Part of the magic of this western part of Norway was being able to drive through fjord country and see the stunning countryside, stopping along the way to hike or explore. Throughout our week or so on the road, we made a few detours ranging from an hour to a whole afternoon in order to see some neat things.
Almost all of this part of Norway seemed like vast wilderness dotted with bucolic farmsteads nestled in the curves of rivers and glacial mountain valleys, sometimes right adjacent to waterfalls like Steinsdalsfossen. One afternoon, in between Odda and Flåm, we took a detour to Eidfjord, a small town on the Hardangerfjord. We parked our car and started strolling in the warm sun through town and along a graveled, shaded path to Eidfjordvatnet, a glacial lake where I (very briefly) got into the icy water.
After lying in the sun, we headed back toward town, on the way back exploring the viking burial sites from the Iron Age that dot the Hæreid plateau. Much of the plateau is now farmland, which covers most of the burial mounds, but there are a few still remaining in the wooded areas.
On another day, later in our trip, we stopped in Fjærland, a small town on the Fjærlandsfjorden. There was not much there – one little coffee shop, a hotel in the middle of renovations, and lots of little bookstores (Fjærland is a designated “book town”). On that same drive we stopped to peak at Bøyabreen, a glacier that can be viewed from the road. The glacier looked unreal. It’s one of the many arms of the Jostedalsbreen glacier, another of which we would ascend the day after.