NORWAY - pick a path

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NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Suz » Wed 10 Jun, 2015 5:08 pm

Hey!

So I'm probably gonna extend my europe trip and squeeze in a few weeks in Norway. For anyone who's been - what park or trail in Norway would you recommend? Day hikes and multi-day hikes welcome. Also villages / huts to base oneself in short-term.

I am definitely going to the Lofoten Islands - so if you have any advice on the area - lemme know :)
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Hallu » Wed 10 Jun, 2015 6:22 pm

You can read my report on my trip to Norway : viewtopic.php?f=43&t=18315 , only day walks.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby keithy » Thu 11 Jun, 2015 5:05 am

How long do you have in Norway?

I had under three weeks there, and had planned to do a few longer walks and head up north. I had the good fortune of meeting a great Norwegian couple in Nepal the year earlier, and they offered to put me up in Oslo so I spent a week there instead of hiking.

So I spent the rest of the time around the south western coast instead, not as far north as I had intended. From Stavanger, I did the popular Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten walks, and from Odda I did the Trolltunga walk, and from Bergen the short 15km Vidden walk between Mount Ulriken and Mount Fløyen and a few other day walks. I met some Irish guys who had been camping around the valleys in Odda, and they showed me photos of lemming hordes they encountered. Last year was one the years that lemmings reached plague proportions according to the farmer I met in Odda. They might not reach that level again for another few years.

In Aksdal I had missed the bus connection to Odda. Being a Saturday, and off season when I went, there was only one bus that day going to Odda, and the next one didn't go until Sunday night. Fortuitously again, I met a two Russian girls and two Chinese girls who were at the bus stop and also intending on going to Odda to do the Trolltunga walk.

After trying to work out how we could get to Odda that day, we decided to try rent a car and drive there ourselves. There was an option involving two local buses and two ferries, but if we missed any one of those we would have been stuck somewhere else with fewer options. Unfortunately Aksdal was tiny, and there were no car rental places, so we had to backtrack to Haugesund on a local bus to try rent a car. Then discovered that things don't stay open on Saturday arvo in smaller towns in Norway... After midday the information centre at Haugesund was closed, and the car rental places in town was also already closed. Thank goodness for Google on phones - we found the car rental place at Haugesund airport was still open, got them to hold a car for us, left our luggage with a couple of girls at the bus stop and taxied it to the airport to hire a car! Then it was a relaxing 2-3 hour drive up to Odda, with some photo stops at a few waterfalls.

Missing the bus turned out to be the best thing to happen to me though, as hiring the car meant that we could drive the next morning from Odda to Skjeggedal to the start of the Trolltunga walk rather than trying to hitch a ride or share cab which I had intended to do. As I went off season, there weren't many cars going past bright and early, and my alternative was an extra 14km walk along a windy mountain road and through some tunnels both ways.

And to top it off, the Russian girls had booked a country house in Odda and suggested I could stay in one of the other unused rooms. I had no accommodation planned, and had intended to get a bunk bed in the backpackers dorm in town as the campsite was fully booked. The country house turned out to be a three bedroom cottage adjoining the farmer's house on the hill with a view to the water.

The farmer turned out to be such a friendly chap with great stories. He was telling me of the reindeer herds up past Tromso and on a season they spotted some 4000 animals in a herd. He said that some of the reindeer were wild, while some were owned by Sami herders who let them roam wild during the summer months and before winter, they go out in family/community groups and herd them together before sorting them out and coralling them for winter. He said he'd go hunting wild reindeer and took his 12 year old daughter with him to spend a few weeks at their cabin up north. Between him and a friend they usually shared a reindeer, and used every part of the beast. And sometimes hunters accidentally kill reindeer that are tagged as being owned by farmers who aren't too pleased about that. I must say I was utterly fascinated and could have spent the whole night talking to him if he didn't have things to do!

I have now put it on my future walk list to go further up north towards the Artic Circle and see the Sami folk.

If you already going to be in the top end of Norway, the Finnmarksvidda is meant to be nice, and the Reisadalen Valley I had circled as a might do but didn't have the time.

I had wanted to do the Bessengen as well but my time spent in Oslo ate up the time I had to do that. And I thought of doing the Triangle Route in Rondane http://www.visitnorway.com/en/where-to- ... onal-park/ but again will have to save that for next time.

You probably already know, the DNT (norwegian trekking association) has a wealth of info and prices, cabin locations, suggested hikes (most for summer which should suit your trip) on their website http://english.turistforeningen.no/ The hut prices were ok by Norwegian standards, but at some you could get meals there, or buy food as well. The prices are more expensive than self service/no service cabins though.

Hallu wrote:You can read my report on my trip to Norway : viewtopic.php?f=43&t=18315 , only day walks.

