Five years ago we for the first time travelled to Norway, unforgettable the overnight stay in Haukeliseter Fjellstue in more than 1,000 m altitude. Once the workers lived there who built the train connection Oslo-Bergen. Today it is the destination for any number of hikers.
Haukeliseter was not on our menu this time. For a start however we once more took the Kiel-Oslo ferry.
Our schedule holds the Flam-train, the visit of a glacier, and the ropeway to the Ulriken in Bergen as highlight.
The breathtaking views of the Flam-train are again and again interrupted by one of the many tunnels which make one third of the about 20 km distance. Actually this route is said to be one of the most taxing and spectacular in Europe.
The building work for the steepest adhesion railway on standard gauge took more than 17 years. The construction cost 26.5 million kroner, in those days a terrific amount. 18 of the 20 tunnels were dug by hand. The horizontally towering mountain wall in the upper part of the valley was an enormous challenge for the engineers. To overcome the big drop, the workers drilled a turning tunnel within the mountain. Over four storeys one upon the other the train spirals up from sea level to the mountain village Myrdal at 886 m.
Here we met Huldra who, according to legend, kidnaps men. Later on she dances in her red gown on the right side of the Kjosfossen-falls. However, nothing happened...
We shall continue to Nigardsbreen to visit a glacier.
As once before we travel by the Kiel-Oslo ferry. The ship journey will take about 20 hours.
There it is again: This tingle in the belly when the ship is at the terminal.
A quick check: Where are the most important documents? Well, they are where we put them, everything's all right. What will the cabins be like? I think first of all I'll throw myself onto the bed and sip a Coke... Once more I control my pockets... Yes, there it is, the chip card for the cabin, together with the card for the dinner menu. By the way, when will that start? 6.00 p.m.? Very good, I'm looking forward to it.
The ship is already unloaded, we are the first in the line of vehicles. Very good in my opinion, so we won't get into the bulk of the other passengers. With horror I remember many a journey when we were right among the queue of the cars and their relaxation-addicted occupants and had to squeeze along to get out. Never forgotten the journey when a stout lady in front of us struggled up the stairs, carrying big bags left an right. By the by, it's recommendable to remember the number of the exit, a quick mobile-shot will do. However, today we are in the pole position, everything is rather relaxed.
We take the small backpack with everything necessary for one night and set out to the 9th floor. Over a staircase we get out and take the lift, there are good chances. Indeed, only one family is waiting in the lift and we get in. The lifts are fast and we reach our deck at 12.30 h, i.e. much too early. But once more we are lucky, the chip card grants us access. The ship is to leave Kiel only at 2.00 p.m.
So we first of all make ourselves comfortable before inspecting the ship.
From an earlier journey we know that there is a "Mall" on this ship. Indeed, everything one's heart yearns for can be got here overpriced, from shrimps to perfume and every other unnecessary object. With some nostalgia I think of our Scotland ferries, not half as luxurious but simply more genuine than all these frills.
Not to be mixed up with our first journey from Kiel when we had an inner cabin on a Polish ship. Meals on that ship were "genuine" indeed and the tough schnitzels and giant potatoes with eyes held more of an adventure than this.
For travelling with this ship you really should not book a cabin right beside the Mall. You are in the thick of things then - but who wants to be all night long?
Spirits on board are very good of course, for most Corona does no longer seem to exist, we are of the very few wearing FFP-masks. The weather is just great and not too hot. We withdraw to our cabin and fall on the fridge.
With much Coke and Seltzer we celebrate our first day on sea. We pass Laboe and the permanent submarine which can be easily made out from the ferry. It's the U 995, a German submarine of the former military navy, Type VII C/41, employed in WW II. It was commissioned in September 1943 and was out nine times. It had been built by Blohm & Voss.
A short time later we are escorted by a real submarine. We are some miles off the coast by now and probably it is one of the submarines joining a large NATO-excersise. In the Baltic Sea more than 45 ships and 75 planes as well as about 7.000 soldiers are participating.
As we are friends and you won't shoot at friends or sink them, the submarine turns off sometime and we move to deck 7 and dinner buffet.
Once more opulence is the rule and while the ship passes the first Danish islands, I wonder if this is the last time for realls tucking in. Like the Scotland ferries where there was the last continental food. Who knows, perhaps for the next weeks only fish and elk and dried fish is waiting for me...
The sea is calm and it is a pleasant night.
This is the most quiet time on deck, evening spirit on sea. Next morning we shall be in Oslo.
We have a very quiet cabin even if you always have to get used to the cabin temperature. Even a good air conditioner isn't much help.
Finally we enter the Oslo fjord. The deck is full because no one wants to miss this moment.
At 10.00 a.m. punctually we put in. Like everyone else we are in the car already and set out when finally the hatches are opened. We go down a marked route along the Filipstadkaja. We have our documents ready but no one wants to see them. So on we go on the Filipstadvejen to the E18.
After a few minutes we reach the E16 near Sandvika, our gate to the Sognefjord.
Start as start can, we're on the right track!
The first of many tunnels is reached. The first Highway Men on our route, that's my idea. Looking at my account a few weeks later, I shall find about 20 debitings by a certain DZ Bank.
While in good old Germany everyone talks about digitisation and every politician adds his half-baked two cents, we find that in Norway they are several steps ahead. As we registered with Euro Parking years ago, we are automatically logged. Even on the ferries we don't need change but are charmingly cashed in the digital style.
Our nav guides us along the 52 over the Hemsedalfjell and suddenly we are among mountains with snow and lakes covered with ice. Rather cold here with a strong wind.
On we go and reach a plateau reminding me of the region around Haukeliseter Fjellstue. A few cottages can be made out at the lake, enhancing the impression.
A moment ago we have crossed a green landscape, now everything here looks grey and cold. Anyway, it is beautiful in a way and we only drive on when we are thoroughly chilled.
One final tunnel and we have made it...
Finally we arrive where we wanted to arrive: among mountains and water falls. Then we reach our destination: Naddvik.
At first we are happy about the giant TV until we realize that our knowledge of Norwegian can be extremely neglected. My laptop however can be connected to the screen and a small VPN-solution permits us to watch all the things we also can understand.