A Travellerspoint blog

Day 17~ A Day Made By Carling

sunny 23 °C
View To the South of the North 2022 on CariadJohn's travel map.

Yes, if Carling made days, they would brand today and market it well. It would be a best seller!

It started with us not waking till 9.30. We couldn’t take our eyes off the lake with it’s rolling mist. It was ethereal. I made breakfast of choc chip pancakes, after Lyn had had his first course of cereal, and we settled down to a chill day.

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For the first time, yes, the actual first time on this holiday we had blue skies and sunshine. We were determined to make the most of it and got the chairs out to relax and read. It was a case of read a paragraph, look at the view, and repeat.

At 1pm we had decreed it officially swimming time. We climbed down some rocks just in front of the van, and was quickly in the very deep water. It was cold, but absolutely beautiful. We were just in this amazing blue water, looking up at mountains all around us, and two glaciers. It was absolute bliss, and what memories are made of; another one for my happy bank. I even dunked my head this time, which gave me brain freeze, but that quickly went. I floated there in absolute silence, and ended up staying in for nearly half an hour. I just didn’t want to leave. Amazing to think I’m swimming in the water that rushed past me a few days ago, straight from the glacier.

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We sat in the sun to dry off, and decreed that 3pm was water sports time. Amazingly the camp site has a wide range of water craft free to borrow. Just help yourself!

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Lyn was keen to start with the canoe. I was dubious but went along with it. From the moment I got in I felt sick. I hated the instability of it all, and felt really queasy, plus my back went into spasms. We only stayed in about 15 minutes, and went back to the jetty. From there we got into the rowing boat. This was much better, I felt much more stable. In Lyn’s eagerness to get me back out on the water and fighting with uneven oars, one with a split handle, he suddenly discovered he was rowing the boat backwards! A quick change of seats on the high seas, and we were rocking, or should that be rowing! It was peaceful out there.

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After the rowing boat had been returned I made a sudden decision to feel the fear and do it anyway in a single sit on kayak. Lyn and I had talked about buying kayaks, pre Covid, and had been to a shop in Cardiff to look at them. We were looking to buy sit in kayaks, as we had done a sea kayaking break in Pembrokeshire and a sea kayaking trip in the Lofoten Islands in Norway, but ended up not buying because of Covid. This was my chance to try a sit on kayak. I was really nervous. I hadn’t liked the instability of the canoe, so surely this would be worse, as it would be just me, and so much nearer the water. In fact it was the opposite, so much easier. I loved it. I had the chance to pootle around by myself and felt quite happy. I think I will get a sit on kayak, so I can do more like this. I prefer being in the water to being on it, but I can see the advantage to lazily cruising around an Alpine lake or two, when weather conditions are perfect.

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After that, it was time to return to terra firma. It was time to get out the BBQ for the first time this holiday. Lyn did his usual excellent job, and steak and chicken was consumed. Lyn even went to the little campsite shop to splash out on sausages and bacon. Unfortunately our peace and quiet was shattered then by some feral Norwegian children who had arrived and decided our pitch was the best place to launch a pedalo from. Cue much comings and goings through our pitch, lots of noise, lots of rock throwing and even our bbq nearly being knocked over by one little girl not looking where she was going!

Not sure yet whether to stay here again tomorrow or move on. The weather is forecast to go back cloudier, so we’ll see!

Posted by CariadJohn 17:34 Archived in Norway Tagged boats lake glacier kayaking norway roadtrip scandinavia hymer Comments (0)

Day 16 ~ The Only Way is Up!

Briksdalen

overcast 22 °C
View To the South of the North 2022 on CariadJohn's travel map.

Today was very much a day of two halves, first the pain, then the pleasure. But first, let me rewind to last night. Snug in our van, chicken wrapped in prosciutto ham eaten and tidied away, a few drinks drunk, we suddenly decided to visit the sauna and glacial pool!

