Country Hiking in Norheimsund

In the Hardanger region of Western Norway — made up of serene fjords, gushing waterfalls and statuesque bridges leading the way to chains of hills linked up by a series of tunnels — is the village of Norheimsund. During the Nazi occupation of Norway, the village served as a training camp for the Germans. There would have been fortifications along the bay once, but now they have been replaced by houses built the local way with wooden panels and slate roofs, small windows peeking out from cheerfully painted facades. Old fishermen’s cottages still stand in isolation close to the fjord, and along with a handful of stores and small harbour, Norheimsund tempts you want to sit on the pier for a long, long time. Chuck in a few cafes, a church and a school too, and you have the essence of a quiet village that was our nest for four days.

Now I have a confession to make. We started on a hike in the countryside around Norheimsund and *whispers* we abandoned it after a fair bit of trudging up steep hills. Why, you might wonder, is she a big wuss? I am one but only when it comes to water and haunted cottages. I am willing to take on hiking challenges of any nature unless you ask me to climb up paths made up of tiny slippery rocks — which I abhor with all my heart (because of late we have ended up on such hikes).

The skies had opened up the day before, letting loose their wrath upon the earth. The path was immensely boggy. My shoes kept sinking in and I felt slimy and damp. It did not help that my beloved insisted on sending out leech alarms, leeches that were apparently creeping up my leg and getting fatter by the minute. Now try as I may, I cannot and I will not develop a fondness for reptiles and creepy crawlies knowing fully well that they are our fellow creatures too. So I shrieked and shrieked (like an exasperating girl) – here I have to quickly point out that I do not scream anymore, but when I was living with my flatmates in Delhi I used to be a banshee. Every time one of my flatmates’ boyfriend turned up at the door, I would open up and scream. We had no keyhole, you see. Yet could that be a valid excuse? Or was it a subconscious urge given that he would finish all the food in the fridge. I wonder.

Adi and I huffed and puffed as we climbed up while an old man in his training shoes ran up the hill we were climbing. Did he just run past us? Overcome by incredulity, we quickened our pace and examined pretty mushrooms as we made our way through the woods. After a while, we found ourselves walking along a water pipeline and found sheep atop the hill, chewing and meditating. What do you think sheep contemplate about as they graze or when they sit and reach out for more grass?

I had mentioned in my last post about the sturdy Norwegian sheep. I sat near them and wondered if they might scuttle like the English sheep. But no, they sat there, their faces stoic. They looked at me. I looked at them. A silent communion disturbed by the sniggers of an errant husband.

It was after this point, when we had a spectacular view of the village of Norheimsund below us and islets sticking out from the waters of the fjord, that we decided to turn around. It was a most dissatisfying feeling. The kind of feeling that nags you when you have abandoned a hike midway.

Do you have any such stories of abandonment? It might just make me feel better.

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Hiking path along the water pipeline

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Hardangerfjord
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Houses of Norheimsund
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Norheimsund
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Norheimsund’s harbour

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Tunnels and green hills maketh a lovely marriage
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Steinsdalsfossen

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Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

81 thoughts on “Country Hiking in Norheimsund

    1. Thanks 🙂 See now that makes me feel a bit heartened. Waist-deep crossings, yikes. I would have turned around too. It takes less to make me abandon such ventures though this is the only one so far. I hate that gnawing feeling that comes after.

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    1. That is a wise decision to turn around when your mum was not feeling up to it. I doubt you would have had. Adi teases me by commenting that I want perfect conditions for climbing and hiking. Unfortunately it is a big yes for me! And I cannot stand the thought of leeches :O

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    1. The county of your origin sounds exciting. It apparently has 8 of the 10 highest mountains in Norway which makes me want to go hiking there. I had to look it up. I love Norway too, Patricia. Nature is just spectacular in the country and the Norwegians know how to not mess around with it.

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  1. That walk looks gorgeous and serene, I especially love the photos with water, its so calming. Also, leeches sound terrifying. I would not blame you for screaming, I would be right there with you.

