Pg. 356 Geirangerfjord
There are a couple of different ways to see Norway’s fjords. One is by cruise ship, where, at water level, you have to crane your neck to look up the sides of the steep sided gorges. The other and, I think, superior way is to drive. A few years ago, we rented a car and drove up the center of Norway to Geirangerfjord, the most spectacular of Norway’s large collection of fjords.
The approach, either from the north or south, is a challenging drive and not for those prone to car sickness. I don’t know how the tour buses make all those hairpin turns. I felt as if I was at the top of the world, and suddenly, as we rounded the last sharp turn, the hillside plunged straight down to the water of this 10-mile long magnificent fjord. At a narrow point between the cliffs rising darkly on either side, a cruise ship was slowly turning around; crosswise it nearly touched the land on each side and was a pretty amazing sight. We wound our way down to the little town at the end of the fjord, and then slalomed our way back up the other side of the valley, spectacular views at every turn. Several times we found ourselves in tunnels, going round and round as one would in a spiral staircase. It felt like we were going to end up at the center of the earth.
Driving in Norway is an experience in itself. Many of the roads running along side the lakes and fjords are single lane — cliff going up on one side and cliff dropping down to the water on the other. Fortunately, there is never much traffic, but it helps to have nerves of steel, especially when a tour bus approaches. In fjord land, we took a number of ferries, the fastest way to get from one town to the next. Driving gave us more freedom than being on a cruise ship and, I think, much better views of Norway’s awe-inspiring fjords.