The first half of our Norwegian segment was spent driving to the fjords
. We kept going west from the Swedish border and began our southward journey around Trondheim, somewhat further north than most fjord-seekers begin or end their journeys, though by no means anywhere close to the top of the country. That would be Nordkapp, which with more time on our hands, and possibly without the children who might get bored, we would probably have made the detour. Though at 1000 miles and 22 hours of driving time it would have been quite a detour.
Our first campsite was filled with people in their fifties and sixties, in town for a concert the following night of some aging 1970’s Norwegian pop star. This was amusing at first as they all congregated around our van, old friends reuniting on a pilgrimage, revisiting their youth. It got rather less amusing when these drunken oldies were still at it at 2 in the morning, with scant regard for their fellow campers. And it was downright irritating, yet at the same time rather admirable, when we were woken at 7am by these same old codgers bidding each other farewell as they finally went to their beds, stopping to pose for some very loud pictures of themselves and the morning, seemingly right outside our door. But other than these well-meaning and well-lubricated music fans, we found the Norwegians to be very friendly and helpful. And the rest of our Norwegian campsites were all quiet and peaceful, and very beautiful.
I lack the words to adequately express the awe-inspiring beauty of Norway. Though "awe-inspiring" is a good start. We certainly left the best for last and nothing I have seen in our ten month journey comes close to it. The first few days were spent driving towards the fjords, which everyone knows are a natural beauty not to be missed. But we did not expect that the unheralded countryside en route to the fjords would itself be more beautiful than anything else on the trip so far. You can scarcely blink for fear of missing another waterfall, stunning sheer cliff face, or river with cascading rapids. And the fjords themselves were everything their reputation had promised. I've made every effort to edit the photo count down to a manageable level, but having failed to cut it down very much I will split Norway into two posts, if only to avoid inundating the reader with this mass of pictures.