The outdoor tips by SailorRoar reminded me of when we visited Andalsnes on a cruise ship and had limited time. We both had colds so we went to the drug store to get an over-the-counter throat lozenge. The clerk recommended Fishermans Friend which worked great. While walking back to the ship from the fantastic Stave church, I noticed a sign that said Bjorn Istad, Optik. Since my maternal grandmother's name was Petra Istad. I entered the shop and asked if there was an Istad present. The proprietor came out and introduced himself and I explained the Istad connection, to which he explained that his grandfather had married a sister of my maternal grandfather. I was so excited that I ran out to tell my wife and then took a photo of the sign but did not get one of my "cousin". I want to go back and do that if Bjorn is still alive and to revisit the Stave church.
Åndalsnes host one of the largest Rock Festivals in Norway, it is an annual event normally in August. There are always a good mix of local, national and international artist at the program. It is also the big party event at Åndalsnes. Check out their website
Watch the adventures of one of the mountain climbing pionners of the world, Arne Randers Heen. The museum displays a unique collection of collectibles and pictures from the pioneering time an up until today. The museum is closed in 2008 while it is being moved to a more central location in Åndalsnes.
In 2007 the new house of culture opened in Åndalsnes. It hosts a new cinema, a concert hall and the library. The new house has given a burst to the cultural life in Åndalsnes, so there are plenty of culture going on. Check out the website for more details.
The Tivoli comes to town in late september every year, lots of rides, concerts, popcorn etc. A place for the locals and the ones who have moved out to meet up again and catch up on the latest, and of course some partying! Romsdalsmartnan also hosts a farmers marked with everything from local handicraft to tractors. There are also a few farm animals for the children to play with.
I was looking forward to seeing Romsdalsalpene, but unfortunately I couldnt see anything. The clouds were so dense and so low, that it was impossible to see the mountains.
I had seen many photos of Romsdalsalpene before our roadtrip, so I closed my eyes and pretended I was looking at them... It worked - kind of... ;)
"The alps of Romsdal" consists of 222 mountainpeaks, and one of the best places to see them is from the mountain behind Molde. If the weather wants you to see them... :)
Trollstigen is one of the most famous touristattractions in Norway, and definetly worth a visit! The narrow road winds up the steep mountain, with plenty of hairpin bends.
I had many sleepless nights before I went there. When I was standing at the bottom my heart was beating at an astronomic rate, my hands and feet were trembling and I felt almost sick.
But driving up Trollstigen was no problem at all! The fog was so dense that I could barely see the lights of the car a few metres in front of me. But I was happy!
Because of the dense fog I couldnt see down the steep hill. I kept telling myself that I was driving on a normal road in the fog - and it worked.
The next day the road got closed because of the weather...
The Troll ladder (Trollstigen) is an impressive road that climbs up the mountainside through 11 switchbacks. The road har been rebuilt to become safe for rock slides and handle the increased traffic. Trollstigen is the most popular tourist attraction in Norway with over 700.000 visitors each year, and when you go there it is pretty obvious why. There are several lookout points at the foot of the road, along the road and on the top. The most spectacular ones are the one by the waterfall and at the top, but it is worth stopping at the bottom as well. Trollstigen is also part of a route called Golden Route, which goes from Åndalsnes to the world heritage village Geiranger. If you want a thrill I recommend trying to be a passenger in a truck or on the front of a double decker bus while driving from the top and down. You will see the road diapering in the turns :)
Each year in July there is a week long mountain festival in and around Åndalsnes. This is a must event for everyone who love the outdoors. The 2007 event has more than 150 events during the week. They range from wine tasting course to hardcore climbing. There is something here for absolutely everyone. Even Everest Climbers come to Åndalsnes for this event.
The tallest vertical mountain wall in Europe stands as one of the worlds biggest challenges for mountain climbers. It used to be a Mecca for base jumpers, but this was banned after a series of deaths and very risky rescue operations. The turbulent wind conditions sucked the basejumpers into the wall, the combination of the winds and the overhang og parts of the wall made rescue by chopper very dangerous. Leaving a lot of work to the volenteer alpine rescue team that had to absail of the top of the 1100 meter high wall. Read more facts about the Troll Wall at Wikipedia
For the rest of us the Troll Wall is an impressive sight :)
Like everybody else, we had to climb up Trollstigen slowly. The steep rocky wall on your right did not encourage risk-taking. We very much wanted to stop by the biggest of the waterfalls but coaches had blocked the parking space completely. As we went up, we only met one coach on its way down that narrow winding road but.... just round one of those hairpin bends - a hair-raising moment! We did make it to the top though or I wouldn't be writing this now.
If you aim your camera more to the right, you can just about see the biggest of the waterfalls, which falls down that imposing mountain and then just beneath the road you are in. Well, no more contemplating this wonderful scenery. We're off!
What a relief it was when we reached the top. After parking the car, we immediately went to explore the area. From this vantage point, you could see the road you had just climbed in the car, the surrounding mountains, the waterfall and the whole valley as far as the eye could see. A truly rewarding moment for the horrors of that journey.
The car park at the foot of Trollstigen is the place to stop and mentally prepare for the precarious climb in your car. The view is stunning - the steep mountain looming in front of you, the waterfalls rumbling down. You can see the lines of the roads cutting horizontally across the rock - that is where you will be going once you have mustered courage. The kind of stones you can see by the roadside will be the only protection from a spectacular tumble down higher up on the mountain as well.
My journey will continue on the next page about Geiranger Fjord
These are the chapters of my trip through Norway in 2003 :
1 Rondane National Park
2 Åndalsnes and Trollstigen
3 Geiranger (Under construction)
6 Sogndalsfjora (Under construction)
7 Skjolden (Under construction)
8 Jotunheimen National Park (Under construction)
9 Kongsvinger (Under construction)