Olden was our third port on the cruise and what a glorious port she was. Again, I was on the treadmill, huffing and puffing away as we made our slow arrival into port. I was able to admire the pretty Norwegian houses that dotted the hills, some of them were very grand and I even spotted the odd hot-tub. Can you imagine having a hot-tub with the view of a fjord!
Olden is a small village with a population of 498 people (in 2013). Olden is very popular for its hiking routes. Our family group were going to be exploring the Birksdal glacier. After breakfast we made our way to the coach where we were greeted by our guide and driver. Oldest and I had a prime spot as we had managed to nab seats right at the front of the coach. However, I later regretted our choice of seat. As we made our way through the lovely village of Olden our tour guide pointed out the beautiful Norwegian churches, one that was literally anchored to the ground with what looked like guy ropes. This was because the church had previously been lifted off the ground during high winds and yes there was a service going on at the time! We continued to whizz past the beautiful scenery. The roads are narrow, very narrow and for me to say that then you know that they are narrow. In Jersey some of our roads are so narrow that your car is touching the hedgerows on both sides! We whizzed around one very sharp bend to be greeted by another coach coming the other way. I shrieked whilst Oldest laughed at my discomfort. I then closed my eyes as the coach driver expertly reversed us backwards. How we didn’t fall into the fjord I don’t know!
We continued onwards making our journey to Briksdal Glacier. As you go past fjords you notice little piles of rocks at the side of them. These are from tourists who like to place a rock on top of another one as way of saying thank you for allowing them to visit. I thought it was a lovely tradition.
On arriving at the foot of Briksdal Glacier the weather was noticeably cooler and it was trying very hard to snow. We jumped in our troll cars and made the dizzying climb up to the glacier. The views were spectacular but you needed a head for heights. I was too scared to take many photos as I was convinced that I would fall outside the car.
The troll cars take you up most of the way but then you have to hike the rest. It was really nice to stretch our legs and enjoy the nice clean air. We pushed forward and Oldest coped very well with the steep climb whilst Youngest needed a little help. Mr C and I took it in turns to carry her up. It was a good workout and I regretted the 8k I had ran and rowed that morning in the gym. My legs were aching!
It was a beautiful walk and round every corner there were views that took your breath away. We finally arrived at the glacier and Youngest was very excited to see snow.
It was a pretty incredible sight! Everyday the glacier moves by 2 metres. Our tour guide told us to think of the glacier as being like a living thing, it is always moving.
After we had explored the glacier we made the hike back down to the troll cars. The clean air and hike had obviously made us hungry because now our tummies were beginning to rumble.
We headed to the cafe where we feasted on apple cake and drank hot coffee. There was time for a quick perusal of the gift shop before it was time to return to the coach. Making the journey back our excellent tour guide regaled us with more tales. It is very common for families in Norway to have a holiday cabin and the idea is that at the weekends they hike to their cabin and reconnect with nature. The hills are dotted with cabins but they are designed so that they blend in with their surroundings. The cabins are meant to be very basic, in that they don’t have heating and the toilet might be outside. You also might cook your dinners on an open fire. I love the sound of this and I think that it is great that it is an important part of Norwegian culture. We could all take a leaf out of their books and make the weekends a time for slowing down, getting away from technology and getting outside with our families.
We really loved Olden and going up the glacier was one of the highlights of the trip. Another beautiful part of Norway. In Olden I was sure to leave a part of me behind in the shape of one of the stones above. Now which one was it again? The one on the left, nope that wasn’t it, the bottom right or was it the middle one……? Never mind, let’s just say I left a lot more than a stone behind, I also left a little part of my heart too.
Norway I think I love you 🙂 x