As promised, the story of the longest tunnel in the world (The Laerdal Tunnel – 24.5km long). When I say story of, I obviously mean, us driving through it. I promise this write up will be as exciting as, if not more exciting than that journey.
We started the journey like any other. Hopped into our little rental car in Bergen, me directing and Hamilton driving. Hence, we probably got a little lost on the way out of the city. It was here that we encountered our very first tunnel of the day, it was a short tunnel, but a long wait as there was a lot of traffic. Other than in Oslo it was the first real traffic we’d been in, so it was a bit of a shock to the system. Nonetheless, we carried on with our drive to Alesund. This was a truly beautiful one, with many fjords and other watery landscapes.
To be honest, we had no idea that the longest tunnel in the world was on our route. It wasn’t actually until we were driving through it that we even realised we HAD gone through the longest tunnel in the world. I’m fairly sure we made jokes about it, but we couldn’t quite believe that it was that long. Hamilton was driving, and I remember him saying that having his contact lenses in, and the strange blue lights they put on in the tunnel to keep you awake were all quite mesmerising and it made it a lot worse. Perhaps just better lighting in general would make it a bit better? Anyway, who am I to question the lighting in a tunnel that is obviously a miraculous feat of engineering. Considering it took us 20 minutes at least to drive through I can’t imagine how long it took them to build.
So basically, our story of the longest tunnel in the world is that we had no idea we were driving through a tunnel with such a title. But I’m incredibly glad we only had to drive through it once. Driving through that every day would crush your soul. A little like getting the tube every day I suppose. Although in the tunnels they do have km count downs, we couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing, we just kept thinking that we were going to go around a corner and it would be daylight. This was not the case, for a very very long time.
As well as the tunnels, we had another exciting feature, in that we stopped off at the Geirangersfjord (Which is beautiful btw) and hiked a waterfall. It was raining a little bit by this point, and none of us considered bringing a rain coat, or proper hiking shoes/clothes so we were already off to a good start. It was a big old drive, as you go up and over mountains. There was still snow in places, even! Not enough for a snowball fight however. It was far too icy as well.
Anyway, yes. It was already about 6pm by the time we hiked up there, which seemed to surprise the locals a little bit – Geiranger is a tiny little village, that overlooks the fjord. It mostly consists of a few chalets, and a farm. From what I saw anyway. The waterfall is called storsetterfossen and it’s one that amazingly, you can actually walk behind.
I don’t think I would recommend it for children as it’s quite slippery, and the hand rail isn’t particularly hi tech. I mean, it did the job – I’m still alive, but it was touch and go.
In all honesty, we didn’t have a map (I downloaded one onto my phone but it was far too small to see) and the signs weren’t that helpful (it might be if you knew what you were looking for), so it probably took us a little longer than most to find it, but all in all I reckon it took about 2 hours. So basically, if you are even the slightest bit prepared, it’s a lovely, easy walk. There are even some sheep to keep you company along the way.
This did mean that for the last part of our drive to Alesund we were all a bit tired and slightly damp, however I would highly recommend it. Maybe a stay in Geiranger would be a good idea. It was definitely one of my favourite parts of the trip, and if I were to go back to Norway I would make a point of hiking around some different places. One hike definitely did not quench my thirst! Even though at the time, after spending time in Vegas and Nashville, hiking wasn’t at the top of my list, it was one of my most memorable parts of my trip to America last summer. Waking up at 4am to hike the Grand Canyon especially.
I would go into more detail about Alesund, but this post is already quite long, and most of our exploring took place the next day, when it was a bit lighter and things were actually open. I have especially good things to say about our hotel, and the place overall really.
We even saw a bear. And got in an egg. So if that doesn’t leave you wanting more, I don’t know what will.