The Update #16 – Good, Better, Best

by Jasper and Lonneke
31 July 2021
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This time, I start the update the other way around, with today. Normally the end of this week’s story, just because I can and it immediately gives a good impression of the atmosphere for the rest of the story. Today we have a rest day, the legs, and especially the calves feel stiff and tight from yesterday’s tough hike. I feel completely human again instead of a hobo because I just “showered”. Today this meant the hose of our solar shower peeping in through the window, jap holding the hose above my head and I wash my hair with the water that is so cold it gives me a brain freeze. I am now sitting outside in a thick sweater but nicely tucked out of the wind in the sun with a beautiful view over the mountains with a flowing river next to us. In a moment we will throw our last vegan sausage rolls in the oven, go shopping in the town of Lom and probably queue for the second time for the bakery there. Then we go to the tourist information center to use their wifi so that this piece can go online and we can upload all the photos and videos into the cloud. A real rest day, and we will need it badly because tomorrow there is another big hike on the program, but you will hear more about that next week. Ow and do you wonder if we are still together with our favorite Florine and Thijs? Please read on ;).

From Bergen we headed for the glaciers of Jostedal National Park. This was quite a few kilometers so we actually drove almost the whole day. We had to take a ferry again and really enjoyed all the beautiful views along the way. Because it was wonderfully warm and because we really wanted to take a shower, we immediately started exercising when we arrived. Because we hadn’t had exercise today and you know the rule by now: “no shower without exercising first”. Because the weather was so nice, the water in the solar shower warmed up nicely and the water was lukewarm. All four of us were even able to take a shower, which was super nice. The rest of the evening we played games again and  played frisby with VanVerhalen. We stood in a parking lot with a view on the glacier, besides that this gave a very nice view, it was extra impressive because sometimes very large pieces of the glacier broke off and collapse, which gave a lot of noise and looked awesome. Don’t worry, the glacier was far enough away that we wouldn’t get caught in an avalanche.

The next day. We didn’t feel like walking to the actual viewpoint yesterday, so that was on the agenda for today. It was really a few minutes walk to the viewpoint. Here Jap flew with the drone for a while and we enjoyed the view again. Then we left for a nice walk to a glacier, a valley further on. Because the cell reception was rather poor, we stopped at a larger town along the way to check out some things. We might have wanted to take a glacier walk with a guide, but we weren’t sure when and where. Nor how expensive it would be. We became a bit wiser, but we didn’t know if we were going to do it. After the town we took the exit into the next valley, this road again presented a challenge on a completely different level. It was actually continuously so narrow that it was a single lane including pitch dark tunnels. At one point we had to drive half way up the mountain so that a truck could pass us. And the truck wasn’t the only oncoming car we encountered, haha. It was a challenging road but luckily everyone drove relatively calm and the views were beautiful! We arrived at the sleeping place unscathed. We had a really fantastic view of the mountains and it was wonderfully green. Around 2 pm we set out for the glacier with the 4 of us, however Florine and Thijs had to give up after a while because Floor suddenly had a migraine attack and the two of us went on. Although the walk itself was not that hard, we still had a very hard time because it was a very hot day. After 2 hours we got to the glacier and it was a really big one. There was a lake at the bottom with lots of ice bergs floating around and two glacier tongues came together. Here we rested for a while and took pictures and jap also flew the drone again. After that it was time to go to Florine and Thijs again. Luckily, it had cooled down quite a bit on the way back and we both walked a lot better and because of this we were back really fast. In the evening we enjoyed the surroundings, the sheep that came by and the Chili sin carne that Florine made for us. Especially those sheep provided fun entertainment. Besides that we had to make sure that they did not go in the campers, they were always on the bridge with a whole herd. Whenever a car wanted to cross it, those people had to make the greatest effort to get those sheep off the bridge. As soon as the car was passed, the sheep immediately lay down on the bridge again, after which they had to be chased away a few minutes later. We have seen this ritual happen at least ten times, where the sheep became less and less motivated to get up, haha.

The next day was again dominated by covering ground, the weather was not so nice so that worked out nicely. You often mistake the distances in Norway. Especially because it doesn’t seem very far as on a map, but because you have to go around a lot of mountains, the road is often less direct than you hope. And because of all those narrow roads and hairpin bends, a trip of almost 200 km can take 3.5 hours. That was the case again today, mainly because we had to take the nerve wrecking road out of the valley again. But it all went well. Along the way we made a few pit stops to enjoy the beautiful view. We drove over a mountain pass with beautiful views of the snowy mountains. Finally in Lom we found a nice place on the water to camp, here we relaxed, sheltered in the bus from the rain and had a sushi and springroll party with VanVerhalen in our bus. It was nice and cozy with 3 large bodies and a small one in a small van, but it was super cozy. We were also interviewed by Florine for vanlife magazine about the journey we want to make to the Americas, when the borders finally open. She started this magazine with another vanlifer and we will be in the second (#1) edition.

