RoadTrip #8.1: From Kaupanger to the vast Hemsedal a.k.a. the Scandinavian Alps (ft. the Borgund stave church and a herd of wild reindeer!)

Boo yah! Here come the last two entries of our 4-day roadtrip (the longest roadtrip so far) in September 2021. After a cozy camping night in Kaupanger, right by the Sognefjord, we followed the small road #5 through the Amla tunnel and leading to the Mannheller ferjekaia (port). We took the ferry to Fodnes port in Lærdal and drove on along E16 and road #52, #7, #280, and so on until we reached home. The highlights of the trip for me would be the vast Hemsedal valley and the surrounding mountains (where we saw wild reindeer!), the Borgund stave church, the Gardnos Meteorite Park, and Geocaching all the way home to our cuddly gray cat Missy. (Well, we picked her up from the kattehotell first).

The view from the camping ground
Our last camping ground
A small part of the mighty Sognefjorden

We left Amlasanden camping at around 07:50. We thought that it was quite smart to obtain a piece of land and use it as a camping spot. There was just basically a toilett and shower building, a small cabinet with snacks that uses the “trust system” (you leave your payment in a box/jar in the cabinet), and a reception building which was closed. The grounds were not even numbered. The owner accepted payment via Vipps, and voila! You set up your tent and spend the night there. There was an unwritten rule, I think, which says that you shouldn’t tent very near another camper. Have at least 2-3 meter space in between. I have to clarify this one..

Road #5; Leaving Kaupanger

The ferry ride was also a short one. We just had to cross the fjord branch from Kaupanger to Lærdal. It took less than 10 minutes.

Taking the ferry to Lærdal
Inside the ferry
I love the dynamics of the trip!

I really love the dynamics of the trip – it includes not just land travel, but also short cruises and other activities.

Driving through Lærdal

Driving through Lærdal gave the first glimpse of the vast valleys that we were bound to traverse that day. We stopped over at some points to hunt a geocache or two, and they also served as opportunities to stretch out and get some fresh mountain air. For example, there was the stopover at Hodndalen, where we saw some sheep.

Hodndalen rastplass
What u starin’ at?

Adding to the list of the stave churches we’ve visited is the one in Borgund. It used to be the parish church of the Church of Norway in Lærdal. It was built in the 1200s and closed in 1868, turned into a museum, and now even have a real museum building on the opposite site of the road. It was good to see how the people in Lærdal celebrate this church with a separate museum building. Unfortunately, it was closed at the time we were there.

Walking closer towards the Borgund stave church
The Borgund stave church
Museum on the other side of the road

What followed after the Borgund church in Lærdal were mountains beautifully adorned with the color of autumn! It was eye candy!

Autumn in Norway

Autumn in Norway

A quick stopover at Breistølen Fjellstue (cabin) to pick up a geocache..

Breistølen fjellstua

… and we were officially in Hemsedal. Personally, I attached Hemsedal with skiing and winter holidays. It’s popular amongst the Norwegian to spend their winter vacations there to ski and do other snow sports. But actually, Hemsedal proved to be more than that. It was as attractive in summer/autumn as it was in winter. I could imagine going on hikes and long walks there. We saw a group of cabins.. and a group of wild reindeer! How lucky!

Vast Hemsedal
A reindeer herd that were too shy to approach us
The actual distance
Tried to feel contented watching the reindeer from a distance. And boy, was it cold!
Hemsedalvegen – farewell, reindeer!

At around 10:30, we reached the Hemsedal town center, where we stopped for gas and a geocache.

Scandinavian Alps indeed
Hemsedal and its many skiing terrains
Hemsedal town center

And we stop here. The rest of the road trip in the next entry! Right now, it’s snowing non-stop, Missy is sleeping, and I have to continue doing my project proposal for my thesis next semester. All is well. 🙂 #spreadloveandpositivevibes



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