Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Atlantic Ocean Road

The Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway – wonder why no speed cameras

I woke up with a strange feeling of wind, waves and high adrenaline… one of the most challenging ride trips, and doesn't look like any short cuts or speed cameras… – The Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway!
I just had a dream of this, not joking!

The passion for Norway, still vivid even while sleeping, pushed me to search on internet and was amazed to find so many interesting facts about The Atlantic Ocean Road worth to share them with you here:
The Atlantic Ocean Road (Photo by Geir Joar Meli Hval)
- the construction started 1 August 1983 and the opening of the road took place 7 July 1989, and according to the country's tourist bureau, workers struggled with the region's wild weather and were interrupted by 12 hurricanes,
- Fv64 (Rv 64) stretches between Vevang, in the municipality of Eide, and Kårvåg in the municipality of Averøy in Møre og Romsdal,
- is a toll-free road,
- the Atlantic Road (Atlanterhavsveien or Atlanterhavsvegen, in Norwegian) is part of the 36-kilometre long National Tourist Route, has 8.27 km length,
- goes across 8 low bridges that jut out over the sea,
- starts approximately 30 km Southwest of Kristiansund and ends 47 km North of Molde in Fjord Norway (famous for the annual Jazz Festival in July), passing through an archipelago and linking mainland Norway with the island of Averøy,
- the 850 ft bridge is a “Cultural Heritage Site” and “National Tourist Route” (because of the architecture of the road and the bridges, and the incredible coastline it passes through) or “Drunk Bridge” (Storseisundet Bridge) with a curve over the Norwegian Sea rivaling even with the most iconic American roads such as Route 66 and the Loneliest Road,
- in 2005 was chosen as "Norway's construction of the century",
- in 2009 was Norway's 9th most-visited natural tourist attraction, with over 250,000 visitors from May through August,
- was ranked first on The Guardian's list of the world's best road trips,
- the Atlantic Ocean Road winds like a sea serpent through the forceful ocean, over islets scoured smooth by the elements, and is only a 30 min drive through the Atlantic Ocean Tunnel. After passing the tunnel you cross the island of Averøy with Kvernes Stave Church, the very scenic west side of the island, and the incredible coastline through the landscape of fishermen and farmers along Hustadvika, next to an wicked stretch of ocean truly dramatic during a storm, where could be seen many shipwrecks resting on the seafloor,
- for approaching bikers it appears that “the bridge to nowhere” drops off into the sea, which is only an optical illusion,
- the road and the landscape offer wonderful cycling and walking opportunities,
- this absolutely fantastic and spectacular 20th century road is a very popular tourist attraction. Both the local population and tourist visitors frequently use the road to go fishing for cod and other fish directly from the bridges. One of the bridges is special designed for fishing and angling. The area is also rich in seabirds and seals. Out here by the open sea, nature’s challenges include wind and wave surfing, diving in the ships,
- there are several tourist stops along the way, including the Kvernes Stave Church, the Bremsnes Cave and popular fishing spots, although the road and its rocky shore have a dangerous reputation. Eldhusøya, is the largest rest area along the Atlantic Road, located on a scenic spot at the ocean's edge. Parts of the island are wet marshland and hence vulnerable to pedestrian traffic. The walkway is made of latticework...
The Atlantic Ocean Road (Photo by Geir Joar Meli Hval)
Norway used its North Sea oil money so wisely by investing in infrastructure and Romania can't even get the pot holes filled

The Atlantic Road meanders at the ocean’s edge, from island to island, across bridges and rock-fills and is the most beautiful drive and bike ride on the coastal edge of Norway for about 60 kilometers long!
The Atlantic Ocean Road - Kristiansund (Photo by Geir Joar Meli Hval)
Wind and weather make for a great variety of experience, from howling storms sending breakers crashing over the road to a calm and peaceful sea perfect for picnic, a stone’s throw and lots of photographs.

When the weather is fair offers breath-taking scenery along the Scandinavian country’s western coast and you may spot whales and seals.

The Atlantic Road is especially fascinating when the autumn storms rage – large waves break right next to the road (and occasionally even wash across the asphalt).
In bad weather, with stormy skies above and turbulent waters below, cars are pounded by large waves and whipped by powerful wind gusts wont crack or break under the force of the waves or some at least then you won't have to worry about waves or getting swooped up heavy wind storm.
The Atlantic Ocean Road - Kristiansund (Photo by Geir Joar Meli Hval)
I want a ride on The Atlantic Road and get some spectacular photos with setting sun!

