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It’s midsummer in Norway and the ideal time for a road trip. The sun barely sets and it’s never dark. Add to that equation two Australians and you have the makings of a very big day of driving.
When a colleague was coming to Trondheim and said he had one weekend day free I suggested that we take a drive. I plotted a course in Google Maps and he seemed keen. We hired a car with unlimited kilometers and a mini weekend price (pick up Friday and drop off Sunday). We had a late night on Friday with the work summer party and set off on Saturday morning before 8 and sober.
We drove around Bymarka because the annual Trondheim to Oslo bike race was using the E6. We managed to avoid the E6 entirely and took a right turn to Levanger then followed the road to the ferry towards Kristiansund. There weren’t any signs about the cost of the ferry but we found an attendant on the ferry and paid him 130kr. My colleague had suggested that we buy pancakes with butter cream on the ferry so we did and they were nice. I was about to pick up a fork to use with the pancake when the cashier switched to English and leaned forward earnestly to tell me that normally we would use our hands not cutlery with the pancakes, so we did.
We stopped in Kristiansund for a picnic lunch before driving towards the Atlantic road and my first view of the Atlantic Ocean from this side, I know that it’s the Norwegian Sea but they are connected to one another!
The coastal geology and vegetation are beautiful and it was worth the drive just to see it. It’s not mountainous or rugged but weathered and there wasn’t any surf nor was it wind swept. I loved smelling the ocean again!
There’s a visitor centre at the Atlantic Ocean road and a marching band from Kristiansund was setting up to play in the misty rain when we were there. We walked along the short metal walkway around the coast behind the center and it was lovely.
We headed south and turned eastwards to the E136. It was spectacular driving through the narrow glacial valley with high mountain sides and snowmelt making waterfalls.
We passed the turnoff for Trollstigen somewhat wistfully but mindful that we already had a very long day and couldn’t afford the time to drive that way this time (well I did anyway, my colleague slept while I drove).
I kept the window open whenever he was awake so that the odour of his unwashed clothes and hair didn’t make me quite so nauseated. I didn’t really know him but if I’d known he would have such standards of personal hygiene and insist on using his hands instead of a tissue to blow his nose, chew with his lips open and make several sexist remarks I wouldn’t have suggested the road trip.
We stopped in Oppdal for dinner before driving to the carpark for the Snøhetta viewpoint. We missed the turnoff and drove a bit further along before turning back and catching it thanks to a sign in the southward direction.
It was a nice short walk to the Snøhetta viewpoint and definitely worth the added hour. The hunter’s shelter that is at the actual viewpoint has a wonderful view and is beautiful inside. Every 30m or so along the path are set slabs of rock with engraved stories about the indigenous people and their reliance on reindeer, catastrophic natural events and so on, over the past 1000s of years.
I looked carefully for reindeer and musk ox but didn’t manage to see any. The mountains were lit by a rare shaft of sunlight and it was nice to listen to the sheep bells and look at the vista.
I’d love to return and hike to the summit of Snøhetta. 15 hours after leaving Trondheim I dropped my colleague back at his hostel. As he tumbled out of the car he grumbled about not believing he’d left 15 hours before and what was he thinking. I hope that he enjoyed it; I thought the scenery was lovely and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to have someone to share the driving with and see some of Norway. Many thanks to my family for being understanding!