After our visit to the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, it was time to really hit the road and start our trip through Norway. Finally!
Our main event of our trip was going to be the hike to Trolltunga on Monday. We left Olso Saturday before noon so we had two days to make it to Odda, the town closest to the starting point of the hike.
There is plenty to see and do along the way, but considering we wanted to be in the best shape possible to tackle that major hike on Monday, we took it quite slow those two days.
Our first stop was about one hour and forty-five minutes into our drive: Notodden Industrial Heritage Site. This old power plant site was something quite odd and maybe a bit eery to visit, but so cool. You have a beautiful view over the town of Notodden but it’s also the idea that this site and this town were just such an important part of industrial history in Norway. Pretty impressive.
From there we drove to one of Norway’s most famous sights; the Heddal Stave Church. This is the biggest stave church of the country and well worth a visit. It was built in the beginning of the 13th century and is a triple nave church. When we arrived at the church it had just closed for all visitors due to a wedding, which happens quite a lot during the weekend. Fortunately we weren’t in a hurry so we first visited the Heddal Open Air Museum next to the church. It’s a rather small museum but the entrance is also included in your ticket to the church, so it would be a shame not to go check it out. I find it always quite hard to believe that people used to live in those type of houses and places.
If you continue upwards after the museum, you can also go to the viewpoint over the church, which of course we did. The stave church suddenly looks a lot smaller. But it’s a really nice view.
At 1pm, the wedding was over and we were able to enter the church. It’s a really sober interior but stunning in its simplicity. Entrance costs 80NOK (= +/- €8) which may seem a lot at first but if you’re also able to visit the museum, it’s a bargain.
From Heddal we continued our road to Sauland where we spent the night in the loveliest B&B: Løvheim Interiørbutikk og Gjestehus. We enjoyed a delicious homemade stew in the evening and got an amazing breakfast in the morning, so we were more than ready to tackle another day.
The weather seemed to be a bit better than predicted, so we decided to make the detour to Gaustatoppen, the highest point in the county Telemark. You can hike up there or you can take the Gaustabanen to the top. I would have loved to do the hike, but considering we had Trolltunga to complete the next day, we opted to rest our legs a bit. My friend took the funicular railway to the top but my other friend and I, we stayed on the ground and just hiked up a little bit to get a wider view of the area. It of course didn’t compete with the view from the top, but we already got some really beautiful views as well.
Right after we left Gaustatoppen the grey clouds entered the sky and soon we were driving through the pouring rain. Bummer. But that didn’t stop us from making some more visits along the way. Next up was another stave church; the Røldal Stave Church. It was pouring when we parked our car but armed with a – in my case new and worth every penny – rain jacket, we still went to see it up close. With the rain pounding down, it gives it a really special vibe. So don’t let the rain stop you from visiting outdoors sights because it might be worth it after all.
And since we weren’t wet enough yet from the rain, we pulled over to visit a big waterfall: the Låtefossen. A pretty impressive fall, and it’s right along the way, so it would be a waste not to get out of the car and check it out. There was a bit of wind when we were there, and it was still raining slightly, so we did get a bit wet, but it would have been a shame to skip it.
And then we finished the rest of the drive to Odda. Odda is a pretty little town in southeastern Hordaland county, surrounding the southern end of the Sørfjorden, but there didn’t seem to be a lot going on. At first I thought that was because it was a Sunday evening, but even the day after on Monday the town seemed pretty desolate. Okay, the weather wasn’t that great, but I would have expected just a little bit more ambiance. Either way, our apartment, Bakkegata – The Blue House, was more than okay and the Thai restaurant underneath it served really amazing food and also offers take-away. You do have to be patient because it takes really long for your food to be ready. But we enjoyed a really lovely evening there and were ready to tackle Trolltunga.