Saturday, September 27, 2008

Norway, in the land of the fjords

It feels like a temple in the open air. You almost expect that, at any moment, an angry Nordic god will appear from behind a rock and carve another fjord from the very stones.
We stood on a flat rock, the wind blew gently and we cautiously peered over the edge – a sheer drop of 600 meters to the water below.
Now you know what ants see when they look down stairs! This place is called Preikestolen, meaning "Pulpit", and everybody who travels throught the fjords in Norway comes here to experience the sense of vertigo this massive cliff produces.

The view from this rocky platform is beautiful; the tops of the hills have been ground down by glaciers, reminiscent of The Badlands in the United States, and they are covered by a sprinkling of low trees that seem like lichen from this distance. The air is crisp and crystal clear. The sun is surprisingly warm and the azure skies, vaulting and open above us, seem infinite.

Unto Valhalla

There are other beautiful nice fjords; take Sognefjord, for instance – it is also called "King's Fjord" as the Norwegian successor to the throne comes here to fish. Another reason for the name is that it is the largest in Norway. Hideous depths lurk in these dark waters with the sea bed lying some 1200 meters below the surface.
The fjord cuts almost 200 kilometers inland and when the ship steered into some of the side fjords, which are in fact quite independent, you get the impression of being tested for claustrophobia. The cliffs are so impossibly high and so close that there is a tangible sense of enclosure, of being locked within the landscape itself.
The landscape is beautiful and deserted. You look around in wonder, knowing that Valhalla is near at hand, the hall where heroes and gods feast before the final battle and the end of the world.
You fear that at any moment a Viking "drakkar" may glide out from the mists, full of merciless conquerors. Instead, you might come across a thousand-year-old wooden church, six storeys high, resembling in shape a Viking helmet. Or, more frequently, you'll find a herd of goats with bells round their necks.
The secrets of the hundreds of fjords, cutting into the Norwegian shores like wrinkles in her skin, are made more tantalising yet by the colorful houses of the locals. Many people come here to breathe deeply and experience one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, a landscape so sparsely populated that it just swallows up crowds without trace.

Norwegian fjords are a fisherman's paradise teeming with cod, mackerel, sea trout, wolf-fish, sea-devils and of course the king of the fish, the wild salmon. You'd have to search high and low for a better place to fish: a snack perched on a steep slope, its pillars washed by the sea. The views open out across the fjord to ragged rocks dusted with snow and the midnight sun gleaning on the dark waters. And the catch? None, except perhaps a meter long cod or delicious Salmon! It may look like a normal lake but it's actually northern wilderness. Norway is a country with most unreliable weather forecasts – they are of no use anyway, since you turn a corner and everything is different. "We have two seasons," Norwegian say, "a white winter and green winter. There's no such thing as bad weather. You can only be poorly dressed."

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1 Responses to “Norway, in the land of the fjords”

Vicente B said...
January 10, 2009 at 6:48 PM

guauuuu lovely places... hope one day I can be there....
regards from another lovely place. Ibiza - Spain


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