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Exploring Fjords from Grodås by Bus, Boat and Bike
The setting of our hotel, right on the shore of Hornindalsvatnet, Europe’s deepest lake, was itself scenic enough for a vacation. The lake was framed by trees covered in brilliant yellow blossoms, and the sun shimmered on the water between the layers of mountains growing paler blue as they receded into the backdrop of the stage-set view from our balcony at Raftevold’s Hotel. But in the midst of Norway’s soaring cliffs and dramatic waterfalls, even Hornindalsvatnet’s considerable beauty seemed almost ordinary.
So after climbing to the waterfall above the town and cycling along the lake shore to a tiny village hidden in a deep cove, we set out to explore the fjords on either side of Hornindalsvatnet.
Getting to Geirangerfjord from Grodås was easy – we hopped on a bus and 25 minutes later we were a five-minute walk from the ferry dock in Hellesylt. We’d cruised fjords before, but were not prepared for the spectacular (sorry, but there’s no other word for it) beauty and drama of Geirangerfjord’s vertical shores. Waterfalls dropped straight from glaciers into the blue-green water beneath us, and tiny farm houses clung hundreds of feet overhead.
The town of Geiranger, at the far end of the fjord, gave us plenty to do in the several hours before the ferry returned to take us back through the winding fjord. A walking path and stairs with cantilevered observation points gave us a continuous view of the long series of waterfalls that cascade down the steep town. At its top, a new museum explores the region and its UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site.
Back near the docks, we sat on a terrace and watched boats bob in the fjord as we ate sweet Norwegian shrimp for lunch. And before the ferry arrived we had time to visit the local chocolatier, Fjordnaer, and sample handmade chocolates filled with local ingredients – mountain cheese (delicious), wild blueberries and my favorite – delicate cloudberries. On our return trip down the fjord, sunlight played in the waterfalls from a different direction, creating a new set of views.
In contrast to the vertical sides of Geirangerfjord, The shore of Nordfjord slopes more gently, with room for villages and green meadows of wildflowers and little farms. This makes its vistas broader, with layers of mountains reflecting in the water and visible into the distance. The low shore creates a series of sweeping foregrounds to every view. It was just as beautiful, and a lovely contrast.
We went by bus to Loen, at the end of Nordfjord, and found rental bikes at Loen Active -- right in front of us as we stepped off the bus. A Norwegian friend had told us about the beautiful Lodalen Valley , where a road follows the river to long Lovatnet Lake, and suggested that it was a good bicycle trip. We soon realized that it doesn’t matter where you decide to go in this region, wherever you look will be breath-catchingly beautiful. Walking and bicycling gave us more time to savor every changing view.
Even the bus ride from Raftevold’s Hotel to Loen was beautiful, along the shore of Hornindalsvatnet and across the middle of a cascading waterfall as we arrived in Stryn en route.
Content copyright © 2015 by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers. All rights reserved.
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