Monday, 22 February 2016

Nordic adventure

The moment we booked our ski holiday to Geilo in Norway I have been counting down. Although we've only been back for a week, it already seems a long time ago. So by posting a selection of my photographs here I can experience it all over again!

From Bergen we took the train towards Oslo. It takes about 3.5 hrs to get to Geilo. According to many travel books and the internet, the Bergen railway journey is one of the most beautiful in the world. Well, it was definitely not exaggerated and we were in awe of the arctic landscape which was unfolding right beside us!

Travelling through a wintry fjord between Bergen and Geilo ©Fenfolio2016

Norwegian life in winter ©Fenfolio2016

Hardanggervidda mountain plateau near Finse ©Fenfolio2016

Arrival at Geilo train station ©Fenfolio2016

Geilo train station ©Fenfolio2016

 In Geilo we made trips from our hotel on our Nordic skis, on average 15k per day. The area has an amazing network of groomed and some less prepared cross-country tracks. Our skis are wider than traditional cross-country skis but narrower than normal downhill or telemark skis. Because of this we skied outside the tracks, either in the middle part or off-piste in powder snow. The skis are lightweight, have fishscales underneath (to prevent you from sliding down when going uphill) and are only fixed at the toes. To warm up on our first day we did a tour around the lake, about 13 km.

Ustedalsfjorden tour around the lake ©Fenfolio2016

Information board along the cross-country track ©Fenfolio2016

Spot the flying dipper ©Fenfolio2016

Snowy river at Geilo ©Fenfolio2016

Funky church at Geilo ©Fenfolio2016

The Scots can learn a lot from the Norwegian people regarding
woodland management ©Fenfolio2016

A few Norwegian stabburs: granaries made from wood on pillars

Beautiful and authentic Norwegian stabbur ©Fenfolio2016

Detail of Norwegian stabbur ©Fenfolio2016

The next day we decided to venture further, nearby Hallingskarvet National Park, on the North side of the lake.  Initially it was difficult to find our starting point. We first had to take the ski lift uphill (one-way ticket) and then pick up one of the tracks signposted there. Easier said than done! We only saw very steep downhill slopes for the skiers, but no directions or even groomed tracks for cross-country skiers. We were not the only ones having this problem. Because Jaap was determined not to ski downhill and because he is such a great navigator, he was able to pick up the track in the end! It was all fine until we tried to navigate our way to a certain point. We realised that the map we had didn't correspond with what was signposted and shown up the mountain.

Very clear map and network shown on top of mountain and you can also see us!

One of the connection points in the cross-country network

Only small birch trees are able to survive in this harsh climate ©Fenfolio2016

After our trip we went to the Tourist Information and they were very helpful in giving us printouts of maps corresponding with the maps uphill. So the rest of the week it was a breeze to make our way through the landscape!

Trip to Ruperanden ©Fenfolio2016

Skiing along one of the groomed tracks ©Fenfolio2016

Another fine day for exploring the countryside by skis ©Fenfolio2016

Looking back towards the valley where we skied from

Looking towards Hallingskarvet National Park ©Fenfolio2016

Plenty of possibilities to go off-piste ©Fenfolio2016

Inspiring shapes and tones in a winter landscape ©Fenfolio2016

Arrived at Ruperanden, one of the huts where you can stay
during the season (from March) ©Fenfolio2016

The photographer in her element ©Fenfolio2016

Halfway the week I took a day off of skiing due to an achilles injury. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I swam a lot in the hotel's swimming pool. Luckily I was able to treat the pain by massaging the tendon and by doing more stretches. This is something I have to do regularly due to the shape of my feet (rigid high arches) but I tend to forget this, especially when I do strenious activities. Jaap went out on his own and had a fabulous day, again on the North side of the lake near Hallingskarvet National Park. The next day he showed me the area and I was in heaven!

The start of a new adventure ©Fenfolio2016

All this powder snow was just for us to make tracks in! ©Fenfolio2016

Strike a pose ©Fenfolio2016

Making my way up through pristine landscape ©Fenfolio2016

Our destination was perfectly signposted ©Fenfolio2016

What more do you need? ©Fenfolio2016

Practicing our telemark turn in soft snow ©Fenfolio2016

Practicing our telemark turn in soft snow ©Fenfolio2016

View from hut Vestreim where we had our lunch break outside!

Footprints from possibly a mountainhare ©Fenfolio2016

Tea break along the track ©Fenfolio2016

Looking back on where we came from ©Fenfolio2016

Another trip we did was skiing to Gr√łnebakken. Again, we took the lift uphill and picked up the track from there. In the valley it was -20 C but once up there the sun and the exercise kept us warm. We could even have our lunch outside!

-20 C in the valley  at 9.30 am ©Fenfolio2016

Lunchbreak at Gr√łnebakken, again outside! ©Fenfolio2016

We stayed well away from the snow covered lake and skied along the edge of it

Too quickly our holiday came to an end. Looking down on the landscape we were leaving behind, we were already thinking about our next kayak!

A jigsaw of islands near Bergen that ask to be explored from the water

A jigsaw of islands near Bergen that ask to be explored from the water

Even the clouds have the same pattern! ©Fenfolio2016

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