20+ degree days of the year that left us all a bit pink. Good times.

The first couple of days were spent in Bergen where we showed The Folks the city from the best viewpoint by taking the impossibly steep Fløibanen funicular railway up to Fløyen. Bergen rewarded them with strong winds and heavy showers. In this picture D and El enjoy the spectacular views while Es keeps his distance from the edge.

On Friday we hired a big car and after picking M up from work we took The Folks out into the Hardanger Vidda. The road out twists it's way through impressive valleys and clings precariously to the steep sided fjords. To cross the Eidfjord you have to take a short ferry ride.

We stayed in a road side hyyte park at Erdal. The cabin was pretty spacious and was right on the fjord side. We spent the first evening just sitting on the rocks, enjoying a cold drink and warm sunshine. We had a wee angle too and I managed to winkle out a cod that was a bit small for the table so it was released to put on some weight for next time.

By now the weather was blazing. We had breakfast outside the cabin on the grass, overlooking the fjord and snow-capped mountains behind.

After driving through the hair-raising tunnel that corkscrews up through the mountain our first stop of the day was at Vøringfossen. The waterfalls are in full flight at this time of the year, heavy and chilled with snow-melt from the mountains just above. Just after this we visited the Fossli hotel which you can make out in the upper centre of the photo above. Here there are viewing platforms that put you right over the gorge and in the thunderous din of the falls.

After ice-creams we headed out onto the Hardanger Vidda to take D and Es to a massive reservoir and dam that are overlooked by the Hardangerjøkulen glacier. This is the area where they filmed the famous Hoth scenes from The Empire Strikes Back.

Climbing even higher we eventually had lunch by the side of the road at 1200m. There was plenty of snow and as you can see the traffic was hell....

It the afternoon we explored. First of all we had a bit of a hike down to the river that feeds the Vøringfossen falls and after a bit of bushwhacking we found these amazing rapids and waterfalls. No paths led to this spot. We also had a bit of a soggy slog up the side of a nearby hill in search of more waterfalls but only discovered soggy feet.

That evening we dined on bbq pølser by the side of the fjord and watched the sun drop down behind the towering cliffs although it stayed light until long after we went to bed.

The next day we drove home via the 'scenic' route. The road is twistier, narrower and far more dangerous than the road we had taken out through Voss but we were rewarded with views from the lay-bys like the one above.

Our last stop on the way back to Bergen was at the famous Steindalsfossen where we had a stroll under the beautiful waterfall and had one last ice-cream before hitting the road back to the city and flights for The Folks back to England.


Nielsen Brown said...

Having the family visit is always special and having good weather even better. Glad you had a great time with 'The Folks'

Akshay said...

Holidays with the family is always a special experience. The beauty just enhances when the place one is visiting has a pleasant climate. It felt really happy to read such a post and nice to know about the fun you must have had. Your ideas just flow like water and yes, amazing photographs. Keep up the good work!!

Holdfast said...

Thanks guys. It was an awesome time. The only thing I really miss from England is friends and family so time spent with them is special.

PTC said...

"lunch by the side of the road at 1200m"
Ach! I like the idea of that.

It's easy to think it's all an adventure moving away, with no downsides. It's nice that you all got together.

Holdfast said...

ptc* - it was nice to drive over the Hardanger road again after a winter of it being closed, buried under ten feet of snow....

You're right, it was a very special time getting together again. Family and old friends can never be replaced.

Dave F said...

I want to do this again. Now.

Joe Newton said...

Dave - it's all a bit hard to find now. The stuff on Hardangervidda would be under a lot of snow. But 'Hoth' would look a lot more like Hoth!