Today we had planned a more relaxed day, especially without driving. Jap wanted to work on the Jap and Mr Possum project for a while and we also wanted a quieter day. After a quiet start to the day, we went, with Florine and Thijs, to the best bakery in Norway (no idea according to who, but apparently it is). And as we had already heard, there was indeed, like every day, a very long waiting line. But it wasn’t raining and we had time. Finally it was our turn and there was really a lot of choice of bread, especially kanelbulle and all kinds of variants. In the end, Lon chose three to share and we found a quiet table where we could charge everything and work. We had a kanelbulle, a kind of coffee roll with nuts and raisins and a puff pastry tart with apple. The last one was by far the best and all four of us thought it was mainly good marketing because we really have had better. Maybe not in Norway, but we certainly had in Sweden. Then we sat there and worked for a long time. The next stop was the information center for the Jotenheim NP to get some information about the different hikes. The internet turned out to be good here and we were also able to back up a lot of our images. Because of this we stayed there for a long time. Then we walked past the stave church, a very old church made entirely of wood. Because we hadn’t moved that much today, we also went for a run. I had already promised a pancake evening for a few days and especially Thijs and Jap couldn’t wait any longer, so we had a nice pancake evening. In the evening we also took a short walk with VanVerhalen to end the day. It was a nice day to refuel and update.

The next day Geiranger was on the planning, apparently the most beautiful fjord in Norway. The four of us wanted to explore the fjord one way or another, but how exactly we would figure out there. We had already heard that the views would be best from the water. From Lom it was about a 1.30 hour drive to Geiranger. It was a nice drive in which we had to take a part with hairpin bends towards the fjord. On the way we stopped at a viewpoint and around 1 pm we were at the information center to arrange something. There were many different options, from renting canoes, renting your own boat to a sailing trip. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was not great so we eventually opted for a trip with a larger boat, where you got free coffee and could also get of along the way to walk to a viewpoint. The boat left fairly quickly but there really had to be some time to get some goodies at the bakery. Hahah, we love Florine and Thijs but Jap loves them even more because they love sweets at the bakeries just as much as he does. Then it was time to get on the boat and sail the fjord. The views were really beautiful and there were quite a few waterfalls. But, it soon started to rain, however that didn’t stop us from enjoying the area from the deck. It really reminded us of Milford Sound in New Zealand. At the stopover, the four of us got out and headed upstairs. It was still raining and the climb was very steep so we went up slowly. Halfway through we took a break at a spot that was sheltered by the mountain so that we were dry. It got drier after that and when we reached the top it finally stopped raining. There was also a farm that produced hay for the village for a long time at the top. You can hardly imagine it, so remote. You had a really nice view over the fjord with several waterfalls. Jap also flew with the drone here and shot beautiful images. The way down was quite challenging as the stones were quite slippery. Fortunately we were down with plenty of time before we were picked up by the boat again. Because you can actually only camp on the campsite in Geiranger and you can’t camp well in the wild, we drove back to Lom and our spot on the beach. We quickly made a delicious homemade pasta for the four of us. And spent the rest of the evening chatting with Florine and Thijs. It was a really nice, but unfortunately also the last, evening with Florine and Thijs. Our paths part here as they head towards Oslo and Sweden while we continue north.

Unfortunately it was time, the farewell of Florine and Thijs. We traveled together for 2 weeks. We ate together almost every day, played a lot of games, exchanged travel stories and, above all, laughed a lot. It’s really nice that we met them and very special that we traveled together for so long. All four of us had never done this before, but our plans turned out to be the same every time, so we continued to travel together. We couldn’t have wished for better bus neighbors and we will miss them, those crazy VanVerhalen. We’ll see each other again soon, we’ll make sure of that. After that it was time to empty the toilet and refill the water and set out for the walk we wanted to do today. The weather was really beautiful, which was really nice since the past few days had been a little less. We drove deeper and deeper into the national park and the mountains really became more and more rugged with beautiful snow-capped peaks, super beautiful. We finally decided to have an extensive meal before going up the mountain. We had already said before that going for a walk later in the day here in Scandinavia is actually very nice. So first we relaxed in the bus and had a nice meal in preparation for the big climb. We were going to climb a real mountain and also a really pointy one, so that would be quite a climb. There was also not really a route and we more or less had to determine it ourselves. Of course there were all paths of people who had been up before us, but no real signposts, so a real adventure. Around 2 pm we set out to reach the top. The beginning was really doable, you had to climb over rocks now and then, but it was very nice and varied. But as we got closer to the top it got rockier and we even had to cross patches of snow. But then when Lon was filming me with the camera on this part, a reindeer with a young came running up. They walked right past us and up the snow. Really cool to see and super lucky that we saw them. The last part to the top was really very steep and was a lot of scrambling over boulders. At one point we really had to climb with hands and feet almost straight up. Lon found this quite stressful and has thought several times and said that she did not dare any further. But each time we went a little further and eventually we came to the top. And man what a view, you really had a 360 degree view around you on the most beautiful mountain peaks. This is really one of the most beautiful views we have had so far. We really enjoyed the time at the top. Jap even flew the drone for a while, which he found really stressful because it was windy and because the drone can fly not that good at height. But he landed safely. Then we slowly started the way down, luckily Lon found this a lot less stressful. We had quickly descended quite a bit and thought it would be best to have a picnic here while we still had such beautiful view, so that’s what we did. It was already 6 o’clock and we still had a while to go, so we quickly went further down. Around 8 o’clock we were finally back at Bob. We were both really pooped, but it was all well worth it because what a view we had. We quickly looked for a nice wild camping spot and went to bed.

That was it again for this week.

Much love from us.

Jap and Lon

Menu of the week

SundayMinestrone soup
MondayChili sin carne
TuesdaySushi and spring roll party
WednesdayPancake party
ThursdayHome made pasta

Spendings of the Week

Budget per day €54 and per week €378 and per month €1700

What/WhereCost (€)
Eating out45,44
* In Norway we will use a lot of ferries and therefore included this sections here


Driven kilometers: 750

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