Geiranger, Norway

August 23-24, 2001

There's no direct route here anymore as the scenic road in has closed for winter a week ago (Winter comes early in the mountains... there can still be 5 meters of roadside snow banks left in early May too!). But two buses and a ferry can get you there from a remote train station still. Two girls, desperate for afjordable (ha ha) accommodation were shocked to find the hostel closed for the year, so we created our own by making a group of four and sharing a snug cabin in town.

Geiranger is also accessible by cruise ship, but there won't be one coming for another week. We've got what is touted to be the most beautiful place in the world almost to ourselves!

The jellyfish are large and colorful in the water that goes almost straight down one kilometer and abandoned farmhouses cling to shelves on the steep 1.5 kilometer sides out of the water. The animals and children had to be tethered and getting to and from town could take over a day by boat and huge rope ladder!

There's 300 residents in town, but it is the fjord views that everyone is here for and the most scenic hiking trails I've ever encountered. Small falls mist so that if you catch the sun at the right angle, rainbows spring from the rushing water. Then go a little higher and get a glimpse of what appears to be a glacier. I wish I could climb to that! Probably could, but there's the element of time and you'll find many a backpacker mumbling to themselves, 'well, you can't see everything' as the board the return bus.

On that return bus, the driver makes frequent stops since he also delivers the mail on the way up Eagle's Highway. "10 minutes" he says. This one's for us, ten minutes to get out and peer back at Geiranger. The most beautiful place on Earth? Maybe. My mother's fjord poster my not be this place, but it's close enough and I've satisfied my quest for fjordom.

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