Wow Hallu some nice pics there.

I'd circled the Stegastein if I managed to get to Jotunheimen as well, but alas that too will have to wait till next time.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Suz » Thu 11 Jun, 2015 8:25 pm

Hallu wrote:You can read my report on my trip to Norway : viewtopic.php?f=43&t=18315 , only day walks.


I had already read it a while back but I re read it today now knowing where most of the places are. It ALL looks amazing. Is there anywhere in particular you'd go back to or wish you'd got to? I would definitely like to do at least 1 hut to hut walk in Norway.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Suz » Thu 11 Jun, 2015 8:46 pm

Keithy I think I'll take a month for Norway. It looks pretty great - I know I won't get to see it all but I should get a good chunk in. The problem with the country is its so damned expensive - it is probably cheaper to not travel around too much and spend lot of time in only a few places. If I really love it, I'll come back and combine it with an Iceland trip maybe. I do have an E1 fantasy too (nordkapp to sicily) - of course that will never happen but I live to fantasise.

I have had a brief look at finnsmarkvidda and reisadalen, they both look good - I'll look more into it - particularly how public transport friendly they are.
What was your favourite area? Where would you head back to of the southern areas?

I'm thinking about your Rondane triangle - that looks good.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Hallu » Fri 12 Jun, 2015 1:32 am

Suz wrote:
Hallu wrote:You can read my report on my trip to Norway : viewtopic.php?f=43&t=18315 , only day walks.


I had already read it a while back but I re read it today now knowing where most of the places are. It ALL looks amazing. Is there anywhere in particular you'd go back to or wish you'd got to? I would definitely like to do at least 1 hut to hut walk in Norway.



Well it's hard to choose, I'm gonna tell you what I think isn't that impressive : I wasn't impressed by Rondane. I think it's best done as a winter walk. Of course, had I seen reindeer I might have been more impressed. In summer though, it looks like hills not mountains. If you're gonna do a walk, it might as well have glaciers nearby. You should buy the Cicerone book on Norway. The most beautiful mountain place was probably around the Sognefjellet but I didn't walk there, only drove, too much snow. The fjords are great, but there's no real walk to enjoy them. I think a long walk in Dovrefjell–Sunndalsfjella, where I saw the musk oxen would be a cool place to walk too. So Sognefjellet and the glaciers or Dovrefjell–Sunndalsfjella, that's my advice, at least amongst the areas I saw (so central Norway + the Western Fjords). If you go in July and the boat is running, don't miss out on the Besseggen ridge as a day walk. Also, another good book would be Rother - Norway South. It's not very good for day walks but I think the multi-day walks there should be good. Less choice than on the Cicerone book, but easier to browse through and better maps. Navigation isn't hard in Norway anyway given that there's usually only one or two walking tracks, it's not like France or Italy.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Suz » Fri 12 Jun, 2015 4:35 pm

Thanks hallu ....ha I had thought from your pics that to dance looked the best! Oh well - I'll look at sognefjellet :)

Not getting a cicerone book - have been disappointed by the before but I'll look at rother - multi day is my thing - day walks are difficult when you rely on public transport. But I will do Beseggen if I'm near and there's a way to get onto it in September :)

I'll look at the other parks too!
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Hallu » Fri 12 Jun, 2015 6:02 pm

Ah you're doing in september. Well it depends when in september. I think some boat rides are still available until mid september but that it's. I went in mid october, nothing was running. I've never looked into public transport though I rented a car.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby keithy » Sat 13 Jun, 2015 2:59 am

Suz wrote:multi day is my thing - day walks are difficult when you rely on public transport. But I will do Beseggen if I'm near and there's a way to get onto it in September :)

Oh I thought you were going in summer too. I went in September as well, on my way to Iceland, and found that public transport (ferries and buses) to the popular day walks really started winding down. For example, the Kjeragbolten walk transport option had finished at the end of August, and there was a local ferry, but that wasn't as regular, and didn't have a bus connection to the start of the walk. Luckily the my airbnb host graciously offered the use of her car to drive from Stavanger to the walk and back.

I would definitely go back in a heartbeat, even though Norway is generally so expensive - I found it more expensive than Sweden. But for me having gracious hosts in Oslo made it a bit cheaper, and quite memorable as they cooked me some traditional dishes (Farikal - lamb pepper cabbage stew with boiled jacketed potatoes) even though it was a bit early for the traditional Farikal feast day which is the last Thursday in September. You eat the stew over the next three days or so, and it tastes better each leftover serving!
And another "national" dish you have to try - the Grandiosa (although if difficult if you don't have access to an oven). I thought they were kidding about this, but it is quite the popular food.

