Day 12 started with a trip round the top end of Fjærlandsfjorden into “booktown” as Fjærland has become known. A pretty village full of secondhand bookshops and book-stands dotted around the village – many just out in the elements!
We are discovering that everything in Norway is closed until 10am and this was the case with booktown as well. We were too early so we had a little wander round then doubled back on ourselves, heading north again. We were aiming for the Briksdal Glacier, then possibly overnighting at a nearby campsite. However, we’d spotted a glacier from Fjærland and it turned out the road we were on took us almost up to the tongue of the glacier. There was a layby nearby so we parked there and had a little look, then decided to walk up the road to see if we could get a better view. It turned out we could get right up to the lake below the glacier with a great view of what we found out was Bøyabreen Glacier.
It was another stunning experience, and once again we marvelled at the number of people arriving by coach, taking photos from the coach park and not venturing any closer. We’re hardly adventurous, but when there is a glacier lake to dip your toes in….
We then wandered back up to the coach park and discovered the Brævasshytta Cafe with a panoramic view of the glacier. We were still struggling to leave and so felt it only proper that we stop and have a (Norwegian priced) coffee. Two black coffees from a machine and an apple cake to share costs about £11, but the setting to enjoy them in was fabulous. I do think some Italians need to settle in Norway and teach them something about coffee though.
Having stumbled upon Bøyabreen by accident we felt we’d had an appropriate glacier fix, so decided to skip that night’s planned stop, and keep moving north. We had been considering routing via the Hellesylt-Gerainger ferry and decided to head there, not really knowing what times the ferry ran, if we had to pre-book or anything. It was a great decision, we rolled up about 45 minutes before a departure (enough time to buy some gold plated salad, at least I think it must have been gold plated….) and to establish there was no sign of anywhere to pay so someone would probably arrive to collect our fare (they did). The trip was fantastic, the views were amazing (Norway still manages to keep surprising us with ever changing landscape delights), we saw whales and the Seven Sisters waterfalls (does every country have a Seven Sisters?) which didn’t appear to all be flowing but gave a fabulous rainbow effect in the sunlight, and a polite and friendly young chap told us some interesting things and wiped some seats after a brief shower so we could sit somewhere dry on the outer deck. Red Funnel staff please take note.
We then did another zigzagclimb (much less scary than yesterday’s and Susan claims the immersion therapy of the prior climb has had a beneficial effect!), another nicely done viewpoint with actual design and good quality materials, another chance to walk a little bit further and get a slightly different view away from the crowds without having to turn into a serious hiker. Our planned overnight stop failed. I had found a little car park next to a lake, with a handy toilet but it had signs prohibiting overnighting 🙁 We still had some energy left so we decided to press on and see if we could just reach the next day’s campsite instead.
We considered stopping at the Trollstigen Visitor Centre but decided to carry on as it was getting quite late in the day. Immediately we realised our error as we caught a glimpse of the walkways behind the centre and the expansive views. We were stuck though, we had moved onto the Trollstigen (Troll Road) – more steep slopes and 11 hairpin bends. However, I spotted an opportunity about a quarter of the way down, a wide section halfway between two hairpins. I had already pulled over to let some vehicles behind pass (I’m a bit of a slowcoach, particularly on the descents) and there was nothing coming either way so I executed a mountain pass three point turn (as you do) and we headed back. It was worth it. The views were amazing. We turned up at the same time as a party of of about 15 Italian motorhomes, plus there were quite a few other people there so it was fairly busy (though I hate to think what a sunny July day would look like…) but later in the evening it became quieter and the next morning (I know, I’m jumping ahead) we walked out and had the place to ourselves while everyone else snoozed. As a stopover it fell into the utilitarian category (car park, some view, toilets only open with visitor centre) but the walk out onto the walkways and the view down the valley made it well worth spending the night.