Norway: Preikestolen

Originally I meant this post to cover all my time in Norway, but I realize it’s already too long just with Preikestolen. You can read my time in Stavanger in the next post, Norway: Stavanger. 

I don’t know if Norway would have even been on my radar without my swim coach, Mike Slagle. In the summer of 2015, Slagle visited his daughter and came back with the most incredible pictures. As I started to plan this trip, I thought it would be amazing – if not out of my way – to be able to stay at least a couple days. I did my research and found two places I desperately wanted to go to: Trolltunga and Preikestolen. Made it to Preikestolen, and I’m tabling Trolltunga until I have someone else come with me (it’s a long hike!).

I flew to Stavanger from Chicago O’Hare with stops at Boston Logan, Reykjavik-Iceland, and Bergen-Norway. I had quite a long layover in Boston and remembered that airports don’t have free wifi usually. I did get a lot of reading done, though.

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We landed in Iceland early in the morning, and I wasn’t too jet-lagged because of the sleep I got on the previous flight. I’m holding it to myself to make it back to Iceland for a couple nights on my way back home.

I got to Stavanger, and all of sudden English was a second language. Oh boy. Even when you’re expecting it, it still throws you off. First, I had to navigate an airport shuttle to Fiskepiren, where I caught the ferry to Tau, and a second bus to Preikestolen. My hostel – Preikestolen Mountain Lodge (excellent, by the way) – was set up as three different buildings. My room was in the smallest with the greenest grass on the roof, the second building held the showers, and the reception/restaurant was in the top, largest building.

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It took me the longest time to actually find my room because it was in the attic of the cabin. The door to the stairs looked more like a closet door, and the stairs were exceptionally steep. The room was tiny but quaint – I would not mind living somewhere exactly like it someday!

In the afternoon, I walked around the grounds, caught up with family and friends, and had dinner. Dinner was amazing. There’s no other word to describe it, and I’m sad that all the other food on my itinerary will have to compete with the veal and vegetables I had. Poor things don’t stand a chance. On top of all this, I was astonished by the view from outside the window – it looks right over the fjord.

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At night, while the clouds kept everyone inside, I rented a kayak from reception to do a little paddling in the fjord. My crooked strokes made me wish I had Maria Santos there to teach me how to do it correctly, but I’m sure I gave the people staying near the lake a good laugh. Of course, just as I reached my farthest part away from the beach, it began to drizzle. “That’s okay,” I thought to myself. “It just means no one else will be out here.” Well, that part was true. But as I continued to kayak, that little drizzle became a sideways downpour. In the course of a minute, by light green adventure pants (so dubbed by Lindsay Sheehan) became soaked, and my jacket was starting to stick to my skin. It was one of those moments when you just have to throw your head to the sky and laugh. In the midst of the rain, I slowly made my way back to the beach. I have to say – I was rather pleased with myself that I was able to paddle fast and hard enough to launch my boat up onto the beach. It meant my boots stayed completely dry through it all!

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I came back, dirty with sand and soaked, and sat by a fire in the lodge to dry. Three other young backpackers were there and we spent the better part of an hour chatting about our lives and upcoming travels. After that, I crashed into bed, too tired to think of anything else but sleep. It was at this point that I met my German mom – Julia – who once she saw me in bed in the dormitory said she had been so worried when she didn’t see anyone here that I had gotten lost.

In the morning, my alarm went off at 5:00 but I turned it off and fell back asleep. I finally got out of bed at about 7:00, and I ate with Julia at the free breakfast at the lodge. They even offer sandwich-fixings to bring on your hike! I made a sandwich, bought some water, and started off towards Preikestolen.

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The hike to Preikestolen is exceptionally well marked, but it was not as easy as Mama Julia led me to believe. Not that it is a long hike, but instead of a dirt trail, it is almost all large rocks. And because it rained the night before, it was misty and slick. I walked behind groups of blonde Europeans (I won’t pretend to be able to distinguish Danes from Dutch yet).

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I beat most of the crowds to the cliff itself, which was a blessing. Because it was so misty, I was very comfortable walking to the edge and sitting down. If I couldn’t see the bottom, there was nothing to be afraid of – right? There was a Spanish couple sitting next to me; it was great to actually use my (extremely limited) Spanish to ask them to take my picture.

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The climb down went much faster, despite the crowds coming from tour buses. These people though. They usually did not see me coming from the opposite direction until they saw my shoes, and even then I oftentimes had to stand still so they could move into pairs or a line.

In the afternoon, I spent time editing my pictures, showering (how great did that feel!), and drinking copious amounts of coffee. I was starting to feel the hike in my shoulders and legs and couldn’t wait to get to my next hostel. I left Preikestolen on the 3:45pm Tideriser bus.

Don’t forget to check out the “Pictures” tab to see the rest of Preikestolen! 

 


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