Last time I didn't bring my tent as I had intended hut to hut walking through Romania and onwards to Iceland, but next time I'd bring my tent and take advantage of the allemannsretten right of access and camping in the countryside.

Preikestolen is still easy to do if you get to Bergen as it is a popular Sunday stroll - the ferry/bus combo runs into September although might be on an off peak schedule. It was a great day when I went, and busy - this is a pic I took on the way there (apologies for the watch, it was from a post reviewing the watch I brought. I was testing the barometric altimeter against my Garmin GPS).

PRG270_Priekestolen_Norway.jpg

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This is me on Trolltunga. Was a rainy day and it was wet for the first five hours of ascent, but graciously stopped raining for photo ops when I got to the top. Luckily I had met those other trekkers, as one of them had a DSLR and took pics of me. My compact camera couldn't have got as nice a shot even if I had someone to take them for me.

DSC_0251.jpg
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Suz » Mon 15 Jun, 2015 8:49 am

Oh man that looks so cool :) Yeah I am taking my tent out there - I have already looked on the Norwegian DNT website - the prices are OUTRAGEOUS! How is anyone from a non oil-rich country meant to afford those? I'll be living off bread loaves and peanut butter and hiding in my little tent.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Hallu » Mon 15 Jun, 2015 8:51 pm

Careful, bread and butter are also very expensive =) Sweden is about 20-30 % cheaper.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby keithy » Tue 16 Jun, 2015 3:49 am

Hallu wrote:Careful, bread and butter are also very expensive =) Sweden is about 20-30 % cheaper.

That is so true, but if you are careful, you can spread your dollar further. I used mainly Rema 1000, Rimi, Kiwi and Bunnpris supermarkets. These I found the cheaper discounted supermarkets with smaller ranges. ICA and Ultra and another one I can't recall were expensive for the same stock items. You won't get fancy stuff like reindeer meat or other premium cuts at the budget supermakets, but they do have some good stuff. I did try some nice reindeer steak and a reindeer burger and gave some reindeer jerky a go at a farmers market.

I have some of my receipts from my trip still at home somewhere. I kept it as I paid mostly on card, and elected to get the shock later on. One of the funniest was in Oslo when I went to get stuff to make a dessert to thank my hosts. What would have cost me around $20 in Aust ended up setting me just under $80! and no booze in that - I'd already bought the wine the day before.

Bread can be as cheap as around $2.50AUD a loaf, but it is fairly basic white supermarket bread. There are so many other nicer breads they have to try. But the more expensive ones can be over $6AUD a loaf - in between there are some good alternatives. I bought cheese to make a few sandwiches - I think around 20-30NOK (so around $3-5AUD for I think 10 slices). Try the brown cheese. It is really sweet cheese, and not as I found out to be eaten in sandwiches. The Norwegians laughed at me for this. Ham and other sliced meats were around 20-30 NOK for prepackaged sliced options. Similar for the various smoked fish. Some supermarkets I found had great smoked salmon relatively cheap. Vegies for a salad were around $2-$3 as well, tomatoes were expensive, cucumbers and lettuce fairly cheap.
Prepackaged uncooked meats were on weekly specials when I was there, and something like 60NOK for 2 burger patties or 6 gourmet sausages (around $10 now). Cheaper sausages were around 10NOK for 4 pack. Whole chooks for cooking were around 100NOK/kg on special. Chicken wings/drumsticks for cooking were around 90-100NOK/kg. But I lucked out a few times near closing times and grabbed some cheap roasted chooks for half price.

A tip for these supermarkets - there is a vending machine thingy inside or near the cashiers. They accept plastic bottles bought from Norway. You put the used bottle in the slot, and it gives you a ticket with refund value, which you can use at the cashiers to pay for stuff. Small bottles were 1Nok, large bottles were 2.5Nok. You can't use bottles you brought over from Sweden (or other Scandanavian countries that do the bottle refund), as the machines recognise the bar code and doesn't like it. Or if you didn't want the refund, you get a few goes, and select the "lottery prize draw". I can't remember how many it needs for this, but it's effectively a random machine generated prize draw that you can win stuff.

If you do make to Stavanger, I stumbled on a fish boat selling fresh caught shrimp near the petroleum museum. It is served with white bread and mayo. I missed the shrimp boats in Oslo (apparently they get in earlier than I wake up)
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby north-north-west » Tue 16 Jun, 2015 11:21 am

Norwegian supermarket chain called 'Kiwi'. Why does that sound weird?
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Hallu » Tue 16 Jun, 2015 6:46 pm

Yeah it surprised me too when I was here. But at least you remember it.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby keithy » Wed 17 Jun, 2015 3:59 am

The Kiwi name was notable. I first saw it in Denmark, where I originally thought it was only a convenience store when I saw the Kiwi Mini Pris sign - it had a "7-23" sign next to it. Then I walked in and found it was a full supermarket.

