From Bud we drove south. We had to wait for a while for the ferry to Åfarnes, so we drove back up the hill to take a closer look at a dramatic red church, Veøy. Then we sat by the ferry launch to admire the views and watch hundreds of jellyfish as they slowly washed up against the rocks. Finally the ferry returned and we continued on our journey.
We followed E136 along the base of a steep canyon beneath Trolltindan, a sharp mountain range with peaks over 1700 m. We continued to E6 south-bound and then onto Vågåvatnet, a large lake west of Otta where we camped for the night.
The next morning we drove to the town of Lom, a town built with darkly stained wood. In the center of town is an impressive and one of the largest Stave churches in Norway, Lomskyrkja. Stave structures are characterized by their wooden framework and corner posts. The details of the woodwork on the church was incredible and was a nice surprise find.
As we continued onto route 55, the Sognefjellet National Tourist Route, we found another unexpected point of interest, Sagaøylen. A large monument, a 34 m tall column with reliefs depicting Norwegian history. Construction of the column, which was originally intended to be erected in Oslo, started in the 1920s, but it wasn’t completed until 1992. The column is now in a quiet grassy field next to the Elveseter lodge.
Route 55 continued to follow the Leira river, there were many places to stop and take in the views of fall in the valley. Further along the road we climbed past a heard of cows that were calmly wandering down the road. Rivers became smaller streams and then numerous waterfalls that cam down from rock walls.
Over the small pass we continued to more alpine lakes and expansive glacier views. We stopped near the very top, 1434 m, to make some oatmeal for breakfast and wait to see if some of the low-lying clouds over the glaciers would move. They did a bit and we caught glimpses of the glacier that was much larger than it first appeared. We saw a number of people preparing for treks up to the glaciers, Jack just took a stroll over to a nice snow patch to eat some snow that he’s been missing all summer.
On the other side of the pass we descended down into a beautiful valley town, Fortun. Finally we returned to the sea on a branch (Lustrafjorden) of the mighty Sognefjorden. At the edge of the fjord we were treated with amazing views of the fog settled just above the turquoise glacial waters.