We rushed to put our swimsuits on, whilst arguing about etiquette. Was it pool, sauna, pool like I wanted, or pool, sauna, van like Lyn wanted? We walked the 25m to the campsite toilet block where the saunas were located, one for men and one for women, and looked at the glacial pool. Now this pool is a natural pool, a side pool as it were to the river that rushes through the campsite, straight from the waterfall above our heads that comes straight from the glacier. We had
looked at it the day before, but it had a sign saying “river high” as a deterrent. The water level was definitely down today, so it looked possible. Lyn stripped off his dry robe, handed it to me and was in. He lasted 3 minutes, and came out uncontrollably shivering, it was bitingly cold. Then it was my turn. It took my breath away, but not as much as the naked man who entered the pool as well! It’s not a big pool, todger alert! It was not a big todger either! As I came out, a naked woman got in. They’re were not together, at least not to start. Another Scandi tradition I think, one that we were blissfully unaware of until the evidence was swinging in my face.

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We went into our respective saunas and agreed to meet in 5 minutes back at the pool. Mine started off blissfully with just me and another quiet woman in it, until a big gang of girls took ages coming in with their bottles of beer, leaving the door open for ages. How rude! I waited for Lyn outside, but typical Lyn had got talking to another ultra marathoner in there after he (Lyn) had broken the sauna light with his shoulders! He was the only non naked guy in there. I had given up waiting and got in, lasting 6 minutes. I love it, there’s no feeling like it. Lyn got in, and excitedly started telling me about his sauna convo. We left before more naked people arrived.

Now, onto today. We had planned a walk before we left the campsite. I was quite nervous about this, because the route only went one way, and it wasn’t down or across. At least it was a good chance for me to practise with my hiking poles, and boy did I need them!

I can’t really say too much about the walk, I’ve blanked out the painful memory. Let’s just say it was only a mile in total, but it’s my slowest mile ever. It just went up, up, up, up….you get the picture. Now imagine up, up, up, but over really slippery mud, tree roots and rocks. It was exhausting. I was feeling every year of my age and every pound of my weight, and was beginning to regret every last chocolate I have ever eaten, until I stopped for a breather to let a big gang of young gorgeous Scandi girls go past. Every last one of them, was puffing like a steam train too, and could not speak, just a grimace that passed for a smile as they continued on up into the stratosphere. That made me feel slightly better. We knew there was no chance we could do the full hike, mainly due to time constraints (and the risk of me having a heart attack) so turned around.

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Going downhill was not much easier though. Lyn with his long legs found it easier, but some of the steps between the rocks were a challenge for little legs. Lyn was my trail Angel, and kept me going with words of encouragement. It all worked because a) I didn’t cry and b)didn’t have a heart attack, c) fall to my death. I was glad to be back on level ground again and out of the clouds. Climbing vertically for half a mile is not in my top 10 of things to do. We got back to the van and I was already working out when and where I could shower and nap.

Luckily we didn’t have far to go for our next campsite. We wanted to stay in the same valley, so drove 2 miles to our next sleeping place. We decided against one camp site due to the smell of cow shit, but found another site with the most perfect view of the glacier over the stunning lake. Time to chill and take in the view for a while.

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Oh, and apologies for the photos of me. Hiking hair, don’t care! There’s Insta Hiking and there’s Lucy’s Reality Hiking. It’s not pretty, but it is real. There’s none of Lyn because I either didn’t have the energy or couldn’t let go of my poles for fear! And the photos do no justice to the height we climbed! Honestly.

Posted by CariadJohn 17:03 Archived in Norway Tagged landscapes hiking lake glacier norway dipping Comments (0)

Day 15 ~Ice Ice Baby

Briksdalen

semi-overcast 18 °C

Well, the weather gods smiled at us overnight. It’s still cloudy, but it’s not raining for once. The clouds are definitely less and are opening up to show us the incredible views.

