We woke this morning thrilled to begin exploring Norway in earnest. We started with breakfast at the hotel, where Julie had some crazy smoked fish, then we bought provisions at a nearby grocery store and stashed everything in the car while we investigated more of Trondheim.
We started by visiting Gamle Bybro, also known as the Old Town Bridge, which was constructed in the late 17th Century.
Until the early 1800s, there was a metal gate in the bridge, but today traffic flows freely. The bridge spans the Nidelva River and provides great views of the charming buildings that back up to the water.
Many of these buildings are old store houses, constructed on pilings to facilitate loading and unloading from boats.
It was a gorgeous day, so we continued our walk through Trondheim. On our way up a steep hill we encountered an unusual machine called the Trampe Bicycle Lift. There was a small console and a slit that ran all the way to the top of the hill about 400 feet away. As we watched, a bicyclist pushed a button on the console and put his foot on a little pad protruding from the slit. After a few seconds, the pad started moving up the hill, pushing the cyclist. It was a clever contraption, and we figured that they must be common in Norway. Nope. It turns out that this machine is the only bike lift in the world. I sure wish we’d taken a picture.
Lacking bikes, we hoofed it up to the top of the hill to get a view of the city. Yep. Trondheim is a lovely little town.
In the background you can see the copper-roofed spire of Nidaros Cathedral, our next destination. Dating back to 1070 A.D., Nidaros was the go-to coronation church for Norwegian kings. Today, the monarchy in Norway is “consecrated,” not coronated, but it still takes place at Nidaros. In 2002, the daughter of the current king and queen had a royal wedding in the cathedral. Team Hubbard was more impressed by the fact that the cathedral is built on the grave of Saint Olaf, who died in 1030. Far from being a lovable little snowman, Olaf was a warrior king who converted to Christianity shortly before his death. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Norway, for which he was canonized.
It is, in fact, a beautiful cathedral.
Even the manhole covers are nice.
Even better, visitors can climb the bell towers, and the views of Trondheim from the top were spectacular.
We were getting hungry, so it was time to find some lunch. We decided to go to a fish market near the water that one of our guidebooks recommended.
We all enjoyed fish sandwiches. (Well maybe not all of us. My fish sandwich left me ill for about 36 hours.) But it was time to move on. We had a 4.5 hour drive to the house in Åndalsnes where we would be sleeping that night.
The drive was amazing. A couple of hours after leaving Trondheim, we stopped for snacks in Oppdal, where we met this handsome fellow. #trollcrush
Our drive then took us through a national park, where we took a break to investigate a small suspension bridge over the Svåne River (I think).
We also had to stop at a waterfall or two, complete with dangerous but lovely cliffs.
We were quickly learning that the natural beauty in Norway just doesn’t quit. Our drive took us through the Romsdalen Valley, where the rocky walls soar above the road as it follows the Rauma River on the valley floor. As we drove, it started to rain, but this simply changed the features of the natural beauty to include an abundance of massive waterfalls. One cliff in the valley is known as Trollveggen or the “Troll Wall.” This is the tallest vertical rock face in Europe, about 3,600 feet straight up. Unfortunately, the rain kept us from taking pictures, but a topographical map of the area gives an idea of the dimensions of this amazing valley.
It was late by the time we reached the house in Åndalsnes. There, we found a bit of a surprise. You see, we had rented our lodging in Norway in a flurry, mostly through Airbnb. It’s surprisingly hard to travel and plan travel at the same time, and we’ve been travelling for months now. In booking the house, we hadn’t noticed that there was a cat. And everyone on Team Hubbard is allergic to cats. Fortunately, we didn’t have too much trouble. Maybe Norwegian cats are different.
We have only been in Norway for one full day, and we haven’t even seen a fjord. Nevertheless, Norway is already amazing.