Norwegian Dragonkin Gathering

4 pictures from trip to cabin. First picture show two participants walking along a road built into the side of a cliff. Second picture show participants photographing the fjords. Third picture show participants on a snow covered Hardangervidda. Fourth picture show the waterfalls of Vøringfossen.

NDG 2015

For Norwegian Dragonkin Gathering 2015 we went to visit the fjords and mountains of the west coast of Norway. More specifically we went to Voss, near Bergen, which is a full day of driving from our home. We left our home in the warm and clear morning of Saturday when everyone had arrived (including the lost luggage of one of our participants), and the 14 of us travelled to Geilo and arrived just in time for a lunch break. Then we continued our journey over the still snow covered Hardangervidda and made several stops along the way. Despite the snow cover, it was still warm and nice up there. On the way across the highlands we stopped at Sysenvatn dam, which is a huge rock construction to dam up melt water. Once we made it to the other side of the highlands of Hardangervidda we made a stop at Vøringfossen, which is Norway's largest waterfall. It was particularly much water in Vøringfossen this year due to extreme snow melting. After our visit to Vøringfossen we had to hurry on to the cabin as it was getting quite late. Once arrived at our large 18 person medium standard cabin we got settled in and ready for some quick dinner and sleep.

2 pictures from the cabin. First picture shows a mirror-still lake with snow covered, yet green mountains in the background. Second picture is from inside the cabin with participants talking together.

On Sunday we familiarized us with each others and explored our surroundings of the cabin. However, things did not go entirely as planned as one of our participants got hospitalized. This stalled all plans and the rest of us settled for socializing, playing cards, and spending as good time as we could together while worrying about our fellow participant. Fortunately our hospitalized participant rejoined us on Monday, for which we were all very relieved about. Thus the rest of Monday was spent doing a little bit of shopping and being happy we were all together and in good health.

4 pictures from Bergen. First picture shows houses clinging on the mountainside. Second picture is of the participants taken from above. Third picture is of the participants barbequeing. Fourth picture is a panorama of Bergen from above.

We got back on track with our plans on Tuesday and went to visit Bergen, Norway's second largest city, which is famous for its rainy and gray weather. However, we were very fortunate that day since despite the clouds there was not a single rain drop and thus we remained dry as we roamed around in the city. Once we arrived, we went up to Fløyen with the funicular and enjoyed the great view over the city of Bergen and set up a portable barbeque to make us some lunch Norwegian style: sausage rolled up in potato bread. Then we took the stroll downhill through the beautiful forest of the hillside of Fløyen and walked through the old part of Bergen until we finally ended up on the famous Bryggen. We split up and explored the stores in Bergen centre before we reunited again for dinner, after which we headed off to Bergen airport to pick up our last remaining participant and shortly after headed back to our cabin.

5 pictures from the excursion to Aurland. First picture shows a waterfall. Second picture shows Aurlandsfjorden. Third picture shows several participants standing on a several meter high plow-edge next to a road. Fourth picture is taken of the participants in the minibus. Fifth picture is of the ferry we rode with through Nærøyfjorden.

Our longest excursion was moved to Wednesday since it was depending on good weather for being enjoyable. Weather in Norway can be very variable: even during summer there can be snow storms up in the mountains. We left early that day to catch a ferry, so we went straight to Gudvangen quay to wait for the ferry and enjoy the deep end of Nærøyfjorden. We loaded the bus onto the ferry and went on a 2 and a half hour long ferry trip while we were sailing through the fjords towards Flåm. We had great weather and had a very smooth sailing, even if the clouds were hanging a bit low. We looked about in the tourist traps of Flåm for a bit before we hit the road again towards Aurlandsfjellet. The road over Aurlandsfjellet is closed during winter, usually until mid May due to that the mountain usually accumulate extreme amounts of snow, and before Lærdaltunnelen was buildt the road over Aurlandsfjellet was one of the roads binding Bergen and Oslo together. On the way up Aurlandsfjellet we stopped at the view point Stegastein which offer a beautiful view over Aurlandsfjorden. We continued over Aurlandsfjellet and stopped along the way for a snow ball fight and stopped at a few nice places along the way before we came down to Lærdalen and drove through Lærdalstunnelen back towards Flåm where we ate before going back to the cabin.

On Thursday we took a shorter excursion back to Bergen to visit Akvariet, Norway's largest aquarium, which we had missed during our previous visit to Bergen in favour of shopping. The weather this day was more like the weather that Bergen is famous for, wet. We made it just in time to enjoy the sea lion show which is the biggest attraction in the park. Then there was the feeding of the penguins, seals, and crocodiles. We loitered around in the aquarium for most of the day before we decided to return back to our cabin and the rest of that day was spent watching film, playing cards, or just drinking and talking about all sorts of things.

2 pictures from the cabin. First picture is from the barbeque party at the cabin. Second picture is taken from the terrace of the cabin during midnight, showing the sun right behind the horizon. 2 pictures from the trip home. First picture is taken on the Hardanger bridge with participants enjoying the view of the fjords. Second picture is taken of the Hardanger bridge. 2 pictures from Oslo. First picture is taken from Akerbrygge of Akershus fortress. Second picture is of the participants at an outdoor cafe.

Friday was our last day before we had to pack up and head homewards, so we went into Voss to watch the paragliders, water sports, and other events going on there. The week while we was in Voss it was the annual event Ekstremsportveko, which is an event with all things related to extreme sports. It was a fairly warm day, so some of us went to the beach while others headed for exploring the centre of Voss. The water was very cold despite the warm day, though, as it was melt water from the mountains all around us. As it neared late afternoon we went home to have a barbeque party and celebrate that we, despite some unplanned events along the way, had a really great week together!

We got up early on Saturday to start cleaning out the cabin that had been our home for the past week and hit the road as early as we could. We decided to take the same road home, as it was the shortest and also offer more interesting views, but aside from stopping at Hardangerbrua to walk across it, we went mostly straight back home without much delay, then we parted with our first participants at the airport.

Those who were still around on Monday headed down on an excursion in Oslo, Norway's capital city. There we visited the Opera house, which is a fairly new iconic building in Oslo for operas, musicals, and orchestra. It is also an iceberg made out of glass floating around in the fjord next to the Opera house. From there we walked along Karl Johans gate, which is Norway's busiest shopping street and headed towards Akershus festning, which is a castle that was used for protecting Norway against foreign powers until as late as Second World War. A local furry brought us for a guided tour through the castle, then we split up where some went for shopping and others went for visiting other attractions in the city. After everyone had had their share of adventure in Norway's largest city, we went to a restaurant and enjoyed the company of each others. After a great time together it was time to take our farewells over the next few days as our great adventure slowly faded into daily life rythm again. But as one adventure ends, there will be space for new adventures. :)

Group photo on the ferry in Nærøyfjorden