We had big plans for today, but first we had to run the gauntlet of campsite washing roulette! Luckily we were facing the open door of the campsite laundry so could observe the comings and goings. We needed to be organised and decisive so we could swoop into action once we saw the washing machine empty, then repeat again for the dryer. Lyn’s short fuse and sheer doggedness saw our much needed laundry getting done, once he had removed random clothes from said appliances once they had been left that bit too long without being claimed. We were free to go on a glacier hunt.

It wasn’t too hard to find, as we can see it from the campsite. We were going on a glacier hunt, we were going to catch a big one. There was no through or under though, just up. Up all the way. It’s a very popular trail, so there is almost a motorway up there. There are even Trollcars to carry people up, using green energy.

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Of course we opted for our old legs, and off we went. Maybe we should have wondered why everyone else was all battened up in waterproofs etc, and we were in T shirts, but we just thought it was because we are from Wales and well ‘ard. As we got closer to the raging torrent of a river the spray cooled me down nicely. Then we got to the massive waterfall. And the bridge under the massive waterfall. That’s why people were wearing waterproofs. We obviously didn’t get the memo! But, like I said we are well ‘ard, and just embraced it. What’s not to love about freezing cold water soaking you completely when you are doing 2 miles uphill? Loving life!

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When we eventually got to the top we realised not many people actually make it to the very end. It was relatively quiet, until a bunch of noisy Italians got there. We were able to soak up the view though, it was one I won’t forget. The glacier was like a watchful sleepy dragon, watching over the aquamarine lake with one eye open. Unbelievable. So lucky to see sights like this, but so sobering to see the signposts way down the path charting where the glacier had been over the last 100 odd years. Not surprisingly it has retreated dramatically.

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Well, the weather gods smiled at us overnight. It’s still cloudy, but it’s not raining for once. The clouds are definitely less and are opening up to show us the incredible views.

We had big plans for today, but first we had to run the gauntlet of campsite washing roulette! Luckily we were facing the open door of the campsite laundry so could observe the comings and goings. We needed to be organised and decisive so we could swoop into action once we saw the washing machine empty, then repeat again for the dryer. Lyn’s short fuse and sheer doggedness saw our much needed laundry getting done, once he had removed random clothes from said appliances once they had been left that bit too long without being claimed. We were free to go on a glacier hunt.

It wasn’t too hard to find, as we can see it from the campsite. We were going on a glacier hunt, we were going to catch a big one. There was no through or under though, just up. Up all the way. It’s a very popular trail, so there is almost a motorway up there. There are even Trollcars to carry people up, using green energy.

Of course we opted for our old legs, and off we went. Maybe we should have wondered why everyone else was all battened up in waterproofs etc, and we were in T shirts, but we just thought it was because we are from Wales and well ‘ard. As we got closer to the raging torrent of a river the spray cooled me down nicely. Then we got to the massive waterfall. And the bridge under the massive waterfall. That’s why people were wearing waterproofs. We obviously didn’t get the memo! But, like I said we are well ‘ard, and just embraced it. What’s not to love about freezing cold water soaking you completely when you are doing 2 miles uphill? Loving life!

When we eventually got to the top we realised not many people actually make it to the very end. It was relatively quiet, until a bunch of noisy Italians got there. We were able to soak up the view though, it was one I won’t forget. The glacier was like a watchful sleepy dragon, watching over the aquamarine lake with one eye open. Unbelievable. So lucky to see sights like this, but so sobering to see the signposts way down the path charting where the glacier had been over the last 100 odd years. Not surprisingly it has retreated dramatically.

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We made our way back down, stopping to take more photos on the way, and stopping for me to have a swing on a strategically placed swing. A swing with a view. It took me back to my childhood, but I don’t remember swinging making my thighs hurt back then! Aging hurts! I can’t post a video here, but it’s on my instagrams @Cariad_John and @Lucy_dips if you really want to see me revert to being 5 again. We

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We called in the gift shop by the Trollcar station and had a quick look around and a wince at the prices. I fancied a coat but didn’t have £800 spare! Back in the van now with a sneaky gin, cooking chicken.

