English·Norway

[Norway] How I Ended up Hiking Preikestolen with Strangers

In Southern Norway, on Lysefjord’s shores, Preikestolen is a 604-meter high cliff, which is twice the Eiffel Tower. It starts well 😉 You have a 3.8km hike to reach it, starting at 270 meters above sea level. It takes around 2 hours each way.

The biggest nearby city is Stavanger, Norway’s 4th city, where I’ve spent 3 days with Khady last October. You can read all about it in this article (le laisser que si je traduis l’article sur Stavanger).

To start the hike since Stavanger, we took a boat to Tau and then a special bus to Preikestolen (ticket bought at the tourist office). We were lucky because the season was over in 2 days, and the special bus with it, and then we would have had to take a taxi that costs an arm and a leg.

It’s 7am and we’re more than ready! It’s a 20-minute boat trip and the show is already starting!

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Sunrise off Stavanger – October 2017

Around 9am, we finally arrive at the hike starting point. The bus is not even half full which is good news. Indeed, Preikestolen is a major tourist destination in Norway and my friends who went there during the summer all complained about the fact that the hike and the cliff were absolutely crowded. That’s the perk of going there in the end of October: we’re alone!

DSC_1018The sky is a little clouded over but nothing important. Let’s go! Except that… we went to the bathroom after going off the bus and the group of hikers is already out of sight and I must admit (not without shame) that it took us 5 minutes to find out where the hike starts. That wasn’t that complicated but well, we still got lost. 😂

But that’s for the best! Because we met Lu, who’s also lost. Lu is a Chinese student studying (uhuh répétition) in Lille, France, and who’s traveling around Europe when we met her. There, we found the way and got a new friend!

DSC_0978The beginning of the hike is pretty steep (and I always die during the first 10 minutes of a hike, and then I feel better), which is a good training.  The path is well indicated with DNT signs – DNT is the national hiking association – so we can enjoy the view without worrying too much about where we walk – except Khady who should have worried more about when she stepped on a puddle which turned out to be a hole… Her foot was soaked with mud all day long.

We take our time and a lot of pictures. It’s raining a little but nothing to worry about. We meet Vera during a photo-break. Vera is an Ukrainian woman traveling all over Europe. That’s 4 of us now!

The sky clears when we get close to the top. We run into hikers going down and they tell us that they didn’t see a thing because of the clouds. We are worried but we continue and the good weather is back after all!

 

And when I say « good weather », I mean that when we got on top of the cliff, we could see the clouds parting, unraveling the wonderful view. I have seen many pictures of it, I still wasn’t ready for what came.

 

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It is magnificent and while standing above 604 meters of pure void stretching underneath my feet, I realise how little and insignificant I am.

We have lunch while the clouds finish disappearing and then we take tons of pictures. We talk with the other hikers, we meet a lot of cool people and we’re all super glad to be where we are right now.

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We start hiking down the cliff, a little dizzy after all of it – the excitement, the void, sitting on the edge of the cliff, feet hanging in the air.

Once back to the start, we wait an hour for the bus that will get us to Tau to take the boat. We stay in the nice restaurant and then, the journey back to Stavanger happens in a blur of exhaustion. Khady and I say goodbye to Lu and Vera, who both go their separate ways towards new adventures.

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On top of Preikestolen – October 2017

Preikestolen is a wonderful hike that will lead you high, high in the sky. I’ve met incredible people there and I’ve pushed my own limits. What else could I ask for? 🙂

Check out our Facebook and Instagram accounts for more Pause Smoothie and see you soon for other news from Norway!

Bisous fruités!

Naïma

 

Anecdote : the restaurant at the start of the hike has a guest book for the hikers and I found this note in French inside:

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« Wonderful day, wonderful landscapes. To add a little more fun in the way down, push a few tourists over the cliff. » (NB: this is a joke. Do not reproduce on your way to Preikestolen!)
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