Finse - a rating off 1222 out of 100
Trip Start Jul 04, 2006
50Trip End Jan 15, 2007
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After a very pleasant train journey through the mountains of Norway, Danika, Tania and I arrived at a small village 1222 metres above sea level, located at just around the Arctic Circle. We were a bit nervous arriving as our friend Toby was supposed to be meeting us at the train station, though he'd been incommunicado for the week previous.
So the plan to contact him should he not be at the station to meet us: Get off the train and yell.
He wasn't there when we got off the train.
What was there was a fantastic view of a lake, fed from a glacier, with the glacier in the background (if there's any blog entry to spend some time looking at the photos on, this is the one)
But even though the place was gorgeous, it was also cold and we had no real way of contacting the person we were staying with.
So we walked around a bit in front of the building (there really was only one main building - the hotel - in the village) and in it, though couldn't find Toby. Tania and I then "rock-paper-scissored" as to who was going to try and ask the front desk if they knew "Toby" and where we could we find him.
I lost, I asked, they looked at me strangely, then gave him a call!
Within about 5 minutes Toby came bounding in to the hotel in his good natured, Norwegian way, apologized for not being there and for not checking his e-mail. We grabbed our stuff, walked for about 2 minutes and were at his cabin where we also met Toby's cabin-mate Ola.
Now this was luxury
Now to give a bit of a background on Finse.
Finse is basically an outdoor enthusiasts paradise. With a permanent population of about 22, from the months of May through to December, the resort "Finse 1222" caters to numerous Norwegian nature lovers, as well as to others from around the globe. In the winter the big thing is cross country skiing; in the summer, hiking (both mountain and on the glacier) and biking. Some other notable fun Finse facts:
- during the second world war the Nazis wanted to build an airfield on top of the glacier (??)
- Finse was immortalized on film in Star Wars Episode 5: the Empire Strikes Back, as it was the ice planet of Hoth (pretty cool...).
So after a night consisting of more welcome drinks at both Toby's and at the Finse 1222 bar, we went to bed to rest-up as we had a big day of glacier climbing ahead
The following day we woke up bright and not-too-early, headed for a great breakfast and got ready for our hike. Never having climbed a glacier, we weren't too sure as to what to expect, though fortunately we were in the capable hands of Toby's cabin-mate Ola and the guide Tobern (not sure of the spelling, I'm almost sure it's wrong) and his brother Seimen (again, not sure of the spelling, though we did get a chuckle out of the name...).
The day was incredible. Hiking on the glacier, jumping over chasms and rappelling down into the crevasses - it was unforgettable. The pictures don't do it justice, but hopefully they can capture a bit of the beauty that was the glacier Hardangerj°kulen (don't even ask me to pronounce it).
The next day was spent recovering. This was good, because we had to rest up for the bike ride.
The following day, Toby set us up with bikes and we headed down the Navvy road. Along the way we saw gorgeous waterfalls, beautiful aqua marine pools, incredible mountain views and 60km of dirt, gravel and rock road that took us from Finse to Flam
Yes Finse will be forever in our memories as a place of stunning scenery, immense pain, fantastic bread (seriously, the bread at the hotel was fantastic) and killer Norwegian parties (yes, a going away party was even held for us - man I love Norwegians!).
Thanks again Toby for treating us so well. We hope to be making it back to visit again at some point, and Danika may even be looking for a job at Finse 1222 next year! Now I just need to figure out whow I can get the Ralph Myerz Band on my iPod.