TOURISTIC VILLAGE OF GEIRANGER (Aug. 3-5, 2015)

Finally, we arrived at Geiranger. Time to see the famous Geirangerfjorden, the so-called the pearl of all fjords. We had our first glimpse of the village when we were standing on the viewing point at Ornesvingen, and there we saw how small Geiranger is! We quite did not expect that! Driving the last 7 kilometers  to reach the village  was exciting , with the 11 hairspin sharp bends we had to drive thru. Luckily it was not so scary as in Trollstigen. Upon arriving at the village, we noticed that it was crowded with lots of tourists roaming around, and buses and cars and campers driving around, and  finding a parking was almost next to impossible. Luckily we were able to find one at the big parking area beside the Joker supermarket, the only supermarket in town.  We went to the tourist office, which is located near the harbour. The harbour by the way, was also busy. By the time we arrived, there was a very big cruise ship, The Costa Favolosa that was anchored there. And everyday, different cruise ships arrived, including  the Rotterdam, from The Holland America Line.

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 THE HIKE TO SKAGEFLA FARM (VIA HOMLONG)

This hike was recommended to us by a Danish hiker we’ve spoken in Kilsti. So we decided to do this as well. It was listed at the brochure from Geirangerfjord. The hike should begin at Homlong which is about 2 kilometers away from the town center, or at a boat drop off in Skagehola. The most convenient was to take the fjord sight seeing boat and ask to be dropped off in Skagehola, hike up to the farm and return to the village via Homlong. The ferry costs 204 NOK pp, or boat taxi, 150 NOK pp. Most people had an alternative of just starting at Homlong and hike up to the farm, and then back. As we did not want to have extra expenses anymore, we decided to do the latter. We were able to find a campsite along the road by the fjord, at least a kilometer away from the begin point of the hike. It proved to be a wise decision, as many hikers do the same way too.

 The farm of Skagefla was made famous because the king and queen of Norway celebrated their silver wedding anniversary here with some of other European royalties back in 1993.  The place has also been awarded the World Heritage status.  The start of the hike in Homlong was already a steep climb. Afterwards, after about 30 minutes, we reached a clearing, where we had a good view of the  Fjord and the village. Then for the next 1.5 hour, it was only ascent, but moderate, walking in dense areas of the forest, with no views. After a little more than 2 hours of hiking, we reached the Homlongsetra, the highest point of the hike which is about 55o meters above sea level. There was a nice grassfield here, with two old wooden huts. It was a bit busy here with hikers now coming from two directions, Homlong and the farm. Hans and I stayed here for a while, resting and having our lunch break. The views here were nice, but not too great.

After another 1.5 hour, we finally reached the Skagefla farm, which lies 250 meters above the fjord, but first we had to undergo a difficult and quite dangerous steep descent. There were steel chains on some strategic points which we really had to hold on to. But even from here, the views were already marvellous. But don’t be tempted to make lots of pictures. Arriving at the farm, it was a completely different atmosphere. It was idyllic, serene and refreshing. The views were spectacular!

There were wonderful views of the fjords and the Seven Sisters waterfalls and another abandoned farm (Knivsfla) on the other side. We chose  our own spot  to rest and admire the place. After having our short break, Hans roamed around the farm, inspecting the barns and houses, while I just sit there, mesmerized by my surrounding! After about an hour, we hiked back to Homlong. It took us 3 hours to hike back, as we did not make frequent stops anymore. The hike back was rather boring as after a steep climb from the farm to Homlongsetra, it was only doing down gradually. Luckily that day, it didn’t rain, and the paths were not wet and muddy. We arrived at the camper at about 18.10, tired but again contented after completion of  a successful hike.

 COMBI-HIKE OF MT. VESTERAS, LOESTA AND STORSETERFOSSEN WATERFALLS

 The following day, still a bit tired from the almost 7 hours hike to Skagefla farm, we were again ready to do some hiking. Some hiking because we planned to combine  three small hikes in one. Finding a parking for the camping was difficult as the road to Vesteras farm was high and narrow and we did not dare to drive up there with the camper. What we did was just parked the camper along the road RV63, one kilometer away from Vesteras.

 The first hike we did was the short hike to Vesterasfjellet or Mt. Veteras. It began from Vesteras restaurant, following the wide dirt road. It was an easy path, only we had to be careful not to step on the many animal wastes lying on the ground. After about an 20 minutes  walk from the restaurant there were two separate ways to choose from : Vesteras or Loesta. We took Vesteras and after about 10 minutes of  descent, we arrived at the place, from where we had a wonderful view of Geiranger fjord and the village.  After admiring the views, we retraced our steps until we came to the crossing again. This time we took the path to Loesta.

 The hike to Loesta is our second part of the hike. From Vesteras, it was just another 3 kilometer walk up. The path was good signposted with red painted marks on stones or trees. There were some tricky areas where water flowed down, where muds were a plenty and where paths were steep and slippery. After an hour, we reached the end of the trail, Loesta. There is again a magnificent view of the fjord here, better than in Vesteras. The Ornesvingen was also good to see from this point.  We had our coffee break here; and then hiked back to Vesteras restaurant.

 The third part of the hike was the hike to Storseterfossen waterfalls. From the restaurant, there is a path that leads to the waterfalls. The start of the path was rather tricky and difficult. But afterwards, we came to a point where It was easy, as there was a moderately ascending stone footpath going up to the falls. The last 200 meters was again a dirt road. The trail was wonderful, as there were wonderful views, of the village and the road below and of the mountains around the village along the way .

At the end of the path was a big clearing of lush green grass field. A path leads to the waterfalls. And yes! What makes this waterfall hike special is that we had the experience to walk under the thundering waterfalls. There is a pathway under protected by chains. It was quite a different experience walking under it and feeling the outbursts of the water coming from the falls. Just a word of caution: be careful when walking under the falls! Going up again to the clearing, we walked up to the edge where we had the view of the waters drumming down to the river and valley below! After a while, Hans and I sat down in a quiet place, and enjoyed the surroundings. The hike back was equally nice too. Continuously, we had the wonderful views with us, which made the hike not too  tiring; a hike that is really suitable for all ages.

 There you are, the three hikes in Geiranger which we did in one day, which all had Vesteras farm as the starting point.

 STROLL AROUND GEIRANGER

Geiranger, as I have written earlier, is a just a small village, made busy and crowded by tourists that roam around it. It is made so special because of its spectacular landscape and natural environs. It didn’t take us long to stroll around the village, following the waterfalls walk (Fossenvandring) which started from the center, walking past the Geiranger camping, following the road to Homlong and then turning left following the waters. We ascended the 327 steps following the Storfossen waterfalls, all the time having this close experience with the violent waters of the falls. The steps were easy to walk on, there were a couple of nice plateaus that serve as viewpoints. The steps ended in Norsk Fjordcenter. From there we took the main road, went to the Geiranger church, took the hidden footpath in going back to the village center. It took us at least an hour to do this nice easy village stroll.

 Campsite in Geiranger (two nights), 2 kms from Geiranger along the fjord

6216 Homlong  Stranda

 Coordinates : N: 62.10578    E: 7.18592

                                OUR CUSTOMARY PICTURES TOGETHER

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