(Editor’s note: This is Pt. 3 of three-part series. Netherlands-based travel writer photographer documented her adventures in Norway with her expat motorcycle touring club. You can see Pt. 1 here. You can see Pt. 2 here.)
The Holland Norway Lines is the first ferry company to open a service between Norway and the Netherlands, and its departure port is easily accessible for Dutch, German and even British travellers.
So, Jackie Harding and her expat motorcycle touring club took a week earlier this year to tour southern Norway.
Day 4: Liabygda to Vinstra
This was a day of disappointments…rain, cold temps, low cloud, no Trollstigen and The Atlantic Road.
Our original plan had included Trollstigen, a popular spot for motorcyclists and car enthusiasts. The impressive road climbs 858 meters up the mountain with 11 hairpin bends and scenery that will take your breath away!
This road is on the list of Norwegian Scenic Routes and has a viewing platform from which to gaze at the imposing landscape.
Unfortunately, due to an avalanche, the road was closed to us. Just another reason to return some day.
Building the road took eight years and the construction workers experienced 12 hurricanes during that time. Yes, it’s a stunning coastline with a road that leaps from island to island, from Kårvåg to Averøya, over eight bridges but the only iconic bridge – Storseisundet Bridge – is really that … the only iconic bridge. There is a tourist info building at Eldhusøya, with a café. Maybe I need to return and experience it
with sun and blue skies and not when I’m shivering!
From the Atlantic Road we headed south, stopping on the edge of the Rondane National Park.
This is Norway’s oldest national park and covers an area 963 square kilometers. It has 10 peaks over 2,000 meters and at the lower levels – although the area seems barren – the rolling hills are full of birch trees and lichens. It is an important area for the herds of reindeer, one of the few areas in Europe where the wild reindeer are still found … and no, we didn’t see any!
It is a dramatic landscape and the inspiration for writer Henrik Ibsen in his play, “Peer Gynt.” Here you can hike for days, camp and really immerse yourself in nature.
The day wrapped up as we did, in all our waterproof layers as the rain threatening all day decided to come down in torrents. No complaining … we had been so lucky so far.
Day 5: Vinstra to Seljord
Happily, the day began dry and we rode along lakes that were so mirror-like (above) that you weren’t we weren’t sure which way was up. Our route took us down past Lillehammer to the Telemark area.
The city of Lillehammer hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics and is a city well worthv visiting. Maihaugen is an open-air museum with close to 200 restored buildings. The Norwegian Olympic Museum shows the whole Olympic history from beginning to now and is also at Maihaugen.
There are several ski resorts of course and ski jumps. Hunderfossen Amusement Park is known as the “fairy tale” park and has more than 60 rides and in the winter offers a snow hotel.
Heddal Stave Church
After a beautiful ride alongside lakes, we stopped at Heddal Stave Church, which is Norway’s largest wooden stave church. Built in the 13th century it is entirely made of wood and very impressive.
The day ended with our last trip through a Norwegian tunnel. The Mælefjell Tunnel is 9.35-kilometers long and is Norway’s seventh-longest tunnel, finally arriving in Seljord, a town in the Telemark region.
Day 6: Seljord to Kristiansand
Our final day and we were blessed with good weather for our ride down through Telemark. We took the Telemark Road/Road 41, another Scenic Route which was stunning, running along the banks of rivers and lakes. Finally, after a week we arrived back in Kristiansand to get the return ferry.
What a trip! Approximately 3,000 kilometers through a country that touched all our hearts.
As always, a trip with the expat motorcycle crowd is full of fascinating conversations (not all of them about motorcycles!), sharing culture, humor and building friendships. There are not enough adjectives to describe Norway, but when I think back to the trip, I just think of the colors blue and green.
Whether you are a motorcyclist, a car driver or a cyclist Norway has opportunities for you to stretch your wings and take off into a wonderful adventure.
Photographer/writer Jackie Harding was born in the United Kingdom. As a long-time expat, she lived in Boston for 12 years and in the Netherlands for the past 10 years.
Trained as a nurse in the U.K., she worked for nine years in the United States as a special education teacher’s assistant. Since moving to the Netherlands, she has discovered writing and photography.
Contributing to Dispatches since 2016, Jackie has written about her travels around Europe as well as about expat life and issues.
She also covered the Women’s March Amsterdam.
She’s married to British businessman Martin Harding and is the mother of two international adult children.