Btw, can you imagine a convoy of bangers on this stretch of suspended land?

All photos presented on this page are courtesy of Geir Joar Meli Hval.
Source: Wikipedia, Daily Mail and Visit Norway.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rosendal Fjordhotel

Rosendal is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on the west part of Norway surrounded by majestic mountains, fjord, glacier, and waterfall, situated at the entrance of the picturesque Hardanger Fjord, nearby the Barony Manor (built since 1665 and having a magnificent 300 year old renascence garden) and the unique Steinparken.
Located right by the sea with a breathtaking scenery, Rosendal Fjordhotel has a stunning view over the fjord (don’t miss to capture the sunset!), the staff is really friendly and do their utmost for guests to enjoy their stay providing excellent service and care, that all-in-all would offer a wonderful experience even during the fall or winter.
It is said that waterfront Rosendal Fjordhotel, even if a bit expensive, is the best hotel in this area and professionally handeld.

You can reach Rosendal Fjordhotel in about 2 hours by car or ferry from Bergen, Haugesund or Voss, 4 hours from Stavanger and 6 from Oslo; by train or airplain (from Bergen).
Rosendal Fjordhotel - room with view
Facilities at Rosendal Fjordhotel:
- 95 rooms (equipped with toilet, shower/ bathtub and fluffy towels), average standard, all non-smoking, some with inland view and others with a balcony overlooking the surroundings
- a total of 190 beds at different categories, spotlessly clean and very comfortable
- bed and breakfast (buffet) included in price. The buffet has a rich offer to choose from: cheese, eggs in various styles, cereals, youghurts, cold meats, fruits, pickles, salads, fresh bread, toast, coffee, tea and juices.
- a restaurant overlooking the fjord that can accommodate 250 guests, and offers an à la carte menu, along with a daily 3-course dinner of Norwegian and international cuisine with good vegetarian alternatives and excellent desserts
- friendly bar and terrace where you can enjoy the panoramic view whilst having your favorit drink
- bright, airy and comfortable meeting rooms, in different sizes, with full AV - suitable for gatherings from 2 to 250 people (arrived for conferences, banquets, anniversary parties, baptisms, confirmations, weddings, Christmas parties or other special event)
- free Wi-Fi
- free outdoor parking
- lift
- heating
- garden, terrace, large beach area, quays, rowing boat, fishing gear, tennis and volleyball courts, sauna and solarium,  children playground. 
Rosendal Fjordhotel - restaurant
As special care for its guests, the hotel can provide:
- allergy-free rooms
- wheelchairs
- pets are welcome - and, prior arrival, is recommended to check if animal rooms are available
- rooms with great view of the Hardangerfjord - for an extra charge
- vegetarian meals
- packed lunches
- 24-hour front desk
- luggage storage
- ironing service
- fax/ photocopying service
- newspapers
Outdoor activities:
- hiking
- fishing
- horseback riding or rent a horse carriage
- kayaking
- ski
- Putball (a combination of soccer and golf)
View from nearby Rosendal Fjordhotel
Where to go:
- a trip to Bondhusbreen/ The Bondhus Lake, which is part of the magnificent Folgefonna Nationalpark
- a guided tour to the Barony Rosendal Castle/ Baroniet and gallery visit - at 15 minutes walking distance from the hotel - a vibrant museum where concerts, theatre productions, art exhibitions and lectures are being held during the summer seasons from May till September
- Fjellhaugen Ski Centre – at 20 minute drive away
- Kjersti and Bård Bondhus - an old farm in Sundal
- take a walk to the top of the nearby mountains Bjørndalseter (650m), Malmangernuten (890m) and Melderskin (1426m)

Rosendal Fjordhotel is the perfect place to stay, enjoy the nature, a good food and relax.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Velvety Norwegian Fish Soup - Fiskesuppe

While traveling to Norway, especially if it happens to walk around in a cloudy icy day, join outdoor activities in a wet day or a rainy autumn weekend, after a sky session surrounded by beautiful mountains covered with fluffy snow or in a perfect summer afternoon after a short cruise, nothing will warm you up better and make you feel full of energy than a hot, velvety and savory Norwegian fish soup (fiskesuppe) served hot in a big bowl, topped with a glass of wine.

