We are now heading west and are somewhat on a descending road through a mountain range as we are gradually working our way down to sea level in this direction. Along the way we do a short walk through a valley that had a river/waterfalls running through as well as a old historic rail bridge. I should mention we have set up a camera on a tripod to take a photo out the front window every few seconds to create time lapses of all the roads. Those will have to be done once the trip is over - the photos are taking too much space on my computer that I have had to upload them all away onto a cloud.
We continue on through a flatter portion of roadway that has some more extreme mountain ranges.. some of the highest straight vertical faces in Europe. This road connects us to our next tourist route, called Trollstigen-Geiranger. Before getting there we stop at the Trollveggen which is *the* highest vertical face in Europe and there is a stop by the architects Reiulf Ramstad architects with a small cafeteria, gift shop and theatre on the history of the mountain. The building has some slopes roofs one of which acts as outdoor seating. We shared an ice cream sandwich and had some of our snacks.
We remarked that this ride had been so scenic why wasn't this also a tourist route? We soon had our answer with the Trollstigen road.. as it is probably the most famous road in Norway and ascends a mountain face with 11 hairpin turns. We stopped at the bottom to build up some courage and walk up to the base of the waterfall/river to take some photos looking up the mountain.
We took the road slowly and the ascent was very rapid, and tall. As we neared the top we were inside of the clouds. We were amazed some giant tour buses are able to take this road, as the turns are so sharp and inclined. Dakota had to view the photos out the window after because she was as laser focused on not driving off the cliff. She did great. At the top there is a tourist centre, also by Reiulf Ramstad. There was one before that was destroyed by avalanche (the road is closed in winter) so the new building is two interlocking concrete shells that are sloped to resist the weight of the heavy snowfall it endures in the off season. It is also positioned at the edge of the river leading to the waterfall with a series of concrete edges that help control the flow.
From here you can take a walkway that takes you along the side of the mountain looking back down at the winding Trollstigen road with a series of cantilevered viewing decks along the way. You can also take some hiking routes off he constructed path which we briefly ventured one for a better view before the way became more advanced. Dakota says it was nice, and it was her favourite project yet and she gets a badge of honour for surviving the Trollstigen.
We hung out in the main building for a while to enjoy the view. The rain and cooling air really lowered the clouds which made for a relaxing views. One of the walls is covered with photos describing the history of the roads construction.
Continuing on we then head to our next accommodation - the Juvet Hotel, which will be the nicest place we will stay the whole trip. While already notable it became more famous as the film Ex Machina used it as the exterior and a few interiors of the mansion in the movie. In reality the hotel is a series of 8 disconnected cabins. We originally were set to stay in one of two rooms added later, called birdhouses, but to our surprise we were able to get into the more famous ones with the most amazing view. The hotel is built on what was once farmland (and there are other farms around, especially strawberry farms). The reception, dining hall, and shared outdoor seating area are in the restored barn while the cabins are set towards a slope overlooking the river, and two birdhouses set back on the hillside.
We thought we might do one of those adventure parks that are nearby (zip lines, rope bridges, etc) but we already had enough excitement with the road here. We instead enjoyed the spa building sitting in the hot tub facing into the glacier stream. A woman was there with her kids from Stockholm. She remarked on how growing up going to Norway was not even a consideration, the hype was all Western Europe, sometimes parts Asia. But she talked about how surprised she has been by the Nordic landscape and was intrigued by how the hotel was described online - combining culture with nature.
That night we had dinner in the barn and met another couple from Belgium. who as it turned out were architects travelling some of the tourist routes themselves with their high school-aged kids. They are doing some of the routes we are, but in somewhat of the reverse order. We also bet a group of three friends (mid-30s maybe?) from Britain, though living in Hong Kong, who were staying 5 nights in the hotel. Honestly it didn't seem like they knew what they wanted to do in Norway as they seemingly had no idea of what was around - they only knew from the hotel from the movie. They didn't seem to want to do the trollstigen - the only other road to even get to the hotel. To each their own I guess.
Dinner was prepared by Erik, one of the attendants of the hotel. A three course meal that started with cauliflower soup with dill oil, served with these flat bread crisps. It was delicious and the first hot meal in a while. Second course was a cod fish served over mashed potatoes, parsnip, sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts with apple reductions. Dakota was served a fillet minion steak instead due to her allergies. It was admittedly more well done that we usually like - but she enjoyed the flavour nonetheless. Dessert was lindberry in a cream, almost yogurt like, with lindberry sorbet and cinnamon meringue. It was amazing.
We played some cards in the living room area of the lounge before heading to our room for the night. Dakota destroyed me.