Posted by CariadJohn 16:57 Archived in Norway Tagged landscapes waterfalls lakes glacier norway travelswithharvey Comments (1)

Day 14~ Back to the Ice Age

Briksdlabeen

rain 15 °C
View To the South of the North 2022 on CariadJohn's travel map.

So we spent last night high up in a ski resort, overlooking towering mountains and glossy modern ski chalets made of glass. I cooked up a chicken curry then suddenly decided I needed a walk. It had been another long day in the van. I pulled on some running leggings and a long sleeve top and headed up a gravel path. It wasn’t long but it was steep! I got to a cute little wooden bridge that went over another raging torrent of a river. The hiking sign post sent me off to the left, so I dutifully followed. Maybe not the best idea as I had rushed out wearing my croc sandals and the hike took me onto a narrow very muddy path through woodland. I gamely carried on for a while, enjoying the adventure and the solitude, but was very aware of darkness falling quicker behind these huge mountains, so turned back to the safety of the van.

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We had both agreed we needed a later start this morning, so had a relaxed breakfast, and sat around reading etc. We didn’t have so far to go today, we are almost at the turn around point of the holiday. The roads were better today, and we passed more amazing lakes, fjords and mountains. We also had to stop for a goat jam, which was a first!

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We headed into the Jostedalsbreen National Park, which is famous for one thing, namely Europe’s biggest glacier. We stopped off by the Boyabreen arm on our way to our campsite. We took a short walk from the van, and there she was, at the mouth of a glacial lake. It was impressive to see, and this is just one of the smallest arms. I was tempted to dip in the lake, the blue colour was awesome, but decided it wasn’t worth the trek back through the mud to the van to get our kit. We made do with a paddle instead, our feet were numb within 2 minutes, it was beyond icy. Impressive to think that this glacier has crevasses up to 30m deep! The sign also says that calving ice can make the river flood like a tsunami unexpectedly!

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We travelled about an hour north to our camp site for the night. This is one Lyn chose and is particularly excited by. The views are stupendous, when the weather conditions lift! We went out for a walk and took loads of photos, but won’t post them now as they don’t do the scenery justice. Hopefully the clouds will lift for longer tomorrow and I can take some more to share the beauty of this place. Just imagine we are sat between two glaciers. There are 50000 feet mountains like a horseshoe around us. We can see a glacial lake and the fiercest raging river I have ever seen, which is a by product of the Volefossen waterfall which falls 355m, with a highest free fall of 185m. This is directly above us, and the noise sounds like aircraft taking off. Fingers crossed for clearer weather tomorrow.

Posted by CariadJohn 19:01 Archived in Norway Tagged landscapes waterfalls lakes fjords glacier norway motorhome harveytherv hymerlife Comments (3)

Day 12 & 13 Blog Catch Up

Odda~Hodlekve

overcast 20 °C
View To the South of the North 2022 on CariadJohn's travel map.

I’ve had to resort in combining two days into one write up! I’m exhausted by the Norwegian roads and I haven’t even been driving!

It’s been a hectic 2 days, involving sleeping by a fjord, where we dipped and sleeping by a waterfall that we could hear all night.

In between Lyn drove horrendous bumpy single track knuckle biting roads, we’ve driven to the further point of the narrowest fjord, we crossed the biggest fjord by ferry, we viewed the biggest fjord from a high viewpoint, we swum in a lake that we had to ourselves, we looked at a huge cruise ship in a narrow fjord and dodged the crowds, we drove through Europe’s longest tunnel (26km) and now we are at a parking spot high up overlooking mountains.

The chicken curry is simmering and I’m nearly asleep. We’ve been going to bed at 9pm exhausted.

Excuse the photo dump, hopefully the photos will give you a taste of the wonders we’ve seen.

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Posted by CariadJohn 19:39 Archived in Norway Tagged waterfalls lake norway roadtrip scandinavia motorhome travelswithharvey dipping hymerlife Comments (1)

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