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Oppdal - Loen (stave churches, Geirangerfjord)

Home -> Europe -> Norway -> Travelogue Norway -> 04 July 2002

Thursday 04 July, Oppdal - Loen (stave churches, Geirangerfjord)

When we are on holiday we usually enjoy every day, the new things we see, but today is extraordinary, considering the number of pictures we have taken today: 150. Would this than be the best day of this holiday? Normally we try to see every new day as an adventure with hidden surprises which will reveal themselves during the day. We try to enjoy, and the environment and the sceneries can do their bit to improve that. Today has been a fantastic day, just like any other day in the holiday; well, not just like any other...
Dovrefjell nature reserveJust past Oppdal lies the Dovrefjell nature reserve, through which we drive through without seeing anything spectaculair, but the view is nice. We want to take a walk through the park but from this road there are no opportunities to do so. So we drive on and take a narrow and steep byway, sometimes unpaved, to Vågåmo where we see our first stave church.
Stave church at VågåmoStave churches (stavkirker) are build in a special architecture called the stave technique. The stave construction method uses vertical posts (staves) that rest on a foundation as the main support structure, rather than a horizontal laying of planks or beams upon a foundation. These staves supports the roof. Around the staves the wooden church is then constructed. There are only 32 stave churches left of the almost 1300 which once stood in Norway; most of them burned down or were pulled down. The stave church of Vågåmo was first mentioned in writing in 1130.
Blåhø mountainA little east of Vågåmo we take a private toll road to Blåhø, a summit with a height of 1618 meters which we can reach by car. Gradually the environment becomes barer and the ravines deeper. Thirty km. an hour is the maximum we can drive.
Blåhø mountainWe are almost between the clouds when we reach the top. A high tower is standing out against the sky, but we have no idea what its purpose is. We were told later that there is also a tomb on this summit, but we didn't see that. The landscape is barren, stony and desolate, but the views are superb. Going down we meet our neighbours again.
Stave church at Lom Stave church at LomThe next interesting place is Lom where another famous stave church stands, although only 700 people live in this village. The church dates back to 1150, but was renovated several times in the following centuries.
The Otta valley The Otta valleyWe continue our way through the Otta-valley where we see waterfalls and rapids everywhere around us. It's time for a lunch break and a bit of climbing.
The Otta valley Bare tree trunksHere and there we see trees with bare trunks, but not as often as in Finland. Acid rain or are the barks being peeled, like the cork oaks in Portugal? Or maybe they don't get enough sunlight, like the trees in Finland? It can't be a lack of water.
Lovely log cabin Lovely log cabinAt Grotli we take road 258, a narrow and winding road without asphalt. Apart from the gorgeous views we also, suddenly, see a beautiful log cabin, a dream-house, like we would like to build for ourselves someday on a nice spot (not in Holland, that is).
Road 258 Road 258When you are in the neighnourhood don't forget to drive this road; we have made dozens of pictures of the clear blue, sometimes almost green lakes, created by melting water, the skiers on the mountains and of the mountains themselves and the abysses. Near the road we cleaned our car and washed away all the dead midges with cold glacier water.
Road 258 Road 258Near the road we cleaned our car and washed away all the dead midges with cold glacier water. Although the scenery is wonderfull, we don't see many other cars on this road.
Dalsnibba mountainGoing downhill is simply spectacular, with views on the end of the valley, 1200 meters deeper. Back on the 'main road' we first turn back to the north, because we also want to see the Geirangerfjord, the most splendid fjord of Norway according to travel guides and stories we heard about it. Before going there, we first ascend the Dalsnibba, a summit of 1465 meters from where we have a magnificient view on the valley and the Geirangerfjord in the distance.
Dalsnibba mountain Dalsnibba mountainThe sky is clear, a requirement to see this area in the best way possible. The road to the top is a toll road (50 crowns) and even on this unpaved, narrow and very steep road, there are dozens of big tourist busses and campers. Once on the top we enjoy the view and the sceneries. A nice Belgian guy takes a picture of us with the Geirangerfjord in the background.
Dalsnibba mountain Dalsnibba mountainThe way back is also impressive with views on the surrounding mountain tops and the hidden valleys and lakes on this altitude.
Geirangerfjord GeirangerfjordAfter this trip to Dalsnibba we continue our way to Geiranger. The best view on the fjord is from a distance where we can see the boats and an enormous cruise ship. The vilage itself has only 300 inhabitants, but is world-famous because of this magnificient fjord with its steep slopes and nice location.
Between Geiranger and LoenWe find it difficult to leave this area with al its natural splendour, but finally we drive in the direction of Loen where we have a reservation for a cabin. But driving from Geiranger to Loen we come across many more beautiful and picturesque places.
House at Loen This day really has been terrific, we would have to be poets to describe all the beauty we have seen, all in one day! As said before, we enjoy every day of our holiday, but as far as the beauty of the sceneries is concerned this was the best day ever.
We spend the night in cabin number 15, although Elisabeth accidentally walks into number 16 once.


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