Hey guys! Have you read our previous blog post about Bergen? Bergen was the first stop of our Scandinavian holidays in the summer of 2015, and in this post you'll read about what we did next. So we got on that bus in Bergen and after a 3 hour ride through long tunnels, ferries, mountains and snow, we arrived in Odda. It is a small town in the Hardanger region and we had a very specific reason as to why we wanted to visit this place: the hike to the mighty Trolltunga. We actually decided it was best to write a whole other blog post about it, otherwise you'd be dealing with a photodump so big your browser would need a vacation after loading it. Our trip to Odda included lots of other activities and adventures, so this one post ended up quite magical as well.
At the time we were still living in Lisbon and desperate to move to our much smaller hometown in the south of Portugal. Being in Odda felt like a sudden answer to our prayers for a peaceful suburbian life. We walked through town and marvelled at all the typical norwegian wooden houses, beautifully painted, with perfect backyards with swings and trampolines. We stayed at the Trolltunga Hotel in Vasstun, which is a 20 minute walk away from the center of Odda. We stopped by the hotel and dropped our luggage in our tiny yet adorable room, which had a lovely view over the lake Sandvevatnet.
It took us 15 minutes to get to know all the corners of our hotel and we raced back outside as soon as everything was set. We started walking towards the lake and found ourselves in the Buer Dalen, aka the Buer Valley. We walked around for a couple of hours and made a bunch of new animal friends on our way through the valley. You can see the Buer glacier peeking out through the mountains, run your hands in the cold glacier waters and just enjoy the sound of the silence. The Buer Glacier, as majestic as it seems on its own, is merely an arm of the mighty Folgefonna glacier.
We were planning on doing the hike to Trolltunga in two days, so we still had a full day ahead of us. We had a bit of spare time on our hands so we walked to the center of Odda. We went to the supermarket and bought all the fruit and snacks we were gonna need for the big hiking day. We had also brought a few Squarebars (you should SO give them a try!) with us from Portugal, so all we needed was a whole bunch of bananas, some water, bread and a few apples and carrots.
After that we got back to our hotel for dinner and relaxed in the hotel lounge afterwards. We quickly realized that everyone in the lounge shared a reason as to why they were there: the hike to Trolltunga. Even the hotel's name was Trolltunga after all. We met the nicest guy from Brazil, named Henrique, who picked up on our portuguese conversation. We stayed up late and hung out with him for a few hours. He was doing the hike on the day after, so we all shared a few pointers on what each of us thought was important to keep in mind.
We went to our room that night and were barely in the mood to sleep. It was midnight, the sun had already set but the sky was blue and the scenery was mesmerizing (as you can see in the photo above). We were still trying to decide what to do in the following day. We discussed the possibilities of going ziplining, kayaking, canoeing and a bunch of other activities, but these were all extremely expensive and therefore, out of our budget. But then we realized. Renting a bycicle for the whole day was 15€ each and we could bike all the way up to the actual Buer glacier. So that's what we did. We woke up the next morning and had breakfast at the hotel (aka ate ALL the waffles we possibly could). The bike rentals was just a 10 minute walk away from the hotel, near the lake.
We hadn't ridden bicycles in years, but it is true what they say: you never forget how to ride a bike. Off we went to the Buer valley again, but this time our goal was to make the whole 8 kms up to the glacier. Of course, we had to stop a bunch of times because, well. ANIMAL FRIENDS! While one of us is perfectly content with standing from afar and watching, the other one just cannot resist petting, fondling and kissing. Guessing which of us is who won't be hard for you, based on our photos.
You can only ride your bikes up to a certain point in the valley, after which you have to park them near a couple of picnic tables and hike from there. There's a bit of mountain and rock climbing, bridge crossing and river skipping until you get to the actual glacier, so we thought Hey! We're actually quite in shape for tomorrow's big hike! — hah. Yeah, we were in shape. But Trolltunga is in a whole other level of challenging. Once you actually set foot on the Buer glacier, it's up to you to decide where to stop hiking. We climbed a few more rocks and sat up top enjoying the view. But if you looked closer, you could see a few people ALL the way up there, right ON the glacier. We both had this craving for more, but we still had a big hike to do on the following day. We chickened out and decided it was probably best to spare our legs, sit back and listen to the sound of the glacier.
The Buer Glacier is probably what we photographed the most during our whole trip to Norway. We headed back down, stopping probably every two minutes to look back at the glacier again. When we finally got to our hotel, we started to realize. This is really happening. We are going to Trolltunga tomorrow. Read all about the great hike in our next post, Trolltunga (Norway & Sweden 2015, Part III).