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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Norway - 31 July, 2004



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Lothe (Lothe Camping) N60º25.610' E006º32.901' 3 meters .
Jondal and across the Hardangerfjord on the M/F Jondal to Tørvikbygd . . . 5 km (by car ferry)
Steinsdalsfoss . . . .
Fykesund . . . .
Leirvåg and across the Fensfjord on the M/F Eidfjord to Sløvåg . . . 5 km (by car ferry)
Oppedal and across the Sognefjord on the M/F Gloppen to Lavik . . . 5 km (by car ferry)
Huldrefossen . . . .
Finish Vassenden (Jølstraholmen Camping) N61º29.218' E006º05.014' 202 meters 368 km

Total (BMW 330CiC)

14,678 km

Total (other):

5,240 km


19,918 km


Weather: Mostly clear, sunny and hot (around 22-24°C).  Cool in the evening and overnight.



The beginning of our day today is dictated by the ferry schedule.  A short distance up the road, we will need to catch a ferry, so we want to plan our departure accordingly.  So, we have our breakfast and pack up and are ready to go by 9 AM.  Even then we have left it a bit late - it is very hard to go fast on these narrow winding roads - often only wide enough for one car.  But it is a chance to enjoy the handling capabilities of our car and we zip along the challenging road.


We arrive in Jondal with about five minutes to spare and drive onto the ferry.  Also, as we have about three ferries to catch today, our planning is geared towards finding the schedules and then adjusting our driving and sightseeing accordingly.  It takes us about 15 minutes to get to the other side of Hardangerfjord at Tørvikbygd where we carry on to Norheimsund.  Along the way we make a brief stop at Vikøy to take a look at a 400 year old cottage.  Once in Norheimsund, we head straight to the main attraction - the Steindalfoss.


While we have seen so many waterfalls in Norway, we decide to stop at this one.  It is pretty unique as it is possible to walk under and behind the falls.  We park our car and then walk the short path up to the middle of the falls where the trail passes behind the wall of rushing water.  It is a pretty cool sensation, with the roar of the water and the cool rush of air.


Once we have gotten our fill of the falls, we go in search of an old road that our guide book talks about.  We take a number of the narrow winding roads that lead up and along the surrounding mountains, but after many dead-ends and false starts, we decide to give up on our search for this old road.  Maybe it no longer exists.


From here we decide to make a brief detour to Fykesund via Øystese.  This sound is famous for the 10 km long narrow fjord and the 344 meter long bridge that spans it.  It was nice, but may not have been worth the drive.  The bridge has only one lane, so we have to wait our turn to cross in each direction.  On our way back to Norheimsund we make a brief stop for groceries (it is a Saturday, so no shops are open tomorrow) and then from there carry on in the direction of Bergen.  After a while, we join up with E16 and pass through numerous tunnels.  But we are able to catch brief glimpses of the beautiful fjord scenery between the tunnels.


We do not pass through Bergen, but skirt around it as we now turn north and follow the coast.  We will have quite a few bodies of water to cross along the way.  We cross the Osterfjord via the Nordhordland Bridge and then cross over Haglesun to Knarvik where we join a minor country road that drives up the length of this narrow, long island.  It is very picturesque and we get to experience the many sounds and eddies that form this old fishing district.


We arrive in Leirvåg with enough time to enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the fjord.  It is a nice little spot to wait for the ferry.  The ferry ride across is only 20 minutes with the view only spoiled by the sight of the huge Statoil refinery.  We carry on from here but we have some decisions to make.  The ferry schedule on the route that we plan on taking is not very good - we would have a long wait.  So, we find out about some alternative routes and ferries, and decide to deviate from our original plan.


And it all turns out to be a blessing in disguise.  We see some really stunning scenery along our alternative route.  We have really beautiful fjords as we drive along a small country road that winds around sharp bends and curves.  We are taking this route to take us from route 57 across to E39.


The ferries on the "E" route should run a lot more often.  It adds some extra driving, but we should save time in the end.  As we approach Oppedal where we will catch the ferry, we can see the ferries crossing the fjord.  Our only problem is that we have to take a long detour around an arm of the fjord that just into the mountain.  Finally, we are able to join up with E39 and pick up the pace.  But we arrive a few minutes to late to catch the ferry.  At least our wait is only 25 minutes until the next one.  We take the time to purchase some fresh raspberries - they are delicious.


The ferry takes about 20 minutes to get us to the other side of the Sognefjord.  We carry on north, making a slight detour at Sande to take a look at the Dalsfjord.  We enjoy driving on these small country roads, which took us to the beautiful fjord with it's narrow channel wedged between the fir-clad hills.  After our brief detour we return to E39.


From Storehaugen we descend the serpentine curves to Førde, where we do some grocery shopping.   From here, the road bends to the east and we make our way to Jølstravatn.  Along the way, we make a brief stop at Huldrefossen - another waterfall.  To get to the waterfall, we park at the nearby agricultural school and walk across their grounds to the pretty falls.


From here it is a short drive to our night stop.  It is now after 7 PM and we find a campsite nearby just at the edge of the lake.  It is quite an extensive campsite and we are able to get a nice cabin right on the edge of the rushing river.  We organise our stuff and begin to prepare dinner.  We decide to have one of the many beers we have brought with us from Germany.  While it is hot from sitting in the boot - no problem.  A short dip in the cold river water soon brings it down to a beer drinking temperature.


After dinner, we have a quick shower and then just relax for a while and sort out our plans for the next couple of days.  We have a number of routes to select from.  In the end, we think we sort an exciting plan before heading to bed.


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