Norwegians have many of ways to prepare healthy and high quality seafood, and one of the best is the warming creamy fiskesuppe – which can be thicker or lighter.
Velvety Norwegian Fish Soup - Fiskesuppe (own photo)
Velvety Norwegian Fish Soup - Fiskesuppe (own photo)
The delicious fish soup is a very common meal for the day everywhere in Norway, quick to prepare, perfect to warm up the soul, and its main ingredients are: fresh fish (salmon, cod, halibut, monkfish) or catfish and shellfish, raw shrimps, mussels, scallops – mix depending of your own choice, small cubes of potatoes, chopped tomatoes, diced celery, olive oil, butter, a pinch of flour, thinly sliced carrots, fresh flat leaf parsley, salt and freshly ground white pepper, dumplings, and eventually with just a touch of sugar and (red wine) vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice, that usually is served garnished with sour cream and the lumpfish caviar on crusty white bread.

Always reliant to an absolutely tasty meal, is the quality of the ingredients – fresh fish, fresh vegetables, good olive oil, butter and sour cream…

And I don’t know if could be other dish so comforting, appetizing and with a sort of sweet and sour velvet consistency as the steaming Norwegian fishsoup… the memory of first creamy soup full of blended flavors, served in a short stop at Geilo, on the way to Voringsfoss, stayed with me since then and love to recall it in damp days and not only. : )
Velvety Norwegian Fish Soup - Fiskesuppe (own photo)
Velvety Norwegian Fish Soup - Fiskesuppe (own photo)
Some sources for Velvety Norwegian Fish Soup (Fiskesuppe) recipes:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Beautiful Norwegian national costumes - Bunader

While traveling to Norway you may be delighted to see beautiful Norwegian national costumes, with delicate and colorful stitches and embroidery, visit dedicated stores, art galleries and join local traditions where most people are proud to wear their special traditional clothing.

In Norway, the national costume is named “bunad” (pl. bunader), and represents a romantic rural clothing (with roots from 18th and 19th centuries) and a folk costume (more modern, worn from the beginning of 20th century), as well, a festive clothing that originates far back as the Middle Ages.
Norwegian traditional costumes (Photo from JulienFumard.com)
Norwegian traditional costumes (Photo from JulienFumard.com)
Norwegians love to dress up with bunader/ national costumes at most important events, such as: weddings, baptisms, confirmations, Norway's Constitution Day (celebrated on 17th of May), folk dances during Christmas, New Year celebrations and various exhibitions, and accepted as gala attire even on the most public and solemn festivities.

The Norwegian art of stitching and embroidery developed in secluded areas with centuries ago, and initial needlework was done on roughly woven linens with wool and cotton yarn, and was developed later, being improved by trade with other Scandinavian and European countries.

Along the time the art and technique of Scandinavian needlework, stitching and embroidery – on fabrics of excellent quality – evolved and got enhanced with new patterns, motifs and colors, adding silver or gold borders, and became a method to create and tell wonderful stories.

It is said that are about 450 types of different bunads (bunader) designs in Norway… 
There are bunads created for everyone – men, women and children – and the bunader for women are more elaborated. Usually, the traditional blouses, decorated vests, aprons and shawls are made of white linen or cotton and rarely from silk, the knicker-length or full-length men trousers are from hodden and a single color, the jackets (made in the same material as the trousers for men), the suits are made of a very fine wool fabric, and most of them have the design specific to certain area in Norway.

Norwegian traditional costumes are often accessorized, and now you can see sterling silver brooch placed on the blouse, sterling silver or pewter on the clasps on purses, buttons, belt buckles and ornaments on shoes.
Norwegian national costumes (Photo from The Strong-Museum of play)
Norwegian national costumes (Photo from The Strong-Museum of play)
Some ideas for where to admire Norwegian national costumes and learn about Scandinavian stitching and embroidery in many attractive styles and decorations, learn some tricky little techniques to master your own creations, take photos and even buy:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Trolltunga - The Troll's tongue - a magical place to visit!

Trolltunga (the Troll's tongue) is one of the most spectacular and scenic cliffs in Norway, and the view here is breathtaking.
Trolltunga (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
This amazing Precambrian rock that overlooks the valleys of the Hardanger region - formed during the ice age when the edges of the glacier existing at that time reached the cliff - jutting horizontally out of a mountain about 700 meters above the lake Ringedalsvatnet (in the municipality of Odda in Hordaland county), at about 1100 meters above sea level, has an iconic shape that become one of the most popular hiking destinations in Norway and fascinating natural attraction.

