Friday, 21 July 2017

Trollstigen and Gerainger

Where's Bertie? He's parked at the side of a quiet road behind the Norsk Fjordsenter just outside of Gerainger (exact location: 62.09477, 7.21122)

Another early start! This time to enable us to nab a parking space at the start of the route we were going to walk. It wasn't that we would have minded walking along the road 800m from where we spent last night, but we didn't really want to leave Bertie to be battered by car doors by careless parkers in the over-busy car park. At the start of our walk we were able to park alongside the road with no such danger to Bertie's beautiful flanks.

Bertie in his daytime resting place, alongside the road

Starting out on the walk, it all seemed a bit humdrum and I thought we'd been sold a dud. Moreover, as there was no option for a circuit we were going to have to come back the same way.

Lovely hills around us, but all a bit unexciting for the first couple of kilometres up the valley

It was only when we got to the highest lake of the outing that everything really turned spectacular. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to convey in these snaps quite how spectacular it was.

Our elevenses spot. The arrow points to our ultimate objective: The Man (or Mannen in Norwegian)

More pretty lakes

Boulder fields and large snow fields made the going slow for the pull up the hill from the lakes...

...but it was all good fun, bringing us to our objective of The Man:

After a moment of panic when we first caught sight of the road and wondered why Bertie wasn't where we left him (answer: because that isn't the parking area you left him in, fools!), we arrived back five hours after we had left, having passed lots of other people on the last third of the path (notably almost all of the men had bare chests; almost all of the women were wearing sports bras or bikini tops. We were the overdressed brigade!).

Whilst Mick prepared a second lunch, to supplement the one we'd had on the trail, I set about washing our sweaty t-shirts - it was, after all, an excellent drying day. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack the hang-it-out-the-window airing rack. Fortunately it was easy enough to improvise a discreet washing line with the help of a walking pole and a peg:

After second lunch, options were pondered and moving on won out over another night on the pass. Down, down, down we went, shooting past a waterfall in a narrow ravine as we went, in view of the chaos of tour buses (at least 8 of them) and cars in the car park and along the road.

Past dozens of roadside strawberry fields and attendant strawberry kiosks we went (probably would have stopped and bought some if any had advertised their prices), then after the smallest bit of queuing and ten minutes on a ferry and we were heading towards Gerainger, intending to stop somewhere for the night en-route.

Alas, the first place had very clear signage forbidding a stay. The second only had minor signage suggesting we shouldn't, but we didn't much want to stay there, so we had a brake-smoking descent, following a bus, down to Gerainger (shooting past another heaving viewpoint on the way).

Taken out of Bertie's window as we trundled along.

As you can see above, three cruise ships were moored. The town was full of coaches and so busy that we didn't even pause at the parking there.

Back up the other side of the valley there were yet more coaches in every which place that a coach would fit, but beyond them an empty car park was found - together with some unclear signage that left us wondering whether overnight parking was completely forbidden, or just in certain bays (I think probably the latter, but couldn't be sure). A bit of poking around and we found, just behind the centre, what appears to be public road with some vehicles parked along one side. Bertie was slotted in, and here we intend to stay.

Post blog notes:
1. we are now surrounded by coaches!
2. Nipped out for a stroll down to the viewing platforms to the nearby waterfall after tea, noticing on our way out that we had failed to turn Bertie's drain tap back off after we stopped at a service point earlier. We had showers when we arrived here. As a result there is now a puddle mark under the drain outlet and a streak of water running right down the road. Oops.

Lots of water hurling itself downwards

Being 9pm, we didn't investigate how far down the walkway went. Right to the town, perhaps?

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