In Norway at least, Kiwi seemed to have better selection of fresh produce/meats but a little pricier than same offerings at the Rema or Rimi supermarkets.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Suz » Thu 18 Jun, 2015 4:12 pm

Thanks for the advice on supermarkets and stuff guys. I am on the phone to SIngapore Air right now trying to extend my trip to Norway but they can't seem to charge my card!

I don't mind paying $6.00 for a loaf of bread. I pretty much pay that at Woolies anyway. But the meat suggestions Keithy, haha ahhh you went to so much trouble but I'm vegan :/ - I appreciate the effort tho!
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Suz » Thu 18 Jun, 2015 6:30 pm

Trip extended by 19 days WoOoO! Definitely gonna do some of stuff you guys recommended now!
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby keithy » Thu 18 Jun, 2015 9:53 pm

Oops. oh well it might help someone else going there. Try the dark brown "mountain" bread. I forgot the name of it but it has grains and is quite nice. I wasn't as big a fan of their flatbread - they have that with spreads, sliced meats, gravlax and other smoked/cured fish.

But an extra 19 days there... now I'm really jealous.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby rogergb » Fri 19 Jun, 2015 3:45 am

keithy wrote:The Kiwi name was notable. I first saw it in Denmark, where I originally thought it was only a convenience store when I saw the Kiwi Mini Pris sign - it had a "7-23" sign next to it. Then I walked in and found it was a full supermarket.

In Norway at least, Kiwi seemed to have better selection of fresh produce/meats but a little pricier than same offerings at the Rema or Rimi supermarkets.


Kiwi is a Norwegian Company who expanded (and keep expanding) into Denmark, BTW Rema is also a Norwegian company they are considered to be a discount supermarket and compete with Lidl, Aldi, Netto and Fakta in Denmark. As for paths in Norway, there are so many hiking options in Norway that you are only limited by your imagination, time and location.
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Suz » Fri 19 Jun, 2015 9:09 pm

:) well keithy there's nothing holding you back…

I will be hitting up that kiwi store then fo' sho'
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby The ghost who walks » Mon 22 Jun, 2015 3:01 pm

Hi There,
The wife and I did a marvelous circuit in Norway a couple of years ago;
Day 1, Take the morning bus from Oslo to Gjendesheim via Fagernes, board the ferry (it waits for the bus) across the Gjende lake to Gjendebu hut.
Day 2, Walk to Spiterstulen at least 6 hours walking across a high pass and surrounded by glaciers.
Day 3, Climb Galdhoppigen, the highest mountain in Scandinavia at 2488 meters. There is a kiosk at the top serving hot dogs! Return to Spiterstulen.
Day 4, Walk from Spiterstulen across Glittertind, the second highest peak at 2480m( It used to be the highest, but the glacier is melting). Continue on to Glitterheim, at the foot of Glittertind.
Day 5, Walk from Glitterheim to Memburu on the shore of the Gjende( you passed this with the ferry on day 1).
Day 6, Walk from Memburu( retracing your steps for the first few km) high above the Gjende, across the spectacular Besseggen(some of the best views anywhere) back to Gjendesheim. Take the afternoon bus back to Oslo.
But, prepare for a hip pocket shock of epic proprtions, Norway is very expensive. The huts at Gjendebu and Glitterheim are run by DNT, so they are almost reasonable, but Spiterstulen and especially Memburu are very overpriced.
Having said that, I do not regret parting with that cash one minute, it was fabulous. One thing to bear in mid is that you might have to order a lunch pack (Nistepakk) from the hut. It consists of sandwiches with various toppings. They did not sell food like loaves of bread or nibblies, only chocolate.
Cheers!
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby Suz » Thu 25 Jun, 2015 9:32 pm

thanks ghost … yes i can't really afford norway's prices (I saw already some of the hut fees are outrageous) so i'm going stay in my tent not in the huts but I will look at the trail you did :)

I'm so stoked to be going now but wondering how long i can 'afford' to be there!
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Re: NORWAY - pick a path

Postby nickthetasmaniac » Wed 01 Jul, 2015 9:28 pm

I did a 12 day trip up the Rondanestein to Rondane NP a few years ago and enjoyed it. I probably wouldn't recommend the whole thing but Rondane itself was good. As Hallu mentioned, it can be a bit 'hilly' especially if you stick to the main triangle route, but if you get the map out and go off track a bit Rees some really cool areas that you'll probably have to yourself.

The good thing about Rondane is that it's fairly easily accessible by train from Oslo.

I also heard really good things about Trollheimen NP which is a bit further north, and obviously Jotunheimen,but I haven't been to either myself.
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