The mountains surrounding the cliff reach heights of up to 1500 meters. Some of the hilltops have plains which are interspersed with lakes, and offers one of the best scenery in the world.
Hiking to Trolltunga (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
The best way to reach Trolltunga and satisfy your hunger for extraordinary outdoor adventures is to take a hiking trip - definitely a fun experience with plenty of opportunities for photography!

This is a hiking trip where you can experience majestic mountains, stiff rocks, lush green fields, eventually seeing also a few flocks of happy sheep, turquoise shimmering waters, blue sky, immense serenity and lovely scenery all the way.
Hiking to Trolltunga (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo offered by Trolltunga Adventures)
Depending on weather conditions and when the snow melts in the mountains, the hike to Trolltunga is, usually, possible from mid June until mid September; it takes about 10 hours (round trip) and the ascent is about 900 meters through high mountains.
Hiking to Trolltunga (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo offered by Trolltunga Adventures)
The trail to Trolltunga (marked with red „T”) passes through the beautiful landscape of the fjordarm Sørfjorden on the way towards Odda, a bedrock and washed slippery hillsides containing gneiss, then through Husedalen valley and a wild river where one can see some giant trouts lurking into the waters.
Hiking to Trolltunga (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo offered by Trolltunga Adventures)
Then passing nearby four stunning successive waterfalls and streams on the way from Kinsarvik to Hardangervidda National Park (the largest high mountain plateau in northern Europe), a wide network of marked trails both summer and winter, connected by mountain cabins.
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo offered by Trolltunga Adventures)
The paramount view from Trolltunga (Toll’s tongue) takes your breath away and pictures may not capture at fullest the entire drama and scale of the scenery.
And sitting on the tongue itself, either by yourself or with your companions, is one of the coolest experience in a lifetime!
Trolltunga trip (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo offered by Trolltunga Adventures)
Recommendations:
- even if it is said that this trip is for everyone, rather consider whether you are in good shape and have the right equipment before setting out (hiking shoes, warm layers, raincoat, hat, sunscreen and wind sheeter),
- check the latest weather forecast before going to Trolltunga because the weather in the high mountains can change quickly; freezing hail, high speed winds or a thick fog could be encountered and make one shaking cold and completely fatigued before reaching desired destination,
- if you wish to stay overnight in the mountain area around Trolltunga, catch the sunrise there, overlooking the gorgeous fjord rather have your own tent or sleeping bag,
- you will need sturdy hiking boots, bring extra clothing and be prepared for bad weather.
- bring map, compass and flashlights,
- have some food and drink.

Remarks:
- the first and last parts of the trip are the toughest being basically straight up a mountain thru sharp rocks and steep start  for almost 2 kms,
- along the fjord there is a mild and humid coastal climate,
- if you run out of water, you can refill your bottle at the waterfalls with clean water,
- there is no mobilephone coverage along the route,
- parking fee ~ NOK 100/ day in Skjeggedal near the funicular Mågelibanen (not in operation),
- no safety railing has been constructed on the edge of the cliff to avoid harming the natural beauty of the cliff, so  you’ll be responsible for own safety.



TROLLTUNGA ADVENTURES (with over 15 years of hiking experience) offers unforgettable guided trips to the majestic Trolltunga, through some of the most spectacular landscapes Norway has to offer.
Guest can choose 1, 2, 3 or 4 days trek – either one an excellent outdoor adventure! 
And for 2015 they will do only 2 guided tours for their ultimate Trolltunga experience - 4 days/ 3 nights.
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo offered by Trolltunga Adventures)

Choosing Trolltunga Adventures for a guided trip to reach the majestic Trolltunga - it will be a great option as the hike follows a different path than the one offered in regular packages - from Tyssedal, with the hike thru Husedalen (not marked with "T"),
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo offered by Trolltunga Adventures)
on the way you will pass, also, a very old wooden farm originally built by monks from a cloister in Hardanger, where you can take a minute and appreciate the wonderful views around you. 
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga hike (The Troll's Tongue - photo offered by Trolltunga Adventures)
Guided by them you’ll have an unforgettable trip surrounded by impressive natural beauty, the chance to take a refreshing mountain bath, go fishing/ rock climbing/ hiking/ walking, spend a well-deserved night in tent staring to the sky, enjoy the sunrise at the cliff, and take amazing captures in photos.
Trolltunga (The Troll's Tongue - photo Trolltunga Adventures)
Trolltunga (The Troll's Tongue - photo offered by Trolltunga Adventures)
Dare to experience Trolltunga (the Troll’s tongue) getting the troll’s kiss once in a lifetime!