After our hike to Preikestolen, we finally arrived to our camping cottage in the middle of Stavanger. After a quick shower and cloths change, we decided it would be nice to buy somewhere a bottle or can of beer (hell, we have deserved it!) and enjoy the well deserved rest. Well, we had no such luck – stores were already closed and petrol stations, unlike in most of the Europe, don’t sell any kind of alcohol beverages. Alright, a lesson learned but at least we visited a Sverd i fjell monument. This has to be one of the coolest Viking monuments ever – uncovered in 1983 by King Olav V, the monument commemorates the battle of Hafrsfjord that took place in 872. In that battle, King Harald Fairhair emerged victorious and joined several smaller kingdoms under his banner, first move in uniting the Norwegian kingdoms. Swords are more than 10m high and are planted in the rock by the shore. The highest sword (and most adorned) is representing King Harald’s while the slightly smaller and plainer ones are of two defeated petty kings. After paying respect to my spiritual ancestors, it was time to head back to the cottage. I apologize to my friends who had to wait in the chilly evening for the “perfect” blue light.
The main target of our first full day in Norway was a climb up to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) cliff. Probably the most famous cliff in Norway (besides Trolltunga) and much more accessible to the masses. Luckily, September is a month, when crowds disappear and although there were people up there, it was not as crowded as it can get in the summer months.
Recently, Preikestolen featured in the final scene of final episode of Season 2 of History Channel Vikings series, with King Ragnar Lothbrok sitting on the cliff.
Arriving to the Oslo Gardermoen airport in the afternoon, we picked up our rental Volvo and took the road to the South – to Kristiansand on the southernmost tip of the country. Driving experience was similar to Swedish one – calm drivers with fluid, speed limit respecting traffic – a real joy to drive on such roads.
After a short night’s sleep in a camp, just outside of Kristiansand, we were greeted by a sunny morning and the dawn brought a symbolic start of our Norwegian experience.
Our goal for today was reaching Stavanger, but in the process, see the southern part of the country and the prize of the day, climb and see the famous Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) cliff.
Everyone who has ever met me knows, that I am in love with the North. I prefer winter to summer, snow covered plains to sunlit beaches etc. So I guess it is now wonder that in summer, instead of traveling to some Mediterranean beach, I rather travel somewhere up North. I’ve been to Helsinki (Finland) before and in 2013 I’ve traveled around Sweden with my wife. I know this photo/travel report is long overdue, but better late than never. So in 2014, along with my wife and a couple of friends, we’ve set our sights on Norway!
As I like to travel on a budget, which requires quite some resourcefulness in Scandinavia, and since we wanted to see as much as possible in the limited time available, travel plans have started earlier in the year, while the travel date was set for September. September is great for traveling around Scandinavia, as most of the tourists are already gone so you have the whole country for yourself, while the weather is still nice and warm.
So the September arrived and it was time to go. While I usually find the best deals on low-cost airlines, surprisingly this time, the best deal we got was by a Dutch airline KLM. Return fare Venice – Amsterdam – Oslo was just over 160EUR – a deal, any low-cost airline would be hard to beat – especially due to extra costs usually required for extra luggage. Starting our trip near Kranj, we picked up our friends in Ljubljana and started our 2hour journey to Venice.
After a rather uneventful drive, we parked at Ali Park, a private parking space just outside of the airport. They offer cheaper alternative to the airport parking and they take you to the airport and pick you up when you return with a van.
All the photos in the gallery are captioned, so just click on the first photo and enjoy the report with larger resolution photos, than normally on this blog.
After arriving to Amsterdam, we had a little under an hour for our connected flight to Oslo, again on a KLM Boeing 737-800, as on a flight from Venice. I normally don’t like the connected flights, especially inside of Europe, but for this price and just the right amount of wait time (so you don’t have to sprint across the huge terminal buildings), I was more than happy.
Another uneventful flight and we finally arrived to Norway where our adventure really began!
Till the next time!
I love winter! I adore winter! I prefer cold over heat. That’s maybe why I’d rather go on vacation to some Scandinavian country instead of tropics. And of course there’s nothing more “sacred” for me, than the arrival of the first snow of the season. It happened this Saturday and it was snowing into the night throughout most of the country. Yesterday, the skies cleared eventually and while this meant that most of the heavy snow in the lowlands is gonna melt, the one higher up will definitely remain for a while. So as I went to sleep sometime past 11pm and looked through the window, I just knew I had to take shot.
Axalp is so much more than an airshow. Axalp is experience!
Not only do you have to climb the mountain, to attend it, you must also expect the unexpected – especially the sudden changes of weather. And the weather was the culprit this year as well. Tuesday’s afternoon airshow was cancelled because of incoming rain. Wednesday’s airshow was already cancelled the night before and while we woke up to a starry night on Thursday’s early morning at 3AM, the show was eventually cancelled because of the low cloud cover.
Below photos were taken on Tuesday, waiting for the to-be cancelled afternoon practice on Tschingel and Thursday’s hike up to sunlit Wildgärst.
Hike up the mountain always wets the appetite – forget the power bars; there’s nothing better than a piece of bread and sausage enjoyed in fresh Alpine air.
Damn, this thing is heavy!
When visiting such an event, don’t forget to document everything! By any means necessary.
Sharp, Soft, Out of Focus, Delete, Sharp, Soft, Out of Focus, Delete,…
While most of the photographers feel sorry for themselves, carrying the heavy camera equipment up the hill, the award goes to this guy – carrying two kids!
While we started in pitch black night, crossing alpine streams and our paths lit only by headlamps, the dawn up in the Alps always look amazing.
Panorama of the area below the Schwarzhorn, looking towards the West. Click on the photo for bigger resolution.
One of the most amazing things in the Alps – sunrise!
My two Swiss guides, Grimmi and Adrian with our destination, Wildgärst in the background.
Finally on top! Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains bask in the morning sunlight!
NE to SW panorama from the Wildgärst. Click on the photo for bigger resolution.
F-5E Tigers flew in to check for the weather…
…but while we were enjoying the sunshine, targets on the range were covered by low clouds, as was most of the Switzerland.
Next visitor was this Pilatus PC-21.
While the pilot couldn’t perform his display on the range, he did make a few inverted low passed for the people gathered on Wildgärst…
…and disappeared behind the mountains again.
In the meantime, we could at least feed and observe the feisty Alpine Choughs.
Later, F/A-18 Hornets tried their luck to no avail.
And all we could do, before returning down the mountain, was to observe Hornet intercepts above our heads.