This day started off with the thrill of being able to sleep in. Well, at least we tried. When the sun is out in full force at 4 AM, you do the best you can. We caught the bus from downtown Ålesund to the airport, where we picked up our typical European rental car (small and ugly, but cute and efficient at the same time). Finally, we were free!! We hit the road with an eventual destination of Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the three most visited fjords in Norway. But this day was all about the journey.
After consulting with our Airbnb host and the rental car agent, we had initially decided to forgo a three hour detour to the Atlanterhavsvegen ("The Atlantic Ocean Road"), a National Tourist Route basically built in the ocean, which claims to be the world's best road trip and is a popular filming location for car commercials. We were sure we simply didn't have time. An hour into our drive away from the airport, we thought about it a little longer, changed course, and decided to go for it. See all the things! Thank goodness we did, because the entire tour through the countryside somehow just kept getting better.
Along with the incredible scenery, Sarah made the discovery of her lifetime when we stopped for our convenience store budget meal. It's a machine that dispenses mashed potatoes, y'all! Does life get any more perfect than this!?
Behold Storseisundet, the most famous and most photographed bridge on the Atlanterhavsvegen. During bad storms, ocean sprays can reach the top of the bridge, so we prayed for bad weather.
Driving over the bridge was so much fun, we went back and forth and took turns!
We thought that drive was impressive until we started heading toward Geirangerfjord and got to the Trollstigen ("troll steps") road. You may be familiar with this view if you've ever cruised the Pinterest travel board. The drive was scary and exhilarating and so much fun! We tried really hard not to die and were successful - this time.
Be sure to watch out for trolls!
We eventually made it to the town of Geiranger at 10:30pm. Don't worry, there was plenty of daylight left to take these beautiful pictures. We couldn't believe the lushness of the greenery, or the deep teal of the water.
And finally, the real treat. Most tourists stay down in the town of Geiranger for easy access to the docks and the restaurants. Fortunately for us, those hotels were all booked up when we made our reservation. We were forced into one of the few remaining available rooms in the area at an older hotel up the hill. Not only did the Utsitken Hotel turn out to be absolutely charming, but THIS is the view from our cozy little room...
It was challenging to tear ourselves away from this view to go to sleep. It was a good day. 😃