“Inexperience is an asset. Embrace it”

Nr 19. Dutch Bakery in Norway and Geirangerfjord

We were going to visit the last fjord in West Norway, which is on the UNESCO world heritage list: the Geirangerfjord. The S-shape form of this fjord makes it so special: you have the feeling to be surrounded by the steep mountain walls all the time. Like a 360 degrees pot. And Geiranger fjord is famous for it’s many waterfalls, especially the steep rock wall with 7 waterfalls in a row, called the Seven Sisters. So we were looking forward to see that!

We started sailing in the Nordjord, the last part of the Nordjord is Geirangerfjord. And also the Nordfjord is very interesting: we are getting more north up the coast of Norway, so in this area there are also wintersport villages and on the mountains you can see the eternal snow and the blue glacier ice. You see on the roofs of houses little fences to protect snow in the wintertime falling on people as they walk the streets. Nature becomes also a more rough scene: the mountaintops are now 1600/1700 meters high, where we were used to 1100/1200 meters so far in the fjords. In the mornings the September clouds ‘hang’ in the fjords a bit longer, before the wind blows them away, which makes the surroundings in the fjord look mysterious in the early morning time. The mountains have steep edges on top which gives them a dramatic look.

We visited a Viking museum in Eid, a nice village, where a 40 meter Viking ship was buried at the beach there, hidden for 1000 years, and dug up in 1890. Engineers reconstructed the ship and it is impressive to be able to walk in the wooden viking boat yourself, see the seats of the rowers. Before we visited Eid, we went 2 days on the little island of Svanøy at the entrance of the Nordfjord, which is famous for their many deer in the woods. And we saw a lot of them, when we cycled on the island.

We were advised to visit the village of Stranda, because a Dutch couple is running a popular bakery there. So we parked our boat at the quay of Stranda and saw the Stranda Bakeri Konditori immediately. It was around lunchtime, so Esther and Vincent were busy in their bakery serving customers. Most of the customers are locals and we were surprised to find a lunchroom also in the building, so we set down with the freshly made sandwiches with chicken of the bakery with coffee/tea and had a nice lunch! We also bought pastries and 2 breads for take away. We mostly bake bread ourselves on board, but we saw ‘Hollandsk Grov’ on the shelves of the bakery and of course we wanted to try that! Esther and Vincent were so kind so spend some time talking to us and even left a message on our Guestbook the same day! They told us that they emigrated with their kids to Norway in 2013, and left their bakery in Zwolle. They took over this bakery in Stranda and it was a success right away! So after a rental agreement, they bought a house and the bakery and are happy here for 8 years now. A funny fact Esther told us: Norwegians love cakes and they bake cakes for almost every occasion. The locals ask the bakery to make special cakes for special occasions. And we took 2 pastries for take away like Dutch people do, eat them in the afternoon at home with a cup of coffee of tea. Norwegians never take pastries home: they eat them right away, sitting at a table in the lunchroom of the bakery!

After Stranda, we had 3 more hours of sailing before we were in the Geirangerfjord and it really looked very beautiful: steep rock walls with lots of trees and the 360 degrees mountain walls were impressive. The famous steep wall with seven waterfalls called the Seven Sisters, was not as plentiful with water as we hoped. That had to do with the dry summer here in Norway, not much rain, so we saw Five of the Seven Sisters very clearly, but the Two other sisters really lost a lot of weight 😊. At the end of the Geirangerfjord we stayed for 2 days in the little village of Geiranger and did some biking in the beautiful rugged area, up the fjord hills, which we were really steep, so our e-bikes had to work hard and ran quickly out of battery. In an old farm turned restaurant, we could recharge our batteries while drinking coffee and tea and enjoying the beautiful view over the mountaintops.