Our trip on Saturday was filled with outstanding scenery and interesting discoveries. It began as we drove along the Troll Road (Trollistigen) and finished with our overnight stop on the Atlantic Coast.
We approached the Troll Road across a rugged mountain pass. It had been raining all morning but our luck was in and it cleared just as we approached the pass. The Troll’s Road – is an impressive piece of road building where the road snakes and climbs its way up and up along steep mountainsides.
At the top of the pass was a lookout that gave us some superb views of he road ahead and the valley below. The bends and curves are a tribute to the skill of its constructors, as they originally carved this road out of bedrock by hand. The road is narrow with a gradient of 9 %, but passing pockets have been incorporated and traffic normally flows without a problem (Unless you get a convoy of tour buses arriving at the same time). In a couple of places there were traffic marshals regulating traffic flow and ensuring and that large vehicles could pass.
The road, which is closed during the winter months, is currently visited by around 600 000 travellers and tourists between June and November, making it one the most popular tourist venues in Norway. The road at its a highest point is 852 metres high. There is an old pack road that has been restored and is favourite and exciting footpath for those who wish to hike up, or down, the mountain.
The road was opened on 31st July 1936 by the then King of Norway Haakon VII, who at the opening ceremony gave the road the name Trollstigvegen. The local population had long waited for better road communications over the mountains, and now they finally had something to celebrate. For several hundred years (1533–1875) the Romsdals Market (The Mart) had been a vital annual event for trade and social life in the area, so access over the mountains was an important factor for farmers who bought and sold both horses and cattle.
There are two waterfalls along the route an other have an impressive volume of water cascading down the near vertical mountainside.
We enjoyed this road so much that we drove back up and then down again! I’m not sure wh the King named this the ‘Troll Road’. A troll is a type of imaginary being in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. In Old Norse sources, trolls were described as dwelling in isolated rocks, mountains, or caves. They lived together in small family units, and were rarely helpful to human beings. Later, in Scandinavian folklore, trolls became beings in their own right, where they live far from human habitation, and are considered dangerous to human beings. Depending on the source, their appearance varies greatly; trolls may be ugly and slow-witted, or look and behave exactly like human beings, with no particularly grotesque characteristic about them. This area does a superb job of making the most of this mythology. It appeals to the tourists and increases the income of the souvenir shops.
We had a lunch stop (in the rain) by a lake. We been given far too much food for breakfast the Hesthaug farm, so we made up some bread rolls and made a thermos for lunch on the road.
Just after lunch, i saw a sign pointing to a Stave Church in the village of Rodven and we decided to explore since it was only 8 km down the road. Stave churches are considered to be among the most important examples of wooden Medieval architecture in Europe. In the Middle Ages, there were probably more than 1,000 stave churches in Norway. Today, only 28 remain and only 2 of the type we saw with external buttresses.
A stave church is made of wood, and the construction is made out of poles (“staver” in Norwegian), hence the name. This church was built around 1300. Its upper windows were installed in 1650 and its larger windows in l824. This church is more humble than others that we have seen in photographs, probably because this was more remote and less wealthy. It began as a catholic church and converted to Lutheran at the time of the reformation. The large crucifix was reinstalled some time after being found in a famer’s barn. The decoration inside these churches is a fascinating mix of both Christian and Viking symbolism. Due to the Black Death and the reformation, many stave churches disappeared. In 1650 there were around 270 stave churches left, and during the next 100 years 136 of them disappeared as well. Today only 28 of them remain – many in Fjord Norway.
We reached our hotel for the night at around 5.00 pm. It is a replica of a fishing village (with some original parts still remaining) on an island. To get there, we travelled along the Atlantic Coast Road.
It’s a unique stretch of road that takes you right out to the ocean’s edge. In 2005, the road was voted Norway’s ‘Engineering Feat of the Century’, and is also known to be the world’s most beautiful drive. It connects Averøy with the mainland via a series of small islands and islets spanned by a total of eight bridges over 8274 meters. The road was opened in 1989 and is toll free.