Sunday, July 9, 2017

Norway Day 3–in Which We Climb Waffle Mountain


Gaustatoppen, at 1883 metres, is the tallest mountain in the county of Telemark, and in Southern Norway. From the summit, which can be reached in a four hour hike, it is possible to see one sixth of the mainland of Norway. We’ve been staring at the mountain since we arrived in Rjuken and so we were anxious to get started. After an extra large bowl of muesli and several cups of tea, we packed up our lunches and headed off to the start of the trail. The parking lot is several kilometres away from the funicular railway that runs up the inside of the mountain but, this being Norway, they have thought of that and there is a handy bus that will pick you up and drive you from the base of the funicular to the parking lot, allowing you to hike up and then take the railway back down. So convenient! Anyway, that was our plan and so we parked and paid our 100Kroner to the nice Norwegian God of Parking Lots. It was at this point that Terra and Zoe became aware of the fact that we were not as prepared as our fellow Norwegian hikers who had all shown up in their technical gear and expensive back packs. 


We were absolutely fine, and in no danger of risking death by exposure, but it seemed that my backpack was the cause of extreme amounts of embarrassment to the girls, due to its schoolgirl nature, pink colour scheme, and pattern of union jacks. I like to think that youthful energy is the reason the girls marched ahead of me up the trail but truth be told it was more likely the backpack. But it was so breathtaking that it didn’t matter one bit.



You will notice that Zoe is wearing the backpack in this picture due to the fact that no one else is around.



The backpack, and the summit in the background.

It was a bit of a grind near the top but the best part about this mountain is that there is a one-hundred year old waffle hut at the top. The smell of waffles wafting down the trail provided inspiration to hustle it up to the top.


The place was packed and there was some confusion as to where the ‘vaffel queue’ was. We shared a table with an extended Norwegian family who were also delighted to learn we were Canadian. At one point, I was asked by the grandpa in the group if we had walked up the mountain or taken the funicular, I answered that we had hiked up and he said “of course you did – you’re Canadian!”.

When we came back outside after our waffles, the clouds had moved in and engulfed the peak. It was a bit eerie up there and I may have been a bit insistent that the girls not fall off the edge of the rooftop.20170707_132717_thumb[1]

I also liked this stairway into the abyss and considered taking it to see what it was like, but instead I decided to descend into the mountain instead.


The way back down was quite a bit easier:


The funicular goes down at quite clip, and quite an angle for about 10 minutes before coming to stop in the middle of the mountain, which I tried not to think too much about, all those millions of tons of rock overhead, and all around…I felt like one of the dwarves from Lord of the Rings.


The train ride out to the ‘surface’ for lack of a better word, was a bit spooky, like they were filming some kind of a remake of The Shining with a child-murder just waiting for us all in the car ahead.


When we finally got out from under the mountain, the air was much warmer and the clouds hadn’t made it down that far.

We stopped in Rjuken on our way home to see if it had gotten any bigger while we were up the mountain but it hadn’t so we went back to our cabin for tea, dinner (delicious), and more Downton Abbey. It was an early night for us and we were all exhausted.

Tomorrow we drive back to Oslo for our final three days of this trip. I’m feeling very lucky to have had such a fabulous time so far with my fantastic travelling companions Smile

Thanks for reading,



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