6th August 2018
Where are we? Vik, Norway
Its all been go, go, go since my last entry with no time for updates because we have guests. That’s right we have been visited by Dann, Ali and Dex who heard that Norway was awesome and wanted to gatecrash. They came to meet us a few days ago but not before we had a little hike up to the Briksdalbreen glacier which was close to the campsite where we were staying. Since we are in the area of the largest glacier in mainland Europe and that one of its branches was only a 45 minute walk from our campsite we couldn’t not go really. Even if it started raining as soon as we set off! There was a waterfall on the way and it was immense; not high particularly but just the amount of water coming through meant that just walking past it meant we all got soaked from the amount of spray. We got up as close as we could to the glacier which given the amount it has receded in the 2018 summer of climate change was not as close as we may have been able to in the past. Still it was an impressive sight and got us wanting to come back for more. We met up with DannAliDex at the cabin they were staying at, it was nice to have lots of room for us all to spread out and stay dry because the weather has definitely turned a bit. The long hot days from the start of our trip are now becoming a happy memory. But we caught up and made some plans for the next few days. First on the list was the glacier, since they had not seen it with us yesterday and they had come all the way to Norway so you’ve really got to see a glacier haven’t you and because we had been left wanting to come back for more it seemed like the thing to do. So we did. And then after that we returned to the campsite we had been at 2 days previously because it was a really friendly place and they had free canoes and pedalos and it was not far away so seemed like a nice easy place to stop. The room to spread out was a thing of the past though as Jess and I sacrificed our warmth and comfort for baby Dex (and her parents) so we slept in our tent which given that it was rainy and the coldest night we had had so far on our trip was not the most comfortable but we cuddled up close and kept warm. Then at 7am I was awoken by Jess telling me there was a bird in our tent and that I needed to get out of the warmth and deal with it. As a loving husband I did this immediately and willingly and it was never mentioned again, at least that is my recollection. Once everyone was awake moving on was the name of the game for today and our choice of destination was Vik, on the Sognefjord. First though it was a stop at the Norwegian Glacier Museum which given that this is a country of glaciers and that this was the national museum on the subject, was not as grand as I was expecting. It had enough to keep us interested and amused for an hour or two but was possibly not as educational as we might have hoped. It was then time for the rest of our journey to Vik. It was a scenic (obviously) and varied drive we had today; from climbing up, over and back down a 600 metre hill to driving through tunnels seemingly diving down, down into the earth to passing through valleys carved by glaciers and passing actual glaciers to a twisting and winding road on the edge of a fjord, the drive had it all. Then a final ferry crossing and we had just a short run to our campsite. Then today was a day out in Vik, which in all honesty can be completed in much less than a day. But we took our time getting started and did a bit of shopping for lunch supplies before walking to the stave church in town. A stave church is an old wooden church that used to be found all over Europe but now are only in Norway and there are only 28 of them left. The one we visited today was one of the oldest at about 900 years and given that it is completely made of wood that is impressive. The church was about as entertaining as the glacier museum but more educational as our girls took a lot of interest in the information supplied in the brochure and charged about the place reading and learning. After some lunch and some drone filming we had another stop to make which was at the only dairy that produces something called Gamalost cheese, which just happens to be in this town. Now we are trying very hard to be vegans but the fact that this is the only place in the world where this cheese is made and for no apparent reason we happen to be here made us feel like we had to give it a try. Plus we were able to get a free sample for all of us so at that price it is hard to refuse. It is very difficult to describe exactly what the cheese is like but it was served on a cracker accompanied by cranberry jam and sour cream although neither of these really hid the taste of the cheese. The cheese is crumbly and brown in colour and in all honesty brown in taste. It wasn’t inedible, but it had no redeeming quality that made me want to try a second helping and I do happen to think that we paid a fair price for it. So not really worth sacrificing our vegan principles for but I wont be too hard on us, it was after all the only opportunity we will probably ever have to try it and I am a firm believer in the ‘have to try everything once’ way of thinking. At least when it suits me.
What have we learned? While just about everything we have seen in Norway is spectacular, Vik may not be its best advertisement. Especially if the weather is not your friend.