It was the silence that made the scene before me even more surreal than it had already been. I had seen pictures, online, in magazines, in guidebooks but it wasn't the same. Standing in front of Geirangerfjord, I felt like I had taken a trip to a secret place, where only a select few had the privilege of being shown this place. I was only grateful that I had been deemed worthy.
We continued our drive down towards the little village of Geiranger where we would take the sightseeing cruise around the fjord. Every twist and turn took me closer and I found it increasingly difficult to keep my excitement at bay. When we finally arrived to Geiranger, it was deserted, but I believe that allowed the place to speak to us. Ever get to a place and it's packed with people? We didn't have that issue at all when we were there. I guess that’s one of the benefits of travelling during the off peak season. I used that as an opportunity to sit in the midst of this UNESCO World Heritage site and hoped that those that called this place home, all year long, knew what a gem they had sitting on their doorstep.
The tour began. Everyone was looking for a sunny spot, as the temperatures had dipped below 2°, but the sun gave a little warmth. By the time we had left Geiranger and were in the fjord, try to keep warm was all but forgotten. All we cared about was the view before us as the fjord welcomed us in and no one noticed when the sun dipped behind the mountain.
We saw the famous falls, the Seven Sisters and the Suitor. Legend has it, that the Suitor has been trying to woo the sisters but they are playing hard to get. The Bridal Veil looked extremely content as her waters flowed into the fjord. Seeing the cabins in the mountains made me rethink my idea of a holiday home. Living here would be so much better.
As the tour rounded up to a close I wanted more. So we headed up to Flydalsjuvet which offers a bird’s eye view of Geiranger and its fjord. Sitting up on the mountain and looking down , I finally realised that Norway was a gem and anyone who got the chance to see this gem would be changed from the inside out. I now understand that travel is more than just being able to tick boxes and take a picture but it's about being in the moment and appreciating that it's a privilege and should never be taken for granted.
To say I was sad when I woke up the next day and realised we were making our way back to reality would be an understatement. However, when I came face to face with Gudbrandsjuvet all the sadness dissipated. I had a deep sense of joy as I looked at the water cascading in a powerful yet majestic manner. Before I could talk myself out of it, I found myself walking towards the other side of the viewing platform to get closer to the waterfall. The rocks leading there were slippery and half of the time I was worried about my camera and my phone dropping because at this point my hands were frozen but that wasn't enough to deter me. When I finally got to the point I had been aiming for, I was lost for words, I couldn't wait to share it with anyone who cared to listen.
Time was no longer on our side so we had to move on from this breathtaking scene. We continued our journey on route 63 and passed cows that showed us that around here they were the kings of the land and that we couldn’t mess with them. As such we had to wait for them to pass by before we carried on. We saw mountains rise up and extend an invitation to us to take it easy and take in their beauty.
Before long we were at the site of the other wonder of Western Norway, Trollsteigen or Trolls land. The viewing point was high, the wind was strong and I was terrified that I was going to drop my phone but that didn't stop me attempting to get a perfect shot but I couldn't. I could blame it on the camera, blame it on not having the right lens or the right position, but I want to say that it wanted to keep a part of it secret. We rely on photography a lot nowadays. It’s how I plan to go to places, based on how pretty they look. I realised that by being given a sneak peek, the likelihood of you booking a ticket to go there would be higher as we all want to satisfy our curiosity.
Western Norway's route 63 was filled with curvy roads, powerful waterfalls and peaceful fjords, but it also filled me with immense inspiration and I'm forever changed