Friday, July 4, 2014

Meet-Me-Halfway Honeymoon: Part 3 - Stavanger, Norway

Having spent the first 4 days of our trip in two capital cities, we were ready to move on and experience the 'real' Norway. Norway's natural beauty is difficult to overstate, the fjords, glaciers, mountainous terrain, and beautiful coastline will definitely take your breathe away. =P Hiking is the best way to experience the nature and you can't really say that you've been to Norway without hiking coz hiking for Norwegians is like shopping to Malaysians...haha!! Factoring in the weather condition and our fitness level, we chose to to hike only one of the many stunning cliffs in Norway - Preikestolen (aka Pulpit Rock) in Stavanger. In fact, my first choice was to hike Trolltunga (mainly for the amazingly scary photo opp) but the hiking route was still covered with snow at the end of May so we opted for the safer and less scary hike. =P

Some amazing stunt photos by Eskil just to give you an idea of how stunning Norway is. =P From left to right: Pulpit Rock, Trolltunge, Kjerag, Geirangerfjord.

May 17 (Sat): Hiking the Pulpit Rock

Arrived Stavanger train station at 7.30am after our 9-hours overnight train ride from Oslo. We were mentally prepared for the long and tiring day ahead but weren't sure if we were physically prepared coz we didn't really rest well in the train.   

The streets were deserted when we arrived coz everyone was probably at home dressing up for the constitution day celebration. The walk from the train station to Park Inn hotel was supposed to take only 15 minutes but it turned out to be a half an hour walk coz we were given wrong directions by some locals. Definitely not the best way to start our!! Fortunately, we were able to check into our room, take a quick shower and freshen up before we begin our adventurous hiking day. =) 

Getting to Pulpit Rock from Stavanger was a lil' troublesome but this website came in handy. Our initial plan was to take a bus from the hotel to Fiskepiren ferry terminal but we probably missed it or the bus just didn't arrive on schedule. We ended up running+speed walking 2km to the ferry terminal so that we wouldn't miss the ferry. Saw a lot of Norwegians dressed up in suits, traditional outfit and holding their flags all around the town waiting for the parade to begin. Norwegians are so patriotic!!  

Took the 10am ferry to Tau quay. The ferry ride took about 40 minutes and cost NOK94/pax (RM50) for round trip. 

After getting off the ferry, we had another half an hour bus ride that cost NOK150/pax (RM80) for a round trip ticket to get to Pulpit Rock.

It was already 11.30am when we finally arrived at the Preikestolen Fjellstue parking lot. At this point, we were already at an elevation of approximately 270 metres above sea level. 

The entire hiking route is about 3.8 kms and is expected to take approximately 2 hours each way. Honestly I'm not a fan of hiking but I wouldn't mind for the sake of the view. =P

The beginning of the hike.

Our elevation level after half an hour. 

Rocky paths...reminds me of hiking Mt Kinabalu. The path climbs and descends various ridges. At one point we started descending and I thought we were almost deceiving. =P

After hiking for 45 minutes, we were relieved to see this flat wooden path not knowing that we've still gotta go through that mountain ahead of us...oh my!!

Toughest part of the hike...long stretch of uphill climb on rocky boulders. Even that muscular guy in the bottom right pic was panting!! What a good thigh and butt workout...haha!! 

Some incredible views and small lake along the way.

Almost there!! See how close we were to the edge of the cliffs?? 

Finally made it to the top of the Pulpit Rock after 1 hour and 45 minutes, and the reward...breathtaking, mind-blowing, gorgeous, amazing view of Lysefjord despite the gloomy weather (at least it wasn't raining).

The weather was kinda sucky for photos but the fact that we were able to see this stunning view with our own eyes made this hike well worth the effort. =)

Anyone fancy a 600m dive from this awesome platform? =P

A lot of people were posing for photos right by the edge of the cliff. I wouldn't say that I have a fear of heights but I didn't even want to get near the edge and risk falling 600m off the steep cliff, especially after reading that a Spanish tourist fell to his death from the Pulpit Rock in October 2013. Under normal circumstances, my balancing skill is pretty good but I still don't think it's worth risking my life just to get a cool photo. =P

The top of the rock is actually quite big and flat (approximately 25 by 25 meters) and served as a perfect picnic + rest stop for us. While we were resting and eating our packed lunch, a bunch of Norwegians started singing their national anthem and waving their cool!!

We spent about an hour on the rock and took plenty of photographs, including some not-so-successful jumpshots and not-so-near-the-edge photos. =P

Mission accomplished!! Time to follow the marked "T" path again and begin our descend. 

Some random people that we met along the way and my conclusion is...Norwegians are so outdoorsy, active, and fit!!! Some brought their dogs, some 'backpacked' their babies, and even old grandma hiked faster than us!!

Daniel KO-ed on the way!! The hike was definitely well worth the effort though. Just remember to bring plenty of water, pack some lunch, wear comfortable footwear, and layer up your clothes as it can get windy up there.

Made it back to Stavanger at 5.30pm and rewarded ourselves with a good dinner at Peders. As we were standing by the street looking at our map trying to find the way back to the hotel after dinner, a kind gentleman who was pushing his kid in a stroller stopped and offered to help us out with the directions. Norwegians are such nice people! =)

We came all the way to Stavanger mainly just to hike the Pulpit Rock and we were glad that everything turned out well. Next post, we'll visit the 2nd largest city in Norway...Bergen!

1 comment:

Kelvin-Steph said...

Hi, thanks for sharing. The place looks wonderful.
May I know what would recommended jacket when we go hiking at cold places?
Thanks. =)