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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Norway - 28 July, 2004



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Oslo (Tante Berit's place) N59º55.542' E010º43.059' 61 meters .
Kongsberg . . . .
-  Sølvgruvene . . . 5 km (by mine train)
Heddal Stave Church . . . .
Eidsborg Stave Church . . . .
Finish Tveiten (Tveiten Camping) N59º11.492' E007º31.807' 375 meters 301 km

Total (BMW 330CiC)

13,667 km

Total (other):

5,205 km


18,872 km


Weather: Mostly clear, sunny and hot (between 22-26°C).  In the evening cool.



It is time to carry on our exploration of Norway.  We have a few weeks until we have to meet up with family in Koppang, so we have planned out a route that is based on seeing and doing a few specific things, namely visiting the Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock - a very apt name, as we shall see), hiking in Trollheimen and visiting Røros again.  The route should work out pretty well - we will make a big loop around southern Norway.  While we will miss the center, we have already been there a number of times on earlier trips.


The other thing worth noting is the weather.  Over the last few days we have experienced great weather - mostly clear, blue skies with a few scattered clouds and warm, if not hot.  We have been praying that this will last for at least a few more days (in particular until we have had a chance to visit Preikestolen).  But we shall slowly realise as the days go by until we leave Norway in middle of August that we have been truly blessed.  We shall experience a Norwegian summer as they should be.  On our many trips to Norway over the last few years, we have always had a mixed experience with the weather - often cloudy and cold, if not raining. But this time we will enjoy wonderful Norwegian summer weather.


Anyway, back to today.  We spend the morning packing up our stuff and having our usual scrumptious breakfast.  We are then ready to head off at around 11:30 AM.  We are starting to get used to the Oslo streets and we are soon on our way out of the city, heading west towards Drammen.  We have driven this way before on our way to and from Larvik.  At Drammen, we had planned to visit a famous mountain with a road that goes up inside the mountain in a corkscrew manner, but we never saw and signs for it, so we missed that as we carried on towards Kongsberg.


We arrive in Kongsberg shortly before 1 PM.  Kongsberg is an old mining town dating back to 1623.  While the silver works were closed down in 1957, the city has turned it's old mining business into a tourist business.  First stop is at the tourist information bureau for some information on what to do.


Then we head up to the large church built on the top of a hill in 1771 - the size and grandeur of the church certainly indicated that the town had lots of money in it's heyday.  We wander around the outside and then head off to the main attraction - the old silver mine itself.


It is a short drive out of town to get to the silver mine and museum.  We find a place to park in the crowded parking lot (the tourist season is certainly upon us) and then go and check out the schedule for the mine tours.  We discover that we still have time for a quick picnic lunch.  SO we carry our picnic basket down to the nearby pond for our lunch.  The deep grass boundary is filled with families hanging out and swimming in the water hole.  It certainly seems like a popular spot.


We do not have much time to enjoy that pleasant surroundings before we have to make our way up to the Norsk Bergverksmuseum's Sølvgruvene to make it on the next tour.  We are going on a tour of the King's Mine, and to get into the mine we have to take a ride on the small mining train that pulls the tiny passenger cars behind it.  We get our tickets and are assigned to car number 9.


We make our way over to the train and crouch down to get into the small passenger car with narrow benches down each side of the midget train.  After we have settled into the car, some comes along, slams the gate that serves as a door and locks it.  We are ready to head into the mine.  Soon the train heads off and we are trundling down the narrow gauge track on our 2.5 km journey into the mine.


As we pass into the mine entrance, our senses are assaulted from all sides.  The temperature immediately drops to about 7°C.  The noise level becomes tremendous - the banging and screeching and rattling of the metal of the train against the rails is excruciating.  And everything is shaking and rattling, bouncing us around inside the tiny car.  And it is pitch-dark except for the slight glow form the glow-in-the-dark safety signs that point the way out and tell us not to stick any body parts outside the small carriage.


The ride takes about 15 minutes - all the sounds and sensations seem to amplify the longer we are in the metal cage.  Once at the destination deep in the mine under tons of rocks, we stretch our cramped muscles to make our way out of the car into the hall where our walking tour will start.  After being divided into two groups, we go for a wander around the mine.


It is quite a cool tour walking through the huge chambers and passageways that have been cut out of the hard rock of the mountain.  It is hard to appreciate the working conditions in here hundreds of years ago when all this mining was pretty much done by hand.  The rock was laboriously chiseled out and then hauled out of the mine.


It was not much better when they set massive fires underground that would heat up the rock, causing it to crack and make it easier to remove.  One can only imagine what the conditions must have been like with all the smoke and heat in the confined spaces of the tunnels.  We go around in a big circle getting to see different sections of the mine.


Once we are back at the mine train, we have to clamber back into our small little train car and endure the noisy and overwhelming ride back to the surface and the hot fresh air.  We make our way back to the main buildings where we check out the shops and the museum displays.  Soon we must, however, head down to our car and carry on.


We are slowly making our way across to the west coast of Norway along E134.  Along the way we stop at a number of sights along the way.  The first is at Heddal Stave Church - the largest stave church in Norway.  The oldest part, today's chancel, is believed to date back to 1147.  The rest of the church is from 1242.  We park our car and approach the church through the immaculate cemetery that surrounds the church.



The church is undergoing renovation and half of it is covered with scaffolding from which the restoration work is carried out.  We slowly wander around the entire exterior of the church and then meander around the cemetery taking in different views of the old wooden structure.


From Heddal we carry on along E134 until we reach Ofte, where we turn off towards Eidsborg.  The road now starts to get a bit more interesting - narrow and winding.  The Eidsborg Stave Church is a small one, that supposedly dates back to the late 1200's.  Our stop here is short - just enough to have a look around the equally small cemetery and take in the church.


Then it is onto the 5 km long zigzag road between Eidsborg and Dalen that was built in 1880 and only widened later.  We have some great views over the valley just before reaching the top bend.  It is a lot of fun to drive.


At Dalen we turn onto Highway 45 in the direction of Grimdalen - another fun zigzag road up Skafså Hill with eight bends in all.  Here we also get some great views.  We take route 45 all the way across the plateau until we join up with route 9.  We have been looking for a place to spend the night and did not find anything before route 9.  Now we are in Valle - which we are told is the most interesting and picturesque Setesdal parish.


The valley is surrounded by grey, smooth scoured mountains that jut up towards the sky.  We head south on route 9 and carry on our search.  We check out a few campsites but they do not have the types of cabins that we require (not so nice and no cooking utensils).  But after making a few detours, we soon come upon a very nice campsite with attractive huts.  It is at Tveiten, which once used to be a bailiff's farm.


We settle into our hut and prepare dinner.  We have our own little deck, so we decide to have our dinner, and wine, sitting outside under the clear sky with the green fields and grey valley walls surrounding us.  It is then time to get ready to retire for the evening.


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