Basically, Andalsnes was in our route primarily because it is where the starting point, or endpoint, depending on where you come from, of the famous and exciting Trollstigen , The Troll’s Path. So from Alesund, Hans and I drove up to Andalsnes. We took advantage of our stay here to stroll around the village and do one of the hikes. We looked for tourist information office in the center, there was none, until we asked a saleslady of a boutique who happened to sit outside the shop (Friluftslek). We incidentally asked the right person; she invited us inside the shop, and there inside were free maps and brochures over the area of Andalsnes. We received a tip to hike up to the Romsdalstrappe which is just near the center, and a drive to Vengedalen, among others.
Campsite : Parking, Campers, Harbour area in Andalsnes
Isfjordvegen 10 6300 Andalsnes
Coordinates : N: 62.56653 E: 7.69156
It is a big free parking area situated at the back of the train station, near the harbour. There are special places for campers, without services, short walking distance to the center, where there is a good internet connection. We stayed here for 2 days (July 28-29, 2015); and on the third day, we drove to Vengedalen.
CUT-OFF HIKE TO NESAKSLA
Andalsnes proved to be a popular vacation address, also for backpackers. There were a lot of backpackers roaming around the town when we were there, as the town is a good starting point for long hikes, mountain climbing and paragliding. This is also where the famous Rauma train travel begins, in Andalsnes train station. In fact, there is a train chapel situated just near the station.
HIKE TO NESAKSLA, ENDING IN ROMSDALTRAPPE
It was Tuesday, July 29, when we hiked up to the mountain nearby. The weather forecast was good, but in reality, it wasn’t. It was cloudy everywhere. We began with our hike to Nesaksla, which is 715 meters high, hoping that it would clear up by the time we are up. From the campsite, we followed the road on the left side, the Romsdalvegen, before the roundabout, just after a gas station, we crossed the street, and that is the starting point of the hike, There are information boards there and signboards for different hikes. The first part of the hike was steep, in fact, the way up to the mountain was steep! There was a half kilometre steel pathway that one can use, or a stony pathway. Either way, it will bring one to the first viewpoint, the Nebba, which is just 93 meters high. There is a good view of the village below.
Walking on further, we found ourselves on steep terrain, walking on muddy grounds, dry big roots of the trees, and sometimes good stone steps. There are chains on some strategic points and also steel railings where hikers could hold on to. The trail is good marked, with letter T painted in red, and there are signboards visible at most areas. Every 100 meter is also a board going to Romsdalstrappe. What strange was, we got tired so easily during this hike. We made a lot of stops, had to catch our breath many times, especially me. Maybe it was because the path was steep, and there was almost nowhere where we could walk normally. And even if it was cloudy, there were remarkably many hikers that day. And most of them have walked past us.
After almost two hours hike, we finally reached the Romsdaltrappe, the great steel viewing platform which is suspended at 537 meters high overlooking the Romsdal valley and the town of Andalsnes. There were many hikers at that time, so we just took our time waiting at the beginning of the steps. There was a mailbox with name registry which Hans filled up. After a while, it became a little quiet, so we had the chance to do our own photo sessions on the steps. Wonderful views of the fjords, the valley, mountains and the town below us.
Another 200 meters up, and we are in Nesaksla, the highest peak in Andalsnes. That was our target for that day. But because of the bad weather condition and being too foggy, we blasted that plan. Besides we heard from other hikers who went as far as there that there was nothing to see up there because of fog; and that the view here at Romsdalstrappe was better! Anyway, as it was already starting to rain a little, Hans and I started our hike down. On the way were little rain showers. In one hour, we were again on the foot of the mountain. Looking up at the mountain, we saw that it was still cloudy. Boy, we were glad we came down, though disappointed that we haven’t reached the top. Maybe next time.
ADVENTURE TO VENGEDALEN
The woman at the boutique recommended us to drive down to Vengedalen in Isfjorden. She was too enthusiast about it that we gave it a go! So after the hike to Romsdalstrappe, we drove 20 kilometers up to Vengedalen. It was a careful drive, we had to be alert which street we turned as the name was not on the board. Luckily after a couple of turns, we found a small board on the way to Vengedalen. It was a 9-kilometer toll road. The road was private and we had to pay 75 NOK which we did in an envelope found in a case at the beginning of the road.
The first part of the road was concrete, though narrow. There are however some wide places in case there is an opposite traffic. After about 3 kilometers, we reached a big parking, drove past it over the small bridge, then came to a gravel road which was more narrow and quite steep. We were also so high now that we could see the clouds again. And the higher we drove, how foggier it became, until at one point we decided not to drive at the very end of the road, but just parked by the Vengedalen lake, about 5.5 kilometers from the 9 kilometer toll-way. We had the place to ourselves, no other camper or hikers, no telephone signal. About an hour later, a car with four passengers arrived and pitched their tent by the lake. After having dinner, Hans and tried to catch some trouts, but to no success. And the two boys who just arrived were able to catch seven small trouts. There was further nothing to do more that evening, as it was raining again. We had an early night, hoping that the weather would change the next day.
The following day, the campers were gone, and we had the place again to ourselves. Surprisingly, there were about four cars which drove past us, maybe drove up to the end of the road. Hans and I again tried to catch some trouts, went to the fishing spot from the boys from the other day, but again, with no success. Because it was still foggy, cloudy and also raining a little, we returned to the camper. It had no sense to do some walking on the rain and muddy grounds. We decided then to drive back to Andalsnes and continue our route down to Trollstigen, hoping that the weather gets better….