The year has turned and HI Norway warmly welcomed their new EVS volunteers! Combining adventures, sightseeing and working, they were given a chance to take part in a road trip to the western part of the country since they are accommodated in the east.
I believe this was the very nice opportunity for newcomers to experience a small part of Norway’s diversity and richness regarding nature, geography and culture.
The most comfortable way to experience the travel is definitely by a car since that allows you to have certain freedom with organization. Since the ride from one side of the coast takes several hours, it is necessary to take breaks in between, but have no fear – you will want to stop and stare at all the beauties even more than needed! Inevitably you will experience completely everything – from the rocky roads to heavy rain, snow and sunshine, highways and tight roads, pretty bus stations with grassy roofs…maybe even a moose! Beautiful and relaxing!
This is what we experienced from the way from Oslo to Lysebotn hostel. We took off before noon and arrived in the evening, going through all of the weather conditions you can imagine to arrive to wonderful valley of waterfalls and a majestic Lysefjorden opening in front of us. In the case of nice weather, we would have the opportunity to see base jumpers, but sadly that was not the case.
Moving on to Flørli the next day with a ferry! Flørli is a tiny piece of paradise, a place with no roads, no traffic, no stores, no schools. Only couple of traditional weekend houses and a hostel. Flørli is best known for the “Stairway to heaven“, the largest wooden stairway in the world, exactly 4444 stairs. As we arrived, I got a feeling that this is the true place for having relaxing holidays in a real sense. The whole place has 3 people officially living there, so there is literally more sheep than inhabitants. You can read more about Flørli here.
Out next stop was famous Preikestolen. This must be one of the most inspiring places for active holidays I have ever seen. Not only the amazing housing, views and hiking to the cliff, the hostel offers zip line, kayaking any much more to it. With a bit of luck, the weather is nice and the sky is clear. Keep in mind that there are no cable cars to take you there, so make sure you take enough time for it!
In Sandnes we had a really short stay there, but enough time to see a bit of a city centre and the main shopping street. It seemed more like a calm small place by the sea, filled with lots of white traditional houses.
Speaking of white buildings, that was even more amazing in Stavanger, our next stop to visit Stavanger Mosvangen and Stavanger St.Svithun hostels. The city with its ‘’oil capital’ title brought us to conclusions that did not match up with reality – the city is actually terrific! It gives you kind of suburban feeling all the time with its streets and walking way between wooden houses. We were all impressed by it despite the rainy weather.
Bergen Montana hostel was our almost last stop and we spent two days. The heavy rain has made it impossible for us to go out, so after the weather cleared a bit, we could enjoy the wonderful view and their traditional tea&cookies time (free coffee/tee and cookies for all the guests between 17.30 and 18.30).
The last day we planned to go back back and stop by the hostel in Eidfjord which is opening anew. The hostel is located around the climate transition between west and east and we took advantage of a wonderful opportunity to kayak for a few hours. Kayaking between fjords is definitely an activity you can’t pursue every day!
This delayed our way back and we got a bit lost in the mountains so we spent the last night in HI hostel Gjøvik. It is situated by the lake and the sport courts and the weather was fantastic (it is nice to be on the east side again!). The hostel owns incredibly cute cabins with all the necessities and nice views.
2 hours of a car drive divided us from Oslo and we arrived back safely. Personally, I find the trip as a bunch of wonderful and must-see destinations when you visit Norway. The most important tip however is that you should organize your time well to find the optimal balance, some activities may be taking more time that you imagine – and to wear proper clothes.
Article written by Sandra Meglić
Pictures by Patricia Benesiu
Sandra and Patricia are in Norway through an EVS programme sponsored by Erasmus+:Youth in Action. Views are their own.