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    1. Mostly it was Adi doing his best to freak me out. But he did show me fat leeches lying around! That just did the job of making me scoot. Can anyone be okay with leeches you think?! 😉 But the countryside views were worth it. Even though we abandoned it during the course of the morning, we did land up with a bit of the gorgeous landscape.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, the photos have breathtaking views. Sorry about abandoning a hike. We have done that. But we were not able to enter into a rainforest area in Australia passed Cape Tribulation, because it required 4-wheel drive. We only rented a small car, the size of a Mini Cooper! So we had to turn around!

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    1. Miriam it was a most wonderful dream. By the sound of your story, it does sound like a wise decision. Sometimes we have to switch on our common sense and let the adventurous streak in us take a back seat. Btw I just looked up Cape Tribulation and the rainforests – they are fantastic!! I shall remember it them and make a note straightaway.

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  3. You would never catch me hiking so no, I would not give up on a hike. I can imagine you being a little girl and going all “oopsie, bad rock” and the fit, muscular old man just running up past you. Were you really being eaten by leeches?? I would be way gone after the first one had touched me.

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    1. HAHAHA. Trust you to make me guffaw in such an unladylike manner. I did a fair bit of that and Adi was stealthily recording all of it. I realised much later what he was up to. He has recorded such embarrassing videos of me sliding down the rocks there :-/ I was not touched by a leech, eeks, no! I was shown very sweetly by my husband though, a fat few bad boys lying around.

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      1. Ufff, I was scared there for a minute!! Your husband must be so much fun to be around. “Let’s go hiking honey, so I can make you look bad” hahaha

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      2. He says in a goofy voice, “She got me!” 😛 Silly Billy is sitting next to me, chugging on his e-cig and being his usual self. I confess he is fun 99 per cent of the time, unless he is grouchy. Then I just leave him to sulk and stride ahead 😉

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      3. Rui is so much fun. Unless his in his bastard mood. Then he’s like a bee, keeps stinging me with his unkind words until I get mad and tell him to F-off

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      4. I don’t recall ever seeing leaches in Norway (and I have been living here for a good many years now, however, we have been infested by iberian snails (From Spain!) which have been eating our garden flowers for years!
        And they come in brown as well as black slime! They don’t much appreciate salt though!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I will rely on your expertise, Svein. After all, you would know best. I am not decidedly an expert on slugs of any kind.

        On another note, those snails are travellers. From Spain to Norway must have been an interesting journey, you think. Cheers.

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  4. […] very day that we reached Els’ cottage in Norheimsund, we drove into the county of Sogn og Fjordane. The Gullible Two got closer and closer but the […]

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  5. Beautiful pictures! I love Norway!! These pictures reminds me my days in cruise ships which we used to travel in between these valleys?. Thanks for all these beautiful shares. Looking forward for more amazing posts.

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    1. Hello there Sumith, we are kindred spirits then. Norway is one of my favourite countries and my travel there has always been rewarding. You are fortunate to have sailed between those valleys. Thank you for the lovely words. Cheers.

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  6. […] country can and will call upon your patience. We had passed a fair line-up of tunnels starting from Norheimsund that morning. The fatigue was setting in fast as we had woken up at a ghastly hour, when only lost […]

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  7. […] afternoon before, we had driven from Norheimsund to Bergen, the gateway to the fjords on the west coast of Norway. Our apartment was near the main […]

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  8. […] serenely trotting down roads, possibly out for their morning stroll – you will see in this post that the Norwegian sheep exude remarkable self-confidence unlike their English counterparts. We […]

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  9. Ooh I am not a fan of leeches either! But I am a fan of Norway and Norheimsund. I recognized a few of the spots in your photos (smile) and the bridge – been over that a few times now. It sounds like you regretted only getting half way on the hike! Yet your photo don’t evoke disappointment! Rather they evoke majesty of nature. And there is always a reason to go back to Norrheimsund, if nothing else than to finish the hike!

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    1. Hiya Amanda, thank you 🙂 You found one of my favourite posts. And in a jiffy I am back there. In those Norwegian woods, with leeches and sheep and my beloved. I hate abandoning hikes and have rarely given up on any. So this did make me wistful, but as always something makes me give up on disappointment at the end of it all. You charted the same path as I? Well, we have crossed paths somehow over the bridge of time. x

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      1. I have a few places in mind. But first, the Lofoten Islands. 🙂 This time it is going to be Paris and the Christmas towns on its outskirts.

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