Taking the Krossobanen cable car from the lower station Krosso to the top station Gvepseborg was a unique experience! Krossobanen is the first cable car to be built in Northern Europe, and Scandinavia’s oldest two-way cable car that is still in traffic. From Gvepseborg, visitors can gaze upon the beautiful Rjukan valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gvepseborg is also a starting point to Europe’s largest mountain plateau, the Hardangervidda, with 8.6 million acres in size.
After leaving the Kvitåvatn Fjellstoge (mountain lodge), we, the participants of the University of Oslo International Summer School excursion to Telemark, hopped on the bus again to continue our tour in the said county. We traversed the Rjukan valley, in a series of highly elevated zigzag roads. The trip reminded me of the time I visited northern Greece. The views were spectacular, but I couldn’t help but hold tightly to my seat whenever the bus driver maneuvered a difficult turn.
As you can imagine, the Rjukan valley is covered with snow during winter, and the mountains give shade and darkness for many months. To resolve this, the Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company, Norsk Hydro, built the Krossobanen to take the inhabitants up the mountain and get some sunshine. Another solution made by the government is the sun mirror, or Solspeil. This amazing innovation was first idealized by the founder of Rjukan, Sam Eyde, in 1913. However, instead of the sun mirrors, his successors built the Krossobanen in 1928 for the same purpose. It is only in recent times that the idea of the sun mirrors was materialized. Read more about the sun mirrors of Rjukan here.
Every year, the Krossobanen takes thousands of people up the mountain not only during winter but also in summer time. The top station of Gvepseborg offers magnificent views of the Rjukan valley, and it also leads to Hardangervidda National Park. To see the Krossobanen’s schedule and rates, click here.
True enough, it was a thrilling experience! Imagine hanging from the ground for 4.5 minutes! Gvepseborg lies 886 meters above sea level. From there, there are a few options on what to see and do. Visitors can follow the Solstien, a 4.3 km family-friendly route. Or just stay and dine at Gvepseborg Cafe and Restaurant, with a balcony facing the Rjukan valley. We had some nice waffles there during our visit.
We spent about an hour and a half at Gvepseborg, and during that time, I took the opportunity to see the surrounding nature with a couple of my schoolmates. We followed a narrow path and reached the Krossåe river. Norwegian nature at its finest!
These people made the trip worthwhile!
After lunch, we hopped on the bus again to the last part of the excursion. You may be wondering, why would people choose to leave in a valley with little to no sunshine in winter and far from the bigger cities? This will be answered on the next entry. 😉
This is all for now. Cheers to amazing sun mirrors and cable cars! ❤ #spreadlove