5 things you never knew about… Norway
Norway is sublime, in the older sense of the word. Sublime once meant the overwhelming experience of one small human confronted with the wild and imposing majesty of nature, the terrific beauty of a land both untamed and untameable.
Many people imagine Norway as a hostile winter world, enshrined in a pristine blanket of impenetrable snow. But each spring the cold heart of Norway melts, and an evocative Viking world stirs and flexes its muscles in preparation. Summer startles the greenery into life: trees blossom as melt waters skid and tumble in playful rivulets towards thunderous waterfalls.
So for a bit of Nordic number crunching, here’s our selection of superlatives and fjord-related factoids about the majestic landscape of Norway.
Sognefjord – the Longest
This is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. An impressive 200km stretch of seawater divides into increasingly spindly offshoots as it invades the landscape, although the ‘The King of the Fjords’ deserves its crown for other reasons as well…
Naeroyfjord – the Narrowest
In contrast, the Naeroyfjord is the narrowest of the fjords – only 250m between the dramatic escarpments at its thinnest point. This UNESCO World Heritage Site takes its name from ‘Njord’, the Norse god of the sea. Nowhere else does the infinite power of the gods seem more appropriate; the sheer walls of the fjords impose more than as you creep between the towering rocks. This is a mythic landscape, one where folkloric fantasies ignite the imagination.
The Jostedalsbreen – the Biggest
The largest glacier in continental Europe, the Jostedalsbreen ice cap is a staggering 50 miles long and up to 600m at the thickest point. If melted, the ice locked up in the glacier could reportedly fill 300 thousand million bathtubs. Handy to know since the UK is reportedly in a drought…
Feigumfoss Waterfall – (one of the) Highest
The sound of a liquid avalanche crashing 218m drown onto the rocks is the fanfare which heralds the arrival of one of the highest waterfalls in Norway, Feigumfoss. The ‘Romantic Road’ leading to the waterfall twists through the scenic splendour of Lusterfjord, one of the smaller, quieter arms branching away from the Sognefjord.
Urnes Stave Church – the Oldest
Urnes is the oldest church in Norway, and one of the most beautiful. Rebuilt in 1150, also an UNESCO World Heritage, it is built almost entirely of wood, and intricately carved with arched gables and entwined vine reliefs. The wooden Stave churches are unique to Norway, and play a crucial part in their religious heritage.
Discover the destination: ‘Walking the Fjords’ (Trip code: TSH) is based in the picturesque Nes Gard Lodge in Lusterfjord, a short hike from Feigumfoss waterfall and a stone’s throw away from Urnes Stave church.. Treat your hiking boots to 8 days exploring the Norwegian fjords, framed by crossing both the longest (Sogne) and the narrowest (Naeroy) of the fjords by ferry. See the Jostedalsbreen ice cap both on foot and by boat, from the backdrop of the Jostedalsbreen National Park and then from the waters of a glacial lake.
All three departures for 2012 are now guaranteed.